Since 1972, the AIBS Distinguished Scientist Award (previously named the Distinguished Service Award) has been presented annually to individuals who have made significant scientific contributions to the biological sciences, advancing research in any of the biological disciplines. The award is presented annually and consists of a plaque and lifetime membership in AIBS.


2012 Barbara Schaal

Barbara Schaal

Barbara Schaal
Distinguished Scientist Award 2012

In 2005, Barbara Schaal became the first woman elected vice president of the US National Academy of Sciences. She also serves on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and is the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Schaal was among the first to use molecular-biology-based approaches to understand evolutionary processes in plants, and she has worked to advance our understanding of plant molecular systematics and population genetics. Research in her laboratory has also addressed issues in conservation biology, including the loss of genetic variation in isolated plant populations.


2010 Long-Term Ecological Research Network

Long-Term Ecological Research Network

Long-Term Ecological Research Network
Distinguished Scientist Award 2010

LTER concentrates on ecological processes that play out at time scales spanning decades to centuries. Long-term data sets from programs such as LTER provide a context to evaluate the nature and pace of ecological change, to interpret its effects, and to forecast the range of future biological responses to change. At each of the LTER Network's 26 sites, there is an extraordinary amount of knowledge about the organisms and processes important at the site, about the way the site's ecosystems respond to disturbance, and about long-term environmental change. A growing number of cross-site observations and experiments have also revealed much about the way that key processes, organisms, and ecological attributes are organized and behave across major environmental gradients.


2009 Dr. Joseph Felsenstein

Dr. Joseph Felsenstein

Dr. Joseph Felsenstein
Distinguished Scientist Award 2009

Dr. Felsenstein is professor of genome sciences and biology at the University of Washington. He trained at the University of Wisconsin and earned his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Lewontin at the University of Chicago in 1968. After postdoctoral work in Edinburgh, he began a career at the University of Washington and has been at the university for the past 40 years.

He has worked in theoretical population genetics, but is best known for work on statistical inference of phylogenies (evolutionary trees), including likelihood and bootstrap methods and phylogenetic comparative methods. He has also worked on likelihood inference using coalescent trees within species.

He is author of PHYLIP, the first widely-distributed package of programs for inferring phylogenies, and the book Inferring Phylogenies. By playing a major role in establishing a rigorous basis for phylogenetic inference, Felsenstein has enhanced the field of systematics, helped reestablish a historical perspective as a way of thinking in evolutionary biology, and helped to provide an evolutionary framework and toolkit for molecular biology and genomics.


2008 Terry L. Yates

Terry L. Yates

Terry L. Yates
Distinguished Scientist Award 2008

Terry L. Yates was posthumously given the Distinguished Scientist Award, presented to individuals who have made significant scientific contributions to the biological sciences. At the time of his death in December 2007, Yates was Vice President for Research and Economic Development at the University of New Mexico (UNM), as well as Curator of Genomic Resources for UNM's Museum of Southwestern Biology. From 2004 to 2007, he served as president of the Natural Science Collections Alliance, where he worked tirelessly on the national stage to increase awareness of the vitally important research in biological diversity, evolution, and ecology that is conducted at US natural science collections and museums.

Yates was best known for his groundbreaking research that isolated the source of hantavirus, the serious respiratory disease that began afflicting people in the American Southwest in 1993. He was a member of the Board of Life Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences and an honorary member of the Society of Mammalogists, the highest honor bestowed by the organization. Yates's wife, Nancy, accepted the award on his behalf.


2007 Simon A. Levin

Simon A. Levin

Simon A. Levin
Distinguished Scientist Award 2007

Simon A. Levin is the George M. Moffett professor of biology and the director of the Center for Biocomplexity at Princeton University. He is also a prolific author whose contributions have helped shape modern ecology. His research on the loss of bio-diversity due to human impact has led to new methods of environmental protection. Among his many awards and honors are the 2005 Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences and the 2004 Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences.


2006 Louis J. Gross

2005 B. Rosemary Grant and Peter R. Grant

Rosemary GrantPeter Grant

B. Rosemary Grant and Peter R. Grant
Distinguished Scientist Award 2005

AIBS President Marvalee Wake presented the 2005 Distinguished Scientist Award to B. Rosemary Grant and Peter R. Grant, of Princeton University, stating, "For more than thirty years, Rosemary and Peter Grant have studied one of the classic examples of adaptive radiation, Darwin's finches. Their work showing the effects of drought on survivorship and the corresponding evolutionary response is a staple of introductory biology, evolutionary biology, and ecology textbooks worldwide. But this classic series of studies barely hints at the enormous range of topics their work has considered: sexual selection, species recognition, macroevolution, and phylogenetic history, to name a few. Their decades of work [have] led to fundamental new insights into one of the most widely known and important examples used in evolutionary biology."


2004 Jane Lubchenco

Jane Lubchenco

Jane Lubchenco
Distinguished Scientist Award 2004

Jane Lubchenco is one of the nation's most distinguished biologists. Her research interests cover a broad range of disciplines, including marine biology, biodiversity, climate change, and environmental sustainability. She maintains an active and innovative research program in marine science and is one of the world's leading advocates of research on the oceans.

Lubchenco is in the forefront of U.S. science: She has served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Ecological Society of America; she has twice been a member of the National Science Board; and she founded the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, which trains environmental scientists to communicate effectively with lay audiences. Lubchenco is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and she has served on the boards of trustees of several foundations and institutes concerned with the environment. Moreover, Lubchenco has been an active participant in many AIBS programs and events.

