Prof. dr. Marten Scheffer(NL)
Circle of Trust
Marten Scheffer is a Dutch ecologist, mathematical biologist and professor of Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management at Wageningen University and Research Centre, and is a co-founder of SARAS (South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies, Uruguay). He was a winner of the 2009 NWO Spinoza Prize, the highest Dutch Award in Science. The scientists receive the prestigious prize for their outstanding, groundbreaking and inspiring research.
Marten is interested in unraveling the mechanisms that determine the stability and resilience of complex systems. Although much of his work has focused on ecosystems, he also worked with a range of scientists from other disciplines to address issues of stability and shifts in natural and social systems. Examples include the feedback between atmospheric carbon and the earth temperature, the collapse of ancient societies, inertia and shifts in public opinion, evolutionary emergence of patterns of species similarity, the effect of climatic extremes on forest dynamics and the balance of facilitation and competition in plant communities.
Marten is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2012 and was elected a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in April 2019.
He won the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2016) jointly with Gene E. Likens for contributing decisively to what the jury described as “one of the major challenges” of this scientific discipline: to understand and, where possible, anticipate ecosystem responses to human-induced alterations of the natural environment.
He is a member of editorial boards of a number of scientific journals and books. He is also a member of the Scientific Council of the Beijer Institute and the Para Limens Institute.
In 2018 Scheffer unveiled a large beetle sculpture named 'Must Leave' in honor of the Centenary of Wageningen University & Research. He created the beetle together with Danish sculptor Vagn Iversen, known for his hyper-realistic installations.
Apart from his work in science, Scheffer is also a musician, who plays the mandolin, guitar, and violin.
Inspired by the scientific article 'Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene', (W Steffen et al, 2018) Marten collaborated with artist Tone Bjordam and created a live music and video performance as the opening act at ECCA, European Climate Change Adaptation Conference 2019 at CCB in Lisbon, Portugal.