Mary L. Droser, University of California, Riverside, received the 2022 NAS Award in Early Earth and Life Sciences - Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal.

Droser is known for her pioneering discoveries and insights on Ediacaran-Paleozoic life that have transformed our understanding of early animals, their communities, and their environments.

Her research has had a profound impact on our understanding of the earliest animal-dominated marine communities through her sustained focus on the role of bioturbation and microbial interactions, and her long-term project excavating, studying, documenting, and preserving Ediacaran fossil beds in South Australia.  

Droser has introduced innovative and rigorous field methods to illuminate the fossil record of organism-environment interactions of the Ediacaran, Cambrian, and Ordovician faunas. 

Droser’s impact on the people in her field is as important as her research activities.  Throughout her career she has served as a mentor to generations of paleontologists and is a public voice for science.

Established by the NAS Council in October 2008 by combining two awards: The Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal established by a gift of Mrs. Mary Vaux Walcott in memory of her husband, Charles Doolittle Walcott, and the Stanley Miller Medal established through a bequest from NAS member Stanley Miller. The award rotates presentation between the Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal for research on Cambrian or pre-Cambrian life, and the Stanley Miller Medal which recognizes research on Earth's early development as a planet, including prebiotic chemistry and the origin of life; planetary accretion, differentiation, and tectonics; and early evolution of the atmosphere and oceans. Each medal is presented with a $10,000 prize.


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