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Paul J. Hanson (2012)


Environmental Sciences Division

For environmental-effects research related to energy technologies and their use, focusing on the impacts of climate and atmospheric changes on the physiology, growth, and biogeochemical cycles of North American forest ecosystems.

Paul Hanson is a distinguished research and development staff member and group leader in the Environmental Sciences Division. He studies the effect of acid rain, nitrogen deposition, mercury deposition, ozone, and environmental and atmospheric changes on woody plants and ecosystems. The current National Ambient Air Quality Standards regarding public welfare protection (the secondary standards) for ozone were influenced by his publications and by his work at ORNL. Hanson also made the first quantitative measurements of the exchange of elemental mercury vapor with plant foliage. In more recent years, his work on precipitation change revealed substantial resilience of common eastern forest tree species in response to sustained drought. He currently plays a coordinating and leadership role for whole-ecosystem warming studies in high-carbon forested-bog ecosystems in northern Minnesota being conducted by ORNL staff, US Forest Service personnel, and university colleagues.

Hanson received his bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Cloud University, and his master’s degree in plant physiology and doctorate in forest tree physiology from the University of Minnesota. He has co-authored more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, has co-edited a book, and is an editor of the journal Global Change Biology. He received the 1995 Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from ORNL and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008.

He was named a corporate fellow in 2012.

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