Carpenter recognized for his work on human impact on lake ecosystems
Stephen R. Carpenter, professor of zoology and limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will receive the 2011 Stockholm Water Prize. This announcement was made today in connection with UN World Water Day. Carpenter's groundbreaking research has shown how lake ecosystems are affected by the surrounding landscape and by human activities. His findings have formed the basis for concrete solutions on how to manage lakes.
Born in 1952, Carpenter is recognized as one of the world's most influential environmental scientists in the field of ecology. By combining theoretical models and large-scale lake experiments, he has reframed the understanding of freshwater environments and how humans and the surrounding landscape impact lake ecosystems.
The Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee emphasizes the importance of Carpenter's contributions in helping understand how humans affect lakes through nutrient loading, fishing and the introduction of exotic species.
"Professor Carpenter has shown outstanding leadership in setting the ecological research agenda, integrating it into a socio-ecological context, and in providing guidance for the management of aquatic resources," the committee said.
Carpenter is best known for his research on trophic cascades in lakes, a concept that describes how impacts on any species in an ecosystem will cascade down, or up, the food chain. Known amongst his peers in the scientific community for his creativity and enthusiasm, Carpenter's work combines different scientific disciplines and approaches. By seeking collaboration outside of academia, he has managed to link research to both policy and practice.
"I am thrilled. Many great people have received the prize over the years, and there are many others whose work is worth rewarding,” Carpenter said upon receiving the news. “It is a great honor to be selected. The prize will increase my resolve and sense of obligation to work on emerging issues of freshwater, such as climate change and the connections of food and water security."
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will present the prize to Carpenter at a royal award ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm on Aug. 25. The Stockholm Water Prize is a global award presented annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute. The Stockholm Water Prize Laureate receives $150,000 and a crystal sculpture specially designed by Orrefors.