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David Bricker
University Communications

Last modified: Friday, May 28, 2010

Loren Rieseberg is a Royal Society fellow

May 28, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington evolutionary biologist Loren Rieseberg has been elected a 2010 fellow of the Royal Society, the United Kingdom's largest and most important academy of sciences.

Loren Rieseberg

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Professor of Biology Loren Rieseberg and members of the Compositae family

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Membership in the Royal Society is considered a major honor in the natural sciences. Native to Canada, Rieseberg is part of a class of 44 new fellows from the British Commonwealth and Ireland, as well as eight "foreign members" from other countries, such as the United States and France. Rieseberg joins a group of 1300 living fellows that includes physicist Stephen Hawking, author Richard Dawkins, and mathematician Frances Kirwan.

The projects Rieseberg supervises integrate high-throughput genomic methods, bioinformatics, ecological experiments, and evolutionary theory to study the origin and evolution of species, domesticated plants, and weeds. He is primarily interested how new plant species arise -- speciation being one of biology's most fundamental questions. Rieseberg has examined a number of different plant species, but most of his work has focused on members of the genus Helianthus, which includes wild and domesticated sunflowers.

According to the Royal Society, Rieseberg "has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of speciation mechanisms and the evolution of local adaptation," "pioneered the application of experimental genomic approaches to studies of microevolutionary processes," and "demonstrated that new diploid plant species arise through hybridization, that this mode of speciation results from significant ecological and karyotypic divergence, and that the process occurs with remarkable speed."

The honor merely adds to what is already a stellar list of awards and honors Rieseberg has received. In 2004, he was elected a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Guggenheim Foundation. Rieseberg was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003, and received the first-ever Stebbins Medal that year from the International Association for Plant Taxonomy. Also in 2003, Rieseberg was selected by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes referred to as "the MacArthur Genius Award."

Rieseberg has joint appointments in Indiana University Bloomington's Department of Biology and the University of British Columbia's Department of Botany.

To speak with Rieseberg, please contact David Bricker, University Communications, at 812-856-9035 or