Back to top


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

MARCH 23, 2022 — The Society for Freshwater Science is pleased to announce the recipients of five Career Awards. 

“Our Career Awards recognize outstanding contributions in advancing freshwater science through research, translating this science into policy or social action, and service to SFS,” said Ashley Moerke, president of the Society. “These five scholars and leaders have all exhibited excellence in their varied contributions to our field around the world.” 

The 2022 Career Award winners are: 

  • Award of Excellence: Gary Lamberti. The Award of Excellence honors a person who has made outstanding contributions to freshwater science. The scope of the award reflects the broad interests and expertise exhibited in the Society. Lamberti is the Rev. Julius A. Nieuwland, C.S.C., Professor of Aquatic Science and Director of the Stream and Wetland Ecology Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, where he has been on faculty for over 30 years. Lamberti has significantly advanced scientific understanding in many areas of freshwater science, including the role of species interactions in shaping food web structure and function in  streams and wetlands, the ecology and ecosystem effects of Pacific salmon in their native and introduced ranges, and the impacts of land-use change, emerging contaminants and invasive species on aquatic ecosystem structure and function. Lamberti’s body of work has advanced our fundamental understanding of a broad array of freshwater ecosystems at multiple scales. Further, he co-edited Methods in Stream Ecology, which is a landmark contribution to students, teachers, researchers, and practitioners of stream ecology around the globe.
  • Distinguished Service Award: Michael Paul. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes a member who has made a genuine and lasting contribution to the betterment of the Society. Paul has done heavy lifting in several areas that have advanced the mission of SFS, particularly in the area of turning science into policy. Paul has served as chair of the science and policy committee for 17 years. In addition, Paul has served as a vice president of the Society, board member, executive committee member, annual meeting co-chair, annual meeting programming chair, long-range planning committee member, sponsorship committee member, and website committee member. Paul has done an incredible amount of writing and investigating to help the Society draft position statements on freshwater issues that have only been made possible because of his dedication and expertise. As a result, SFS has fundamentally advanced our Society’s voice in the decision-making about the protection, conservation and management of precious freshwater resources.
  • Environmental Stewardship Award: Jennifer Tank. The Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes a person who has worked to translate scientific knowledge into the social/public arena. Tank is the Ludmilla F., Stephen J., and Robert T. Galla Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, the Director of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative, a past president of the Society, and an SFS Fellow. Tank’s contributions have advanced our understanding of the ecology and biogeochemistry of agriculturally impacted streams, ultimately influencing and guiding stream management and conservation. In addition to being a leader in the biogeochemical scientific community, she has actively engaged the agricultural and conservation sectors, most notably with her recent project, the Indiana Watershed Initiative, which is investigating potential solutions to mitigate water quality issues. With her multi-stakeholder, collaborative approach as a frame for pursuing science that matters, Tank is at the forefront of the nascent field of translational ecology. Among her most notable research accomplishments are the application of stream nutrient spiraling theory to understand how agricultural land use modifies the uptake and transformation of nutrients, and how the timing of nitrogen export from agricultural watersheds influenced the capacity of streams, reservoirs, and restored floodplains to process and remove that nitrogen.
  • Hynes Award for New Investigators: Zanethia Barnett. The Hynes Award for New Investigators is awarded to a freshwater scientist who was senior author of an outstanding primary publication that appeared in print in the last three years. The recipient must have received a terminal post-graduate degree within the last five years and cannot currently be enrolled in a degree program. Barnett is a Research Fisheries Biologist at the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station who’s publication, “Crayfish populations genetically fragmented in streams impounded for 36-104 years” (Freshwater Biology 2020) was the first paper to assess the effects of relatively large dams on crayfish population genetic structure. Barnett’s research focuses on understanding the structure of aquatic communities and quantifying the effects of human induced disturbances on aquatic systems. She eloquently pairs her research with strong service to both SFS and the US Forest Service, including her dedication and passion to advance equity, inclusion, and diversity in freshwater science. Currently, Barnett represents the Southern Research Station on both the interagency Upper Mississippi River Aquatic Invasive Species Panel and the Forest Service Dive Control Board. In addition to her involvement in the award-winning Get Black Outside day that exposed youth and their families to freshwater snorkeling and the importance of healthy streams, Barnett is a member of the Society’s justice, equity, diversity and inclusion task force and serves as a co-lead for council of underrepresented voices.
  • Leadership Award: Patina K. Mendez. Created in 2021, the Leadership Award recognizes early- or mid-career members for extraordinary work that benefits the Society. Mendez exemplifies energetic, passionate, and detailed behind-the-scenes service that has helped make SFS the welcoming Society that it has been known to be for so many. Further, she has broadened the impact of the Society as an enriching and affirming resource through her contributions to the Instars and Emerge programs. She has been fundamentally involved as a leader and collaborator in innumerable SFS support activities and committees and initiatives. Perhaps her two most high profile roles have been her service as web editor and her contribution to the education and diversity committee, which together have supported the growth of students in the Society, particularly those from under-represented backgrounds. Mendez is a Continuing Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and her teaching focuses on undergraduate research.

The Career Award winners will be formally recognized during the Society for Freshwater Science’s annual meeting in an awards ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 from 3:30-5:00 p.m.