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Stanford’s Peter Vitousek and Gretchen Daily honored by the British Ecological Society

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Peter Vitousek and Gretchen Daily

The British Ecological Society (BES) announced today the winners of its annual awards and prizes, recognizing thirteen distinguished ecologists and groups whose work has benefited the scientific community and society in general.

This year, honorary membership, the highest honor given by BES recognizing exceptional contribution at international level to the generation, communication and promotion of ecological knowledge and solutions, has been awarded to Stanford professors Peter Vitousek, the Clifford G. Morrison Professor of Population and Resource Studies, and Gretchen Daily, Bing Professor of Environmental Science and co-founder and Faculty Director of the Stanford Natural Capital Project. Distinguished ecologists Sue Hartley, former BES president and Pat Monaghan also received the honor for 2021. 

“It is a great honor for me personally, and I take it as a formal recognition of the value of research in a human context,” said Vitousek, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “I was born and grew up in Hawaii, and spent a lot of time outdoors there.  I didn't study ecology (formally) until graduate school. I've followed a path of increasing interest in human-dominated systems and social/environmental systems through my career. Islands in general, and Hawaii in particular, are wonderful models for understanding fundamental aspects of how the world works, from evolution and speciation to nutrient cycling and limitation to the development, dynamics, and sustainability of human societies. I've gotten a great deal from working in Hawaii, and I hope I've contributed to Hawaii in the process.”

“The credit in this great honor shines on many people, from the scientists working together with people in the real world beyond academe, to the bold heroes who look ahead and see how to transform livelihoods and societies. The promise and momentum comes from scheming and dreaming together – and embarking on ever more compelling demonstrations of nature-positive pathways of human development,” said Daily, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Founded in 1913, the BES is the oldest ecological society in the world. The BES promotes the study of ecology through its six academic journals, conferences, grants, education initiatives and policy work and has 6,000 members from more than 120 different countries 

The winners will be presented with their prizes during a ceremony held at Ecology Across Borders, a joint conference with the French Society for Ecology and Evolution (SFE²), which runs from December 12 – 15 in Liverpool, UK. The meeting will bring together 1,200 ecologists (in person and online) to discuss the latest advances in ecological research across the whole discipline.


Media Contacts:

Devon Ryan, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment: (650) 497-0444;

Sarah Cafasso, Stanford Natural Capital Project: (978) 944-1946,

Davy Falkner, British Ecological Society: +44 (0)20-3994-8255,

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