A University of Toledo ecologist is being honored for her work to advance science as a newly elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).Dr. Carol Stepien, Distinguished University Professor of Ecology, is among the 391 AAAS Fellows elected in 2016 who will be recognized at the association’s annual meeting Feb. 18 in Boston.
AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific and engineering society. Since 1874, it has elected Fellows to recognize members for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.
“You are being honored for distinguished contributions to the fields of molecular evolutionary ecology and conservation genetics, particularly invasive and native populations, and mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students,” Rush D. Holt, AAAS chief executive officer, wrote in a letter to Stepien informing her of the recognition.
“I am honored to be recognized by our nation’s scientific community,” Stepien said. “My special emphasis has been helping to train and mentor UT graduate and undergraduate students, and our local high school students in aquatic ecology, to aid conservation efforts in the Great Lakes.”
Stepien is internationally recognized for her research in the areas of invasive species and fish genetics. She joined UT’s Department of Environmental Sciences in 2004 and also served as director of the Lake Erie Center until 2016. She was appointed a Distinguished University Professor in 2012.
“Recognition as an AAAS Fellow is an enormous honor and a credit to Dr. Stepien and her impressive body of research to advance our knowledge of marine biology,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “The University of Toledo is proud to have a faculty member selected to the AAAS and looks forward to more faculty receiving prestigious national awards.”
Stepien is on a leave of absence from the University while continuing her active research program and working with UT graduate students. She is serving as an Ocean Environment Research Division leader at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.
She is the author of the book “Molecular Systematics of Fishes” published in 1997 and reprinted in 2002, as well as more than 90 scholarly publications. She has received more than $12 million in grants and awards for her studies of molecular ecology, population genetics, evolutionary patterns and genomics.