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American receives Stockholm Water Prize for research on ecosystems

Professor Stephen R. Carpenter

The 2011 Stockholm Water Prize has been awarded to Professor Stephen R. Carpenter of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, for his groundbreaking  research that showed how lake ecosystems are affected by the surrounding landscape and human activities.

He received USD 150,000 and a crystal sculpture specially designed  created by Orrefors a Royal Ceremony held yesterday as part of the annual World Water Week in Stockholm.
Professor Carpenter, 59, is known as one of the world’s most influential environmental scientists in the field of ecology. His findings have formed the basis for concrete solutions on how to manage lakes. By combining theoretical models and large-scale lake experiments he has reframed our understanding of freshwater environments and how lake ecosystems are impacted by humans and the surrounding landscape. Professor Carpenter is best known for his research on trophic cascades in lakes – a concept which describes how impacts on any species in an ecosystem will cascade down, or up, the food chain.

The Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee emphasised the importance of Professor Carpenter’s contributions in helping us understand how we affect lakes through nutrient loading, fishing, and introduction of exotic species. “Professor Carpenter has shown outstanding leadership in setting the ecological research agenda, integrating it into a socio-ecological context, and in providing guidance for the management of aquatic resources,” noted the Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee.

Responding to the award, Professor Carpenter said he was excited that many years of work on trophic cascades are recognised.

“The prize is an opportunity to intensify my work on agriculture and freshwater. The connections between food and water security have never been more important, as we need an agriculture that can feed 9 billion people while maintaining the water supplies and other ecosystem services that people need. Agriculture impacts freshwater today through withdrawals, runoff pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change.”
and Ålandsbanken Sverige.

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