She also figures prominently in the advancement of international science for the good of society, currently serving as president of the International Council for Science, which is headquartered in Paris.

Lubchenco is outstanding in her contributions to research, in her dedication to teaching, and in her service to the scientific community. She is a powerful, thoughtful, articulate voice for science in the service of humanity and the environment. Lubchenco, a Pew Scholar and a MacArthur Fellow, has been the recipient of many honors and awards, among them eight honorary degrees, the 2002 Heinz Award, and the 2003 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest.


2003 Harold A. Mooney

Harold A. Mooney

Harold A. Mooney
Distinguished Scientist Award 2003

Harold A. Mooney holds the Paul S. Achilles Professorship in environmental biology at Stanford University. His research has centered on the carbon balance of plants, convergent evolution, and the allocation of resources in plants. He is currently engaged in research on the impacts of global change on terrestrial ecosystems, especially on productivity and biodiversity, and is also examining those factors that promote the invasions of nonindigenous plant species.

Mooney served as president of the Ecological Society from 1988-1989, president of AIBS in 1993, and has just completed a term as secretary general of the International Council for Science. Currently, he is a scientific panel co-chair of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

Among his honors, he was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the American Philosophical Society, and he has received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has received the Eminent Ecologist Award and the Mercer Award of the Ecological Society of America, a Humboldt Senior Distinguished US Scientist Award, the Max Planck Research Award, the Ecology Institute Prize for Terrestrial Ecology, the Nevada Medal Award, and the Blue Planet Prize. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.


2002 Stephen J. Gould

Stephen J. Gould

Stephen J. Gould
Distinguished Scientist Award 2002

Stephen Jay Gould is among the best known and most widely read scientists of our generation. A member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1989, he is a paleontologist by profession and has achieved equally great distinction for his contributions to evolutionary theory and the philosophy and history of science.

Gould received his PhD from Columbia University in 1967. He is currently the Alexander Agassiz professor of zoology, professor of geology, curator in invertebrate paleontology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and adjunct member of the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. Since 1996, he also has been the Vincent Astor visiting research professor of biology at New York University. Gould's empirical field studies have concentrated on fossil mollusks and snails found in Bermuda.

His first major monograph, Ontogeny and Phylogeny (1977), treated the theory of recapitulation in evolutionary biology. Known to scientists in particular for his measurement of ontogenetic and evolutionary rates, he is known to a wider readership as one of the ablest expositors of biology since Thomas Huxley.

The author of nearly a thousand scientific papers and 300 essays for his monthly magazine column, "This View of Life," in Natural History, Gould has also written over 20 best-selling books, including Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (1989), winner of the Science Book Prize for 1990, and seven volumes of essays (most of which were from "This View of Life") that were published over a span of 20 years, especially the volumes The Panda's Thumb (1980), which won the 1981 American Book Award for Science, Bully for Brontosaurus (1991), and Dinosaur in a Haystack (1995). Last month, Harvard University Press published his encompassing major work, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.

In addition, Gould has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Medal of Edinburgh, and the Silver National Medal of the Zoology Society of London.


2001 Paul R. Ehrlich

Paul R. Ehrlich

Paul R. Ehrlich
Distinguished Scientist Award 2001

In 1959, Ehrlich joined the faculty of Stanford University, where he began his 35-year study of local checkerspot butterfly populations, the most thorough research ever conducted on their ecology and evolution. Cofounder (with Peter H. Raven) of the field of coevolution, Ehrlich has done field research on every continent. He has studied in a wide variety of areas, from genetics of insect populations and ecology and evolutionary interactions of plants and herbivores to the effects of crowding on humans.

Ehrlich has been a pioneer in alerting the public to the problems of overpopulation and in raising issues of population, resources, and the environment as matters of public policy. He has made investigating ways that human-disturbed landscapes can be made more hospitable to biodiversity a central focus of his research. Although his research on the population- resource- environment crisis takes a broad overview, it is also applicable to areas of immediate legislative interest, such as endangered species and the preservation of genetic resources.

Ehrlich served as president of AIBS in 1990. He is the author of 37 books (The Population Bomb, Healing the Planet, and Betrayal of Science and Reason, among others) and more than 600 technical and popular articles. He has received several honorary degrees, and he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, as well as a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ehrlich has garnered numerous awards, including the Sierra Club's John Muir Award, the Gold Medal Award of the World Wildlife Fund International, the MacArthur Prize Fellowship, the Volvo Environmental Prize, and the United Nations' Sasakawa Environment Prize. In 1990 he was honored with the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (awarded for work in disciplines in which the Nobel Prize is not given).


2000 Ernst Mayr

Ernst Mayr

Ernst Mayr
Distinguished Scientist Award 2000

Ernst Mayr continues his career today at age 95 with the same confidence and productivity with which he began it more than 80 years ago in Germany when he first took up bird watching. This avocation eventually led to a career-altering choice. Mayr was studying medicine, but his report of two rare birds in Germany led one of his biology professors to encourage him to study ornithology instead. Mayr took that advice and finished a PhD in less than two years. He then spent several months collecting in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands-- field experience that had a great influence on his later strong advocacy of allopatry as the key driving force in the acquisition of reproductive isolation during the process of speciation.

Mayr's first permanent position in the United States was with the American Museum of Natural History, a position he was offered based on a 1-year temporary job with AMNH during which he published 12 papers, including descriptions of 68 new bird taxa. His more than 20 years at the Museum yielded unprecedented productivity in avian systematics and a series of seminal works on species and speciation.

