Millbrook, N.Y.—Jonathan Cole, a Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Election to the Academy is one of the highest honors a scientist can achieve. Members, who are selected based on the merits of their research, serve as advisors to the nation on issues in science, engineering, and medicine.
Cole, who was recognized by the Academy for his work on the ecology of lakes and rivers, was one of the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates recently announced. Jerry Melillo, a Cary Institute Trustee and Distinguished Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory's Ecosystems Center was also honored with the distinction
"Jon's election to the Academy is testimony to the strength of his scientific accomplishments," said Cary Institute President William Schlesinger. "For more than three decades, his biogeochemical studies have transformed the way we view freshwater ecosystems. His work – which taught us that fish are made out of maple leaves – is internationally-relevant, with implications for fisheries and freshwater management."
When noted ecologist Gene Likens founded the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in 1983, Cole was among his first hires. "Jon's scientific aptitude was evident early in his career, and he has emerged as a leader in the fields of limnology and ecology. His research has led to a better understanding of how lakes and rivers function, especially with regard to food webs, microbial activity, and carbon dynamics. I am very proud and pleased that he has received this prestigious honor."
Cole has been the author or co-author of more than 220 peer-reviewed papers, including influential studies on aquatic microorganisms, terrestrial subsidies of aquatic food webs, and the role that inland waters play in the global carbon cycle. Working with colleagues, Cole's innovative whole-lake manipulations have shed light on lake food webs, including the biological signals that herald regime shifts.
A past-president of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Cole received the International Ecology Institute's (ECI) Prize for his outstanding achievement in the field of limnology. Prize recipients author a book that is distributed broadly in libraries throughout the world. Cole's contribution, Freshwater Ecosystems and the Carbon Cycle, was published in the winter of 2013.
Cole is also an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union, as well as a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the International Water Academy.
The Cary Institute now counts among its staff three elected members of the National Academy of Sciences. Gene Likens was elected in 1981 for his studies of human accelerated environmental change at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, while William Schlesinger was elected in 2003 for his work on the impact of climate change on plant growth and soil carbon storage.
The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is a private, not-for-profit environmental research and education organization in Millbrook, N.Y. For thirty years, Cary Institute scientists have been investigating the complex interactions that govern the natural world. Their objective findings lead to more effective policy decisions and increased environmental literacy. Focal areas include air and water pollution, climate change, invasive species, and the ecological dimensions of infectious disease.