Environmental Studies researchers awarded prestigious WS Cooper Award

Brian Starzomski (left) and Darcy Matthews (right)


The School of Environmental Studies is proud to announce that two of its professors, Dr Brian Starzomski (photographed above, left), who holds the Ian McTaggart Cowan Professorship in Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Restoration, and Darcy Mathews (photographed above, right), Assistant Professor, along with current Starzomski Lab members PhD student Kira Hoffman, post-doc Wiebe Nijland, and former post-doc Andrew Trant (now at the University of Waterloo) were recognized for outstanding contribution to the fields of plant ecology & biogeography.

Named for pioneering physiographic ecologist William S. Cooper, the W.S. Cooper Award from the Ecological Society of America honours the authors of an outstanding publication in the fields of geobotany, physiographic ecology, plant succession or plant distribution along environmental gradients.

The Environmental Studies team and colleagues, including co-authors Duncan McLaren (UVic Anthropology) and Trisalyn Nelson (Arizona State University) were recognized for their research study "Intertidal resource use over millennia enhances forest productivity," published in Nature Communications last year. In the study, the team from the Starzomski Lab found that 13,000 years of repeated human occupation by coastal First Nations has had the opposite effect one might expect, enhancing rather than depleting temperate rainforest productivity. 

The group will accept this prestigious award at the ESA’s annual meeting in Portland, OR on August 7.

Research funding was provided through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Hakai, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.