Mayr, like Stebbins, presented a set of lectures at Columbia University as part of the Jesup Lecture series. Mayr's talks eventually resulted in the 1942 publication of Systematics and the Origin of Species, one of the cornerstones of the modern evolutionary synthesis. Shortly after the publication of this landmark book, Mayr led a campaign to found an evolution society that resulted in the establishment, in 1946, of the Society for the Study of Evolution. Mayr also served as the first editor of the fledgling society's journal (Evolution).

When he accepted a position at Harvard University in 1953, his work began to focus more on evolutionary biology and the study of the philosophy of biology. At Harvard, and later in retirement in Florida, he has continued a phenomenal rate of scientific publication. Notable among his nearly 25 books are Principles and Methods of Systematic Zoology, Animal Species and Evolution, and a number of recent books more oriented toward the philosophy of biology, such as The Growth of Biological Thought, Toward A New Philosophy of Biology, and One Long Argument.

Mayr's many contributions have resulted in a tremendous number of awards and prizes, including membership in the US National Academy of Sciences and the receipt of the US National Medal of Science, the Japan Prize (International Prize for Biology), the Balzan Prize, and most recently the Crafoord Prize.


1999 George Ledyard Stebbins

George Ledyard Stebbins

George Ledyard Stebbins
Distinguished Scientist Award 1999

George Ledyard Stebbins' talent was manifest early: He finished his Master's degree from Harvard University the same year that he completed his undergraduate degree in 1928, and he was awarded a PhD only three years later.

Since that time he has been the force in plant genetics, systematics, and evolution, and in botany in general. After five years at Colgate University, he moved to the University of California-Berkeley, where he and several colleagues, including E. B. Babcock, developed the area of "biosystematics." They did not invent the term, but, by their empirical work and conceptual contributions, gave it body and meaning and defined it for the decades to follow. Together with his colleagues, Stebbins led the way in showing the importance of hybridization, polyploidy, and apomixis in plant evolution, and--by force of the significance of their theories and publications--the importance of hybridization and polyploidy in biological systems in general.

Stebbins' contributions to the published literature are enormous, including hundreds of papers and many textbooks and significant monographs. The most notable of his books are three that came out of special fellowships or lectureships. The first, and perhaps still the most significant book in plant evolution, Variation and Evolution of Plants, came out of the Jesup Lectures delivered at Columbia in 1946. This 1950 book is still one that students of plant evolution must read. The second is his textbook on chromosome biology, Chromosomal Evolution in Higher Plants, which Stebbins conceived while on a fellowship at Stanford. This little book synthesizes chromosome biology with ecology, evolution, and systematics. It too stands as a viable and significant reference nearly 30 years after publication. The third, which came out of the Prather Lecture at Harvard, is Flowering Plants: Evolution Above the Species Level, a book that has stimulated continued discussion since publication in 1974.

All of this has led, appropriately, to tremendous recognition for Stebbins' work, including election to the US National Academy of Sciences nearly 40 years ago, as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society, and as foreign member of the Swedish, Argentinean, and German academies. In 1980 he received the US National Medal of Science. Stebbins has also been awarded the Gleason Prize from the Botanical Society of America, a gold medal from the Linnean Society of London, two Guggenheim fellowships, and many other awards, including numerous honorary degrees.


1998 Lynn Margulis

Lynn Margulis

Lynn Margulis
Distinguished Scientist Award 1998

With an outstanding record of scientific achievement over more than 30 years, Lynn Margulis, a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has had a major impact on biological thought. She has contributed significantly to the areas of microbial mineralization activities and the origin of life. Her groundbreaking work on the endosymbiotic origin of eukaryotes, which was initially very controversial, is now widely accepted.

At the other end of the ecological hierarchy, Margulis has made major contributions to our understanding of the role of microorganisms on the composition of the atmosphere. Her advocacy of the five-kingdom classification system influenced its acceptance.

Above all, Margulis is an original and creative thinker who stimulates debate and controversy and influences the rest of the community to think about the biological world in new ways. She has also contributed significantly to educational endeavors, having published thought-provoking articles in American Biology Teacher and produced numerous teachers' guides, educational films, slide sets, and videos. In addition, she has written books for the general public.

Margulis spent much of her career at Boston University, where she was a member of the biology department from 1966 through 1988. She then joined the botany department at UMass-Amherst and recently transferred to the Department of Geosciences.

Elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1983, Margulis has done extensive fieldwork, received numerous grants and fellowships, given many invited lectures, and served in a number of scientific societies. She is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and has received six honorary doctorates. In 1979, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship for work on microbial mats, and in 1992 she was awarded the University of Massachusetts Chancellor's Medal for Distinguished Faculty and a one-year Faculty Fellowship.

From 1977 to 1980, Margulis chaired the National Academy of Science's Space Science Board Committee on Planetary Biology and Chemical Evolution to aid in developing research strategies for NASA. She now co-directs the Planetary Biology Internship Program of NASA, which awards short-term research fellowships for NASA-related work to graduate students through the education programs at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.


1997 Donald R. Beem

Donald R. Beem

Donald R. Beem
Distinguished Scientist Award 1997

Beem began his career at AIBS in 1964 as assistant to the director, and he served as membership director from 1968 through 1980. Since 1968, he has also directed the AIBS Special Science Programs Department (SSP; now known as Scientific Peer Advisory and Review Services, or SPARS). Under Beem's direction, SPARS has allowed thousands of biologists and other scientists to serve on advisory groups, committees, and proposal review panels; to participate in workshops and national surveys; and to publish book reviews and articles on numerous disciplinary and interdisciplinary topics.

