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1984-09-01

The Crafoord Prize 1984 - in ecology

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards 1,2 million Swedish crowns to ecological research. The Prize, which amounts to 850 000 crowns, in one of the largest prizes in ecology ever awarded. Grants totaling 370 000 crowns are awarded to Swedish scientists within the same field.
The Crafoord Prize is awarded to Professor Daniel H. Janzen (U S) “for his imaginative and stimulating studies on co-evolution, which have inspired many researchers to continued work in this field".

Daniel H. Janzen, born in 1939, is professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, U S. For many years he has carried out tropic ecological research in Costa Rica.

The CRAFOORD DAY, Wednesday the 3 october 1984
Vetenskapsakademien, Lilla Frescativägen 4, Frescati, Stockholm
14.30 PRESS CONFERENCE
16.00 Daniel H. Janzen is giving a public lecture on the subject “The most Coevolutional Animal of Them all"
18.00 The Crafoord Prize is awarded to Daniel H. Janzen at a solemn ceremony

Daniel H. Janzen, 45, grew up in a milieu where hunting and fishing were economically important components of everyday life, and where, consequently, detailed knowledge about the occurrence and behavior of animals was an obvious necessity. Such knowledge can be gained only through years and years spent in nature. Janzen has many times admitted that his youthful experiences as a trapper, fisherman and naturalist have governed his entire later approach to research. He is not only a superb observer with an exceptional talent for disclosing unexpected causal connexions, but is an equally superb field experimental as well. His intimate knowledge of the habits and interrelations of numerous plant and animal species enables him to formulate interesting hypotheses and to arrange meaningful and relevant experiments. While his experiments are usually technically simple, they are designed so as to allow important conclusions and to point the way towards further progress in research. A well-balanced blend of theory and empirical work (spiced with some imaginative speculation) is what characterizes Dan Janzen´s research profile.

After graduate studies in the US, Dan Janzen has carried out the major portion of his ecological research in Central America. His second home has long been in Costa Rica with Santa Rosa national Park in the northwestern corner of the country as his headquarters. Here he spends a good deal more that half the year - as much time as his duties back home at the University of Pennsylvania allow. In Santa Rosa Dan Janzen works seventeen-hour days with no time for relaxation. “I am in a hurry, he explains, “I may have only 30 years to go, and there is so much to be done".

The interplay between different plant and animal species in the amazingly species-rich tropical forests is Dan Janzen´s major research interest. The interspecific interactions may take many forms and frequently are based on sets of mutual adaptations making the two or more species absolutely dependent on one another. While he did not coin the term “co-evolution", he has done more to spread this notion around the scientific world than anybody else, and when the day comes for formulating the first synthetic theory of coevolutionary states and processes, Dan Janzen´s work will indeed comprise a very prominent part of the foundation for this synthesis.

Dan Janzen´s international breakthrough came with his studies of the ant-acacias. As was known long before, certain acacias harbour ant colonies in special bulblike structures on their twigs. Using detailed observations and simple field experiments Janzen revealed in detail the intricacies of this coevolutionary interrelationship. This research, as well as several other studies published by Janzen, has attracted much attention and encouraged other workers to tackle similar problems in other plant-animal systems.

It is difficult to be an ecologist, especially in the tropics, without getting involved in environmental problems. The authorities of Costa Rica have been and are pursuing an enlightened policy for the environment and in this work have an extraordinarily insightful and knowledgeable advisor in Dan Janzen.

GRANTS HAVE BEEN AWARDED TO:
Göran Bengtsson and Christer Löfstedt, University of Lund, for the project: Plant galls as a co-evolutionary problem.
Kjell Danell and Lars Ericson, University of Umeå, for the project: The impact of herbivores on defence, vegetative growth and reproduction by plants.
Ola Jennersten, University of Uppsala, for studies of the co-evolutionary connection between Sticky Catch Fly, and its parasite Anthersmut and its flower visitors.
Björn Malmqvist, University of Lund, for the project: Co-evolution in lotic predator-prey systems.
Ulf Molau, University of Gothenburg, for studies in pollination biology of Andean Scrophulariaceae.
Olle Pellmyr, University of Uppsala, for investigation of pollination ecology of two species of the genus Trollius (Ranunculaceae).
Honor C. Prentice, guest scientist at the University of Uppsala, for the project: Co-evolution of change? A test of the niche variation hypothesis in decreasing plant species.
Jan Tengö, University of Uppsala, for the project: Co-evolution in a host kreptoparasite system.

Jessica Balksjö Nannini
Press Officer,
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
jessica.balksjo@kva.se
tel: +46 8 673 95 44
+46 70 673 96 50