Gene E. Likens receives the Alfred C. Redfield Lifetime Achievement Award

Gene and Phyllis Likens.

Dr. Gene E. Likens, President Emeritus and Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, was the 2014 recipient of the Alfred C. Redfield Lifetime Achievement Award. Conferred by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), the award recognizes “major, long-term achievements in the fields of limnology and oceanography, including research, education and service to the community and society.”

Likens has been a pioneer in limnology. He and his colleagues were the first scientists to discover the presence of acid rain in North America, and he was among the first limnologists to work on the Dry Valley Lakes of Antarctica. Over the past several decades, he has been recognized for his work applying the ecosystem approach to streams, lakes, and watersheds – most notably at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. 

A prolific researcher, Likens has written and published more than 580 papers and book chapters and 25 books. He has also trained some of the foremost limnologists in the field today through professorships at Dartmouth, Yale, Cornell, Rutgers, the University of Connecticut, and the University at Albany. Likens has also been committed to educating policymakers, including the United States Congress, on issues relating to freshwater. His work was instrumental in informing the CleanAirAct Amendments of 1990.

Among Likens’ enduring legacies are the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Beginning in 1960, Likens and colleagues transformed the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest into one of the world’s most comprehensive studies on how air pollution and land use shape forested watersheds. Designated as an LTER in 1988, the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study is now a model for understanding the relationship between forest change and freshwater protection.

Likens was also the founding director of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. When Likens took the helm in 1983, the institution was an outpost of the New York Botanical Garden.  Under his careful guidance, with a focus on hiring the ‘best and brightest,’ the organization emerged as a powerhouse in the field of ecosystem ecology – with expertise in freshwater, disease ecology, urban ecology, plant ecology and biogeochemistry.

Over the course of his career, Likens has taken on leadership roles in the scientific community, including serving as President of ASLO; the Ecological Society of America; the American Institute of Biological Sciences; and the International Society of Limnology. He has also been awarded the National Medal of Science and the Blue Planet Prize for his work on the environment.

For his tireless work on the environment, his many contributions to the fields of limnology and oceanography, and his leadership in the scientific community, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies congratulates Dr. Gene E. Likens for his Alfred C. Redfield Lifetime Achievement Award distinction.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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