Assistant Professor | Natural Resources & Environmental Science
The Outstanding Researcher Award is given annually to a faculty member with a distinguished record in research or creative activities.
Ben Sullivan is on the cusp of being promoted to associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science. He is an exceptional researcher with a stellar record of grantsmanship and publication. Ben has developed a cohesive research program as a soil biogeochemist focusing on carbon sequestration and nutrient cycles in arid ecosystems. He has developed a wide network of worldwide collaborations within the discipline of ecosystem ecology, focusing on vegetation productivity and succession, impacts of invasive plants, and restoration of impacted ecosystems. His research advances basic science and ecological theory, and also contributes to the applied science needs of the Great Basin by addressing critical resource management issues, such as soil erosion, plant invasion and mountain meadow restoration. His research includes a substantial outreach component, evidenced by his Earthwatch grants supporting citizen scientist volunteers and his outreach grant with California Trout. Ben has published 20 papers in well-regarded journals 2017-2019, with his work being cited numerous times. He has taken a multi-pronged approach to supporting his research program, combining highly competitive national grants with more reliable funding sources, such as local and regional agencies. Of over $13 million in funding Ben has been part of since 2017, nearly $2 million has supported his research lab. Finally, Ben is one of our most engaged mentors for student researchers, being primary advisor to four master’s and three doctorate students. He has also graduated two master’s students, supervised or co-supervised two postdoctoral associates and three master’s-level lab managers, and mentored 14 undergraduates in his lab. Ben says, "I am grateful for and humbled by this award. My research represents the aggregate work, curiosity, and enthusiasm of my lab members and many colleagues. In such an integrated scientific community, many people share in making individual awards possible. I am grateful to my colleagues in the department for the nomination and to the College’s administration for their recognition of the work my lab has accomplished."