David Tilman

2014 Balzan Prize for Basic/Applied Plant Ecology

For his huge contributions to theoretical and experimental plant ecology, work that underpins much of our current understanding of how plant communities are structured and interact with their environment.

G. David Tilman, born in Aurora, Illinois, on 22 July 1949, is a US citizen.

Regents Professor (since 2002) and McKnight Presidential Chair in Ecology (since 2001) at the University of Minnesota, where he also serves as Director of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (since 1992), he is a Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara (since 2012) and an Honorary Professor at the China Agricultural University in Beijing (since 2007) as well.

He earned his BS in Zoology in 1971 and his PhD in Zoology (Ecology) in 1976, both from the University of Michigan.

At the University of Minnesota he became in 1976 Assistant Professor, in 1980 Associate Professor, in 1984 Professor, in 1992 Director of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, in 1996 Distinguished McKnight University Professor, in 2001 McKnight Presidential Chair in Ecology and in 2002 Regents Professor. In 2000 he was also a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and a Senior Visiting Fellow of Princeton University; in 2001 a Fellow of the US National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis; in 2007 Honorary Professor at the China Agricultural University in Beijing; in 2011 Zurich Distinguished Visitor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and in 2012 Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In 1984-85 he was a Guggenheim Fellow; in 1985 he became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; in 1995 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2002 to the US National Academy of Sciences.

G. David Tilman has authored the following books:

Tilman D. 1988. Plant Strategies and the Dynamics and Structure of Plant Communities. Monographs in Population Biology, Princeton University Press. 360 pp.
Tilman D. 1982. Resource Competition and Community Structure. Monographs in Population Biology, Princeton University Press. 296 pp.
His most important scientific articles include:

Tilman D, Reich PB, Isbell F. 2012. Biodiversity impacts ecosystem productivity as much as resources, disturbance, or herbivory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109: 10394-10397.

Tilman D, Balzer C, Hill J, Befort BL. 2011. Global food demand and the sustainable intensification of agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108: 20260-20264.

Fornara DA, Tilman D. 2009. Ecological mechanisms associated with the positive diversity-productivity relationship in an N-limited grassland. Ecology 90: 408-418.

Fargione J, Hill J, Tilman D, Polasky S, Hawthorne P. 2008. Land clearing and the biofuel carbon debt. Science 319: 1235-1238.

Clark, C.M. and D. Tilman. 2008. Loss of plant species after chronic low-level nitrogen deposition to prairie grasslands. Nature 451: 712-715.

Tilman D, Hill J, Lehman C. 2006. Carbon-negative biofuels from low-input high-diversity grassland biomass. Science 314: 1598-1600.

Tilman D, Reich PB, Knops JMH. 2006. Biodiversity and ecosystem stability in a decade-long grassland experiment. Nature 441: 629-632.

Hill J, Nelson E, Tilman D, Polasky S, Tiffany D. 2006. Environmental, economic, and energetic costs and benefits of biodiesel and ethanol biofuels. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103: 11206-11210.. Nature 440: 922-925.

Reich PB, Hobbie SE, Lee T, Ellsworth DS, West JB, Tilman D, Knops JMH, Naeem S, Trost J. 2006. Nitrogen limitation constrains sustainability of ecosystem response to CO 2

Tilman D. 2004. Niche tradeoffs, neutrality, and community structure: A stochastic theory of resource competition, invasion, and community assembly. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101: 10854-10861.

Mitchell C, Tilman D, Groth JV. 2002. Effects of grassland plant species diversity, abundance, and composition on foliar fungal disease. Ecology 83: 1713-1726.

Kennedy T A, Naeem S, Howe KM, Knops JMH, Tilman D, Reich P. 2002. Biodiversity as a barrier to ecological invasion. Nature 417: 636-638.

Tilman D, Reich PB, Knops J, Wedin D, Mielke T, Lehman C. 2001. Diversity and productivity in a long-term grassland experiment. Science 294: 843-845.

Tilman D, Cassman KG, Matson PA, Naylor R, Polasky S. 2002. Agricultural sustainability and intensive production practices. Nature 418: 671-677.

Tilman D, Fargione J, Wolff B, D’Antonio C, Dobson A, Howarth R, Schindler D, Schlesinger W, Simberloff D, Swackhamer D. 2001. Forecasting Agriculturally Driven Global Environmental Change. Science 292: 281-284.

Tilman D. 2000. Causes, consequences and ethics of biodiversity. Nature 405: 208-211.

Tilman D. 1999. The ecological consequences of changes in biodiversity: a search for general principles. The Robert H. MacArthur Award Lecture. Ecology 80: 1455-1474.

Tilman D. 1998. The greening of the green revolution. Nature 396: 211-212.

Tilman D, Knops J, Wedin D, Reich P, Ritchie M, Sieman E. 1997. The influence of functional diversity and composition on ecosystem processes. Science 277: 1300-1302.

Cohen JE, Tilman D. 1996. Biosphere 2 and biodiversity: the lessons so far. Science 274: 1150-1151.

Tilman D. 1996. Biodiversity: Population versus ecosystem stability. Ecology 77: 350-363.

Tilman D, Wedin D, Knops J. 1996. Productivity and sustainability influenced by biodiversity in grassland ecosystems. Nature 379: 718-720.

Wedin DA, Tilman D. 1996. Influence of nitrogen loading and species composition on the carbon balance of grasslands. Science 274: 1720-1723.

Siemann E, Tilman D, Haarstad J. 1996. Insect species diversity, abundance and body size relationships. Nature 380: 704-706.

Tilman D, Downing JA. 1994. Biodiversity and stability in grasslands. Nature 367: 363-365.

Tilman D, May RM, Lehman CL, Nowak MA. 1994. Habitat destruction and the extinction debt. Nature 371: 65-66.

Tilman D, El Haddi A. 1992. Drought and biodiversity in grasslands. Oecologia 89: 257-264.

(October 2014)

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