The President presents the 2011 Premi Ramon Margalef d'Ecologia to the Chilean ecologist Carlos Castilla
On October 24 the President of the Government of Catalonia, Artur Mas, chaired the ceremony at which the 2011 Premi Ramon Margalef d'Ecologia was presented to Chilean ecologist Juan Carlos Castilla. During his speech the President emphasised the fact that, when the award was created in 2004, Catalonia did not have the scientific standing it has today, despite excelling in certain areas. He added that the success of the country's present trajectory in science was largely due to "a scientific community that is constantly expanding" and the fact that "scientific output has come to affect many aspects of society".
The jury chose Castilla from the 18 candidates presented for his research into marine species and benthic communities, for his studies of the interaction between human activity and the structure and functioning of these ecosystems, and for his contribution to the development of new approaches to the management of reserves and the conservation of marine resources.
Born in Chile in 1940, Juan Carlos Castilla is considered the pioneer of South American marine ecology. His main contribution has been in the study of ecosystems on the rocky coasts of Chile and their sustainability. He stands out for his contribution to public policy regarding this field and his extensive, internationally recognised scientific output, and has published numerous books and articles in newspapers and the world's leading scientific reviews, especially those dealing with marine topics.
The Ramon Margalef Award was created by the Government of Catalonia in 2004 to honour the memory of Professor Ramon Margalef (Barcelona, 1919-2004), who carried out outstanding scientific and intellectual work in the field of modern ecology, becoming one of the world's leading authorities on the subject. This award is the first international accolade devoted exclusively to ecology and is intended to give recognition to scientists from all parts of the world who have distinguished themselves in the area of ecological science.