Debra Peters honored for her Distinguished Service to ESA and ecology

The Distinguished Service Citation recognizes long and distinguished volunteer service to ESA, the scientific community, and the larger purpose of ecology in the public welfare.

Debra Peters with her dog, Peaches in November 2016. Credit: Allie Peters.

Debra Peters is the founding editor-in-chief of ESA’s newest journal, Ecosphere, created in 2010 to offer a rapid path to publication for research reports from across the spectrum of ecological science, including interdisciplinary studies that may have had difficulty finding a home within the scope of the existing ESA family of journals. In her hands the online-only, open-access journal has claimed a successful niche in the ecological publications landscape, expanding to publish over 400 manuscripts in 2016.

Dr. Peters, an ecologist for the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service’s (USDA-ARS) Jornada Experimental Range and lead principal investigator for the Jornada Basin Long Term Ecological Research program in Las Cruces, New Mexico, has served on the editorial boards of ESA’s journals Ecological Applications, Ecology, and Ecological Monographs. She chaired the Society’s Rangeland Ecology Section, was a founding member and chair of the Southwest Chapter, and has served as member-at-large on the Governing Board. As program chair for the 98th Annual Meeting of the Society, she inaugurated the wildly popular Ignite talks, which give speakers the opportunity to present conceptual talks that do not fit into the standard research presentation format.

Dr. Peters has greatly contributed to the broader research enterprise as senior advisor to the chief scientist at the USDA, and as a member of the National Ecological Observatory Network’s (NEON) Board of Directors. She has provided this quite amazing array of services in support of the Society and her profession while maintaining an outstanding level of research productivity and scientific leadership in landscape-level, cross-scale ecosystem ecology. Many of her more than 100 research publications have been cited more than 100 times. Her fine record of research led to her election as a Fellow of ESA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In all respects, Debra Peters exemplifies distinguished service to the ESA, and to science.


  • Watch this space for announcements of more 2017 ESA awards — or find all 2017 award winners in the 1 March 2017 press release

Author: Liza Lester

ESA's Communications Officer came on board in the fall of 2011 after a Mass Media Science and Engineering fellowship with AAAS and a doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Washington.

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