Two UCSB professors in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology have been elected as fellows of the Ecological Society of America.

The two professors, Carla D’Antonio and Joshua Schimel, will join the international organization’s 10,000 other members as lifetime members. The ESA Fellows Program was established in 2012 to recognize scholars who contribute to ecological knowledge in the academic field, governmental affairs, the work of non-profit organizations as well as to society as a whole. The current list of fellows includes individuals who have been members of the organization for 20 years or more, and who have created well-cited publications, mentored students and aided development in particular areas of research.

The ESA includes academic professionals from over 90 countries, and it looks at topics of research that vary from agroecology to marine diversity. Members regularly contribute to academic publications and peer-reviewed journals, while some members work in the professional spheres of public policy, science, and education.

Schimel, who was also a member of the governing board of ESA when the Fellows Program was created, said ESA has been his primary professional “home” since he was a graduate student.

“It’s an organization I believe in and have served happily,” Schimel said. “ESA is made up of many of the smartest, most talented, socially committed and just good all-around people I know.”

Fellows tend to be leaders in the field of ecology who have demonstrated leadership through their career, according to Schimel, who said honored professors oftentimes complete extensive academic work before being recognized.

“The research and service elements usually work together,” Schimel said. “If you do good work and publish important papers, you get known and respected, get invited to serve as reviewer and editor for the journals, serve on committees, etc.”

According to Schimel, candidates for ESA Fellows are first nominated and then have their files read by a Fellows Program committee. Upon approval by the committee, the candidates are then allowed to either accept or decline the Fellowship.

Now that he has been elected, Schimel said he will continue to work on current projects and tasks, which include work for the ESA.

“There are proposals that need writing, papers that needing writing and work for the ESA Publications Committee that needs doing,” Schimel said. “We’re creating a new journal that is a collaborative venture with the Chinese Ecological Society, and we need to finish selecting an editor in chief to launch the journal.”

D’Antonio, who will soon be heading out for field work at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, said her research goals after the election remain the same. She said that she will continue to seek understanding of factors that control the variation of plant communities across landscapes and continue to research how the intrusion of invasive species affects ecosystem composition, structure and functioning.

“I am honored to be recognized for the contributions I have made, which I believe reflect my passion for understanding nature, trying to conserve and manage many aspects of it and educating future generations,” D’Antonio said. “My responsibilities are the same as before — do good science, communicate it well, continue to be a good educator and continue to serve my profession.”

Joshua Schimel
Mug 2 courtesy of
Carla D’Antonio

A version of this article appeared on page 1 of the June 26th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus