The Yentsch-Schindler Early Career Award honors an early-career scientist for outstanding and balanced contributions to research, science training, and broader societal issues such as resource management, conservation, policy, and public education. The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) has awarded Dr. Matthew Church with this year’s award for his broad-based research in microbial oceanography from genomes to biomes, effective training and mentorship of diverse international scholars, and unselfish community service. The award will be presented at the 2015 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Granada, Spain, February 22-29, 2015.
Dr. Church received his doctorate from the College of William and Mary before taking on a post-doctoral position with Dr. Jon Zehr at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Church is now an Associate Professor at the University of Hawaiʻi. He has served as lead investigator of the Hawaiʻi Ocean Time-series (HOT) program since 2009. Under his leadership, the HOT program continues to benefit the broader ocean science community and society at large through outreach and scientific education. He is also a senior investigator in the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) and an inaugural investigator in the recently established Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE).
Dr. Church has demonstrated a breadth of expertise rare in even a highly experienced oceanographer, and even more so in an early career scientist. His broad-ranging, cross-disciplinary research has proven transformative in microbial oceanography. Most recently, his research has provided significant contributions to the general understanding of the role of mesoscale processes of microbial distributions and function, and to the impacts of ocean acidification on microbial dynamics.
Further to his research, Dr. Church has distinguished himself as a valued teacher and mentor. He was key in the development and implementation of the University of Hawai’i training course for advanced graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in microbial oceanography. This intensive summer course, funded by the National Science Foundation, the Agouron Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, covers the breadth of microbial oceanography, and has already had a major impact in training the next generation of leaders.
He has contributed to over 50 scientific papers published in the top journals of the field, including Limnology and Oceanography, and has been cited more than 1660 times. With this award, ASLO recognizes Dr. Church as an emerging intellectual leader for the discipline.