Jonathan Levine is the 2020 recipient of the Ecological Society of America's MacArthur Award

April 17, 2020

Professor Jonathan Levine was awarded the Ecological Society of America’s Robert H. MacArthur Award, the society’s most prestigious mid-career accolade.  Jonathan is the 20th winner of the Award, which was established in 1983 in memory of the pioneer theoretical ecologist, Robert MacArthur, who spent his most productive years in our department and, along with Henry Horn, established Princeton as the leading center in the world for theoretical ecology linked closely to empirical work.  It is therefore especially fitting to have this year’s award bestowed upon one of our own faculty members.  Jonathan is the fourth current or former faculty member from our department to have received the honor, joining Bob May (1984), Simon Levin (1988), and Steve Pacala (2010).

Jonathan is obviously a worthy recipient of the Award.  The letter of nomination stated that “Robert MacArthur’s genius was in revealing simple mechanisms underlying complex patterns. Jonathan is a fitting heir to this legacy. From the beginning of his career, he has linked theory and data to clearly demonstrate the fundamental processes regulating complicated systems. If there is one secret to his success, it is creating highly controlled experimental units and deploying them in natural systems across broad-scale environmental gradients. The resulting conceptual frameworks have been extremely influential…”   The nomination goes on to document his manifold contributions to the theories of diversity and invasibility, species coexistence and population spread.

According to the Ecological Society of America website, “The Robert H. MacArthur Award is given biannually to an established ecologist in mid-career for meritorious contributions to ecology, in the expectation of continued outstanding ecological research. “ Jonathan will receive the award at this year’s Ecological Society of America meeting (perhaps virtually), and deliver his award lecture at next year’s annual meeting.  A paper based on his lecture will appear in the journal Ecology.