Two ACES researchers honored as 2023 AAAS Fellows

Headshots of Cory Suski (left) and Marty Williams
Cory Suski (left) and Martin Williams (right) were named among the 2023 AAAS Fellows.

Two faculty members in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2023 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Fellows are recognized for their achievements in research, teaching, technology, administration, and science communication.

Cory Suski, professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES), integrates tools in animal behavior, animal physiology, and ecology to protect aquatic resources. He designs novel conservation strategies for stressors that include climate change, angling, and invasive species. His research spans many levels of organization, ranging from genes to watersheds, and involves both field and laboratory work. The AAAS selected him “for distinguished contributions in the fields of ecological physiology and conservation science, particularly the innovation of physiological barriers to dispersal by invasive aquatic species.”

As an example of his work on physiological barriers, Suski has tested underwater zones of carbon dioxide as a way to deter invasive carp species from entering sensitive areas. He is also working to understand the role of contaminants in deterring range expansion for invasive carp and how to use bubbles and sound to develop novel barriers that can target multiple life stages of invasive fish. 

On receiving the AAAS fellowship Suski said, “I’m honored to receive this recognition, and am grateful to the students and collaborators I have worked with over the years who have helped make this research a success. I have been fortunate to have worked with a number of hard-working, dedicated, and bright colleagues.” 

Marty Williams is an ecologist in the Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit of the USDA Agricultural Research Service and an affiliate professor in NRES and the Department of Crop Sciences. Williams is an internationally recognized leader in explaining and addressing critical problems in weed management and crop production. His laboratory uses an array of experimental approaches aimed at building resilience in crop management systems. A key goal is to understand how climate variability influences crop and weed-management outcomes while integrating new chemical and non-chemical tactics for managing weeds in Midwest grain and specialty crops. The AAAS selected him “for distinguished contributions to the fields of weed science and vegetable crop production, and service to those communities.”

In responding to a recent stakeholder concern, Williams’ team uncovered a new genetic vulnerability in corn to one of the newest herbicides available for use in field corn, sweet corn, and popcorn. His group also leads an effort among land-grant universities throughout North America to develop new insights from previously untapped historical herbicide evaluation records, including rapid weed adaptations to technology.  

“As a first-generation college graduate from rural Missouri, I am indebted to every mentor who took the time to share their sage advice along my career path. I’ve been particularly fortunate to work with diverse and talented individuals who share my passion for using research to help solve important problems in agriculture,” Williams said.

Alex Winter-Nelson, interim associate dean of research for the College of ACES said, “That professors Suski and Williams have been honored as AAAS fellows is no surprise. They have shown a deep commitment to the ACES mission of transformative research, providing stakeholders with actionable insights and sustainable solutions. We applaud their tireless efforts and are proud to add them to the growing list of ACES faculty members honored by AAAS.”

Story Source(s)