UMN ecologist David Tilman elected to Royal Society of London

May 8, 2017
Tilman

David Tilman, pictured above at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, joins Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein in his election as a foreign member of the Royal Society of London.

David Tilman, Regents Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences, was elected a foreign member of the Royal Society of London. The society was founded in 1660 and counts among its membership Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and many other eminent scholars from across the ages.

Fifty distinguished scientists were elected as 2017 Fellows of the Royal Society for their outstanding contributions to science.

“I’m honored to be part of this incredible long tradition,” Tilman said. “It’s an amazing organization.”

One of the most highly cited ecologists in the world, Tilman is best known for bringing mathematics and biology together to understand how different plant species interact to create diverse communities. Many of his field-shaping discoveries were based on experiments carried out at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, a classic site for long-term ecology research just north of the Twin Cities. Tilman is director of the research station.  

His research shows the importance of a rich diversity of species in an ecosystem’s ability to thrive in the face of disturbance. His has informed key strategies around the world for helping nature continue to provide important services such as cleansing air and water in the face of human impacts such as habitat destruction, introduction of non-native species, increase in nutrients such as nitrogen, and climate change.

Tilman is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science. He was awarded the International Prize for Biology in 2008, the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences in 2010, the Balzan Prize in Plant Ecology and the Margalef Prize in Ecology in 2014, and the BBVA Foundation’s Frontiers of Knowledge Award in 2015.  

Tilman will be officially admitted to the Royal Society at a ceremony in London in July. At that time he will sign the society’s Charter Book, which includes signatures, many of them centuries old, of other fellows and foreign members.

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