The John H. Martin Award honors the author of a paper that has had a long-lasting impact on research in the aquatic sciences. This year’s award is being presented to Stephen Russell Carpenter for his seminal paper “Cascading trophic interactions and lake productivity” published in 1985 in BioScience. Dr. Carpenter’s work transformed the view of food web regulation and, for the first time, crystalized the concept of "top-down" regulation of primary productivity. The award will be presented at the 2015 ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting Meeting in Granada, Spain, February 22-29, 2015.
Initially novel and controversial, this highly influential paper challenged the notion that primary productivity was only controlled ‘bottom-up’ from nutrient supply, and used simple methods and case studies to establish that top predators, such as fish, also play a key role in regulating the trophic levels of marine ecosystems. While the concept that food webs and ecosystems could be controlled by both bottom-up and top-down forces is now firmly ensconced in ecological theory and practice, Dr. Carpenter’s work is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential triggers in this paradigm shift. His paper has influenced research on lakes, streams, coastal and pelagic marine systems, and even terrestrial ecosystems and has been cited over 1,300 times.
Dr. Carpenter is the Director of the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is the Stephen Alfred Forbes Professor of Zoology. He also serves as the Chair of the Science Committee for the Program on Ecosystem Change and Society of the International Council of Science. Dr. Carpenter is the 2011 laureate of the Stockholm Water Prize. Other notable awards include a Pew Fellowship in Conservation and Environment, the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Medal of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, the Robert H. MacArthur Award from the Ecological Society of America, the Excellence in Ecology Prize from the Ecology Institute, and the Naumann-Thienemann medal of the International Society for Limnology.