The Generalitat of Catalonia has awarded Simon Levin, Princeton's George M. Moffett Professor of Biology and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, the Margalef Prize in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. The award recognizes individuals worldwide who have distinguished themselves in the field of ecology.
Levin was chosen for his fundamental contributions in theoretical ecology and for his ground-breaking research on integrating different scales in understanding ecological processes. He also is being recognized for applying basic science to the conservation of biodiversity and for mentoring a large number of students who have become respected scientists.
The Margalef Prize is awarded annually and is endowed with 100,000 Euros ($130,000), making it the most important prize awarded by the Generalitat of Catalonia. Levin will receive the prize on Oct. 7, 2010, in the Palace of the Generalitat.
A leader in theoretical ecology, Levin focuses on ecosystems and ecological principles that advance environmental sustainability. He has published more than 400 papers and books. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1964 from the University of Maryland-College Park and taught at Cornell University prior to joining the faculty at Princeton in 1992. Levin is the founding director of the Princeton Environmental Institute and director of its Center for BioComplexity. His awards include the Heineken Prize in 2004, the Kyoto Prize in 2005 and the American Institute of Biological Sciences Distinguished Scientist Award for 2007. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In 2004 the Generalitat of Catalonia, an autonomous government in the Spanish state, created the Margalef Prize to honor the life and work of the late Ramon Margalef López, one of the founding fathers of modern ecology and one of the most distinguished Spanish scientists of the 20th century.