UC Santa Barbara ecologist Douglas McCauley has been selected a 2018 early career fellow of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). An assistant professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB) and director of the Benioff Ocean Initiative, McCauley is one of seven ESA members to be so named.
“It is such a privilege to run a research lab in ecology at UC Santa Barbara,” said McCauley. “Our university is a place where we are supported to push the boundaries of scientific discovery and encouraged to put what we learn directly to work to benefit the environment and society.” An independent research report in an academic journal published by the ESA recently rated UCSB’s ecology program No. 1 in North America.
McCauley was elected for his work to advance understanding of the complex mechanisms by which wildlife loss affects ecosystems, as well as for his efforts to use big data and emerging technology to promote conservation. Research at the McCauley Lab is as diverse as it is ambitious, from employing satellite to track sharks and improve the design of marine protected areas to investigating the flow of energy through ecosystems.
“Doug is, of course, a gifted marine ecologist and has an exceptional skill set as an academic researcher and professor, so this early career award from ESA is well deserved,” said EEMB chair Gretchen Hofmann. “However, Doug has other stripes that set him apart as a transformative individual doing science in our times. Doug uses his science to move toward action, to think about what research and large data sets can tell about how to protect the ocean in response to climate change or the value of marine protected reserves in the Anthropocene. He’s the kind of scientist we need now and we’re lucky to have him at UCSB.”
McCauley earned two bachelor’s degrees — in integrative biology and in political science — from UC Berkeley. He holds a doctorate in biology from Stanford University, where he conducted research at the Hopkins Marine Station. He joined the faculty at UCSB in 2014 and the following year was named an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.
The ESA fellows program, established in 2012, recognizes the many ways in which its members contribute to ecological research and discovery, communication, education and pedagogy, and to management and policy. Early career fellows are members within eight years of completing their doctorate who have advanced ecological knowledge and applications and show promise of continuing to make outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by ESA. They are elected for five years.
The ESA is the country’s primary professional organization of ecologists, representing 9,000 scientists in the United States and around the world. Since its founding in 1915, ESA has pursued the promotion of the responsible application of ecological principles to the solution of environmental problems through ESA reports, journals, research and expert testimony to Congress.