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Dr. James Elser is being honored at Founders’ Day for his contributions to major transdisciplinary projects related to biogeochemistry, ecosystem dynamics, and nutrient limitation, with a special emphasis on phosphorus. Since arriving at ASU as a faculty member in 1990, he has been a pioneer in the integrative field of biological stoichiometry, which is the study of the balance of energy and multiple chemical elements in living systems, and has applied this theory primarily in limnology, which is the study of inland waters (lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams, wetlands, and groundwater).
He is the current president of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO). He is the co-author of the highly regarded book, "Ecological Stoichiometry" and co-editor of the new book “Phosphorus, Food, and Our Future.”
He was integral in the 2011 founding of the Sustainable P Initiative at ASU. He is currently the principal investigator for the initiative’s Sustainable Phosphorus Research Coordination Network and a founding leader of the emerging North American Partnership for Phosphorus Sustainability.
He has been recognized for his research with two Fulbright Fellowships and with designation as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. In 2013, he was elected as a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters.