Congratulations to Dr. Ian Stirling, the 2015 recipient of the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. For more than forty years, Dr. Stirling has studied the ecology and behaviour of Arctic marine mammals, particularly polar bears, which las led to a new era of ecological understanding of the Arctic.
Dr. Stirling is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta and an Emeritus Scientist with Environment Canada. A highlight of his body of work is a study published in 1999, which confirmed for the first time that the negative impact of climate warming on polar bears was statistically significant. Specifically, his long-term study of polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea led to the first scientific documentation on the sudden plummet of ringed seal’s reproduction, followed by a corresponding decrease in the survival of young polar bears.
The $50,000 Weston Family Prize recognizes a leading northern researcher in natural science and is the largest of its kind. It is administered and awarded by the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS).