Public Release: 

Scientist named first Ruth Patrick Chair in Environmental Science

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

In recognition of his internationally acclaimed research involving microscopic aquatic plants, The Academy of Natural Sciences today named Dr. Donald F. Charles to the first Ruth Patrick Chair in Environmental Science.

Charles, head of the Phycology Section of the Academy's Patrick Center for Environmental Research, has a long and accomplished record focusing on the use of microscopic aquatic plants called diatoms and other algae as ecological indicators and their use in influences on aquatic ecosystems. He has published nearly 100 scientific articles, papers and technical reports, served as associate editor of the Journal of Paleolimnology and led the creation of a website to distribute research results (

"Dr. Charles meets the qualifications well, with a well established track record of internationally recognized scholarship and a demonstrated ability to work successfully with multidisciplinary teams to address ecological questions on environmental problems," said Academy President and CEO Dr. D. James Baker.

Named after another pioneering ecologist, the Ruth Patrick Chair in Environmental Science is a five-year appointment designed to support individuals actively engaged in a research endeavor that exemplifies the many contributions Dr. Patrick has made in determining ecosystem health and providing practical recommendations for sustaining ecosystems. Patrick, who began her long association with the Academy as a graduate student in 1933, is a world-renowned authority in freshwater ecology. She developed pioneering studies on the effects of pollution on freshwater rivers and streams and devised a sensitive tool that aids in the detection of water pollution by measuring populations of diatoms.


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The Academy is located at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and weekends until 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for children ages 3-12, students with college I.D. and military personnel, $8.25 for seniors, and free for children under 3.

The Academy of Natural Sciences, an international museum of natural history operating since 1812, undertakes research and public education that focuses on the environment and its diverse species. The mission of the Academy is to create the basis for a healthy and sustainable planet through exploration, research and education.

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