Public Release:  AIBS honors outstanding contributions to the biological sciences

Awards presented May 14, in Washington D.C., at the AIBS 2007 Annual Meeting: Evolutionary Biology and Human Health

American Institute of Biological Sciences

Washington, DC -- Each year the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) presents awards to eminent individuals or groups for outstanding contributions to the biological sciences. AIBS is pleased to announce the following award winners for 2007:

  • Distinguished Scientist Award: Simon A. Levin, Princeton University
  • Outstanding Service Award: William Murdoch, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Education Award: Carol A. Brewer, University of Montana
  • President's Citation Award: Niles Eldredge, American Museum of Natural History, New York
  • Past-President's Award: Kent E. Holsinger, University of Connecticut
  • Broadcast Media Award: David Baron, The World
  • Print Media Award: Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling, Los Angeles Times

The awards ceremony will take place on May 14 at the AIBS Annual Meeting, in the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC.

AIBS President Douglas Futuyma and Executive Director Richard O'Grady said in a joint statement: "We are pleased to honor these talented and dedicated individuals. From a variety of backgrounds, they have all made significant positive contributions to the field of biology."

For more information on the AIBS annual awards, see www.aibs.org/about-aibs/awards.html. For more information on the 2007 awards ceremony, see www.aibs.org/annual-meeting/annual_meeting_2007.html

Below are brief descriptions of the award winners:

  • Simon A. Levin will receive the Distinguished Scientist Award, presented to individuals who have made significant scientific contributions to the biological sciences. Levin is the George M. Moffett Professor of Biology and the director of the Center for Biocomplexity at Princeton University. He is also a prolific author whose contributions have helped shape modern ecology. His research on the loss of biodiversity due to human impact has led to new methods of environmental protection. Among the many awards and honors that mark his distinguished career are the 2005 Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences and the 2004 Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences.

  • William Murdoch will receive the Outstanding Service Award, presented in recognition of an individual or organization's noteworthy service to the biological sciences. Murdoch is the Charles A. Storke II Professor of Ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. One of the foremost ecologists in the world, Murdock has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the President's Award from the American Society of Naturalists, and the Robert MacArthur award from the Ecological Society of America. He was the founding director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and he is editor in chief of Issues in Ecology and on the board of directors for The Nature Conservancy.

  • Carol A. Brewer will receive the Education Award, presented to an individual (or group) who has made significant contributions to education in the biological sciences, at any level of formal or informal education. At the University of Montana, Brewer serves as the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Her efforts to improve scientific literacy reach diverse audiences through projects that interconnect the general public, educators, and scientists. Especially noteworthy in this regard is her work heading the educational initiatives of the National Ecological Observatory Network. She encourages collaboration between scientists and educators, trains teachers to use their schoolyards for ecological investigations with students, and practices new assessment strategies to clearly connect teaching and learning.

  • Niles Eldredge will receive the President's Citation Award, which recognizes meritorious accomplishments by an individual (or group) in the biological sciences. Eldredge currently serves as curator in the Department of Invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History and adjunct professor at the City University of New York. He has made enormous contributions to making the general public aware of the central importance of evolution and biodiversity to all of modern biology. Most recently, Eldredge launched the journal, Evolution: Education and Outreach, and he was the driving force behind the wildly successful "Darwin" exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History (www.amnh.org/exhibitions/darwin/), which gave hundreds of thousands of visitors an in-depth understanding of the central role that evolutionary thinking plays in all of modern biology.

  • Kent E. Holsinger will receive the Past President's Award, which recognizes the services of the immediate past-president of AIBS. Holsinger is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and an adjunct professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Connecticut. His research encompasses three broad areas: the evolution of plant reproductive systems, the genetics of geographically structured populations, and the application of basic biological principles to conservation problems. He has served as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, Vice-Chair for Science and Stewardship of The Nature Conservancy Connecticut Chapter, a member of the editorial board for Conservation Biology, and an officer of the Botanical Society of America. His leadership and service to AIBS go back more than a decade, with numerous board and committee appointments to cross-disciplinary projects, including the BioOne online journals initiative, the National Ecological Observatory Network, the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science, and the Year of Science 2009.

  • Kenneth Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling will receive the Print Media Award for their series "Altered Oceans" which appear in the Los Angeles Times July 30 -August 3, 2006. They traveled great distances to capture the story of the oceans transformation in the light of human activity. The series frighteningly portrays the decline of fish and mammal populations and the proliferation of more primitive species, such as toxic algae, jellyfish, and bacteria. Weiss has been reporting on the oceans for five years for the Los Angeles Times. McFarling, who has reported on topics related to earth science and the space program, has recently expanded her portfolio to include the effects of global climate change, with a focus on the Arctic.

  • David Baron will receive the Broadcast Media Award for his public radio broadcast for PRI's The World titled "Bioko's Endangered Monkeys" originally aired January 5, 2006 Baron traveled to Bioko Island, off Africa's western coast, to research how rare primate species are being driven further toward extinction by human consumption. He is an award-winning journalist whose broadcasts and books demonstrate his passion for science and his adventurous spirit. He spent much of his career at National Public Radio, where he reported on science, medicine, technology, and the environment for All Things Considered. He currently is now the global development editor for The World, a coproduction of the BBC World Service, PRI, and WGBH Boston.

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About AIBS: The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific association dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society. Founded in 1947 as a part of the National Academy of Sciences, AIBS became an independent, member-governed organization in the 1950s. Today, with headquarters in Washington, DC, and a staff of approximately 50, AIBS is sustained by a robust membership of some 5,000 biologists and 200 professional societies and scientific organizations; the combined individual membership of the latter exceeds 250,000. AIBS advances its mission by participating in coalition activities in research, education, and public policy; publishing the peer-reviewed journal BioScience and the education Web site ActionBioscience.org; providing scientific peer review and advisory services to government agencies and other clients; convening meetings; and managing scientific programs. Web site: www.aibs.org.

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