Boston University Biologist Honored for Leadership in Estuarine Education

in College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, News Releases, Science & Technology
September 7th, 2005

Contact: Ann Marie Menting, 617/353-2240 | amenting@bu.edu

(Boston) — Ivan Valiela, a professor in the Marine Biology Program at Boston University’s Department of Biology, has been named to receive the William Niering Outstanding Educator Award from the Estuarine Research Federation. The award will be conferred during the federation’s 18th biennial conference to be held in Norfolk, Va., October 16-21.

During his more than 35 years as a researcher and educator, Valiela has, according to his nomination papers, advised more than 50 master’s and doctoral students and produced more than 200 publications, many seminal to the field of estuarine research. Valiela also has contributed to education in this field through various books he has authored, including Marine Ecological Processes, a long-time key text in the discipline; Doing Science, a compendium and guide to what professional scientists need to know about doing their work; and the upcoming Global Coastal Change, a review of the history and facts related to the human-driven agents of ecological change affecting the world’s coasts.

Described as “an estuarine- and life-educator” who has “always been about the real world,” Valiela researches the links between humans and coastal environments and investigates what those links tell us about the fundamental principles controlling how coastal ecosystems function.

Valiela conducts a good deal of his research nearly from the back door of his laboratories in Woods Hole — studying the structure, function, and effects of eutrophication on the salt marshes of Cape Cod and investigating the consequences that the Cape’s expanding urbanization has on its groundwater and, by extension, the near-shore waters into which the groundwater flows. His research also is conducted at sites in Mexico, Argentina, Portugal, Italy, Spain, as well as Puerto Rico, California, Florida, and other sites within the U.S.

Established in 2000, the Estuarine Research Federation’s William A. Niering Outstanding Educator Award recognizes excellence in teaching in estuarine and coastal science. The federation’s mission is to advance human understanding and appreciation of Earth’s estuaries and coasts, to promote the wise use and management of these environments, and to disseminate results of research and management actions to other researchers and to the public.

Boston University’s Marine Biology Program is located in Woods Hole, Mass., on Cape Cod. This site provides faculty and students with access to diverse estuarine and marine habitats and the opportunity to conduct research involving tidal, deep ocean, and salt marsh environments. Faculty also maintain field research programs worldwide, including the central Pacific, the Caribbean, the interior of Mexico as well as the Gulf of California off the Baja Peninsula, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Red Sea.

Boston University, with an enrollment of more than 30,000 in its 17 schools and colleges, is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States.

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