SANDRA DIAZ (ENGLISH VERSION)
PEOPLE VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE
Professor of Ecology at the National University of Cordoba (Argentina) and visiting professor at the University of Oxford.
[img1ce] She has studied the functional traits and syndromes of plants, their effects on ecosystem properties, and their interactions with drivers of environmental change. She constructed the first global quantitative framework for the essential functional diversity of vascular plants: the general spectrum of plant form and function. She published the theory of the concept of functional diversity and its effects on ecosystem properties and benefits. She combines ecology studies with interdisciplinary work on how different societies value and reconfigure nature.
She is a member of the Academies of Sciences in Argentina, the USA, France, Norway, Latin America, and developing countries, and a Foreign Fellow of the British Royal Society and a member of the American Philosophical Society. Her awards include the Margalef Prize in Ecology (2017), Gunnerus Award in Sustainability Science (2019), Kew International Medal (2020), and BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge in Ecology and Conservation Award (2021).
She grew up in a home with a large garden, with parents passionate about studying plants. Graduated in biology with honors in 1984. During her Ph.D. in environmental science, she developed protocols to support scientists, using functional traits to interpret ecosystems. She then studied at the University of Sheffield with J. Philip Grime, researching plant community reactions to increased CO2. She demonstrated connections between plants and soil microbes in the presence of high levels of carbon dioxide. She found that plants in a high CO2 environment also suffer when using fertilizers, while microorganisms thrive, indicating competition between soil and plants for nitrogen. Back in Argentina, she worked on functional biodiversity, developing new methodologies to quantify it. She was the first to elaborate on the functional diversity framework of vascular plants, those with woody tissue to transport water. In 2016, she presented the global spectrum of plant form and function, highlighting essential functional differences. She studied the interaction between ecology and social sciences, leading mixed research groups where sociologists studied what the population wanted from nature, and ecologists studied functional diversity and the most important ecosystem processes. In 2022, she was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. She has authored 378 publications. She is considered one of the most cited scientists in the world.
Folco de Polzer