During Beem's tenure, SPARS has been awarded numerous contracts by federal agencies, including the US Army Medical Research and Development Command, to carry out peer review panels for research programs in such areas as retrovirus biology, shock trauma, chemical defense, parasitic disease, breast cancer, and women's health. SPARS has also managed proposal review and provided advisory services for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Office of Naval Research, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Beem has also been active in several AIBS member societies. An organizer and cofounder of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, he served on its board of directors and as secretary-treasurer. He also cofounded the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology, for which he has been secretary-treasurer and executive director.

During his 34 years at AIBS, Beem has served as acting executive director on three separate occasions, most recently from January 1996 through June 1997, when he helped steer AIBS through a period of transition and reorganization that led to the establishment of a new AIBS headquarters office, a renewed mission, and a successful search for a new executive director.

His interaction with and support for numerous AIBS presidents and executive directors has permitted AIBS to sustain its mission and promote its goals for over three decades. The AIBS family of societies is pleased to recognize his long-term dedication and leadership.


1996 Thomas Eisner

Thomas Eisner

Thomas Eisner
Distinguished Scientist Award 1996

Thomas Eisner, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor at Cornell University, received the AIBS Distinguished Scientist Award in Seattle, Washington, at the institute's meeting in August. Eisner, who is a scholar of animal behavior, evolution, and ecology, is considered one of the founders of the field of chemical ecology.

In the course of his distinguished career, he has received several honors, including the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the Harvard Centennial Medal, and the Founder's Memorial Award of the Entomological Society of America. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, as well as the recipient of honorary degrees from universities in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, and the United States.

Not only has Eisner advanced understanding in a wide range of biological sciences, he has also served as an active proponent for the conservation of biological diversity and as a public educator. He has articulated his views to Congress in his efforts on behalf of the Endangered Species Act, and to industry.

He helped broker an unusual contract between the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Inc. and Costa Rica's Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio). Under this collaborative agreement, Merck gained the rights to new drugs and other products that might be discovered through chemical prospecting of the country's rich biological preserves and provided funding for biologists and a promise of royalties to INBio should any products become marketable. Some of the Merck money also went to preserving biodiversity.

As a public educator, Eisner has used his photography to enlighten people about the marvelous chemical defenses insects use to protect themselves. He was scientific advisor for the PBS film "Secret Weapons," which aired in 1982. The film, which captivated audiences with its revelations about insect arsenals, won awards from the British Association for the Advancement of Science and from the New York Film Festival.


1995 John Cairns

John Cairns

John Cairns
Distinguished Scientist Award 1995

John Cairns, University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, has spent most of his career studying protozoan community dynamics, toxicity and thermal shock in aquatic organisms, and recovery and restoration of damaged ecosystems. He has developed simple, practical methods for studying surface-dwelling aquatic microorganisms, methods and instrumentation for analyzing sublethal effects of toxicants, and hazard evaluation protocols. He and his colleagues developed the concept of hierarchical hazard evaluation of chemicals, which is used to examine new chemicals, especially pesticides. Cairns has worked to improve environmental protection by advocating the use of ecological information in management.

Cairns, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has served on seventeen National Research Council committees, including the one that produced in 1992 Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Science, Technology, and Public Policy, a report of groundbreaking work in restoration ecology.

His work on developing predictive models of ecosystem recovery began following studies of the biotic destruction caused by the collapse of a dike for a fly ash pong on the Clinch River. His studies on that river and elsewhere helped him to understand the ways in which colonists arrive at damaged sites. The principles he developed are now used to rehabilitate Superfund sites and to replace and repair damaged wetlands.

Cairns has served on the US Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board. His awards include the 1988 United Nations Environmental Programme Medal for unique and significant contributions to environmental restoration and sustainability and the 1984 Morrison Medal for Outstanding Accomplishments in the Environmental Sciences.


1994 Gordon H. Orians and Orie L. Loucks

Gordon H. Orians

Gordon H. Orians
Distinguished Scientist Award 1994

Gordon Orians, professor of zoology at the University of Washington, was chosen because of his important contributions both as a scientist and as one who has provided distinguished service to his profession.

Orians received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 1960 and is noted for the integration of disciplines that are rarely considered together. His multifaceted research spans areas such as behavioral ecology, population dynamics, plant-herbivore interactions, community ecology, coevolution among species, communication among animals, plant ecology, and human ecology.

From 1976 until 1986, Orians was the director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Washington, where he worked to inform decision makers, to educate the public about environmental issues, and to train future environmental problem solvers in an interdisciplinary approach.

In the mid-1980s, he chaired the National Research Council Committee on Applications of Ecology Theory to Environmental Problems, from which the report Ecological Knowledge and Environmental Problem-Solving: Concept and Case Studies evolved. Orians also served on a number of other NRC committees.

He is founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Northwest Journal for the Environment. Orians also has been active in professional societies and international scientific activities. He was vice-president of the Ecological Society of America and is currently president for the Organization of Tropical Studies.

Orie L. Loucks

Orie L. Loucks
Distinguished Scientist Award 1994

Orie Loucks was presented with the 1994 Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding productivity as a scholar, and because he has taken his science into the public domain for the betterment of all of society. Through his research and writing, Loucks has integrated the biological disciplines and crossed over into economics, the physical sciences, and the business world.

Loucks began his career as a research officer for the Department of Forestry in Canada, and later joined the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin, where he received his doctorate in 1960.

