Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 25, 2013

UC Scientist Honored for Work to Protect People, Wildlife From Pesticides

Press Release from Center for Biological Diversity

UC Berkeley Scientist Tyrone Hayes Honored With E.O. Wilson Award

2nd Annual Award Presented for Groundbreaking Work to Protect People, Wildlife From Pesticides

SAN FRANCISCO The Center for Biological Diversity today presented its second annual E.O. Wilson Award for Outstanding Science in Biodiversity Conservation to Tyrone Hayes, a biology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Hayes’ research has focused on the threat posed to frogs by pesticides and the role of chemical pollution in the decline of amphibian species worldwide.

E.O. Wilson Award
E.O. Wilson Award photo courtesy Center for Biological Diversity. Photos are available for media use.

“It’s a great honor to recognize Dr. Hayes’ courageous science and advocacy to protect people and wildlife from pesticides,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center. “His career demonstrates the leadership role scientists must take in helping to protect the irreplaceable biodiversity that sustains life on Earth.”

Hayes’ research found that the herbicide atrazine is harmful to amphibians, turning male frogs into females by disrupting normal hormonal development. He has also worked to highlight the health disparities that occur in minority and low-income populations. He has been viciously criticized by the chemical industry, which has tried to discredit his research in attacks similar to those made on Rachel Carson, Theo Colborn and Sandra Steingraber in the past. Hayes completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard and his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley before becoming a professor at Berkeley in 1994.

“One effect in the relative neglect of biodiversity is the continuing decline and extinction of frog species,” said E.O. Wilson, the award’s namesake. “Dr. Hayes’ work on atrazine is especially relevant to the problem, and I congratulate him on receipt of the E. O. Wilson Award on both his research and the example he sets.”

The Center presents the award annually to a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to biodiversity conservation. It is named after renowned scientist Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University, known as “the father of biodiversity.” Wilson is considered to be the world’s leading authority on ants; his career has focused on promoting worldwide understanding of the importance of biodiversity and the preservation of our biological heritage.

The 2012 award was presented to Dr. James Deacon of the University of Nevada Las Vegas for his 53-year career focused on conservation of desert fish and on sustainable water-use advocacy.

The award consists of a handcrafted ant sculpture by artist Anne Bujold and a $1,000 cash prize.

Bujold is the owner of Riveted Rabbit Studio in Portland, Ore., where she creates sculpture and custom functional objects. She graduated from the Oregon College of Art and Craft and works primarily in mild steel, blending traditional craft techniques with modern processes to produce unique objects.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.



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