McDonough MacKenzie paper earns award for exemplary botany contributions

The awards keep coming for Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie, a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow at the Climate Change Institute.

The New England Botanical Club announced that her paper, “Common garden experiments as a dynamic tool for ecological studies of alpine plants and communities in eastern North America,” has received the Merritt Lyndon Fernald Award for exemplary contributions to the botany of northeastern North America.

McDonough MacKenzie is senior author and Kevin Berend and Kristen Haynes are co-authors of the paper published in Rhodora. The three met at the Northeast Alpine Stewardship Gathering in April 2018.

“None of us had known about each other before the Gathering, and we all bemoaned the fact that there was so little literature on best practices in creating common garden experiments,” says McDonough MacKenzie.

“So we wrote the paper that we all wished we could have read at the beginning of our graduate projects — a review of common garden research in the Northeast.”

They’ll each receive $1,000 and a certificate. The award is generally presented at the New England Botanical Club meeting in May.

For 60 years, Fernald intensively studied the flora of eastern North America. Fernald, born in 1873 in Orono, Maine, made numerous field expeditions throughout the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. He authored more than 800 papers.

Earlier this spring, the Ecological Society of America named McDonough MacKenzie a recipient of the George Mercer Award that recognizes outstanding recently published ecological research by scientists 40 years old and younger.

In Maine, McDonough MacKenzie continues to study the impacts of climate change on plant communities. She is a Second Century Stewardship Fellow at Acadia National Park.