Ecological Society of America Honors Baylor Environmental Scientist with Sustainability Science Award | Media and public relations

Ryan A. McManamay, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental science at Baylor University. (Robert Rogers/Baylor University)

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WACO, Texas (April 6, 2021) – Ryan A. McManamayPh.D., assistant professor of environmental science at Baylor University, is among the recipients of the Sustainability Science Award announced today by the Ecological Society of America (ESA).

the Sustainability Science Prize is awarded to the authors of a scientific work that makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of the sustainability of ecosystems and regions through the integration of ecological and social sciences. One of the most pressing challenges facing humanity is the sustainability of important ecological, social and cultural processes in the face of changing forces that shape ecosystems and regions.

In September 2017, while at the Urban Dynamics Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, McManamay and his co-authors from Oak Ridge, Northern Arizona University and University of Tennessee, Knoxville published “US cities can manage national hydrology and biodiversity using local infrastructure policyin PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science), one of the most cited and comprehensive multidisciplinary scientific journals in the world.

“I am truly honored to have our work recognized by such a prestigious award, especially when I think back to the list of past winners, many renowned scientists whose contributions have helped shape my vision of sustainability science,” McManamay said.

McManamay and his interdisciplinary team used spatially referenced data from surrounding cities and rural areas to show how local and regional policy choices can affect hydrological system integrity and biodiversity conservation. Their work highlights ways to make better choices about land use, water management, and power generation, and it promotes integrated planning and decision-making for greater sustainability in cities. and the pools of water and energy that support them. Their research demonstrates a new approach to the integration of ecosystems and social sciences, embodying the mission of the ESA Sustainability Science Award.

“The award means a lot to me because it validates a long-term decision to pursue interdisciplinary science – which, at times, can be isolating if a person’s scientific identity is strongly linked to a disciplinary line of research or to a community of collaborators. In other words, the award is a landmark and gives me the feeling that our research has its place and is valued,” he said.

McManamay, who joined Baylor’s School of Environmental Science in 2019, is a spatial ecologist who studies human-environmental systems to balance ecosystem and societal needs, particularly large-scale human impacts on land. natural landscapes, such as energy development, on aquatic ecosystems. . His formal training is in stream ecology and fisheries ecology, with a focus on environmental flows and river restoration.

McManamay’s research assesses natural and human-induced patterns in hydrology, infrastructure, and impacts on aquatic species, spans a number of scales, and includes both field and modeling analyzes at ecosystem, community and population. He is also investigating new approaches to biological monitoring and cataloging biodiversity. One of his specific interests is how to design sustainable future cities with respect to land cover changes, changes in regional to global water balances and changes in biodiversity.

He was a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 2013 to 2019 and was also a joint faculty member at the Bredesen Center at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville from 2016 to 2019, before continuing his academic career at Baylor.

“Maybe I picked Baylor, or maybe we picked each other,” McManamay said. “On an institutional level, Baylor has an unwavering mission with big aspirations, like working hard to achieve R1 status – honestly, I wanted to do that – and helping to develop an environmental science dimension in this kind of atmosphere. But also, Baylor seemed like a land of opportunity backed by a supportive community of scholars at all levels of their careers. And through my interactions within the department and the College of Arts and Sciences, I found it to be true.

McManamay is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Fisheries Society, and an alumnus of the Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy (ELEEP) group. He is associate editor of Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. He earned his BS in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and his MS in Biological Sciences and Ph.D. in Fish and Wildlife Conservation from Virginia Tech.

“Baylor University and the Department of Environmental Sciences are fortunate to have Ryan McManamay as a colleague,” said George P. Cobb, Ph.D., professor and chair of environmental science . “It is gratifying to see the significant positive impacts it contributes to the sustainability of ecological systems.

ESA will present its 2021 awards at a ceremony during the Society’s next virtual annual meeting, which will take place from August 2-6.

“This year’s winners have shown remarkable leadership and creativity,” said ESA President Kathleen Weathers. “On behalf of the Ecological Society of America, I congratulate the recipients and thank them for their significant contributions to building ecological knowledge and the environmental community.”


Baylor University is a private Christian university and nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 students by combining interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Established in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continuously operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a wide range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The College of Arts & Sciences is the largest academic division of Baylor University, consisting of 25 academic departments and eight academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught at the College cover subjects ranging from art and theater to religion, philosophy, sociology and natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research at the undergraduate and graduate level is widespread across all disciplines. To visit

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