Colorado State University Researcher Honored with Scholarship Impact Award

A Colorado State University professor renowned for his research on ecosystems processes in grassland habitats has been named this year’s recipient of the Scholarship Impact Award, one of the highest annual honors given by the university. Alan Knapp, professor and senior ecologist in the Department of Biology, was honored with his award, given by Colorado State’s Office of the Vice President for Research, during a reception and awards presentation on April 28.

The award recognizes faculty whose scholarship has had a major impact nationally and/or internationally. The award includes a plaque of recognition and $10,000 in funding to support the recipient’s research program.

Knapp is best known for his research in physiological plant ecology. Scientists in this field seek to understand how plants respond physiologically to changes in the physical and biotic environment and how such responses influence the distribution and abundance of various plant species. Knapp’s major scientific contributions have redefined the understanding of vegetation dynamics and productivity in grassland ecosystems.

"The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to recognize Dr. Knapp’s significant impact on the scientific community, colleagues and students," said Bill Farland, vice president for Research at Colorado State. "He is a terrific example of the exceptional talent that we have at CSU."

Knapp’s scholarship continues to have a deep and lasting impact, which is reflected in the breadth of topics he investigates: from ecophysiological, community, ecosystem and landscape scales to global change issues including invasive species, biodiversity loss, elevated CO2 and land-use/land cover change. The international impact of Knapp’s work has been exemplified by three recent papers in which comparisons of ecosystem structure and function on a global scale have been explored and published in high-visibility journals and which has lead to invitations to serve on scientific committees in Spain, Israel and Canada.

During his academic career, Knapp has published more than 135 peer-reviewed journal articles and has been cited by his peers more than 4,700 times.

"Alan’s record of scholarly contributions and scientific leadership is the epitome of a distinguished scholar," said Daniel Bush, chairman of the Department of Biology. "He is an excellent role model for younger faculty and an experienced leader that will help define future directions of academic challenges for the university."

Prior to joining Colorado State in 2004, Knapp was a professor of biology at Kansas State University, where he earned the recognition of University Distinguished Professor in 2002.

Knapp’s numerous contributions include serving as a consultant and adviser for such noteworthy organizations as the Smithsonian Institute, the Public Broadcasting System and the South African National Research Foundation Scientist Performance Review program. He serves on policy committees for the National Science Foundation and Ecological Society of America.  Knapp is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute of Biological Sciences and Botanical Society of America.

Knapp also was honored this year as the College of Natural Sciences Professor Laureate.