Douglas Futuyma, PhD, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University, has been selected to receive the prestigious Joseph Leidy Award for Research Achievement presented by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. The award, recognizing creative research and experimental tenacity in the natural sciences will be presented at the Bicentennial Symposium of the Academy of Natural Sciences held on October 11.
Futuyma was chosen to receive this award for his body of research and his keen ability to communicate complex ideas to scientists, students and the general public. He is the author of three undergraduate textbooks, Evolution, Evolutionary Biology and Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution. He will receive the award at a public ceremony on the opening day of the symposium before presenting the keynote address, “Explaining Biodiversity: The Impending Synthesis,” which will explore current and future research on the diversity of life with a focus on evolutionary biology, ecology and environmental quality.
Founded in 1812 the Academy of Natural Sciences is the oldest research institution in the natural sciences and the oldest museum in the new world. It had enormous and very important biological and paleontological collections and a long history of outstanding research on biodiversity. Its early members included Thomas Jefferson, the explorer Alexander von Humboldt, ornithologist John James Audubon, early zoologists Georges Cuvier and Richard Owen, and corresponding members Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley.
“I am thrilled to have been chosen for this honor from one of the foremost natural science research institutions in the Western Hemisphere,” said Futuyma. “I am humbled to be listed with systematists and evolutionary scientists whose contributions were immeasurably greater than mine. This award highlights the importance of research on biological diversity at a time when more species face greater threat than they have for more than 60 million years.”
Futuyma graduated with a BS from Cornell University and an MS and PhD from the University of Michigan. He is a former professor and chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and has served on the faculty at Stony Brook University since 1969. In addition to his teaching career, he has conducted extensive research and published many scholarly papers on the evolutionary relationships of insects to their plant hosts. He is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History and served as president of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the American Society of Naturalists, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and is a Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellow.