Ruth Patrick
Academy of Natural Sciences
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ruth Patrick has been a leader in wetland research for more than 60 years. She is an ecologist whose research has concentrated on freshwater systems, specifically diatoms—small components of wetland ecosystems that are vital to the biology and chemistry of wetland functions. Dr. Patrick’s broad interests include national and international ecology and policy, She led research that focused on Tinicum marsh in metropolitan Philadelphia that contributed to its preservation as the Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. Most recently, her work has involved gathering and summarizing research on aquatic systems and wetlands conducted by scientists from all over the world. She is also an inventor-her diatometer measures the health of aquatic systems.

Dr. Patrick has been involved with nearly every federal agency. Her expertise and ability to effectively distill and convey important information has made her a valuable advisor to the National Academy of Science, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Power Commission, and the World Wildlife Fund, to name just a few. In addition, she received the National Medal of Science from President Clinton, has been awarded 25 honorary degrees, received the Eminent Ecologist award from the Ecological Society of America, and she has been honored by the University of South Carolina’s dedication of the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center.

Ruth Patrick is a role model for ecologists, particularly for women scientists. Her diverse audience includes policymakers, students, and scientists who rely on her knowledgeable synthesis of complex research issues.

— John Teal, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Rochester, Massachusetts