Ecologist, Limnologist Robert Sterner Appointed NSF Division Director for Environmental Biology
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Biological Sciences has appointed Dr. Robert Sterner of the University of Minnesota as its new director of the Division of Environmental Biology. Sterner is currently a professor of biology in the university's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior.
"We are extremely pleased to welcome Bob Sterner," said Dr. James Collins, NSF assistant director for biological sciences. "His accomplishments and long-standing interest in environmental biology and evolutionary and ecological processes will serve NSF, the Biological Sciences Directorate, and the Division of Environmental Biology well."
Sterner is an ecologist and limnologist. His research involves studies of ecological stoichiometry: understanding the biological and chemical links among elements in ecosystems. By considering the processes that result in the patterns of elements in nature, ecological stoichiometry demonstrates how this chemical variation influences the distribution, abundance and interactions of species.
Sterner has served on the board of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and is chair of the 2008 Gordon Conference on Metabolic Ecology. He is currently an associate editor of the journal Ecology. A widely-published scientist, Sterner has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and co-authored Ecological Stoichiometry: The Biology of Elements from Molecules to the Biosphere. At the University of Minnesota he has taught courses in aquatic biology and general biology.
Previous academic and professional positions include appointments as a faculty member at the University of Texas at Arlington, and postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. He received his doctorate in ecology from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Illinois.
NSF's Division of Environmental Biology supports basic research and education in ecology and evolutionary biology in such areas as biodiversity, molecular genetic and genomic evolution, population dynamics, ecosystem processes, conservation biology, restoration ecology and the ecological effects of global climate change. Among its programs are those on long-term ecological research, the ecology of infectious diseases, and assembling the tree of life.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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