Former acting director to serve as Program Director for National Science Foundation

Author: Tammi Freehling

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Ecologist Gary A. Lamberti, professor and former chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, has been named a rotating program director for the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Program directors develop new funding programs for the division, manage review panels for grant submissions, and make final funding decisions for the NSF. The position entails substantial time on-site at the NSF building in Alexandria, Virginia, in addition to site visits to NSF-funded programs around the nation.

“Gary’s long-standing commitment to the discipline of ecology, understanding threats to the environment, and developing ways to solve those problems, make him an ideal choice for program director of DEB at the NSF,” said Jason Rohr, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame. “This award acknowledges Gary’s expertise in environmental science and recognizes him as a leader in the field. I am pleased to call him my colleague and look forward to seeing the impact that he will have on the future of environmental biology.”

Lamberti will be embedded within the Ecosystem Science program of DEB, which supports research on natural, managed, and disturbed ecosystems, including those in terrestrial, freshwater, wetland, coastal, and human-dominated environments. DEB runs core solicitations for grant proposals along with special programs in areas deemed to be particularly important for scientific research such as long-term environmental monitoring, young investigator career development, and rapid response such as environmental disasters. 

“I am thrilled and honored to be selected by the NSF to serve in this capacity” says Lamberti. “The NSF has been pivotal in supporting my own research over the years, and I felt it was time for me to help support the next generation of ecologists as they tackle the big environmental issues of the 21st century. The NSF also made it clear to me that they wanted me to continue my own research at Notre Dame, which was key to my decision.”

Lamberti’s current research focuses on the ecology of rivers and wetlands undergoing rapid change due to environmental stressors, such as invasive species, land-use change, global warming, and emerging contaminants. He works in coastal ecosystems of the Great Lakes and Alaska to assess how energy, nutrients, and contaminants cycle through aquatic ecosystems that have been disrupted by human activities, with a particular focus on the roles of fish. His research program has been supported by the Environmental Change Initiative at Notre Dame.

Lamberti earned a B.S. from the University of California-Davis and a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley. He conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at Oregon State University before joining Notre Dame. He has served as the director of the GLOBES program and as Gillen Acting Director of the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center.

Originally published by Tammi Freehling at on October 12, 2020.