The Jerry M. Melillo Directorship in Environmental Science

Jerry M. Melillo Credit: Tom Kleindinst
Jerry M. Melillo
Credit: Tom Kleindinst

The Marine Biological Laboratory proudly announces the decision to name the directorship of the Semester in Environmental Science program the Jerry M. Melillo Directorship in Environmental Science, an endowed fund.

Jerry, an ecologist, MBL Distinguished Scientist, and Director Emeritus of the MBL Ecosystems Center, has had a profound impact on our understanding of the ecological consequences of human-driven change from local to global scales. Using a combination of large-scale field experiments and simulation modeling, Jerry and his team have conducted pioneering field research on deforestation and agricultural land use, nitrogen deposition, and climate change. This research focuses on quantifying the exchanges of greenhouse gases between the land and the atmosphere and on identifying the biotic and abiotic factors affecting these exchanges. These studies have shown that it is essential to consider the interactions between the carbon and nitrogen cycles as we develop our understanding of biogeochemical responses to a warming world

Jerry has also dedicated decades of service to providing a scientific foundation for environmental policy. In 1990 and 1995, Melillo was a lead author in the earliest climate assessments prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and as an author he was a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC and Al Gore, Jr. In 1996 and 1997, Jerry served as the Associate Director for Environment in the US President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). He has served as president of the Ecological Society of America and of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Ecological Society of America. He is an honorary Professor in the Institute of Geophysical Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

A member of the MBL Ecosystems Center since 1976, and Center Co-Director from 1988 to 2009, Jerry has helped form and shape how the MBL investigates the structure and function of ecological systems and their response to changing environmental conditions, and how to apply that knowledge to the wise management of natural resources. In 1996, Jerry obtained initial funding to establish the Semester in Environmental Science (SES) program and served as the founding Director. SES is a 15-week fall undergraduate semester abroad in the MBL Ecosystems Center. The curriculum provides an intensive field- and laboratory-based introduction to ecosystem science and the biogeochemistry of coastal forests, freshwater ponds, and estuaries. To date, more than 400 students from over 60 colleges and universities around the nation have completed the program and about three-quarters of these students have gone on to careers in environmental research, policy or management.

In recognition of his profound scientific and personal contributions to the MBL, The Jerry M. Melillo Directorship in Environmental Science ensures the next generation of environmental scientists and students continue the legacy of his work.

If, in the opinion of the Board of Trustees of the MBL, it eventually becomes impossible, impracticable, or inadvisable to use the expendable income from the Fund for the foregoing purpose, the Board may in its sole discretion apply the income to such other MBL purpose or purposes as will most nearly accomplish the donor’s intention and at the same time permit appropriate and continuing recognition of the commemorative character of this gift.

To make a donation with a check, please make the check out the Marine Biological Laboratory and note “Melillo Fund” in the memo.

Please mail the check to:
Marine Biological Laboratory
7 MBL Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543