Press Release: Outstanding ecologists honoured by the British Ecological Society

The BES announced the winners of its annual awards and prizes today, recognising nine distinguished ecologists whose work has benefited the scientific community and society in general.

This year's joint annual meeting 'Ecology across Borders' was held in Ghent, Belgium from 11-14 December 2017

Among the winners are Dr Richard Pearson from University College London, a pioneer in measuring species extinction risk due to climate change, and Professor May Berenbaum, an entomologist from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whose research focuses on chemical interactions between insects and plants, including the detoxification of natural and synthetic chemicals.

Professor Sue Hartley, President of the British Ecological Society, said: “We have a long-standing history of supporting our academic community across the globe and recognise excellence at all career stages. Ecological knowledge can help to address some of the most pressing challenges human society is facing today.”

“The winners of this year’s BES prizes have made outstanding contributions to their field and I congratulate them for their impressive achievements, which advance the science of ecology and its impacts”, Hartley added.

The winners will be presented with their prizes during a ceremony held at the Society’s annual meeting in December, which will bring together 1,200 ecologists from 60 countries to discuss the latest advances in ecological research across the whole discipline.

The full list of 2017 BES award and prize winners is as follows:

Honorary Membership: Professor Louise Vet, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), and Professor May Berenbaum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Honorary membership is the highest honour the BES gives, recognising exceptional contributions at international level to the generation, communication and promotion of ecological knowledge and solutions. Other people that currently hold Honorary Membership include Sir David Attenborough, Dame Georgina Mace, Sir Charles Godfray and Sir John Lawton.

Professor Louise Vet will be one of four world-renowned keynote speakers at the annual meeting.

President’s Medal: Professor Philip Warren, University of Sheffield

The BES President awards this prestigious honour at the end of each term of office (every two years) as a personal gift.

Marsh Award for Ecology: Dr Sandra Lavorel, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Provided by the Marsh Christian Trust and administered by the BES, this is awarded for a current research record which is having a significant impact on the development of the science of ecology or its application.

Marsh Award for Climate Change Research: Dr Richard Pearson, University College London

Provided by the Marsh Christian Trust and administered by the BES, this is awarded for an outstanding contribution to climate change research.

Founders’ Prize: Dr Liza Comita, Yale University

The BES Founders’ Prize commemorates the enthusiasm and vision of the Society’s founders. It is awarded to an early-career ecologist who is starting to make a significant contribution to the science of ecology.

BES Award: Professor Alan Gray, NERC Centre of Ecology & Hydrology

The BES Award is made in recognition of exceptional voluntary service to the Society and its community.

Ecological Engagement Award: Professor Jane Stout, Trinity College Dublin

This award recognises an ecologist who has bridged the gap between ecology and the public.

Equality and Diversity Champion: Dr Christine Maggs, Joint Nature Conservation Committee

This award recognises an individual or group who has made innovative contributions to enhancing the practice of equality and diversity in the ecological community.

This year’s annual meeting is organised in association with the European Ecological Federation, Gesellschaft für Ökologie (the Ecological Society of Germany, Switzerland and Austria), and NecoV. The European Ecological Federation has awarded its ‘Ernst Haeckel Prize’ to keynote speaker Carlos Herrera from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), in recognition for his outstanding contribution to European ecological science.