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ASU Regents' Professor honored for ecosystems work

portrait of ASU professor Janet Franklin

In recognition of her contributions to understanding of human impacts on ecosystems, Janet Franklin has been selected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

November 23, 2015

Janet Franklin, a professor in Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, has been elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This recognition adds to a growing list of honors for Franklin, including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014 and selection as an ASU Regents’ Professor in 2015. 

In notifying her of the award, Rush D. Holt, CEO and executive publisher of Science, cited Franklin’s “distinguished contributions on human impacts on ecosystems by developing novel species distribution models, combined with innovative geospatial analysis and extensive fieldwork.”

Franklin’s work, while rooted in expert field work, has from her early years been built on innovation in the use of satellite-based and airborne imagery sources. She has developed techniques for using geographic information technologies and spatial statistical analysis to tease out new insights into the complex interrelations between human activities that change the landscape — such as agriculture and urbanization — and natural disturbances like fire, flooding and hurricanes, and how both these forces impact plant communities.

The survival of plant communities impacts the viability of animals and humans. Thus, Franklin’s research questions “lie at the heart of planetary sustainability,” commented Oliver Chadwick, professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in supporting Franklin’s election. “In essence, she is reading the tea leaves of our present planetary imprint and projecting for us what our own future will look like.”

"Dr. Franklin’s work has significantly increased our understanding of the synergies among human impacts and the environment,” said Dr. B.L. Turner II, an ASU colleague who, like Franklin, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and AAAS Fellow.

Janet Franklin planting tree seedlings
“I am humbled and grateful to my colleagues for selecting me for this honor. it is really something, as a scientist, to be recognized by your peers like this,” said Franklin (pictured left, planting tree seedlings as part of a field project in California).

Franklin’s election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will be acknowledged at the organization’s annual meeting in February 2016.  The association, founded in 1848, was the country’s first permanent organization formed to promote the development of science and engineering at the national level and to represent the interests of all its disciplines. It is allied with the top-ranked journal Science

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