MBL | Biological Discovery in Woods Hole Contact UsDirectionsText SizeSmallMediumLarge

Resources for Reporters:

MBL Publications:

Join the Conversation:
Facebook Twitter Youtube Wordpress

Nobel Laureates

press releases

For further information, contact the MBL Communications Office at (508) 289-7423 or e-mail us at comm@mbl.edu

Contact: Gina Hebert, MBL, 508-289-7725; ghebert@mbl.edu

Jerry Melillo
Jerry M. Melillo is a senior scientist at the MBL and a Director of the Ecosystems Center

Nobel Peace Prize 2007:
MBL Ecosystems Center Scientist A Lead Author on IPCC Climate Change Reports

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—The Norwegian Nobel Committee today awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

The committee cited the IPCC for its two decades of scientific reports that have "created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming. Thousands of scientists and officials from over 100 countries have collaborated to achieve greater certainty as to the scale of the warming."

Jerry M. Melillo, senior scientist and a Director of the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) Ecosystems Center has had a long association with the IPCC, having served as a lead author on both the 1990 and 1995 IPCC Assessment Reports. He was selected by the IPCC to contribute to the reports because of his special expertise in climate change research.

One of the main activities of the IPCC is to publish special reports (every 5 to 6 years) that assess the state of knowledge on climate change. The reports are widely cited in almost any debate related to climate change and national and international responses to climate change generally regard the panel as authoritative. The IPCC is currently finalizing its Fourth Assessment Report "Climate Change 2007.”

In a written statement, IPCC Chairman Dr R.K. Pachauri said “I would like to pay tribute to the scientific community, who are the winners of this award. The experts and scientists are the backbone of the IPCC and they provide the knowledge, which has contributed to the success of the IPCC.”

In the IPCC’s First Assessment Report, published in 1990, Melillo was a convening lead author of a chapter on the effects of climate change on ecosystems. The First Assessment Report is credited as playing an important role in establishing the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a UN Framework Convention on Climate Change by the UN General Assembly.

In the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report, Climate Change 1995, Melillo co-authored a chapter outlining terrestrial responses to environmental change and resulting feedbacks to the climate system. Information in the Second Assessment Report provided key input to the negotiations, which led to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

“I consider the recognition of the IPCC by the Norwegian Nobel Committee to be a tribute to science in the service of society,” said Melillo. “It has been an honor for me to work with an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Woods Hole and around the world to advance society’s understanding of climate change; both its causes and its consequences.”

About Jerry Melillo
Jerry Melillo is a Director of The Ecosystems Center at the MBL, where he has conducted research for more than three decades. He is also a professor of Biology at Brown University. Melillo specializes in the impacts of human activities on the biogeochemistry of terrestrial ecosystems. He has studied carbon and nitrogen cycling in ecosystems across the globe, including arctic shrublands in northern Sweden, temperate forests in North America, and tropical forests and pastures in the Amazon Basin of Brazil. Melillo holds a B.A. and a M.A.T. from Wesleyan University and a M.F.S. and Ph.D. from Yale University. From 1996 to 1997, Melillo served as the Associate Director for Environment in the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, and was the Director of the Ecosystems Studies Program for the National Science Foundation from 1986 to 1988.

Melillo recently completed terms as the President of the Ecological Society of America and of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), the environmental assessment body of the International Council for Science. He has served several terms as a Trustee of the MBL and is currently on the Board of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment and the Board of the National Ecological Observatory Network. Melillo is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Philosophical Society, and an Honorary Professor in the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Melillo IPCC Report Citations:
Melillo, J. M., I. C. Prentice, G. D. Farquhar, E.-D. Schulze and O. Sala. 1996. Terrestrial biotic responses to environmental change and feedbacks to climate, pp. 445-482. In: J. T. Houghton and others (eds.), Climate Change 1995 - The Science of Climate Change: Contribution of Working Group I to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Melillo, J. M., T. V. Callaghan, F. I. Woodward, E. Salati and S. K. Sinha. 1990. Climate change-effects on ecosystems, pp. 282-310. In: J. T. Houghton, G. J. Jenkins and J. J. Ephraums (eds.), Climate Change - The IPCC Scientific Assessment. Cambridge Univ. Press.

About the IPCC
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is an intergovernmental body that is open to all member countries of the UNEP and of WMO. Each government has an IPCC focal point that coordinates IPCC related activities in the country. Relevant international, intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations are also participating in the work of the IPCC. The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data or other relevant parameters. It bases its assessment mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature.


The MBL® is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit www.MBL.edu

The research of the MBL's Ecosystems Center, which was established at the MBL in 1975, is focused on the study of natural ecosystems. Among the key environmental issues being addressed are: the ecological consequences of global climate change; tropical deforestation and its effects on greenhouse gas fluxes; nitrogen saturation of mid-latitude forests; effects of acid rain on North American lakes; and pollution and habitat destruction in coastal ecosystems of the United States.