Botany's Zedler honored for lifetime achievement

November 9th 2015
Awards, Natural & Physical Sciences
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Joy Zedler, Professor of Botany and Aldo Leopold Chair in Restoration Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been awarded the prestigious Odum Lifetime Achievement Award from the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF).

Zedler Zedler

The Odum Award recognizes sustained accomplishments and critically important contributions to understanding coastal and estuarine (where a river flows into an open sea) ecosystems. The award bears the name of three renowned ecologists: Eugene Odum, his brother, Howard, and his son, William, whose research along the Atlantic coast inspired Zedler to test for different ecological patterns and theories along the Pacific coast.

Zedler received the award Sunday at CERF's 23rd Biennial Conference in Portland, Ore.

Zedler (M.S.'66, Ph.D.'68, Botany), who has been on the faculty in the Department of Botany since 1998, began sampling salt marsh vegetation in 1970, and continues to track the long-term outcome of a federally endangered plant that she and collaborators restored to San Diego Bay in the 1990s. Zedler's collaborative efforts to understand coastal salt marshes simultaneously advanced restoration science and practice.

Her research in salt marshes has allowed UW-Madison students to gain insights and experience in a very different type of ecosystem. Zedler also studies invasive species, sedge meadow restoration, stormwater treatment wetlands, and watershed-scale restoration, all of which produced new insights for the science and practice of ecological restoration.

This year, Zedler compiled the achievements of more than 50 salt marsh collaborators in an eBook, Salt Marsh Secrets: Who discovered them and how?, which aims to entice high school students and the public to learn how field science progresses. Zedler also has a book due out next year: Foundations of Restoration Ecology (co-edited with Margaret Palmer from the University of Maryland and Don Falk at the University of Arizona).