Skip to content Where Legends Are Made
Alabama Water Institute

Atkinson Honored with Leadership Award from Society for Freshwater Science

Dr. Carla Atkinson
Dr. Carla Atkinson

Dr. Carla Atkinson, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at The University of Alabama, has received the 2024 Leadership Award from the Society for Freshwater Science. Atkinson has been a member of the SFS for more than 15 years and has become an integral leader in the study of freshwater mussels, one of the most threatened faunal groups in aquatic ecosystems.

“Everyone depends on fresh water, but water quality and biodiversity are declining at alarming rates, so study and conservation of these systems is paramount,” said Atkinson. “SFS’s mission statement, ‘SFS is dedicated to advancing freshwater science to understand fundamental properties of aquatic ecosystems, promoting interaction across the disciplinary breadth of freshwater science, and applying our science to improve freshwater policy and management,’ encapsulates many of my goals.”

In addition to serving on the SFS student resources committee, education and diversity committee, public information and policy committee and the 2023 Brisbane committee, Atkinson also co-organized five special sessions at SFS meetings and has partaken in over 40 public outreach activities. Atkinson’s contributions to leadership in aquatic ecology and conservation management of freshwater ecosystems extend far beyond scholarship.

“Being recognized by the society is incredibly meaningful. SFS has provided means for me to communicate my science, passion for conservation and is a natural way for me to network and recruit new students,” said Atkinson. According to the SFS website, the award “recognizes early or mid-career members for extraordinary work on behalf of the society. While applications will be accepted annually, the award will only be granted to exceptional nominees and may not be granted annually. Successful nominations will make the case that the nominee has had a positive and demonstrable impact on some aspect of SFS and furthers its mission, especially by expanding the impact of our scientific society and of freshwater science.”