Washington, D.C. -- Christopher Field, the founding director of Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology has been awarded one of Germany's most prestigious prizes, the Max Planck Research Prize with Markus Reichstein "because they have significantly increased our knowledge of how life on Earth responds to climate change and what reactions can be anticipated between the biosphere and the atmosphere... their work also helps us to estimate the consequences of climate change for the people of the planet."
Field has been a pioneer in developing new approaches to understand the large-scale function of the Earth system for more than 20 years. He has made major contributions to physiological ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and climate science.
Field's research "builds bridges" with Reichstein's work with the soil as a climate factor. Among his research, Field studies how photosynthesis correlates with light absorption to estimate the amount of biomass that plants build up, which is the experimental basis for his global modeling of biogeochemical and ecological relationships to determine the effect of climate change on the biosphere.
In addition to directing Carnegie's Global Ecology department, Field is co-chair of Working Group 2 of the Nobel-Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Field oversees the Working Group 2 Report about climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability for the IPCC Fifth assessment, scheduled to be published in 2014.
Carnegie president Richard A. Meserve remarked, "Chris was instrumental in founding the field of global ecology. This prestigious award recognizes his enormous contributions in the field. We congratulate him."
Field received his bachelors from Harvard and his Ph.D. from Stanford. He has authored more than 200 scientific publications. He frequently briefs U.S. Congressional committees on climate-change impacts. He was awarded a 2009 Heinz Award. He is a member of the U.S National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers, and a leader in a wide range of other national and international organizations.
The Max Planck Research Prize is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research. It is awarded annually by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Max Planck Society to a scientist working in Germany and one in another country. The prize ceremony will take place in Berlin on November 13, 2013.
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.