Professor Gene E. Likens is an ecologist best known for his discovery of acid rain in North America with colleagues, for co-founding of the internationally renowned Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study and for founding the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, a leading, international ecological research and education center. Dr. Likens is an educator and advisor at state, national, and international levels. He has been an advisor to governors in New York State, in New Hampshire and Connecticut, as well as a U.S. President. He currently holds faculty positions at the University of Connecticut, Yale, Cornell, Rutgers Universities, and SUNY Albany, and recently was awarded a Chair as Albert Einstein Professor from the Chinese Academy of Science and also named Honorary Professor at Jinan University, Guangzhou, China. Dr. Likens has been awarded eleven Honorary doctoral Degrees. In addition to being elected to National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, Dr. Likens has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Austrian Academy of Sciences, and an Honorary Member of the British Ecological Society. Dr. Likens was awarded the 2001 National Medal of Science; in 2003 was awarded the Blue Planet Prize (with F. H. Bormann); in 2017 was awarded the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology and in 2019 was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science. Among other awards, in 1993 Dr. Likens, with F. H. Bormann, was awarded the Tyler Prize, The World Prize for Environmental Achievement, and in 1994, he was the sole recipient of the Australia Prize for Science and Technology. Dr. Likens has served as President of the International Society of Theoretical and Applied Limnology, American Institute of Biological Sciences, Ecological Society of America, and American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. Dr. Likens is the author, co-author or editor of 27 books and more than 620 scientific papers.

Research Interests

My research interests are focused on long-term, multidisciplinary studies of forest, stream, and lake ecosystems in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The objectives are to evaluate energy flow and biogeochemical fluxes for northern hardwood forest ecosystems, stream ecosystems, and for a small lake. These studies, done in cooperation with students and colleagues from Cornell University, Yale University, Dartmouth College, USDA Forest Service, Syracuse University, USDI Geological Survey, and others, are designed to delineate the biological, physical, and chemical parameters, and to assess the biological implications of human alterations of these ecosystems (e.g., by clearcutting, fertilization, or acid rain). Experimental manipulations of entire ecosystems are used to evaluate these questions. Limnological investigations evaluate the effect of forests clearing, construction of an interstate highway, and housing developments in the lake?s watershed. I also study effects of acid rain on natural ecosystems, evaluating the effect of human activities on historical changes in precipitation chemistry, the chemistry of precipitation in remote regions of the Southern Hemisphere, the chemistry of cloud water, and the ecology and biogeochemistry of aquatic ecosystems.

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Primary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology

Secondary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology