Dr. Marvin Fawley

Dr. Marvin W. Fawley, assistant dean for science and research in the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, has been selected to receive the Luigi Provasoli Award for authoring the outstanding paper published in the Journal of Phycology in 2010.

The Journal of Phycology is an international journal of research on algae.  The award was presented at the annual meeting of the Phycological Society of America held in Seattle, Washington, in July.

The paper, entitled “An Unrecognized Ancient Lineage of Green Plants Persists in Deep Marine Water” was the work of an international team of scientists. According to Fawley, the team’s research shows that some green seaweeds that grow at great depths in the ocean – over 600 feet deep – are a previously unrecognized and very ancient group of plants that may be nearly one billion years old.

“The results of this research provide new insights on the origins and evolution of green plants and green algae,” said Fawley. “In the words of one of the members of the Phycological Society who nominated the paper for the Provasoli Award, ‘This paper describes what may be the most ancient lineage of plant life on the planet.’”

The paper has also received international media attention, with an initial story published on-line in BBC Earth News .

The Luigi Provasoli Award is named for the Italian scientist who served as the founding editor of the Journal of Phycology and was a leader in the scientific research on the nutrition of algae and protozoa.

Fawley is an associate professor who joined the UAM faculty in 2008. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a master’s degree from San Francisco State University, and a Ph.D. from Miami University.