International Organization Dedicated to Antarctic Research Honors Colorado State University’s Diana Wall with Excellence Award

Note to Reporters: Photos of Diana Wall are available with the news release at

Diana Wall’s collection of toy penguins and mementos includes a bumper sticker with the penguin crossed out and the words “Refrigerate, do not freeze” underneath.

It’s a fitting nod to her important research on climate change and the affect that change is already having on Antarctic ecosystems and species.

At Colorado State University, Wall is a rock star – one of only 12 University Distinguished Professors on campus. But increasingly, her peers internationally recognize her contributions: She just received word that the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research – an interdisciplinary committee of the prestigious International Council for Science – is honoring her with the 2012 SCAR President’s Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research.

The President’s Medal is awarded for outstanding achievement in Antarctic science and scientific advice to policymakers. The medal, which is given every three years, will be presented to Wall at the conference banquet of the 2012 SCAR Open Science Conference in Portland, Ore., in July.

One focus of SCAR science is developing a better understanding of how unique Antarctic biota and ecosystems respond to changing climate, which is the focus of Wall’s research.

“This is a truly deserved honor that recognizes Dr. Wall’s leadership, her many years of seminal research in terrestrial biology in Antarctica, and her service in international organizations,” said Chuck Kennicutt, president of SCAR.

Wall has spent 22 seasons in Antarctic Dry Valleys examining the response of soil biodiversity and ecosystem processes to environmental change. In early March, she visited Antarctica to help evaluate the logistics needed to support future U.S. scientific research in Antarctica as a member of the White House-appointed U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel.

Wall Valley in Antarctica was named for her achievements in 2005. In addition to being a University Distinguished Professor, she also is founding director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, or SoGES. For about two years, SoGES has been running an Antarctic lecture series at the Fort Collins Public Library, which will resume in the fall.

“Getting recognized by your peers for the quality of your research is the best,” Wall said. “Particularly because Antarctica is a continent set aside for international scientific study, and the award signifies recognition of my contributions by numerous outstanding Antarctic researchers – glaciologists, biologists, atmospheric scientists, geologists, oceanographers.”

She is a former member of the U.S. Com¬mission of UNESCO and has chaired the SCOPE Committee on Soil and Sediment Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning. She heads the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, which will meet in London at the end of March. She has served as president of the Ecological Society of America, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Intersociety Consortium for Plant Protection, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, and the Society of Nematologists and as chair of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents.

She is an active member of the SCAR Standing Scientific Group on Life Sciences and has been involved in the development of SCAR’s next generation of Scientific Research Programmes. She is also working closely with SCAR on the 21st Century Conservation initiative.

Wall has an Honorary Doctorate from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The International Council for Science is a non-governmental organization consisting of scientific bodies representing 140 countries. For more information, go to