The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has recently recognized two outstanding faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan by electing them as Fellows. Dr. Aimée Classen, director of UMBS and a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Dr. Lacey Knowles, the Robert B. Payne Collegiate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Insects in the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, were elected into one of the premier scientific societies in the world. 

Dr. Classen's election acknowledges her transformative research, which has broadened our understanding of ecosystems and informed pathways toward a sustainable future. Her exemplary leadership in the field of ecology and her research on the dynamics of ecological interactions and their effects on atmospheric carbon cycling have had wide-reaching impacts, from local ecosystems to global environmental processes.

Dr. Classen’s research group takes an interdisciplinary approach, employing observations, experiments, and models to study the effects of climate change on biodiversity. One of her current focuses is on understanding how winter changes–such as fluctuations in snowpack and freeze-thaw events–alter both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Upon being elected as a Fellow, Dr. Classen highlighted the importance of collaboration: “I am honored to be elected a Fellow, but this honor is shared with all the students and collaborators I’ve had the opportunity to work with... Together, students and scientists help forecast how organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems will function in the future and how we can envision the future we want to see under global change.”

Dr. Knowles, in addition to serving as a professor at the University of Michigan, is recognized for her significant research into the processes that drive speciation and population divergence. Her extensive use of genomic tools has shed light on the complex processes underpinning species diversity, particularly in grasshoppers.

When asked about her feelings on being selected as an AAAS Fellow, Dr. Knowles responded, "It's an honor to be selected." She also expressed pleasure in sharing the achievement with Dr. Classen, saying, "It's fantastic to be in great company to share this achievement."

The AAAS Fellows program is a prestigious designation that has been historically afforded to some of the most distinguished scientists in the US and elsewhere, who have made scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. This acknowledgment for Drs. Classen and Knowles underscores their researchresearch and their impact on both the scientific community and society at large.

Dr. Classen and Dr. Knowles, along with other newly elected Fellows, will be honored in September at an event in Washington, D.C., that coincides with the gala for the 150th anniversary of the AAAS Fellows program, celebrating their accomplishments and leadership in science.