Hamline News

Hamline Alumnus John A. Downing Named 2019 AAAS Fellow


John A. Downing ‘73 has been elected a 2019 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and the publisher of the journal “Science”.

Downing is the only Minnesotan elected to the AAAS in the atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences category. His contributions in various fields related to water health, including limnology, biogeochemistry and climate change science, particularly for understanding and correcting excessive nutrient capacity in lakes, were the driving factors in his selection.

Downing majored in biology at Hamline University and went on to study zoology at North Dakota State University before obtaining a Ph.D. in biology from McGill University.

He currently directs the University of Minnesota Sea Grant program at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) and serves as Professor, Department of Biology with the Large Lakes Observatory at UMD. Previously, Downing was Regent’s Excellence Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University, where he chaired the Environmental Science Graduate Program.

He has received numerous recognitions for his work in limnology, oceanography, ecology, climate change, and ecosystem restoration. His awards include the Thieneman–Naumann Medal from the International Society of Limnology, the Ruth Patrick Award from the Association for the Science of Limnology and Oceanography, and the Gardner Prize from the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association. He holds an invited membership on the U.S. Committee for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. 

Fellow Pipers have recognized Downing for his accomplishments as well. In 2014 the CLA Alumni Association gave him an Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his extraordinary work sustaining and improving the health of water worldwide


Written by staff.