Loucks' research has been at the forefront of biology applied to studying ecosystems, and many of his papers were definitive treatments of critical problems, including the degradation of the Great Lakes. His research has included interdisciplinary watershed studies, regional effects of air pollutants and acid rain on Midwest ecosystems, agroecosystem studies, ecological modeling and biodiversity.

Loucks currently is Ohio Eminent Scholar in Applied Ecosystem Studies and a professor of zoology at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Loucks also heads a faculty business-science-technology research and curriculum group at Miami. He is active in many professional societies, has been a member of the Board of Governors of The Nature Conservancy since 1984, and since 1991, a member of the Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission.


1993 John A. Moore

1992 Ruth Hubbard

1991 John S. Niederhauser

1990 Gene E. Likens

1989 Alfred E. Harper

1988 Donald E. Stone

1987 Perry L. Adkisson

Perry L. Adkisson

Perry Adkisson
Distinguished Scientist Award 1987

Perry Adkisson, Distinguished Professor of Entomology and Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System at College Station, is being honored for his many years of service to agricultural science as well as for his success at applying scientific methods to the enhancement of US agricultural productivity.

Adkisson is recognized particularly for his leadership in developing the concept of integrated pest management (IPM). Among his many contributions to this integrated method of protecting crops from arthropods, pathogens, nematodes, and weeds was an 18-university national effort known as the Development of Unified, Comprehensive, Economically and Environmentally Sound Integrated Pest Management Systems, or the Adkisson Project. The project brought together entomologists, plant pathologists, weed scientists, nematologists, plant breeders, agronomists, economists, agricultural engineers, and ecologists from around the country to develop holistic and compatible crop management systems.

A native of Hickman, Arkansas, Adkisson received his BS and MS degrees from the University of Arkansas and his PhD in entomology from Kansas State University. He began his academic career as an instructor of vocational agriculture at Blytheville High School in Arkansas, next joining the faculty of the University of Missouri in Columbia. In 1958, Adkisson became an associate professor of entomology at Texas A&M University, moving on to head the school's entomology department for a decade. In 1978, he was named the university's vice president for agriculture and renewable resources. Adkisson became chancellor of the entire Texas A&M system in 1986.

Throughout his career, Adkisson has written 183 scholarly articles and delivered about 70 national and international lectures on topics relating to insect research and agriculture. He has won many scientific awards and was named the Man of the Year in Service to Texas Agriculture by The Progressive Farmer magazine.


1986 Garrett Hardin

Garrett Hardin

Garrett Hardin
Distinguished Scientist Award 1986

Garrett Hardin, currently Professor Emeritus of Human Ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is being recognized not only for years of service to ecological science, but also for his successful efforts to make the public aware of the limits to natural resources. He is particularly known for his role in beginning policy debates over the earth's carrying capacity and for applying scientific methods to understanding the dilemmas of population growth and resource depletion.

Hardin, who received his BS degree from the University of Chicago and his PhD from Stanford University, began his postgraduate career at the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Division of Plant Biology at Stanford. There he investigated algal antibiotics and the possibility of culturing algae for human food. In 1946, Hardin joined the faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he devoted much effort to writing his introductory biology textbook, Biology: Its Principles and Implications, as well as to research and teaching. Four editions of his book have now been published.

Focusing on human ecology and evolutionary genetics, Hardin has also published 11 other books and more than 300 scholarly articles; he has written extensively for nonscientific as well as for scientific audiences. In fact, in a poll taken by Friends of the Earth in the 1970s, he was named "the single author who had the most different titles mentioned by voters."

According to Carl Bajema, who nominated him for the award, Hardin has also been the major driving force behind the Environmental Fund, an organization that helps citizens and legislators make more informed decisions on population, resource, and environmental issues.Today, Hardin continues to serve as the organization's chairman of the board and chief executive officer; he belongs to several other organizations as well, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Association of Biology Teachers.


1985 Sayed Z. El-Sayed

Sayed Z. El-Sayed

Sayed Z. El-Sayed
Distinguished Scientist Award 1985

Sayed Z. El-Sayed, professor of oceanography at Texas A & M University, College Station, and an expert on Antarctic science has received the 1985 AIBS Distinguished Service Award. The award, conferred in August at the AIBS annual meeting in Gainesville, Florida, recognizes El- Sayed's contributions not only to basic biological research, but to his successful blending of research and international diplomacy.

For more than 20 years, with more than 100 scholarly publications, El- Sayed has pioneered the study of biological productivity and energy flow in the Southern Ocean. He has also worked in the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, Southern Indian Ocean, Central Pacific, and Eastern Mediterranean Sea. His research intertwines with his efforts to encourage international scientific cooperation; the combination has earned him professional and personal stature not only among Western nations, but throughout Middle and Far East and Eastern Bloc countries as well.

Robert A. Abel, president of the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, writes in his nominating letter, "El-Sayed's career is a fine model for integrating biological disciplines, improving public policy, and enhancing international cooperation, all for the betterment of society." His work, Abel notes, may contribute significantly to achieving future world peace. Many national and international research organizations regularly seek El-Sayed's expertise. He served NAS and the National Research Council as a member of the academy's Polar Research Board and as the first Convenor of the Ross Ice Shelf Project, and he twice represented NSF as Chief Scientist on the USNS Eltanin.

He has also contributed to the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) through two scientific committees, chairing a working group on oceanic research and serving as convenor for a special group studying Southern Ocean ecosystems and re-sources. In this position, he led the way to formulating the BIOMASS program (Biological Investigations of Marine Antarctic Systems and Stocks) and organizes multiship international experiments. The first, in 1981, was the largest such experiment in biological oceanography ever mounted, including 14 vessels from 11 countries.

