University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist is named ESA president

October 11, 2000

MADISON -- Stephen Carpenter, Halverson Professor of Limnology and Professor of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been elected the new president of the Ecological Society of America.

Carpenter will preside over more than 7,600 members in the United States and internationally. The Society, considered the country's premier professional organization of ecologists, was founded in 1915 to stimulate sound ecological research.

"Ecologists are being asked to provide forecasts for the future of the world to an unprecedented extent," Carpenter says. "It's time for us to evaluate our ability to do that and move ahead with research which will improve our understanding of the globe."

During his presidential year, Carpenter says he would like to see ESA and its membership make a strong contribution to programs such as the International Program on Ecosystem Change, for which he serves as Chair. He would also like to promote strong participation in an international campaign to assess the world's ecosystems. The Society recently composed a vision for its own future and Carpenter hopes that during his term he can advance some of the projects from that vision.

"When our Visions Committee originally met, we discussed many new resources we could offer to both ecologists and non-ecologists which would help improve human understanding of the Earth's ecosystems. I hope that I can help to be a part of some new projects which will help us achieve that goal."

The Society's goals are to promote, clarify and communicate the science of ecology through reports, journals, research and expert testimony to Congress and other governments. ESA encourages members to responsibly apply their research and ecological expertise to public issues through teaching and public interaction. Members focus on environmental problems such as habitat alteration and destruction, natural resource management, species extinction and loss of biological diversity, ecosystem management, ozone depletion and global climate change, sustainable ecological systems, ecological restoration and biotechnology.

Carpenter is an ecosystem ecologist known for his work on large scale experiments and adaptive ecosystem management. His work has studied food chains, and several factors which effect production and nutrient cycling, contaminant cycles, freshwater fisheries, eutrophication, non-point pollution, and ecological economics of freshwater.

Since 1989, Carpenter has served on the zoology faculty and in the UW-Madison Center for Limnology, which is devoted to inland freshwater research. The Center was created in 1982 but grew out of nearly a century of lake research at UW-Madison beginning with E.A. Birge and Chauncey Juday, considered the founders of the limnology field. In addition to extensive research on Madison-area lakes, the center runs a research outpost in northern Wisconsin called Trout Lake Station. Both Madison and northern Wisconsin lakes are part of the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, which is helping track global warming, pollution and landscape changes that take ages to manifest themselves.

Carpenter has received many awards for distinguished research, including a Pew Fellowship in Conservation and Environment, the G.E. Hutchinson Medal of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, and the R.H. MacArthur Award from ESA. He has received research grants from the National Science Foundation, other agencies, and private foundations. He has published over 170 research papers, more than 20 reviewed reports and commentaries, and two books. He received his B.A. from Amherst College, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from UW-Madison.
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Ecological Society of America

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