Stephen R. Carpenter, a zoology and limnology professor, was selected as the 2011 winner of the Stockholm Water Prize. Carpenter, who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is being honored for his innovative exploration of human activity in lakes and the surrounding land. His work has helped advance comprehension of how factors such as invasive species, fishing, and eutrophication affect lake resources, and his analysis has laid the foundation for definite lake management options.
The Stockholm International Water Institute announced Carpenter as the winner in conjunction with the U.N. World Water Day on March 22. The institute also credited Carpenter’s tests with reshaping its understanding of freshwater environments and factors that affect lake ecosystems.
Carpenter’s work is grounded in trophic cascades, a theory that demonstrates how the slightest influence on any member of the ecosystem will cascade up or down the food chain, thus affecting the rest of the members. According to the institute, he “is [recognized] as one of the world’s most influential environmental scientists in the field of ecology.” However, he was shocked by the news that he had won the award.
“There are so many great people in the water field that it is quite surprising to win. It is a great honor to be selected,” the professor told The Local, a Swedish newspaper.
The Stockholm Water Prize recipient is awarded $150,000 USD and a crystal sculpture custom created by Orrefors, a Swedish crystal corporation. The award is presented by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, the patron of the Stockholm Water Prize. The professor will receive the award Aug. 25 at a royal award ceremony in Stockholm during World Water Week. Carpenter said the award would drive him in his mission of improving freshwater ecosystems and water reserves.
“We need to get better at understanding large rapid changes in freshwater systems, especially ones that affect people such as droughts, floods, disease outbreaks, and fishery breakdowns,” he said.
In addition to being a professor and leading researcher in his field, Carpenter is also the editor-in-chief for Springer’s journal, Ecosystems. He is noted for using a mix of scientific methods and seeking collaboration outside of the academic arena. Dr. Rita Colwell, another U.S. scientist, received the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize for her research concerning infectious waterborne diseases.
The Stockholm Water Foundation was established in 1990 to foster research and advancement of the global water conditions by conferring the International Stockholm Water Prize. The founders of the Stockholm Water Prize include international corporations such as Bacardi, Hewlett Packard, and General Motors. The award was first conferred in 1991. Additionally, the foundation presents the Stockholm Junior Prize Water Prize for young adults between the ages of 15 and 20 and the Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award for persons, businesses, cities, and non-government affiliated institutions that work to enhance the Baltic Sea’s water.
American Environmental Scientist Named the 2011 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate [Stockholm International Water Institute] US researcher on lakes wins Stockholm Water Prize [Monsters & Critics News] Stockholm Water Prize [World Water Week] The Local [Sweden’s News in English] Stephen R. Carpenter wins Stockholm Water Prize [Springer.com] Water Prize Winner Dr. Rita Colwell to be honored at National Press Club forum to address the nexus between climate, water, and health [Environmental News Network] Eutrophication [U.S. Geological Survey]
Image Credit: Stockholm International Water Institute