The 45 most influential female ecologists alive today according to twitter

Author: Melissa Giresi, Southern Fried Science

On Thursday, I tweeted “Name the most influential female ecologist (alive today) that you can think of.”  After it was re-tweeted by several of my much more twitter-savvy colleagues and friends, I received an overwhelming number of responses. In retrospect, I should have created a hashtag to keep track of the responses.  Forty-five influential female ecologists were named in this search, some of whom responded to the question themselves, naming their colleagues (but never naming themselves).  The most influential female ecologists (alive today) according to the twitter-verse are listed in the table below in alphabetical order by last name.

The accomplishments of the women on this list are incredible and innumerable. This list includes a the former NOAA Administrator, former president of the Ecological Society of America, a Laureate for the Tyler Prize in Environmental Achievement, Time Magazine’s Hero for the planet, a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, several members of the National Academy of Sciences, and winners of the Emminent Ecologist Award and the Hubbard Award, just to mention a few.  The women on this list include paleoecologists, entomologists, icthyologists, soil biologists, microbial ecologists, fungal ecologists, wetland ecologists, community ecologists, climate change ecologists, landscape ecologists, phylogeneticists, population geneticists, and anthropologists.  Their work spans from studying hydrothermal vents in the abysmal ocean to characterizing communities in rainforest canopies; from examining methods of pre-copulatory sexual selection to determining mechanisms of speciation; from examining community structure on small scales to characterizing effects of climate change on biodiversity on global scales.

The ability to communicate scientific information to the public is a difficult task, one in which all of these women have successfully done.  Many of the women on this list have been featured in prominent media outlets, such as TED Talks, episodes of the Colbert Report and on the Scientific American Blog. The women on this list serve as role models for young ecologists.


Last Name First Name Current Affiliation
Alonzo Suzanne Yale
Bartuska Ann USDA- Dept of Agriculture
Berenbaum May University of Illinois
Cavanaugh Colleen Harvard
Clark Eugenie Mote and U of Maryland
Daily Gretchen Stanford
Davis Margaret University of Minnesota
Earle Sylvia CAS, DOER Marine
Firestone Mary Berkeley
Fulton Beth CSIRO
Galatowitsch Susan University of Minnesota
Gillespie Rosemary Berkeley
Gordon Deborah Stanford
Grimm Nancy Arizona State
Hadly Liz Stanford
Hellmann Jessica Notre Dame
Hobbie Sarah University of Minnesota
Johnson Nancy Northern Arizona U
Knowlton Nancy Smithsonian Institute (NMNH)
Laporte Nadine Woods Hole Research Center
Lowman Meg California Academy of Sciences
Lubchenco Jane Oregon State University
Mace Georgina CBER
Martiny Jen UC Irvine
Matson Pamela Stanford
Nadkarni Nalini University of Utah
Olson Dede USDA- Dept of Agriculture
Palmer Margaret University of Maryland
Pendelton Bonnie West Texas A&M University
Pielou EC  
Power Mary Berkeley
Rabalais Nancy LSU
Roughgarden Joan Stanford
Servedio Maria UNC Chapel Hill
Steingraber Sandra Ithaca College
Stromberg Julie Arizona State U
Templer Pam Boston U
Thaler Jennifer Cornell
Treseder Kathleen UC Irvine
Turner Monica University of Wisconsin
van Dover Cindy Lee Duke
Wall Diana Colorado State
With Kim Kansas State U
Zedler Joy University of Wisconsin