A University of Toledo ecologist has been named a 2014 Fellow of the Ecological Society of America.Dr. Jiquan Chen, Distinguished University Professor of Environmental Sciences in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is one of a dozen individuals recognized for contributions to ecological research and discovery, communication, education and policy.
“I am honored to be selected,” Chen said. “I feel fortunate. I know so many colleagues who are doing better or equal quality work, and it is satisfying to be recognized by your peers.”
The Ecological Society of America, which established the Fellows program in 2012, is the world’s largest professional organization of ecological scientists, representing 10,000 researchers, educators, natural resource managers and students in North America and more than 90 countries.
Chen’s research investigates climate change and landscape ecology, specifically the study of carbon and water cycling. He studies carbon dioxide, identified as the chief greenhouse gas that causes global warming. Using carbon sensors placed in Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, on Lake Erie and UT’s campus, as well as other locations, Chen studies the carbon and water cycles in ecosystems that include grasslands, desert, forest, cropland, wetlands and freshwater.
When he started in ecology, Chen focused on plant taxonomy, moving on to grassland ecology and forest ecology. In the 1990s, he became interested in global warming and began focusing his studies on carbon, renewable energy and sustainability issues.
Chen is currently studying the interactions of natural and human systems in the Mongolian Plateau in China to measure the human impact on global warming.
“Your scientific career has to be continually evolving because the challenges facing Earth are constantly changing,” Chen said. “The challenges we face today are very different from 30 years ago, and they will be different in another 30 years.”
Chen, who has served UT since 2001, will join the faculty of Michigan State University this fall.