Desert Laboratory Director Honored by Ecological Society of America

Michael Rosenzweig has been elected Eminent Ecologist of the Year by the Ecological Society of America.
July 17, 2008
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Michael Rosenzweig
Michael Rosenzweig

Michael L. Rosenzweig, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at The University of Arizona, has been elected Eminent Ecologist of the Year by the Ecological Society of America. The award is given to a “senior ecologist in recognition of an outstanding body of ecological work or of sustained ecological contributions of extraordinary merit,” according to the society. Recipients receive lifetime active membership in the society.

Rosenzweig, who founded the ecology and evolutionary biology department at the UA in 1975, will receive the award in Milwaukee, Wis., at the group's annual meeting in early August. He currently is director of the UA Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill in Tucson.

“In many ways this is a fitting position for him since modern ecology began at Tumamoc Hill with the Carnegie Institution,” said Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the UA College of Science. The Carnegie Institution started the Desert Laboratory in 1903 to study how plants adapt to desert climates. “Mike's plans for Tumamoc include educating the community on best practices to reduce the extinction of species,” Ruiz said.

“We are fortunate indeed to have on our campus one of the most important figures in ecology, past and present,” said Richard Michod, head of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology. “Dr. Rosenzweig's many books and papers describe his groundbreaking ideas and results in predator-prey interactions, community ecology, speciation theory and conservation biology.”

Rosenzweig’s latest book, “Win-Win Ecology: How the Earth's Species Can Survive in the Midst of Human Enterprise,” presents conservation biology in a completely new way, which he names “reconciliation ecology,” or “the science of inventing, establishing and maintaining new habitats to conserve species diversity in places where people live, work or play.”

Reconciliation ecology seeks environmentally sound ways to pursue human development of the land.

A review in Science Magazine described the book as "thoughtful and elegant."

"Peppered with humor and bits of philosophy, Rosenzweig ... presents an alternative: a hopeful, fresh vision for 'inventing, establishing, and maintaining new habitats to conserve species diversity.'”

Rosenzweig also is founder and editor in chief of “Evolutionary Ecology Research,” a professional scientific journal he began as a commercial endeavor to counter the trend of rising journal costs. It has become one of the leading journals in the field of ecology.