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Plenary Speaker

Willian J. Mitsch

Willian J. MitschWilliam J. Mitsch is Eminent Scholar and Director, Everglades Wetland Research Park, and Juliet C. Sproul Chair for Southwest Florida Habitat Restoration and Management at Florida Gulf Coast University, Naples Florida. He is also Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University after a career there as Distinguished Professor and Director of the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park. He received his B.S. in engineering at the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in systems ecology at the University of Florida. He taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Louisville before coming to The Ohio State University in 1986.

Professor Mitsch’s research and teaching have focused on wetland ecology and biogeochemistry, wetland creation and restoration, ecological engineering and ecosystem restoration, and ecosystem modeling. He has presented over 400 invited scientific presentations and short courses in the last 25 years throughout USA and in over 25 countries. He has authored or co-authored over 500 papers, reports, and other publications, and has co-authored or co-edited 17 books, including four editions of the reference book/textbook Wetlands and two versions of Ecological Engineering. He has advised over 70 graduate students and 10 post-docs and is founder and editor-in-chief of the international journal Ecological Engineering. His 20-ha Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at The Ohio State University, started in 1991, was declared the USA’s 24th Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 2008.

He has served on four National Research Council panels related to wetlands and water resources (1991-2004), committees under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board (SAB) (2001-2011), a review team for the Swedish MISTRA (Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research; 1996-2000), and several advisory panels for the Louisiana Delta and Florida Everglades restorations (1997-present). During 1994-2002, he chaired a SCOPE committee on Ecological Engineering and Ecosystem Restoration and in 1997-2000, he chaired a national committee to determine solutions to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxia. He is past president of the Society of Wetland Scientists and is founder and past president of the American Ecological Engineering Society. He was General Chair of the 1992 INTECOL Wetland Conference and General Chair of EcoSummit 2012, both held in Columbus, Ohio, USA.

Professor Mitsch has been a Fulbright Scholar to the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (1986), and to the Okavango Research Centre, Maun, Botswana (2007), and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (1997). His awards include the U.S. EPA National Award for Wetland Research (1996), Distinguished Scholar Award at The Ohio State University (1998), Theodore M. Sperry Career Award from the Society of Ecological Restoration International (2005), Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Wetland Scientists (2007), and an Einstein Professorship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2010). He has received honorary degrees/professorships from the University of Tartu, Estonia (2010), and Nanjing Forestry University (2011). Along with Sven Erk Jørgensen, he was awarded the 2004 Stockholm Water Prize for lifetime achievements in the modeling, management, and conservation of lakes and wetlands.

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