February 14, 2011
AMES, Iowa — John Downing, a professor of ecology, evolution, and organismal biology at Iowa State University, was honored today by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. Downing was presented the society's Ruth Patrick Award "for enhancing scientific and popular understanding of the economic and environmental impact of eutrophication through his outstanding contributions in aquatic ecology, eutrophication research and environmental education," according to the award citation. "This is a wonderful honor, that validates not only the work that my lab has been doing but the outstanding collaborations Iowa State University scientists have built with agencies, citizens' groups, agricultural producers and everyone across the state who is interested in clean water," Downing said. "We have big water quality problems, to be sure, but I know of no other state where so many segments of society collaborate to revitalize the quality water resource that can bring so much economic and social vitality to communities." "Especially in these tough economic times, we need to work to bring Iowans a quality recreational resource that is close to home. That is what we have been trying to do — and that is what this honor signifies." Downing directs the limnology laboratory at Iowa State. The lab is the home of the Iowa Lakes Survey, which involves collecting and analyzing annual data on the water quality of more than 130 lakes throughout the state. The society's website states that the Ruth Patrick Award honors outstanding research by a scientist in the application of basic aquatic science principles to the identification, analysis and/or solution of important environmental problems. Emphasis on selection is given to aquatic scientists who have made either sustained contributions or a single, but critical contribution towards solving an environmental problem. Downing is a member of the society, which is the largest professional society of aquatic scientists in the world, and serves as its president-elect. He will become the president in 2012.