Public Release: 

UCR's Arturo Gómez-Pompa receives Honorary Researcher Award and the Gold Medal Merit Award

University of California - Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- For his many significant contributions in the field of tropical ecology, UC Riverside's Distinguished Professor of Botany and University Professor Dr. Arturo Gómez-Pompa recently received two honors: the "Honorary Researcher Award" from the Institute of Ecology (INECOL) in Veracruz, the largest institute in Mexico devoted to the study of ecology, and the "Gold Medal Merit Award" from the University of Veracruz, Mexico, one of the most prestigious state universities in the country.

At the awards ceremonies, Gómez-Pompa, who has been as UC Riverside for 17 years and has collaborated over the years with numerous colleagues in Mexico, was also recognized for his recent work in connection with the Maya region in that country and for his efforts in establishing a research program at El Eden Ecological Reserve in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

El Eden protected area was created as a reserve that will be managed to protect, restore and enrich its existing biodiversity by manipulation of its ecosystems. Established in 1990, El Eden is the first privately own protected area dedicated to research in biological conservation in Mexico. The area was founded by a group of scientists and conservationists led by Gómez-Pompa. The group is interested in the conservation and management of the biodiversity of this northeast portion of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

"I feel very honored to receive these awards," said Gómez-Pompa. "The Eden Ecological Reserve is recognized as a UC Riverside initiative and has become an important site for tropical research. Several faculty at UC Riverside conduct research at the reserve and also serve as advisors for students working on their master's degrees and Ph.D.s at the reserve. El Eden Ecological Reserve is considered to be one of the prime sites of tropical research in the world."

Gómez-Pompa's four lines of research are ethnobotany, tropical ecology, management of tropical forests and floristics. Some of his current research projects include biodiversity restoration of a tropical dry forest in Quintana Roo, ethnobotanical studies of the Maya region, evolution and domestication of tropical trees, management and conservation of tropical biodiversity, floristic databases and community-based conservation projects.

The Honorary Researcher award will provide Gómez-Pompa with opportunites for collobarative research projects and access to all facilities at the Institute of Ecology. Moreover, two junior scientists have been appointed at the institute to work directly with him in his projects.

The Gold Medal Merit Award from the University of Veracruz was given to Gómez-Pompa for his academic activity in the area of conservation of the environment. Each year, the University of Veracruz recognizes scientists in a variety of disciplines. The focus this year was on the conservation of natural resources.

Among Gómez-Pompa's many awards are a Guggenheim Award, the Chevron Conservation Award, the Tyler Prize, the Alfonso Herrera Medal of Mexico, and the "Golden Arch" Netherlands Medal. He is the editor of the book "Lowland Maya Area: Three Millennia at the Human-Wildland Interface," to be published in summer 2003 by the Haworth Press, Inc.

UC Riverside's department of botany and plant sciences is one of the largest academic departments of its kind in the country, with faculty, their students and postdoctoral associates, and Cooperative Extension researchers focusing on a wide array of basic and applied issues in plant science. The department traces its lineage to the early 20th century when the University of California developed the Citrus Experiment Station in Riverside in 1907. The department has strong programs in basic plant cell biology, responses of plant to environmental stresses, plant ecology and evolution.

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The University of California, Riverside offers undergraduate and graduate education to nearly 16,000 students and has a projected enrollment of 21,000 students by 2010. It is the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse campus of the preeminent ten-campus University of California system, the largest public research university system in the world. The picturesque 1,200-acre campus is located at the foot of the Box Springs Mountains near downtown Riverside in Southern California. More information about UC Riverside is available at www.ucr.edu or by calling 909-787-5185. For a listing of faculty experts on a variety of topics, please visit http://mmr.ucr.edu/experts/.

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