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University of Tennessee professor wins world's top prize for ecology, environmental science
Date:7/19/2012

meet him at the government palace where he was congratulated by Catalan President Artus Mas.

Simberloff will return to Barcelona in October to receive the award at a ceremony at the Catalan government palace.

Simberloff, who earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at Harvard University, came to UT in 1997 from Florida State University to accept the Gore-Hunger Chair founded by former Vice President Al Gore Jr. in honor of his late sister, Nancy Gore Hunger. Simberloff founded and directs the Institute for Biological Invasions, and he is the editor of the new Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions, an 800-page tome that documents invasions worldwide.

Simberloff's work, frequently cited in textbooks, is studied by most undergraduate ecology students.

As a researcher, he is noted for rigorously testing and sometimes discarding his own theories, thereby strengthening the scientific basis for ecology. His early research on insects on small islands in Florida had assessed the theory of island biogeography, which proposed that the number of species found on an undisturbed island was determined by a balance between ongoing immigration and extinction. This research, conducted with Harvard's E.O. Wilson, won the prestigious Mercer Award in 1971. However, in 1976 Simberloff published further research on this system that contradicted this widely accepted theory, showing that most species that disappeared from the island had never really established ongoing populations beyond the first few individuals that arrived there, and that longstanding populations rarely became extinct.

Simberloff was elected as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993.

Past winners of the Margalef Award are Paul Dayton, a marine benthic biologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif.; Sir John Lawton, a British scientist who was knighted for his contributions to ecological sciences; Harold Mooney, biology p
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Contact: Amy Blakely
ablakely@utk.edu
865-771-9127
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Source:Eurekalert  

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