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May 2, 2007
Conservation Biologist to Receive Sigma Xi's Procter Prize
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - Watching species fade into extinction in Hawaii in the 1970s motivated Stuart L. Pimm to become a conservation biologist and study the scientific issues behind the global loss of biodiversity.
His research covers the reasons why species become extinct, how fast they do so, the global patterns of habitat loss and species extinction, the role of introduced species in causing extinction and, importantly, the management consequences of this research.
Pimm is known for his ability to translate complex scientific issues for the lay public. His commitment to the interface between science and policy has lead to his testimony before Congressional committees on re-authorization of the Endangered Species Act.
In November, Pimm will receive Sigma Xiís highest honor, the William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement. He will deliver the annual Procter Prize Address during the Society's Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference, set for November 1-4 in Orlando, Florida.
The Procter Prize has been presented annually since 1950 to an outstanding scientist or engineer who is known for effective communication of complex ideas. The prize includes a Steuben glass sculpture and $5,000. The recipient also selects a young colleague to receive a $5,000 Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research.
Pimm is Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke University. He has written more than 200 scientific papers and four books, including The Balance of Nature? Ecological Issues in the Conservation of Species and Communities and The World According to Pimm: A Scientist Audits the Earth.
His work has contributed to new practices and policy for species preservation and habitat restoration in many of the world's most threatened ecosystems.
He is currently studying endangered species and ecosystem restoration in the Florida Everglades, setting priorities for protected areas in the Atlantic coast forest of Brazil and for savanna ecosystems in southern Africa, and tracking jaguars in the rain forests of Central America and mongoose-related fossas in the dry forests of Madagascar.
A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Pimm also holds the position of Extraordinary Professor at the Conservation Ecology Research Unit at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
In 2006, he received the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the LaRoe Memorial Award from the Society of Conservation Biology.