UNIVERSITY PARK — Bradley J. Cardinale, professor and director of the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, has been named head of Penn State’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, effective Jan. 4, 2021.
Cardinale will succeed David Eissenstat, professor of woody plant physiology. Eissenstat has served as interim department head since the June 2019 retirement of Michael Messina, who led the department and its forerunner, the School of Forest Resources, for more than a decade.
“In Bradley Cardinale, Penn State and the college are getting one of the foremost scholars in ecosystem science, with an impressive record of research and academic leadership,” said Rick Roush, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “His experience positions him well to maintain and enhance the department’s reputation as a premier provider of scientific knowledge, undergraduate and graduate education, and outreach programs that help ensure healthy and productive ecosystems in Pennsylvania and beyond.”
Cardinale studies the conservation and restoration of biodiversity in natural systems, as well as the ecological design of human-engineered ecosystems. Most of his research is focused on the management of biodiversity in freshwater habitats such as streams, lakes and wetlands, but he has worked in ecosystems as diverse as grasslands, forests and kelp beds. His work has attracted research grants totaling more than $39 million.
Cardinale is one of the most highly cited researchers in his field. Clarivate Analytics ranked him among the top 1% of researchers for most cited papers in environment/ecology from 2015 to 2019. In 2014, he was named one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” by Thomson Reuters, one of the main sources of impact factors used in the assessment of scientific articles and careers.
At the University of Michigan, he has taught courses in conservation biology, ecological restoration and ecosystem services. An elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ecological Society of America, he has authored 120 scientific papers, as well as a textbook on conservation biology.
Cardinale earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Arizona State University in 1993, a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife from Michigan State University in 1996, and a doctorate in biology from the University of Maryland in 2002. From 2002 to 2005, he was a postdoctoral fellow in zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
From 2005 to 2011, Cardinale was a faculty member in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California-Santa Barbara. In 2011, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan as an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, reaching the rank of full professor in 2015.
In 2016, he was named director of the University of Michigan-based Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, a partnership among the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, universities, nongovernmental organizations, and businesses aimed at achieving environmental, economic and social sustainability in the Great Lakes.
The Department of Ecosystem Science and Management is Penn State’s home for the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, with a mission to solve conservation problems by conducting innovative research and training tomorrow’s natural-resource leaders.
The department offers undergraduate majors in forest ecosystem management and in wildlife and fisheries science, in addition to the soil science option of the environmental resource management major. Its graduate offerings include programs in forest resources, soil science, and wildlife and fisheries science.
Faculty conduct research in the core disciplines of forest health, ecosystem function and service, ecosystem management, and watershed resilience. Studies explore the ecology of natural and agricultural ecosystems, wildlife and fisheries sciences, forest sciences, hydrological sciences, and soil sciences. Through academic programs and nonformal extension education, the department also provides diverse training for students, citizens and youth in advanced ecosystem management.
More information is available on the department’s website.