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ODU's Frank Day Elected a Fellow of Society of Wetland Scientists

Frank Day

Frank Day, professor of biological sciences at Old Dominion University, has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS). He was honored at ceremony July 5 at the SWS annual meeting in Prague, Czech Republic.

His most significant scientific contributions have been in the area of forested wetland ecology, specifically ecosystem productivity with a focus on below-ground processes and litter dynamics.

Research conducted by Day has helped to identify forested wetlands as important ecosystems for processing nutrients and sequestering carbon. Rarely does a forested wetland paper pass the desk of an editor without a citation of Day's research.

"This is well-deserved recognition for years of hard work into the important functions of forested wetlands," said Wayne Hynes, chair of the ODU Department of Biological Sciences.

Provost Carol Simpson said in a congratulatory note to Day: "The award is not only an acknowledgement of your contributions to the field, but also brings international recognition to your program and to ODU as a whole."

Chris Platsoucas, dean of the College of Sciences, called the award "much deserved" and added that it is in recognition of Day's "leadership in his field of science, persistent efforts to promote diversity in wetland sciences and ecology in general, and an exceptional record of service to his profession."

"It means a lot to me to receive this recognition from my peers," Day said. "Being honored in the magnificent city of Prague was special because of the beauty and historical significance of the city and because the meeting truly represented the international scope of the society."

Day served as president of SWS from 2002 to 2003, and during his term he formally acknowledged the paucity of diversity among wetland scientists and the fact that many of the ethnic groups that are most dependent on wetland ecosystem services do not have a voice in the wetland science enterprise. Subsequently, he established the Human Diversity Committee of SWS and facilitated three successful proposals for grants from the National Science Foundation to support an undergraduate mentoring program for students from underrepresented groups. The program has been very successful under Day's leadership, with awards having been presented to 57 students from 38 different colleges or universities.

"I have spent 37 enjoyable years doing research in an exciting field. The past eight years have been especially rewarding as a result of my work with our diversity program," Day said. "This is an effort I am passionate about and I get great personal satisfaction working with the students. It is great to have the program receive additional recognition as a result of my award."

Day was elected as a Fellow of SWS because of his significant contributions to science, leadership in teaching and service to the Society of Wetland Scientists. He has established a strong, internationally recognized wetland research program and has influenced near four decades of students, many of whom are now professional scientists, resource managers, and teachers.

Letters in support of Day's nomination attest to his contributions to the field and more generally to science and society. One nominator wrote, "I have known Frank for many years, first as a scientist, then as president of the society and finally as a significant promoter of diversity in our profession. He embodies all the qualities expected of a Fellow."

This article was posted on: July 12, 2011

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