Catherine M. Pringle
Distinguished Research Professor 2008
Catherine M. Pringle, professor of ecology, is a world leader in stream ecology and conservation. Her work focuses primarily on tropical rivers, with ongoing research in Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Panama and Trinidad, Georgia and North Carolina. Much of her research has centered on the questions, “What is the role of particular species in maintaining ecosystem function, and how do freshwater ecosystems change when species are lost?” Pringle found creative ways to obtain quantitative answers. For example, she developed an innovative method for examining the effects of species loss on stream ecosystems. This now-widely used in situ “electric-exclosure” technique excludes particular organisms from the ecosystem under study without the artifact of cage effects. This experimental technique has been used to predict effects of frog extinction from mountain streams in Panama and shrimp extirpation from streams in Puerto Rico. The wide range of her original research and other efforts on behalf of stream ecology have greatly expanded the field and given it a prominent place among the aquatic sciences. With more than 150 publications in top journals, leadership roles in pursuing national interests, and millions of dollars secured in competitive grants, Pringle has brought worldwide distinction to the University of Georgia.
Creative Research Medal 2000