UC Davis Ecologist Elected To NAS

Apr 28, 2015 UC Davis Dateline Staff University of California, Davis
National Academy of Sciences selects UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings to join academy.
UC Davis Ecologist Elected To NAS

UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings studies spatial ecology. His research uses mathematical models to understand shifts in natural systems.

Three UC Davis ecologists are being recognized nationwide: Alan Hastings, newly elected to the National Academy of Sciences; and Sharon Strauss and Peter Wainwright, newly elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The National Academy of Sciences announced its new class today (April 28). Election to the academy is one of the highest science honors in the United States — and UC Davis now counts 27 members.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announcement of Strauss’ and Wainwright’s election came last week, one day after Dateline came out.

NAS: Alan Hastings

Hastings, a theoretical ecologist in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, studies all areas of spatial ecology. His research has used mathematical models to understand shifts in natural systems — from saltmarsh grasses and coral reefs to chaos in ecology.

His recent research has helped explain synchronous events in the environment — work applicable to why species go extinct — as well as how humans may be forcing an irreversible “tipping point” for Earth.

He developed with collaborators some of the initial models of marine protected areas, showing their value as a management tool. In addition to other influential work, a number of his contributions have helped explain the dynamics of ecological populations and food webs.

Hastings earned his Ph.D. in applied mathematics at Cornell University in 1977 and joined the faculty at UC Davis in 1979.

The new NAS class comprises 84 members and 21 foreign associates (from 15 countries) elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

The academy now has 2,250 active members and 452 foreign associates, who are nonvoting members.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council — provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

AAAS: Strauss and Wainwright

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences elects its members by category — Strauss and Wainwright are in Evolutionary and Population Biology and Ecology.

Strauss, chair of the Department of Evolution and Ecology, is recognized for her work in population biology, particularly for contributions in evolutionary history and its interactions with ecology, species evolution as a consequence of community membership, and application of research to solve environmental problems.  

Wainwright, a professor in the same department, is recognized for his contributions to population biology, particularly for research on vertebrate biomechanics and functional morphology, with emphasis on feeding mechanisms of vertebrates.

Wainwright also serves as executive associate dean for research and resources, College of Biological Sciences.

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, global security and international affairs, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts and education.

The academy’s new class comprises 197 people spanning academia, the arts, business and philanthropy.

Twenty-two of the new members are from UC, and include President Janet A. Napolitano, in the category of Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Philanthropic Administration.

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