Director Joshua Lawler named fellow of Ecological Society of America

Joshua Lawler, Director of Nature and Health and a University of Washington professor in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, has been named a 2021 fellow of the Ecological Society of America. Fellows are elected for life, and the honor recognizes scientists who advance or apply ecological knowledge in academics, government, nonprofits and the broader society.

Lawler’s research centers on how climate change can drive shifts in plant and animal distributions, and the impacts those shifts have at both the species and ecosystem level. He also studies how climate change affects people, and the ways in which human health, climate and the environment are connected.

In addition to his research and teaching, Lawler leads the Nature and Health initiative, a member organization of UW EarthLab. The initiative seeks to understand the benefits of nature contact to human health and well-being, and translate that understanding into programs, practices and policies that benefit all people.

“Coming from the largest professional scientific organization in the ecological sciences, this is a particularly meaningful recognition from his scientific peers of Josh’s leadership,” said Dan Brown, professor and director of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “His work and that of his students and partners has made a big impact on advancing our understanding of climate change impacts on biodiversity, and his leadership of the Nature and Health network at UW serves as an important bridge between science and society.”

According to the Ecological Society of America’s March 25 announcement, the organization elected Lawler for “broadening understanding of the effects of landscape and climate change on biological diversity; for educating students and serving society in ways that have increased recognition of ecological science and the connection between nature and human health; and for mentoring the next generation of ecologists.”

Lawler received his Ph.D. from Utah State University and has been a professor at the UW since 2007. Before that, he held positions at Oregon State University, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and University of Maine.