University of Minnesota professor wins international award in ecology and conservation biology
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (01/28/2010) —University of Minnesota professor Peter Reich has been named this year's winner of the prestigious BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge award in ecology and conservation biology.
Reich was honored for his work in global metabolic plant ecology, most notably his discovery of universal rules of leaf design and related scaling of plant physiology from seedling to tree, from cell to ecosystem, and from the stand to the globe.
"This contribution radically improves our understanding of and ability to predict terrestrial ecosystem responses to global environmental change," his nomination says. "This includes responses of forests and grasslands to biodiversity loss, CO2, and climate change."
Reich's nomination also cites his work as leader of a unique long-term field experiment that examines interactions of three well-documented global changes: plant species diversity, elevated atmospheric CO2 and nitrogen pollution.
"To receive this award is an enormous honor," Reich said. "This award would not have been possible without the contributions of the many students, postdoctoral researchers and colleagues with whom I have collaborated over time. BBVA is impressively forward-thinking in recognizing and publicizing the importance of ecological science and conservation to the future health of our planet."
Reich is a Regents professor in the university's forest resources department and participates in many interdisciplinary research and teaching efforts. Along with a cash prize, the award includes a diploma and a commemorative artwork. All of this year's awards will be formally presented at a ceremony in Madrid next summer.
The awards honor world-class research and artistic creation in eight categories closely aligned with 21st-century scientific, technical, economic and social challenges. The categories include basic sciences (physics, chemistry, mathematics); biomedicine; ecology and conservation biology; information and communication technologies; economics, finance and management; contemporary music; climate change; and development cooperation.
The BBVA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of BBVA Group, a large Spanish banking and finance company.