#ATBC15 Honorary Fellows: Dieter Mueller-Dombois & John J. Ewel

ATBC Honorary Fellows

In 1963, the Council of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation established the election of Honorary Fellows as ‘persons of long distinguished service to tropical biology’. This is the highest award given by the Association: to date more than 80 Honorary Fellows from over 15 countries have been elected by the Council. On behalf of The Honorary Fellow Nomination Committee, we present the 2015 Honorary Fellows: Dr. Dieter Mueller-Dombois and Dr. John J. Ewel.

Dr. Dieter Mueller-Dombois

 Mueller-Dombois and ATBC Executive Director Dr. Robin Chazdon (Photo by Franz Bongers)

Mueller-Dombois and ATBC Executive Director Dr. Robin Chazdon (Photo by Frans Bongers)

Dr. Mueller-Dombois was born in Germany 90 years ago and moved to Canada to study Forestry after World War II. He received his Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from the University of British Columbia in 1960. He moved to the Univeristy of Hawaii, Department of Botany in 1963 and taught there until he retired in 1990.  He was the President of our society in 1986.

Dr. Mueller-Dombois has been called the “premier ecologist working on Pacific forests”,  and his contributions to the understanding, managing, and conserving the vegetation of the Pacific islands is unrivaled. For over fifty years he has made major contributions to botanical science, ecology, and conservation in Hawaii and other regions of the Pacific; his early work synthesized European and American traditions of plant ecology and culminated in the publication of the classic 1974 book Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology (with Heinz Elenberg). In 1998. together with Ray Fosberg, he produced a monumental analysis: Vegetation of the Tropical Pacific Islands.  Since retiring Dr. Mueller-Dombois has written two more books and added to his list of over 200 papers. We are honored to name Dr. Dieter Mueller-Dombois an Honorary Fellow.






Dr. John (Jack) Ewel

Jack Ewel and Ankila Hiremath

Jack Ewel and one of his former doctoral students – Ankila Hiremath of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & the Environment (photo by Seth Bigelow).

Dr. Ewel has made innovative and far reaching contributions to our field as a scientist using experimental approaches to the study of ecosystem processes and community assembly, as a teacher and mentor, and as leader who invested his energies and intellect in the growth of the science and its application to forest management. He took his Ph.D. at the U. of North Carolina under H. T. Odum following a M.S. at the University of Florida under Hugh Popenoe and B.S. and B. S. F. at the SUNY College of Forestry at Syracuse.

Dr. Ewel has been a life-long student of tropical succession and results of his research have informed our understanding of community assembly, forest structure, nutrient dynamics, and forest management. He has first- or co-authored almost 100 books, articles, book chapters, and agency reports.  Jack served on the faculty at the University of Florida between 1971 and 1994, where he was highly decorated for his research, teaching and service. Jack retired from the University of Florida in 1994 and joined the USDA Forest Service as Research Ecologist and Director of the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry in Hawaii; the Institute provides research on forest management, conservation and silviculture to Hawaii and the US affiliated islands in the southern and western Pacific. With input from state foresters, NGO’s, academic scientists and other leaders, Jack built the Institute into a productive and collaborative research team, which addresses issues of central concern for forest managers and conservationists. He was President of ATB in 1990 and served on the Board of Directors and many advisory committees for the Organization for Tropical Studies,  the editorial boards of several journals, and on numerous task forces and advisory panels for the State of Florida and the US Government. It is especially appropriate that we honored Dr. Ewel by naming him an Honorary Fellow in Hawaii, where it devoted his creative energies to promoting science based management and conservation of tropical forests across the Pacific Islands.