Biology professor receives Excellence in Weed Science Award

TWU Professor of Biology and Environmental Science David Clements, Ph.D., has received the Excellence in Weed Science Award from the Canadian Weed Science Society. The award recognizes those whose contributions have had a major impact on weed science or the agricultural industry in Canada.

An internationally-recognized expert on invasive species ecology, environmental ethics, and weed management, Clements has long been concerned with the relationship between weeds and climate change. “Invasive species are a huge problem in the world,” he said. “Climate change can influence how weeds adapt and become worse.”

Since coming to TWU in 1994, Clements has taught numerous courses in ecology and plant biology, including field courses on Salt Spring Island and in Hawaii. As a Professor, he is helping students become more aware of all invasive species and how they can be part of the solution. “No matter which weed it is, every weed has its benefits—in the proper place, where God meant them to be,” Clements said. “But when they’re not, that’s the problem.”

The Langley resident, who also contributes a monthly column, The Green Beat, to the Langley Times, considers his current research to be the most influential of his career. “I like to think I’ve tapped into some serious weed issues with global implications for society,” he said.

In addition to his work at TWU, Clements has co-edited a book on agro-ecology, written chapters on weed management and climate change, published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, authored more than 80 conference presentations, and has been involved with the Canadian Journal of Plant Science, Pacific Science journal, the Canadian Weed Science Society, the BC Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, the Invasive Species Council of BC, and several Fraser Valley organizations.

Clements’ Ph.D. research focused on mites but he was introduced to weed science by his colleague, Clarence Swanton. He has also collaborated with many other weed scientists, such as plant taxonomist Stephen Darbyshire and Cornell University’s Tony DiTommaso. “When you are at a smaller university,” he said, “collaboration is the key to success.”

Clements was nominated for the award by Dr. Mahesh K. Upadhyaya, professor of plant science at the University of British Columbia. The award requires at least 10 years of active weed research, as well as personal contributions that impacted weed science or agriculture. 

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