2018 Hutchinson Award Recipient

Emily Stanley (University of Wisconsin, Madison) 

The G. Evelyn Hutchinson award honors a limnologist or oceanographer who has made considerable contributions to knowledge, and whose future work promises a continued legacy of scientific excellence. Emily Stanley is the 2018 recipient of the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award for her outstanding and synthetic contributions to our understanding of the roles of hydrology and the biogeochemistry of nitrogen and carbon in lake and stream ecology. Stanley is Professor at the Center for Limnology and Department of Integrative biology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The award will be presented at the ASLO Summer Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia in June 2018.

With a research portfolio spanning subdisciplines, perspectives, and approaches, Emily Stanley has consistently pushed scientists to look beyond traditional physical and disciplinary boundaries of freshwater research. Stanley’s early research revealed the importance of hydrology to streams and the hyporheic zone, the area just below the streambed where groundwater and surface water mix. She has also conducted research on the linkages between stream nutrient dynamics, sediment transport, large-scale geomorphic changes and dam removal. This research has provided critical data to natural resource managers. More recently, Stanley has played a leading role in improving the understanding of carbon dioxide and methane production in flowing waters and its potential to contribute to the global carbon cycles. Early work published by Stanley and her students in 2013 and 2014 provided some of the first evidence that streams can be an important source of methane and that hydrologic connectivity plays an important role in the carbon cycle. Stanley’s 2016 review paper which synthesized the relevant published data on this topic and proposed a future research agenda to address identified data gaps and biases in existing literature has been praised by colleagues as an important contribution to the field.

Stanley is admired by colleagues for her ability to synthesize data and ideas and envision holistic connections that go far beyond a reductionist view of the world. Stanley has an impressive track record of convincingly documenting a novel or understudied process, establishing its importance to the broader field, and then publishing papers on the topic synthesizing the state of research and identifying new future directions. Colleagues note that Stanley’s ability to follow this trajectory on multiple topics within aquatic science is “remarkable”.

Stanley’s influence in freshwater research extends far beyond her own lab. As Principal Investigator at the North Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research (NTL-LTER) site, she works with NTL-LTER researchers – including 24 co-PI’s – to formulate research questions and field studies. Colleagues credit Stanley as an effective leader who has “created the intellectual matrix that [allows research] to flourish” at NTL-LTER.

ASLO President Linda Duguay said, “Throughout her career, Emily Stanley has probed the boundaries of freshwater science - below the sediment surface into the hyporheic zone and across the air-water interface to look at greenhouse gas production in rivers – to discover new linkages between systems and concepts. She is a productive and highly cited researcher who has already contributed greatly to our discipline. Hutchinson asked that this award be given to individuals who promise a ‘continued legacy of scientific excellence.’ Emily Stanley is certainly one such individual and we are pleased to honor her work with the 2018 Hutchinson Award.”