William E. Pine, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
2013 AwardeeWilliam Pine works to understand how aquatic ecosystems respond to changes in water availability, due to climate change and increases in human use related to population growth.
Pine works with resource management agencies to evaluate how ecosystems respond to different policy choices related to how water resources are allocated. These evaluations can lead to improvements in decision making, by highlighting tradeoffs in ecosystem responses to the different policy choices. In a world with rapidly increasing competition for water resources, his research program will lead to a great understanding of aquatic ecology and, ultimately, more effective management of aquatic resources benefiting both aquatic ecosystems, as well as their human users.
Pine’s research informs dialogues (often surrounded by controversies) concerning management of the most contentious river systems in North America. In the Grand Canyon, Pine works with agencies to design flow experiments to minimize the impacts to native fish populations in the Colorado River. This work is important because the Endangered Species Act requires that dam operations protect the viability of native fish species, yet 15% of people in the US are dependent on this dam for electricity and water.
Pine earns the respect of federal and state agencies on all sides of issues in the Colorado River basin. He advises both member states of the Colorado River Compact (7 US states) as well as the US Department of Interior on the long-term environmental management plan for Glen Canyon Dam. In a testament to his earned reputation for solving problems and serving the public interest, Pine received a personal letter of thanks from Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science for the US Department of Interior. This is recognition from the highest level of decision makers related to natural resources held in protective trust for all US citizens.
Closer to UF, Pine is serving in a critical capacity to understand a perceived disaster concerning Gulf of Mexico oyster populations occurring in the fall of 2012. Agencies hypothesize that ongoing water allocation disputes between Alabama, Georgia, and Florida in the Apalachicola River basin may have contributed to this disaster. Pine was asked by UF to serve on a panel of scientists assessing the current situation.