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Robert E. Ricklefs, Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology 2015, participates in a scientific forum on biodiversity at the University of Barcelona

Robert E. Ricklefs.

Robert E. Ricklefs.

27/10/2015

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“Intrinsic and extrinsic influences on ecological communities” is the title of the lecture that the North-American ecologist Robert E. Ricklefs, Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology 2015, pronounces on Wednesday 28 October, in the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Biology, within the scientific forum “To what extent do local interactions and regional evolutionary processes explain species diversity”. The symposium has been organised on the occasion of the award ceremony of the Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology, an award given by the Government of Catalonia to those people who have made important contributions to the field of ecology worldwide. The prize pays tribute to Ramon Margalef (1919-2004), emeritus professor from the University of Barcelona and one of the more quoted scientists in the field of ecology.

The symposium also includes the presentation of the book Ramon Margalef, ecólogo de la biosfera (Publicacions i Edicions de la UB), by Narcís Prat and Joandomènec Ros, professors of Ecology at the University of Barcelona, and Francesc Peters, researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMC-CSIC). The book, sponsored by the Agbar Foundation on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Ramon Margalef’s death, is a scientific biography of the international prestigious ecologist who began to give lessons and seminars on ecology at the University of Barcelona in 1956, before the field of knowledge really existed at Spanish universities.

The event, chaired by the Rector Dídac Ramírez, includes a round table talk moderated by Núria Bonada, lecturer at the University and experts on community ecology and biogeography. Participating experts are Anna Traveset, researcher at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA-CSIC) and expert on coevolutionary interactions; Jordi Catalan, researcher at the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF-CSIC) and expert on planktonic communities;, and Joan Real, professor of Zoology at the UB and expert on conservation biology.  

Robert E. Ricklefs was born in 1943 in San Francisco. Currently, he is professor of Biology at the University of Missouri and researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Since 2011, he heads the American Society of Naturalists. Among the numerous awards he has received throughout his outstanding career, we highlight here the prizes conferred by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the International Ornithological Committee and the International Biogeography Society. In 2004, he was appointed honorary member of the Spanish Society of Ornithology (SEO).

Members of the jury of the Ramon Margalef Prize agreed to give the 11th award to North-American ecologist Robert E. Ricklefs for “his absolute five-decade influence on a whole generation of ecologists”. More than three hundred articles published in international journals and four books, particularly Ecology and The economy of nature, prove Ricklefs’ valuable mark on scientific thinking.

Ricklefs, emphasized the jury, “has combined extensive field work with theoretical formulations that have changed the paradigm of community ecology”. His scientific work constitutes a unifying approach to ecology as it integrates evolutionary biology, palaeontology and functional ecology in order to understand communities’ patterns and processes, as well as mechanisms involved in biodiversity changes. Specifically, he challenged the belief that local interactions control the diversity of species, proposing instead a key role of large-scale and historical processes in shaping current patterns of diversity, from tropical to temperate latitudes. Its unifying research has led him to investigate beyond the traditional boundaries of ecology to focus on the aging process through genetic analysis and duration of the evolving life.

 

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