Levin and Pacala to Receive Ecological Research Awards

Holly Welles ・ High Meadows Environmental Institute
Steve Pacala and Simon Levin
Stephen Pacala (left) and Simon Levin

Two members of the Princeton University faculty have been recognized for major contributions to ecological research.

Professors Simon Levin and Stephen Pacala are being honored by the Ecological Society of America, the world’s largest professional organization of ecologists. The society represents 10,000 scientists in the United States and around the globe.

Simon Levin

Levin, the George M. Moffett Professor of Biology and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, will receive this year’s Eminent Ecologist Award, given to a senior ecologist in recognition of an outstanding body of ecological work or sustained ecological contributions of extraordinary merit.

A leader in theoretical ecology, Levin focuses on ecosystems and ecological principles that advance environmental sustainability. He has published more than 400 papers and books. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1964 from the University of Maryland-College Park and taught at Cornell University prior to joining the faculty at Princeton. Levin, who has taught at Princeton since 1992, is the founding director of the Princeton Environmental Institute and director of its Center for BioComplexity.

His awards include the Heineken Prize in 2004, the Kyoto Prize in 2005 and the American Institute of Biological Sciences Distinguished Scientist Award for 2007. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

Stephen Pacala

Pacala, the Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, will receive the society’s Robert H. MacArthur Award for his contributions to evolutionary biology, plant and animal ecology, parasite-host interactions and biogeochemical cycles. The award is presented to an established ecologist in mid-career for meritorious contributions to ecology in the expectation of continued outstanding ecological research.

Pacala has been a leader in relating ecological studies to global climate models and has demonstrated the importance of biodiversity to predicting ecosystem responses and increased carbon. He obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1982 and was on the faculty of the University of Connecticut before joining the Princeton faculty in 1992. He is the director of the Princeton Environmental Institute and co-director of Princeton’s Carbon Mitigation Initiative.

Among his many honors are the David Starr Jordan Prize and the George Mercer Award of the Ecological Society of America. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. 

The society will present the awards on Aug. 2 during its 95th annual meeting in Pittsburgh.