Dr. Greg GoldsmithAssistant Professor of Biological Sciences and the Director of the Grand Challenges Initiative Gregory Goldsmith, Ph.D. was elected as a 2019 Early Career Fellow of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). The ESA is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to ecological research and discovery, communication, education and pedagogy, and management and policy by individuals within eight years of their terminal degree. Specifically, Dr. Goldsmith is one of eight individuals elected this year for a five-year term. His nomination was led by his colleague and mentor Jennifer Funk, Ph.D., who is professor and chair of biological sciences.

As a plant physiological ecologist, Dr. Goldsmith is specifically interested in how water and carbon cycles through tropical forests. He explains, “Tropical forests are particularly important for the balance of our planet – they harbor incredible amounts of biodiversity, they soak up carbon from the atmosphere, and they even create their own rainfall. My collaborators and I have focused on understanding whether processes that we historically thought were unimportant may actually be critical to the health of these forests.” Dr. Goldsmith has also been active in designing, building, implementing and testing different forms of educational technology as a means of public engagement in science through work supported by the National Geographic Society.

Dr. Goldsmith doing research in Costa Rica

Dr. Goldsmith taking data this past summer in Costa Rica for research on an NSF grant. Photo by Dr. Jen Funk.

Dr. Goldsmith in tree

Dr. Goldsmith in the canopy of a tree in Costa Rica. Photo by Drew Fulton.

Dr. Goldsmith’s research has been carried out in collaboration with Grand Challenges Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Carter Berry and postdoctoral scientists Dr. Scott Allen and Dr. Eleinis Avila-Lovera. His research group also involves undergraduates from biological sciences, computer science, environmental science and policy, and psychology, including Kendra Ellertson, Monroe Roush, Mehret Collison, Scott Cummings, Nick Mirchandani, and Alex Drivas. According to Dr. Goldsmith, “there is a growing group of undergraduate students engaged in research in the lab and they bring energy, excitement, and great new ideas.”   

This is not the first honor Dr. Goldsmith has received from the ESA. Since becoming a member in 2006, he has been an active participant by presenting at meetings, organizing symposia, serving as a judge for student posters, and reviewing papers for the society’ journals. In 2012, he was awarded the Billings Award by the Physiological Ecology Section for best graduate student presentation representing a significant advance in the field of physiological ecology.

“It is quite humbling to be recognized by my peers for my contributions. My efforts build on so many incredible ecologists who have inspired me through their research, their teaching, and their mentorship.” – Dr. Goldsmith

Dr. Goldsmith will be formally recognized at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America this coming August in Louisville, Kentucky.

Congratulations to Dr. Gregory Goldsmith on receiving this prestigious honor!