The 10th Premi Ramon Margalef prize in ecology went to American ecologist David Tilman for showing “true leadership in the field of ecology and for providing many influential ideas in ecological studies throughout his scientific career”. The prize was presented to Professor Tilman by the Secretary of Environment and Sustainability, Josep Enric Llebot, who highlighted the jury’s decision to bestow the award for “his method of research which has been applied by many ecologists around the globe”.
Tilman has written extensively on resource competition models and has produced evidence on how biodiversity is essential to stable and productive ecosystems while substantiating the significance of protecting endangered species from extinction. His research is especially associated with the effects of biodiversity in the functioning of ecosystems, including their stability, productivity and resilience to invasive species, one of Ramon Margalef’s preferred areas of research. Professor Tilman’s most recent studies have been centred on the subject of sustainability, particularly in agriculture and the production of biofuels.
By combining mathematical theories, laboratory research and field experiments, Tilman has made a major contribution to the science of ecology and has demonstrated that the protection of endangered species is important for the survival of the earth’s ecosystems.
David Tilman was born in Aurora, Illinois (USA), in 1949. He is McKnight Presidential Chair in Ecology, professor at the University of Minnesota and at the University of Santa Barbara, California, and member of the National Academy of Science of the United States. He has worked, among others, with Applied Economics Professor Stephen Polasky in the calculation of the total costs of different biofuels and since 1992 he has been the director of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Professor Tilman has received various international awards and is globally recognised as one of the leading proponents in the field of ecology.
The Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology was established in 2004 by the Government of Catalonia and is intended to acknowledge distinguished individuals in this specific field which studies the relationship between organisms and their environment. The award aims to prize those for their dedication in this field while honouring the memory of Professor Ramon Margalef (Barcelona, 1919-2004), who was one of the most prominent scientists in Spain and Emeritus Professor of Ecology at the University of Barcelona. Professor Margalef produced outstanding scientific and intellectual work in modern ecology, some of it which included the application of information theory, where, as Tilman, he attempted to apply mathematical models to ecological studies. Margalef is considered one of the founding fathers of modern ecology.
In previous years, the award has been granted to scientists Paul Dayton, John Lawton, Harold Mooney, Daniel Pauly, Paul Ehrlich, Simon Levin, Juan Carlos Castilla, Daniel Simberloff and last year to Sallie Chisholm from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).