The Ecological Society of Japan

Call for applicants for the 18th Biwako Prize for Ecology

Kihachiro Kikuzawa (Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the Biwako Prize for Ecology)

The Biwako Prize for Ecology is awarded to outstanding researchers under the age of 50 in the field of aquatic ecology or related discipline. This year, the 18th prize will be awarded. Historically, Shiga Prefecture has organized this prize (until the 14th award), but the Ecological Society of Japan has assumed this responsibility from the 15th prize on.

After the 14th award, Shiga Prefecture had to stop for financial reasons. The Ecological Society of Japan then assumed responsibility for this prize, and has continued to bestow it without a monetary reward. Initially I was concerned that the number of applicants for this award would reduce without a financial incentive. However, this is not the case, at least for the past three events. We continue to receive high-quality applicants for this award, with recipients demonstrating considerable achievements. Moreover, recipients have expressed their joy in having their research recognized with this award during award lectures.

Previous recipients were Dr. Nobuhito Ohte and Dr. Shinichi Nakano. Dr. Ohte was acknowledged for his achievements in the study of material cycles in the watershed, linking biological and hydrological processes using novel methods, such as stable isotopes in forests. Dr. Nakano is credited with numerous observations and experiments demonstrating the importance of microbial loops in water bodies, which have been only recently discovered.

As usual, the 18th event will solicit applicants up to the age of 50 years who research issues relating to aquatic environments. This prize is mainly organized by the Ecological Society of Japan, but non-ESJ members are also eligible to apply.

Recipients are expected to give a commemorative public lecture in Shiga Prefecture in early next July, mainly for Shiga residents and prefecture staff. Although it is not mandatory, it is hoped that recipients will also write a commemorative paper for publication in a journal of the Ecological Society of Japan.

While it might appear that recipients are obliged to speak and publish without compensation or monetary reward, recipients are provided an opportunity to talk about their research to the public in an easy-to-understand manner, and to publish this as a paper. I believe these are great rewards and most enjoyable for researchers.