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Hanson elected fellow of the American Geophysical Union

Paul Hanson leads the SPRUCE project, a unique whole ecosystem manipulation experiment in the forests of northern Minnesota. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Paul J. Hanson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Corporate Fellow, has been elected to the 2020 Class of Fellows of the American Geophysical Union. AGU fellows are recognized for their scientific leadership in Earth and space sciences. Only 0.1% of AGU’s 60,000 international members receive this designation.

Hanson received the honor in recognition of “innovation in state-of-the-art field manipulations to assess the vulnerability and response of ecosystems to changing environmental conditions.”

Hanson leads the SPRUCE project, a unique whole ecosystem manipulation experiment in the forests of northern Minnesota, for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. SPRUCE uses a series of enclosures to expose large peatland plots to higher temperatures and elevated levels of carbon dioxide, allowing scientists to measure the effects of potential future climates.   

“Paul is a world leader in the design, development and execution of large-scale global change experiments,” said Stan Wullschleger, interim associate laboratory director for Biological and Environmental Systems Science. “Knowledge derived from those experiments is uniquely shaping our predictive understanding of how terrestrial ecosystems respond to environmental change.”

A long-standing member of ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division and Climate Change Science Institute, Hanson served for many years as lead for the Ecosystem Processes Group. In addition to his role with SPRUCE, Hanson is the coordinating investigator for DOE’s Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Scientific Focus Area and is a subject editor for the journal Global Change Biology.

Hanson was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008. He was recognized by ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division with the Stanley I. Auerbach Award for Distinguished Scientific Achievement in 1995. 

He joined ORNL as a postdoctoral associate in 1986 after earning his doctorate in forest plant physiology from the University of Minnesota. He became a research staff member in 1989.

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