Every year since 1874, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science names its fellows for significant contributions to society and technology. In 2016, its 391 fellows included five UF faculty, three of whom are from the Department of Biology: Prof. John “Jack” Ewel, Prof. Alice Harmon, and Prof. Robert D. Holt.
Holt, Eminent Scholar and Arthur R. Marshall Jr. Chair in Ecology, specializes in conservation biology and evolutionary ecology. He recently joined a team of nine scientists who have made a call to action to directly address extinction threats and loss of biodiversity caused by climate change. Their paper, published Sept. 9, 2016 in Science, outlines how wildlife conservation efforts need to be tuned to climate science and how averting a global climate crisis can save wildlife. (See story on Holt in Ytori.)
Ewel, professor emeritus of biology, refers to himself as “unsuccessfully retired,” having continued to work with UF Biology graduate students and postdocs while running a pecan farm. A former forester whose interests turned from classic forestry to tropical ecology and the human use of trees, Ewel taught for over 20 years and is “pleased to still be affiliated with UF,” he says. Remarking on the fellowship, he says, “It’s a wonderful honor. When you’re retired, honors don’t exactly roll in over the door. It was very gratifying to receive that.”
Harmon, professor of biology and former chair of the Department (2009-2013) was recognized for her groundbreaking research on plants’ protein kinases and their physiological roles in calcium signaling. “I have wonderful colleagues and collaborators at UF and I’m proud to be a Gator!” says Harmon. She was also recognized for her services to several editorial boards in her field. “There is nothing better than to have your science recognized by your peers,” she says. “I am thrilled and honored to be named an AAAS fellow.”