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2024 SFS Fellows: Bob Hall

2024 Fellows

Bob Hall

Dr. Robert Hall is Distinguished Professor of Limnology at Flathead Lake Biological Station, University of Montana, where he has worked since 2017. Prior to that he was on the faculty at University of Wyoming, where he started in 1998. Since graduate school at University of Georgia, he has been interested in stream carbon and nitrogen cycling and food webs, but with a career trajectory of studying ever larger rivers. His current work links geomorphology to stream metabolism and nitrogen cycling, time-series analyses of river metabolism, food webs, isotope tracers, statistical modeling, and dissolved organic and inorganic carbon dynamics in rivers. His teaching includes a field-based summer course on stream ecology taught on the Middle Fork Flathead, and a graduate course on ecological models and data.

Selections from Bob’s Fellows nomination and letters of support:

“Bob’s contributions to SFS have been significant. He has been an active member of the Society since graduate school and has served as an associate editor for Freshwater Science for over 15 years. Bob has brought numerous students and postdocs to SFS meetings, many of whom are now actively engaged in SFS. Bob has served as the Vice President of SFS and currently serves on the Publications committee …. Throughout Bob’s career he has conducted research that has pushed the field of freshwater science in new dimensions, from his graduate research employing cutting-edge stable isotope techniques, to his central role in both the LINX 1 and LINX 2 experiments, to his work on food web ecology to river metabolism and gas exchange to his more recent research focused on modeling of river and stream ecosystems. Not only has his research been well published and cited, Dr. Hall has also trained a number of excellent freshwater scientists who are actively engaged in freshwater science and active members of SFS.”

“I can speak directly to [Dr. Hall’s] collaborative spirit and enthusiasm for conducting extremely high-caliber freshwater science. I can recall many a heated debate with Dr. Hall about how to most effectively accomplish any measurement effectively. I am certain that many other collaborators could speak to Dr. Hall’s keen interest in getting the math right on vexing ecological problems, as this is one of his trademark skills that shows up again and again in his publications.”

“One of the hallmarks of Dr. Hall’s mentorship is that he inspires you to believe in your ability to learn and apply advanced modeling skills to questions in stream ecology. In my time working with Dr. Hall and observing his interactions with students and postdocs, I have never seen him even hint at the possibility of something potentially being too advanced for the capabilities of the person he is speaking with. Instead, he invites you to join him in taking on a challenge. Dr. Hall’s integrity and generous approach to his work serves as an inspiration to many within the SFS membership.”

“As a graduate student beginning to attend SFS meetings, I quickly became familiar with Dr. Hall because he is so willing to engage with students in the society. I remember anxiously awaiting what question Dr. Hall would ask after my talks, which I quickly learned to appreciate because it meant he was willing to invest the effort to think deeply about others' research without asking for anything in return. Dr. Hall has also willingly sung karaoke, donated the beer he’s brewed, and purchased various silly objects at exorbitant prices in support of fundraising for the SFS student committee. This generosity in effort and contributions further points to his dedication to supporting the future of the Society.”

“As past graduate student mentees of Bob, we greatly benefitted from his mentorship, excellence in freshwater science, and the active role he played in SFS, all of which shaped our training as early-career scientists and supported the distinct next steps we took in our professional careers. Many of us still benefit from Bob’s mentorship as we navigate new stages of our careers and several of us have developed new collaborations with Bob after graduation …. Working with an advisor who held time for life outside of work offered us important perspectives on how one could be a successful scientist and also be a well-rounded person with hobbies and priorities outside of their workplace. Whether laughing about making space for Bob’s mountain bike as “critical gear” during a multi-week river research campaign, having fond memories of his many delicious home-cooked and homebrewed creations we experienced during lab dinners and campfire cookouts, attending the same music concerts, or spending weekends skiing together, we saw a version of “work-life balance” in academia that inspires us to find time for our families, friends, and hobbies. We are better scientists, educators, and mentors as a result.”