Water conservation research has earned one University of Wisconsin professor one of the world’s most renowned awards in a water-related field, which includes a $150,000 prize and a royal ceremony.

Stephen Carpenter, a UW zoology professor and director of the Center for Limnology, has earned the prestigious 2011 Stockholm Water Prize. The award is the world’s most prestigious in a water-related field, a statement from UW said.

According to the statement, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden will present the award to Carpenter this August in a royal ceremony in Stockholm.

He will also receive $150,000 and a specially designed crystal sculpture with the award.

The award honors individuals and organizations whose work contributes to the conservation and protection of water resources and to the improved health of the planet’s inhabitants and ecosystems, the statement said.

“I was so surprised to learn I won the award,” Carpenter said. “There are so many great people in the field. Awards like this are always really for a team, and UW-Madison is one of the best places in the world for freshwater research.”

Carpenter is one of the world’s most distinguished experts on lakes and fresh water ecosystems, as well as the social aspects of fresh water ecology, the statement said.

He said his areas of specialization include food webs, nutrient cycling and non-point pollution of lakes and streams.

Carpenter is one of the most cited professors by environmental science publications and his freshwater research has been published in five books and nearly 300 scientific papers, the statement said.

He added he currently serves on the Science Advisory Board for the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and works for the Program in Ecosystem Chance and Society for the International Council of Science, he said.

The award, first established in 1991, is given annually in Sweden during the World Water Week, the statement said.

The statement said Carpenter has previously won numerous other awards and honors, including the Pew Fellowship in Conservation and Environment and the Robert H. MacArthur Award from the Ecological Society of America.

Carpenter added freshwater system research will prove important in combating environmental challenges facing nations around the world.

“The next planetary challenge is to feed nine billion people while maintaining freshwater flows and equality that are equally essential for life,” Carpenter said.

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