Karl Joseph Niklas

Cornell University, USA


Karl Joseph Niklas was born in Manhattan, New York, where he received a B.S. degree in mathematics from the City College of New York, USA. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant biology from the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois. After accepting a Fulbright-Hayes Post-Doctoral Fellowship to work with William Chaloner at Berkbeck College, the University of London, Niklas returned to New York as the Curator of Paleobotany at the New York Botanical Garden. He has joined the faculty of Cornell University in 1978, where, as the current Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of plant biology, he teaches courses in introductory botany, plant evolution, and biomechanics. Niklas' research focuses on a biophysical approach to understand and quantify plant evolution and the relationships among form, function, and environment. He is the author of over 270 peer-reviewed research articles and three books: Plant Biomechanics: An Engineering Approach to Plant Form and Function, 1992; Plant Allometry: The Scaling of Form and Process, 1994; The Evolutionary Biology of Plants, 1997; all published by the University of Chicago Press. Niklas is the recipient of numerous awards, including a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship, the George Gaylord Simpson Prize of the Peabody Museum (Yale University), the New York State University Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, an Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Preis for Senior USA Scientists, the Jeanette Siron Pelton Award for studies in plant morphogenesis, and the Botanical Society of America's 1996 Merit Award and 2006 Centennial Medal. He has served on the Editorial Boards of the journals of Paleobiology, Organic Geochemistry, Evolution, The Journal of Arborculture and Urban Forestry, and the Journal of Biological Systems. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Botany (1995–2004) and President of the Botanical Society of America (2008-2009).

Biography Updated on 9 November 2008

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