As convenor, El-Sayed was invited by the USSR Institute of Oceanography Oceanography and Fisheries and the Polish Academy of Sciences to discuss BIOMASS and to organize a scientific meeting in Cracow, Poland.Shortly after the war in the Falklands, El- Sayed played a key role in getting British colleagues to attend a symposium on aquatic Antarctic biology in Bariloche, Argentina. He lectured in China for three weeks at the invitation of the People's Republic of China's Bureau of Oceanography and succeeded in getting that country to join the BIOMASS community.

With Abel, El-Sayed co-manages and serves as Chief Scientist of the Cooperative Marine Technology Program for the Middle East, which promotes cooperative scientific work between the United States, Egypt, and Israel. He was the first to obtain agreements from Egyptian and Israeli scientists to participate in the project, which was subsequently funded by the US Agency for International Development.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, El- Sayed, 59, received his BS and MS from the University of Alexandria; he came to the United States in 1952 on a Fulbright Fellowship at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, California. He earned his PhD from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1959 and joined Texas A & M that year. He became a US citizen in 1965.

In 1983, NSF awarded him the Antarctica Service Medal of the United States of America, and the US Board of Geographic Names recognized his contributions to Antarctic science by naming El-Sayed Glacier in West Antarctica in his honor. El-Sayed belongs to more than 25 scientific and professional organizations, including AAAS, AIBS, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, and the American Fisheries Society. He also edits the BIOMASS newsletter, the BIOMASS Report Series, and the BIOMASS Scientific Series; lectures widely; and serves on numerous other boards, committees, and working groups.


1984 Arnold B. Grobman

1983 Karl Maramorosch

Karl Maramorosch

Karl Maramorosch
Distinguished Scientist Award 1983

The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Karl Maramorosch, professor of microbiology at Rutger's Waxman Institute of Microbiology Microbiology. His keynote address was entitled "Newly Recognized Plant Pathogens: Impact on Ancient and Modern Civilizations."

His research has identified and classified subcellular mycoplasma-like organisms (MLOs), intermediate between viruses and bacteria, which stunt the growth of important agricultural crops. Their propagation vector is the ubiquitous leafhopper, and there is strong evidence suggesting that the early Mayan civilizations were devastated by maize crop failures caused by these pathogens many years before Hernando Cortez and his marauders arrived from Spain.

In recent times new blights have been found among coconut plants; these have totally upset the economic bases of some smaller tropical countries. In one puzzling situation, only trees on one plantation were being infected, while neighboring groves remained healthy. Careful study of labor practices revealed that plantation owners tended to hire fieldworkers exclusively from certain local families. Their machetes used in harvesting proved to be the propagation vector. Because the workers were never hired by other plantations, the spread was fortuitously contained to one site. Simple sanitation practices for the knives proved sufficient to control the spread of the disease.

Although virtually no practical, effective means of treatment exists, there are some poorly understood mechanisms of natural resistance that offer some hope for protection through hybridization. At present, however, a significant risk exists for all American agriculture, and our vigilance should not be allowed to wane.


1982 George M. Woodwell

1981 Peter Raven

1980 A. Starker Leopold, Ruth Patrick, Arthur D. Hasler

1979 Huai C. Chiang, Lee M. Talbot, Theodore C. Byerly

1978 George Gaylord Simpson, Eugene P. Odum, and Howard T. Odum

George Gaylord Simpson

George Gaylord Simpson
Distinguished Scientist Award 1978

"Knowing more and more about less and less may mean that relationships are lost and that the grand pattern and great processes of life are overlooked," Simpson wrote in 1944. In a volume of Evolutionary Biology dedicated to Simpson in 1972, his students and colleagues note that an awareness of that problem shaped Simpson's career. "Without giving up the studies that must precede sound generalizations, he has contributed to almost all aspects of evolutionary biology, and his writings have had a profound effect on modern ideas about the history of life," they wrote.

In recognition of his eminence in biology and paleontology, Simpson has received the President's Medal of Science and numerous honorary degrees. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and several foreign academies. Simpson's early work focused on vertebrate paleontology. By the time he obtained his doctorate, he had already published nearly 20 papers on the March Collection of Mesozoic Animals in the Peabody Museum at Yale. For relaxation, the young Simpson studied languages, including Mongolian and Sanskrit.

His linguistic ability served him well in later expeditions in Europe, North America, and South America. Following a year of study in England, Simpson returned to this country to join the staff of the American Museum of Natural History. He subsequently taught at Columbia and Harvard universities.

Simpson is now president of the Simroe Foundation, which he established in 1968 to further education and research in science. The Tucson foundation includes a large research library in evolutionary biology, vertebrate paleontology, and occupational psychology.

In addition to his contributions in paleontology, Simpson has written on a wide range of subjects, including organic evolution, historical biogeography, and the interpretation of the meaning of life. His most recent books are Penguins, Past and Present, Here and There (1976) and Concession to the Improbable, an Unconventional Autobiography, published this spring. Simpson's career is best summarized by his students: "Although he is rather shy and retiring, his pen has revealed forceful opinions coupled with deep concern for the fate of our world."

Eugene P. OdumHoward T. Odum

Eugene P. Odum and Howard T. Odum
Distinguished Scientist Award 2003

Eugene and Howard Odum were among the first to recognize the importance of energy flow as a principle of ecology. Both Odum brothers are known for their interdisciplinary, holistic approaches to ecology, and both have worked to integrate the fields of ecology and economics.

