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. Dr. Daniel Schindler is the 2020 recipient of the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award for inspiring insight about ecosystem connectivity across the fresh to saltwater continuum and how climate and landscape drive ecosystem processes. Schindler is a professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, and the Department of Biology, at the University of Washington.
Since demonstrating a connection between trophic cascades in lakes and carbon flux with the atmosphere, Daniel Schindler’s research has greatly deepened our understanding of the connectivity between distinct aquatic ecosystems with major implications for management of critical fish populations and watersheds. Schindler’s work draws on fisheries science, landscape ecology, paleoecology, remote sensing, and global climate change to develop new paradigms of ecosystem functioning and response to environmental pressures. For example, Schindler has spent decades intensively monitoring habitat of Pacific salmon across western Alaska. Through this work he conceptualized the idea of the “Portfolio Effect” to describe the salmon stocks of Bristol Bay, likening inter-stream variability in salmon returns to the volatility of individual stocks within a diverse, stable stock portfolio. His research has been highly influential in the field of ecology; his papers have been cited over 1000 times annually in recent years.
Schindler has not only made impactful contributions to fundamental ecological theory but has also been actively engaged in the societal implications of his science. As a current principal investigator of the UW - Alaskan Salmon Program, Schindler provides guidance for policies surrounding salmon management and conservation efforts. Most notably, he has been a leader in efforts to assess potential environmental impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. Schindler’s unwavering leadership on environmental issues in Alaska is well-respected and a source of inspiration for the next generation of aquatic scientists.
ASLO President Michael Pace said, “Amongst his many talents, Daniel Schindler is a superb field scientist. Much of his rich conceptual insight, comes from deep experience making observations, measurements, and conducting experiments in his research environments. This talent makes him the kind of synthetic scientist Hutchinson would have admired.”