Ecology Prof Receives Humboldt Award

January 15, 2008 - News Release

A University of Guelph ecology professor has received a prestigious Humboldt Research Award, one of the top international prizes recognizing cutting-edge achievements in science.

Prof. John Klironomos was chosen for his pioneering research in plant ecology and specifically the relationship among plants, fungi and other organisms in the soil.

The award is intended as a lifelong tribute to the outstanding impact internationally recognized scientists and scholars have had on their area of study.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which was established in Berlin in 1860 in memory of the famous scientist and explorer, grants up to 100 Humboldt Research Awards annually.

"This is one of the most prestigious awards in international science, and for John to have been nominated by German scientists speaks volumes about the calibre of his research," said Michael Emes, dean of the College of Biological Science. "We are all truly proud of his achievements."

Valued at close to $88,000, the award allows recipients to carry out research projects of their choice in Germany for up to one year in co-operation with German colleagues.

Klironomos said he is honoured to receive the award and plans to spend three months this summer and next summer in Germany working to complete his book on plant ecology.

"This award will allow me to focus on my book, and I am very grateful for the opportunity."

In addition to the book, Klironomos currently has a number of research projects with collaborators in Germany focused on mycorrhizal associations, which is the interaction that happens below ground among plants, soil and fungi.

A faculty member at Guelph since 1996, Klironomos has received numerous other awards, including a 2006 Steacie Prize, one of Canada's premier science and engineering prizes; a Canada Research Chair in 2003; an Ontario Premier's Research Excellence Award; and other discovery and strategic grants from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

His research has been published in Nature, Science, and Ecology as well as other prestigious journals. He is also a member of a number of professional societies, including the Mycological Society of America, British Mycological Society, Ecological Society of America, British Ecological Society and Soil Ecology Society.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982,

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