John Martin Award


The John Martin Award, established in 2005, recognizes a paper in aquatic sciences that is judged to have had a high impact on subsequent research in the field. The model for such a paper is Martin et al (1991), which laid out the case for iron limitation of phytoplankton productivity in the ocean. This award will be given to at most one paper per year. Unlike the Lindeman Award, which recognizes very recent papers (within 2 years) by young investigators, the Martin Award is for papers at least 10 years old.

Martin, JH, RM Gordon, and SE Fitzwater. 1991. The case for iron. Limnol. Oceanogr. 36:1793-1802


A nominated paper must be at least 10, but no more than 30 years old. It must be published in English and can be from any area of aquatic sciences. The spirit of the award is such that papers leading to fundamental shifts in research focus or interpretation of a large body of previous observations will be favored. In general, summarizing reviews and methods papers will not be favored.

Nominations Package

Nominations must include a copy of the paper and a brief letter of less than 500 words describing its impact. The latter may include a citation analysis, but this is not required. Nominations may be made by any ASLO member, with the exception of the authors, or members of ASLO Executive, Board, or Award Committees.

Criteria for judging the nominations

  1. As stated above, the spirit of the award is such that papers leading to fundamental shifts in research focus or interpretation of a large body of previous observations will be favored. In general, summarizing reviews and methods papers will not.
  2. A standing committee will judge nominations. The committee will vote once per year. To be chosen for the award, a nominated paper must be named on the ballots of all committee members. Each committee member may vote for a limited number of nominations, with this number to be determined by the committee annually, based on the number of nominated papers on the ballot [i.e. the larger the number of nominations, the greater the number of votes per committee member; otherwise you'd never get unanimity].
  3. A paper may be nominated no sooner than 10 years after it first appeared. Papers more than 30 years old will not be eligible.
  4. No more than one award may be given per year; if more than one paper are named on all ballots in a given year, a runoff vote will be held and the loser(s) will be returned to the nominating ballot to be considered in subsequent years.
  5. Nominated papers will stay on the ballot for three years or until unanimously approved for the award. After three years of consideration, papers not receiving the award will be removed from consideration. Nominated papers not receiving the award may be renominated as long as they remain eligible.

Other issues

The award is given to the paper. The lead author will be invited to accept the award and give a plenary talk at the ASLO meeting in the year following its receipt. If the lead author is unavailable, the second author accepts the award and gives the talk. If the lead author chooses, s/he may designate a co-author or the nominator to give the talk.

Award Recipients

2017: Robert Sterner and Dag Hessen (1994). Algal nutrient limitation and the nutrition of aquatic herbivores. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 25:1-29

2016: Jonathan Cole, Nina Caraco, George Kling and Tim Kratz (1994). Carbon Dioxide Supersaturation in the Surface Waters of Lakes. Science 265(5178):1568-1570. View award presentation

2015: Stephen R. Carpenter; James F. Kitchell; James R. Hodgson (1985) Cascading Trophic Interactions and Lake Productivity. BioScience, 35(10):634-639 View award presentation

2014: Li, W. K. W., D. V. Subba Rao, W. G. Harrison, J. C. Smith, J. J. Cullen, B. Irwin, and T. Platt. Autotrophic picoplankton in the tropical ocean. Science. 1983. 219:292-95. View award presentation

2013: Val H. Smith, 1983. Low Nitrogen to Phosphorus Ratios Favor Dominance by Blue-Green Algae in Lake Phytoplankton. Science 221: 669-671. View award presentation

2012: Wanninkhof, R., 1992. Relationship between gas exchange and wind speed over the ocean. J. Geophys. Res. 97, 7373-7381. View award presentation

2011: Øvind Bergh, Knut Yngve Borsheim, Gunnar Bratbak and Mikai Heldal. 1989. High Abundance of viruses found in Aquatic Environments. Nature 340:467-68

2010: M.J.R. Fasham, H.W. Ducklow, and S.M. McKelvie. 1990. A nitrogen-based model of plankton dynamics in the oceanic mixed layer. Journal of Marine Research, 48: 591-639

2009: Koehl, M. A. R., and J. R. Strickler. 1981. Copepod feeding currents: food capture at low Reynolds number. Limnol. Oceanogr. 26: 1062-1073.

2008: Eppley, R. and B. Peterson. 1979. Particulate organic matter flux and planktonic new production in the deep ocean. Nature 282:677-680.

2007: Vannote, R. L., G.W. Minshall, K.W. Cummins, J. R. Sedell and C. E. Cushing. 1980. The river continuum concept. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 37: 130-137.

2006: Azam, F., T. Fenchel, J.G. Field, S. Gray, L.A. Meyer-Reil, and F. Thingstad. 1983. The ecological role of water-column microbes in the sea. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 10:257-263.