Last year, Eugene Odum won ecology's highest honor, the Tyler Ecology Award. Typical of his dedication to science, he has given the entire $150,000 award to the University of Georgia's Institute of Ecology to be used in training young ecologists. Odum founded the interdisciplinary institute in 1962 and now acts as its director, in addition to serving as Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor in Zoology and Callaway Foundation Professor in Ecology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has served on the AIBS Governing Board (1965-68). Odum's Fundamentals of Ecology has been one of the most widely used texts on ecology since it first appeared in 1953.

Howard Odum has been referred to as "one of the most penetrating, holistic thinkers alive today." Using computer models and a language of pictorial mathematics, Odum has analyzed the energetic of rainforests, estuaries, and swamps. He has proposed a theory of net energy for rating energy sources and for suggesting patterns of energy use. His macroscopic approach to environmental crises is summarized in his book, Environment, Power, and Society (1971). Odum is now Graduate Research Professor of Environmental Engineering Sciences and director of the Center for Wetlands at the University of Florida.

In 1975, the Odum brothers were joint recipients of the Institute for Life Award in Paris for "elaborating on and perfecting the experimental methods for studies of ecosystems." One of their many collaborative projects, Energy Basis of Man and Nature, was published the following year. Although similar in background, interests, and abilities, each Odum brother has made a unique contribution to ecology. Those who recommended the Odums for the AIBS award noted that the contributions of one brother tend to strengthen and complement those of the other. Both emphasize the interrelatedness of man and nature in balancing energy resources and economic realism.


1977 Paul J. Kramer, Elvin C. Stakman, William C. Steere

1976 Paul B. Sears, Edward O. Wilson

1975 Theodore Cooper and W. Frank Blair

Theodore Cooper

Theodore Cooper
Distinguished Scientist Award 1975

As he received his Distinguished Service Award, Theodore Cooper, Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, pledged the use of HEW resources to promote more basic research. "We have too long dealt only with the political factors influencing spending," he declared, "but those factors depend on basic biological science, and it is high time we make our weight felt in the halls of Congress." The cardiovascular specialist, who has divided his professional career among research, teaching, and public administration, stressed the need for participation of scientists in all levels of the political and decision-making process. To implement this infusion of scientific knowledge into the political process, he believes more scientists should "take turns in federal and organization activities" supporting policy making.

A New Jersey native, Cooper received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., his MD from St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, and his PhD in physiology from the St. Louis University Graduate School. His professional career has been interspersed with work with governmental agencies as well as private groups. Following his internship at the St. Mary's Group Hospitals in St. Louis, he became a surgeon with the U.S. Public Health Service, National Heart Institute, Clinic of Surgery, Bethesda, Maryland. These early activities were forerunners of a variety of appointments and lectureships in basic research and led Cooper finally into administration of public health-oriented agencies.

W. Frank Blair

W. Frank Blair
Distinguished Scientist Award 1975

"The whole future of society depends on biology and the transfer of scientific knowledge to decision making in society," W. Frank Blair, of the University of Texas, told fellow scientists as he accepted the Distinguished Service Award from AIBS President David M. Gates. This generation has been most intensive for the biological sciences, he noted as he reflected on the advances in biology over the past 20-30 years advances with which he has been closely associated through his years as director of the U.S. International Biological Program (IBP).

The former president of the AIBS completed his undergraduate education at the University of Tulsa and his graduate work at the universities of Florida and Michigan. Following duty with the U.S. Air Force during World War II, he joined the Zoology Department of the University of Texas at Austin, where he has remained although various other projects have taken him to many nations.

An outstanding teacher and researcher, Blair has also proved himself an exceptional administrator for large-scale scientific projects and enjoys an international reputation in the biological sciences. Blair's research on the toad genus Bufo took him first to South America and later to Asia, Africa, and Europe. His AIBS citation credits his extensive research on the evolution of Bufo as "a world-wide look at the deployment of this genus in a way that has been possible for virtually no other genus of animal."

Blair's studies were concerned not only with Bufo species obtained from many environments around the globe, but also with artificial hybrid species. This research effort, combined with his teaching at the University of Texas, involved supervision of graduate students whose own work was integrated with Blair's studies of the Bufo. The mechanisms of evolution in Bufo, and the exposure to different environments in various areas of the world, led Blair to the study of ecosystems and another major research project-this time on the origin and structure of ecosystems, a study with which he is currently involved. "We're asking the question, 'Do similar environments produce similar ecosystems?' "he states.


1974 James Gordon Horsfall

James Gordon Horsfall

James Gordon Horsfall
Distinguished Scientist Award 1974

On 17 June, James Gordon Horsfall received the Award for Distinguished Service in Biology at the 25th Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. The next day he left the 115 degree heat of Tempe, Arizona to travel to Russia as part of the new US-USSR scientific exchange program. Starting in Moscow, Horsfall was to spend one month visiting various Russian laboratories as part of a 10 member pest management team sent by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In diplomatic gift-giving tradition, he carried excess baggage weighed down with classic papers in plant pathology to bestow upon his Soviet counterparts (he also tucked in trinkets such as corncob pipes, bobby pins, ballpoint pens, and bubble gum).

