The International Society of Limnology has announced it will bestow its Naumann-Thienemann Medal on UW-Madison limnology Prof. Stephen Carpenter. As medals go, this is as prestigious as it gets for people who study lakes. It is the highest recognition in limnology, and rewards outstanding work across a career.
At 55, Carpenter has a lot of career left ahead of him, but it has already been distinguished by his ground-breaking work in long-term regional modeling of areas such as the Yahara River Lakes District and Vilas County's Northern Highlands Lake District.
Carpenter's models take into account such wide-ranging factors as shoreline development, nutrient inputs and the introduction of invasive species (along with social, economic and political variables) to suggest possible outcomes for the lakes he studies. Scenarios such as declines in water quality, disturbances to the fishery and the development of biotic imbalances can be used to assess lakes' vulnerability to climate change, but can also serve as the basis for developing and managing proactive solutions to the identified problems.
The Stephen Alfred Forbes Professor of Zoology at UW-Madison, Carpenter will receive the medal -- named for two noted European limnologists of the early 20th century -- this coming Monday, Aug. 13, in Montreal, during the ISL's triennial gathering. He will be the fourth member of the UW-Madison faculty to be awarded the Naumann-Thienemann medal since its establishment in 1942. (The others: Edward Birge and Chauncey Juday in 1950, and Arthur Hasler in 1992.)
Congratulations are in order.