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American Today


Biologist Honored for Research on Cave Organisms

By Mike Unger

David Culver

David Culver

Environmental Science professor David Culver has been awarded the distinction of fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The organization bestowed the recognition on Culver “for outstanding research on the biology of cave organisms and for fostering international cooperation in this field through books and organizing and publishing symposia.”

The world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million people. In order to become a fellow, a member must be nominated by a steering committee in their section, three current fellows, or by the chief executive officer. The AAAS council, the policymaking body of the association, votes on the nominees.

“It’s a nice thing to get for sure,” Culver said. “To make it through the nomination process is an honor.”

Culver is one of 503 new Fellows this year. They will be presented with an official certificate and a rosette pin at the Fellows Forum during the 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting on Feb. 19 in Washington.

Culver is AU’s second fellow, joining Mary Gray, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

The author or editor of five books and over 100 articles, Culver has studied many aspects of the biology of subterranean animals, especially cave animals. He’s now examining subterranean habitats that aren’t actually caves.

“In Rock Creek Park there are a series of little miniature springs that have cave-like animals in them,” he said. “Very little is known about them. They’re really enigmatic. We’re trying to figure out what’s going on with them.”