On Wednesday, renowned ecologist and ornithologist Dr Robert E. Ricklefs received the Ramon Margalef Prize which is awarded every year to acknowledge distinguished individuals in the field of ecology. The prize was presented to Dr Ricklefs yesterday evening by the Secretary for Environment and Sustainability, Josep Enric Nebot, during an event held in the Palau de Pedralbes (Barcelona).
Rickelfs was chosen by the jury of the Ramon Margalef Prize from a selection of 43 candidates for his “extensive fieldwork and theoretical principles which have changed the paradigm of the ecological community” and in recognition of “his comprehensive influence over almost five decades on an entire generation of ecologists”. With more than 300 articles in a variety of publications and various referential books, including Ecology and The Economy of Nature, Ricklef is considered a world-leading authority in community ecology.
His scientific work consists in a unifying approach to ecology, integrating evolutionary biology, palaeontology and functional ecology to understand the patterns and processes of communities, as well as the mechanisms that control changes in biodiversity.
Specifically, he challenged the belief that local interactions control species diversity, proposing instead long-term environmental change and the regional scale, or evolutionary change, among populations that interact. His unifying research has led him to investigate beyond the traditional limits of ecology, to focus on the ageing process through genetic analysis and the duration of evolutionary life.
Robert E. Ricklefs was born in 1943 in San Francisco and is currently Professor of Biology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He has chaired the American Society of Naturalists since 2011 and has received numerous awards and achievements throughout his career, including being elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, member of the International Ornithological Committee and member of the International Biogeography Society. He also has been an honorary member of the Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO) since 2004.
The Ramon Margalef Prize
The Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology was created in 2004 by the Government of Catalonia to recognise distinguished scientists in the field of ecology from around the world. The prize honours the memory of Professor Ramon Margalef (Barcelona, 1919-2004), who conducted important scientific and intellectual research in the field of modern ecology. Margalef is still considered one the world’s foremost exponents in the field of ecological science.
Past winners of the Ramon Margalef Prize include Paul Dayton, John Lawton, Harold Mooney, Daniel Pauly, Paul Ehrlich, Simon Levin, Juan Carlos Castilla, Daniel Simberloff, Sallie Chisholm and, last year’s winner, David Tilman.