Participation in the scientific exchange with Russia adds one more line to Horsfall's long list of contributions to science and society. Some of his accomplishments include: president of the American Phytopathological Society and of the Society for Industrial Microbiology; editor-in-chief of the Annual Review of Phytopathology for almost a decade; author of Fungicides and their Action and Principles of Fungicidal Action; and coeditor of a three-volume work, Plant Pathology-An Advanced Treatise. He has been honored not only in this country but around the world. Italy made him an honorary member of the Italian Society of Fitoiatria and of the Italian National Academy of Agriculture. France awarded him its highest agricultural honor, the Order of Merit of Agriculture. The University of Vermont conferred its honorary doctorate of science, and the Connecticut General Assembly passed a resolution last February congratulating him on his achievements past and present.

Horsfall has established a "worldwide reputation through fundamental research on the chemical protection of plants," said the AIBS citation in his honor. "Horsfall's pioneer work in the use and mode of action of protective fungicides and his unique 'worm's eye view' research approach to vascular chemotherapy have led directly to the development of some of our most widely used and most effective fungicides. In the firm belief that knowledge is of value only as it serves the interest of mankind, Horsfall always saw to it that his fundamental discoveries in laboratory and field were available to his colleagues for translation into practical application."

Horsfall was born in Mountain Grove, Missouri in 1905, but grew up in Monticello, Arkansas. After getting his BS degree at the University of Arkansas, he went on to a doctorate in plant pathology at Cornell University. Horsfall spent the bulk of his career-32 years-at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, where he was chief of the Department of Plant Pathology and Botany, then Station director, and upon retirement from that position in January 1972, he was named "Samuel W. Johnson Distinguished Scientist" of the Station.

Horsfall appreciates the philosophy of his predecessor Johnson, who was a professor at Yale and director of the Station from 1877-1900. In an interview with BioScience, he recalled that 105 years ago Johnson wrote a book called How Crops Grow. "This married the theoretical and the useful, appealing to both the academics and the farmers," says Horsfall (he prefers the word "useful" because "applied" has a bad connotation among scientists). Horsfall admired Johnson's early work so much that he organized a symposium called How Crops Grow a Century Later, and he's taking the preceedings of this with him to Russia.

"If scientists had followed the 'how crops grow' principle, we wouldn't have been in trouble with Johnson and Nixon," claims Horsfall, referring to the slump in funding and the antiscience outcroppings in the late 1960's and early 1970's. He feels that scientists brought a lot of this on themselves by failing to see that one day the public would rebel. "Change had to come," says Horsfall, "because taxpayers were bound to demand quid pro quo-what did you do with what I gave you? Science will be subsidized to the degree that taxpayers are convinced that overall it's paying its way."

Horsfall thinks Washington D.C. is a "briar patch," but his agricultural prominence has often pulled him into its tangles. He has been a member of the Atomic Energy Commission's Advisory Committee on Biology and Medicine, a member of the National Advisory Commission on Food and Fiber, and a consultant to the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Horsfall remembers his role on an advisory committee on pest control set up by PSAC after the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962. The committee came out with a "balanced report" recommending that persistent pesticides ought to be phased out as soon as possible. "If I were writing it now, I'd write the same things," says Horsfall. But, "persistence is a requisite so often, and there have to be tradeoffs."He points out that since the report was published, DDT has been phased out and phased back in again. "Control of pests is becoming a prescription process. I don't say that's bad-just expensive."

A member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1953, Horsfall has chaired the Academy's Agricultural Board, its committee investigating the genetic vulnerability of major crops, and its committee on agricultural production efficiency. He has long been concerned with the possibility of a food crisis, writing a decade ago that there was a "tsunami on the agricultural ocean," meaning that we couldn't see the big wave coming until it hit. He worried then that U.S. researchers would neglect the food problem, but hoped policy would be changed and the tsunami dampened. It was not. "I hardly visualized it would be within 10 years," he laments. "Now it's reached the shore, and everybody wants to do something about the food crisis."

Horsfall recently talked the problem over with Emilio Q. Daddario, head of Congress' new Office of Technology Assessment and a former Connecticut congressman. Horsfall outlined three options for heading off the food crisis: (1) get rid of some of the people, (2) improve manufacturing and buy food from someone else, or (3) get more food from each acre. "We've got to follow number three," asserts Horsfall. And again he points out that current science policy must balance useful and theoretical research. "All I ask is that each scientist ask himself when he gets up in the morning, 'How could what I do be used somewhere?' Up to now, this has not been fashionable."

But Horsfall also cautions that the criterion of usefulness should not compromise the freedom of the scientist, and he paraphrases an old saying-"You can lead a scientist to water but you can't make him think." Unfortunately, he says, "politicians sometimes look upon the production of science like the production of an automobile."

Is Horsfall optimistic that the food shortage will be solved? He hesitates, then answers, "It's going to get worse, I think, before it gets better. Yes, we'll beat it. But it ain't going to be easy."

A description of his service to biology and his reputation as an eminent scientist does not complete the image of James Horsfall, the 69-year-old "cornfield philosopher," as he calls himself. The AIBS Distinguished Service Award recognized his wisdom and praised "his picture-making imagination, his historical and philosophical bent of mind, and his irrepressible sense of humor." The Horsfall wit is best demonstrated by example. "Who but Horsfall," asks the citation, "would compare the process of learning to the necessity of carving a cow into 'chewable bites?' Who but Horsfall would observe that definitions can both 'clarify and befog thinking,' and then dare to describe a chemical assay as 'weighing an elephant on baby scales?' . . . . His students and colleagues can quote their own favorite passage from this phrase-making phytopathologist who has always managed to make the toxic intoxicating!"


1973 Ren Dubos, Theodore Dobzhansky

1972 Harve Carlson, George Mill, Detlev Bronk

Click to see a full listing of AIBS Awards.

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