Ruth Patrick Award


In 1998, the Board initiated the Ruth Patrick Award, to honor outstanding research by a scientist in the application of basic aquatic science principles to the identification, analysis and/or solution of important environmental problems.


Emphasis on selection is given to aquatic scientists who have made either sustained contributions or a single, but critical contribution towards solving an environmental problem. While this award is intended for individuals, under exceptional circumstances the awards committee may consider a pair/team.


Each nomination must be supported by a letter (not to exceed two pages) on qualifications. Nominations should provide evidence that the research has had an effect on the area of application. Ideally the nomination letter should include statements that would form the basis of the citation and the presentation speech at the ASLO meeting. The nomination package may also include a list of important publications and other pertinent information, but in total this package shall be no more than 3 pages. The nomination should also be supported by 3 letters of endorsement of no more than 1 page each. These letters should indicate the breadth of support for the nominees and the perspectives of different individuals to clearly indicate the breadth of contributions of the nominee. The endorsement letters may be mailed separately or be included in the nomination package. Please do not include a list of signatures.


Bernard Sweeney (2024), for a wide range of outstanding scientific achievements focused on root causes of degradation in aquatic ecosystems and for ensuring that these findings resulted in improved management and restoration. Read complete citation

Dongyan Liu (2023), for discovering that the Yellow Sea green tide phenomenon initiated with intensive coastal aquaculture, for her research on the biophysical mechanisms and physiological attributes of the algae that explain the extraordinary growth and spread of the blooms, and for her work on mitigation of this significant environmental problem. Read complete citation

Nenibarini Zabbey (2022), for research and engagement with a critical impact on recovery of the Niger Delta ecosystem from oil spills and environmental justice for affected communities. Read complete citation | View award presentation

Bo Gustafsson (2021), for exceptional contributions to the science of nutrient enrichment, eutrophication, and hypoxia in the Baltic Sea, which has led to the development of key policies by the Helsinki Commission. Read complete citation | View award presentation

Jean-Pierre Gattuso (2020), for his leadership in, and commitment to, addressing ocean acidification. Read complete citation | View award presentation

Jennifer Tank (2019), for her significant contributions to aquatic biogeochemistry, applying those fundamental concepts to human-impacted agricultural landscapes, and informing how conservation practices influence stream management through community engagement. Read complete citation | View award presentation

Margaret Palmer (2018), for being a champion of solution-driven science for the protection of freshwaters. Read complete citation | View award presentation

Walter Boynton (2017), for his research to solve environmental problems and shape policy with long-lasting impacts on estuarine ecosystems.

Josette Garnier and Gilles Billen (2016), for their sustained, innovative, high-impact contributions to the science and policy of eutrophication in rivers and estuaries, both at home and around the globe. View award presentation

Jim Cloern (2015) is recognized for transforming our understanding of coastal ecosystem dynamics and strengthening environmental management in San Francisco Bay and beyond. View award presentation

Daniel Conley (2014), for his work on nutrient enrichment, eutrophication and the drastic expansion of hypoxia in coastal waters during the 20th century. View award presentation

Asit Mazumder (2013), for his contributions to solving water quality problems with sound limnological concepts. View award presentation

Sallie W. "Penny" Chisholm and John J. Cullen (2012) for their significant contributions to the global community in their foresight and effective effort in addressing the environmental impacts of ocean iron fertilization which has led to high quality research on iron biogeochemistry and plankton dynamics as well as the development of key policies through the International Maritime Organization and UN Convention on Biodiversity. View award presentation

John Downing (2011), for his outstanding efforts in aquatic ecology, eutrophication research, and environmental education. View award presentation

Samuel N. Luoma (2010), for his passionate dedication to the solution of environmental problems in San Francisco Bay and his distinguished record of innovative research, leadership, and inspirational mentoring in trace metal ecotoxicology and water resource management. View award presentation

Richard Batterbee (2009), for outstanding contributions to the reconstruction of environmental changes from biological and chemical records in lake sediments, information and techniques that are now in common use in assessing the environmental status of lakes, and have become critical tools for lake managers and policy makers. View award presentation

Nancy Rabalais (2008), for her unwavering commitment to creating a broad understanding of the dramatic expansion of coastal hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico and her courageous struggle for implementation of policies to reduce the size and effects of hypoxia. View award presentation

George W. Kling (2007), who has made a major contribution to our understanding of catastrophic lake degassing in Cameroon and for the last 20 years has tirelessly worked to implement the political and engineering solutions necessary to prevent a repetition of this catastrophe.

David W. Schindler (2005), for his unfaltering record of doing revolutionary research in directions that, in hindsight, were the most important environmental problems of the time.

Ellen R. M. Druffel (2004), for her sustained critical contributions on the composition and age of dissolved, particulate, and sedimentary carbon and for furthering the understanding of the processes governing the fate and distribution of oceanic carbon and the important role that the oceans play in global carbon flux.

Claire L. Schelske (2003), for elucidating the biogeochemical consequences of cultural eutrophication in large lakes and developing a comprehensive understanding of the recovery of anthropogenically disturbed aquatic ecosystems.

John Cairns, Jr. (2001), for his pioneering work in comprehensive ecosystem research and for outstanding applications of aquatic science in ecosystem recovery and restoration.

Edward D. Goldberg (1999) for sustained contributions to the identification and quantification of marine pollution, especially pollution involving radionuclides, trace metals, halogenated and petroleum hydrocarbons; for using basic research to address critical issues of human impacts upon marine ecosystems worldwide; and for integrating scientific information into public policy.

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