Washington, D.C.—Carnegie staff scientist Greg Asner has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries elected "in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research." The total number of active members now stands at 2,179.
Asner was hired in 2001 as the Department of Global Ecology's first staff scientist. Since coming to Carnegie, Asner has pioneered new methods for investigating tropical deforestation, degradation, ecosystem diversity, invasive species, carbon emissions, climate change, and much more using satellite and airborne instrumentation. His innovations measure the chemistry, structure, biomass, and biodiversity of the Earth in unprecedented detail over massive areas not thought possible before. He has developed new technologies for conservation assessments, including tropical forest carbon emissions and stocks, hydrologic function and biodiversity. He leads the CLASLite forest change mapping project, spectranomics biodiversity project, and the one-of-a-kind Carnegie Airborne Observatory.
"Greg's research has enormous international significance," commented Carnegie president Richard A. Meserve. "He fulfills Andrew Carnegie's original vision of enabling gifted researchers to follow independent paths to pursue extraordinary discoveries. The institution is extremely proud of his accomplishments."
Director of the Department of Global Ecology Chris Field remarked, "Greg does it all. He designs the tools, develops the methods, makes the scientific discoveries, identifies the applications, and then teaches stakeholders how to take full advantage. Greg's work is the blueprint for effective solutions-oriented science."
Asner received his bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in environmental engineering, biogeography, and environmental biology, respectively. In 2006, his research was designated a Science Magazine Breakthrough of the Year. In 2007, Popular Science magazine selected him as one of its Brilliant Ten young scientists.
In addition to his work at the interface of ecosystems, land use and climate change, Asner is heavily engaged in teaching others to use his technology for tropical forest management and conservation. His research has led to some 340 publications, with dozens more in the pipeline.
The Department of Global Ecology was established in 2002 to help build the scientific foundations for a sustainable future. The department is located on the campus of Stanford University, but is an independent research organization funded by the Carnegie Institution. Its scientists conduct basic research on a wide range of large-scale environmental issues, including climate change, ocean acidification, biological invasions, and changes in biodiversity.
The Carnegie Institution for Science has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It is a private, nonprofit organization with six research departments throughout the U.S. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.
The National Academy of Sciences was established by an Act of Congress and signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The NAS provides independent, objective science and technology advice to the nation. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership
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