This year the jury of the Premi Ramon Margalef have decided to award American David Tilman for “being a true leader in the field of ecology and providing, throughout his scientific career, many new ideas which have had a lasting influence in the subject”. They have also pointed out that “his research has opened up new ways of study which have been followed by many ecologists, who are his intellectual children”. Tilman developed a model of competition for resources, proving that biodiversity is essential to stable and productive ecosystems, and corroborating the value of the protection of species in danger of extinction. Specifically, he has done research into the effects of biodiversity in the functioning of ecosystems, including the stability, productivity and resilience to the invasions of species, one of the favorite themes of Ramon Margalef’s research. Lately, he has been dedicated to issues of sustainability, in particular on agriculture and the production of biofuels.
David Tilman was born in Aurora, Illinois (USA), in 1949. McKnight Presidential Chair in Ecology, professor at the University of Minnessota and at the University of Santa Barbara, California, and member of the National Academy of Science of the United States, he has worked, among others, with Applied Economics Professor Stephen Polasky to calculate the total costs of different biofuels. Since 1992 he is the director of the Area of Natural History of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Tilman has been internationally awarded for his scientific work many times.
The Premi Ramon Margalef d’Ecologia was established in 2004 by the Generalitat of Catalonia to acknowledge people from around the world who have distinguished themselves in an exceptional way for their dedication in the field of ecological science. The award honors the memory of Professor Ramon Margalef (Barcelona, 1919-2004), who carried out a scientific and intellectual work of the first magnitude in the field of modern ecology, to the point of being considered one of the leading exponents in the world. In previous years, the scientists Paul Dayton, John Lawton, Harold Mooney, Daniel Pauly, Paul Ehrlich, Simon Levin, Juan Carlos Castilla, Daniel Simberloff and, last year, Sallie Chisholm have been awarded.
David Tilman will receive the Premi Ramon Margalef d’Ecologia during a ceremony in the Palau de Pedralbes, in Barcelona, next December 2.