Carlos M. Duarte
The 2016 Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky Medal is awarded to Carlos M. Duarte for his outstanding contributions to biogeosciences, linking marine communities to global change and element cycling.
Carlos Duarte is Professor and Tarek Ahmed Juffali Chair in Marine Ecology at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology of Saudi Arabia. After obtaining a PhD from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) in 1987, he held research positions and research professorships with the Spanish National Research Council, was Winthorp Professor and Director of the Oceans Institute of the University of Western Australia from 2011 to 2015, and is currently Adjunct Professor of the University of Tromsø. Duarte has served as President of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography from 2007 to 2010 and was appointed member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC) in 2009. He received several scientific awards, as well as honorary doctorates from the Université de Montréal (Canada) and from Utrecht University (the Netherlands). Duarte’s research is at the interface of biogeochemistry and community ecology in both marine and freshwater ecosystems. During his early career, Duarte focused on seagrasses, transforming the field from seagrass taxonomy and population based studies to modern ecosystem science. He pioneered the use of stable isotopes and was the first to recognise the significance of seagrass meadows for global carbon sequestration, identifying coastal ecosystems as hot spots for carbon burial in the ocean. The latter led him and others to formulate strategies to mitigate climate change through the conversation and restoration of coastal vegetated ecosystems. They coined the term ‘blue carbon’ to refer to the carbon captured by the world’s oceans. Duarte has published more than 500 scientific papers and has an exemplary citation record. He was recognised as a Highly Cited Scientist by ISI in 2005 and 2014. Besides his pivotal role in advancing the science of aquatic ecosystems, Duarte served the scientific community in many respects, including with editorships for the EGU journal Biogeosciences and several other journals. Beyond that, his work has substantial societal impact. Duarte’s ‘blue carbon’ strategies have quickly entered the policy agenda. He exemplarily fosters the role of science as a platform to communicate the knowledge necessary to face future societal challenges. His impact on environmental protection efforts was recognised by the Silver Medal Cross to Merit from the Guardia Civil, Spain. He has been a key figure of the scientific community for many years through scientific innovation, coordination and integration, mentorship, as well as dissemination of science to the broader public. Because of his seminal contributions to biogeosciences, Duarte is a worthy recipient of the Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky Medal.