URI ecologist named fellow of Ecological Society of America

Honor recognizes leadership in ecological research, policy

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 25, 2021 – University of Rhode Island Professor Laura Meyerson has been elected a fellow of the Ecological Society of America for her contributions to ecological research and policy.

Meyerson, a resident of Kingston, has been studying invasive species since 1995 and has been a leading advocate for addressing invasive species as a national biosecurity issue since joining the URI faculty in 2005.

According to a statement from the Ecological Society, she was elected for her “leadership in invasion science, including research on the biotic and abiotic underpinnings of biological invasions at multiple scales; for contributions to national and international policy through her publications and extensive service; and for training the next generation of leaders through teaching, mentoring, and action.”

“I’m truly honored to join this esteemed group of ecologists as fellows of the Ecological Society of America,” said Meyerson, URI professor of natural resources science. “The fellows are some of the most amazing people in our field, and I’m quite pleased to be among them.”

Meyerson organized the first conference on invasive species in New England as a graduate student at Yale University in 1999, publishing the resulting conference papers in a special issue of the then-new journal Biological Invasions, for which she now serves as associate editor-in-chief. After earning her doctorate, she was an environmental fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a staff scientist with the H. John Heinz Center for Science, Policy and the Environment.

Her research is international in scope and uses Phragmites as a model of invasive species for exploring the interactions between plant genomes, plant metabolomics and microbial communities. She also conducts research on ecological restoration and ecosystem services.

In addition, Meyerson has worked in the national and international policy arena with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Invasive Species Council, the Global Invasive Species Programme, and the Convention on Biological Diversity. She is writing a chapter on trends in invasions for a forthcoming global report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

She is a Switzer Fellow and serves as a trustee of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. In 2009, she was selected as an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, and in 2011 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research in the Czech Republic. She is now completing a second Fulbright Global Scholar Fellowship in South Africa, Argentina and the Czech Republic.

The Ecological Society of America is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of professional ecologists that publishes five research journals.