The Indiana Academy of Science presented Paul E. Rothrock with its coveted Distinguished Service Award during the organization's annual meeting in March 2023. The award recognizes Rothrock's career-long contributions to IAS leadership and service projects.
Rothrock is an associate research scientist emeritus in the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Biology at Indiana University in Bloomington. He is also an associate curator emeritus with the IU Herbarium. Rothrock joined the IU faculty in 2014 after retiring from his position as professor of biology and environmental science at Taylor University.
“Paul played decades-long roles in leadership positions in the Indiana Academy of Science, which is one of the largest such state civic organizations in the United States,” said Eric Knox, director of the IU Herbarium and a senior scientist with the Department of Biology.
“Contributing to his award was Paul’s role in the 5-year IU Herbarium Digitization Project—a monumental task, considering the herbarium houses over 161,000 specimens. Paul is the world’s expert on Indiana flora, and IU was very fortunate to have his contributions during the past decade,” Knox added.
Rothrock was also instrumental in the IU Herbarium’s 2021 Photographic Scavenger Hunt that garnered 8,988 images from native plant lovers across Indiana. Of them, 6,430 were edited and uploaded to the Consortium of Midwest Herbaria data portal. At the start of the scavenger hunt, approximately 1,400 Indiana species lacked adequate images. The project reduced that to fewer than 500 species.
“The project transformed how the Consortium for Midwest Herbaria ‘Golden Key’ makes it easy for almost anyone to identify nearly all Indiana plants. This aspect of the herbarium’s digital resources was recently featured during the IU Lilly Library’s well-attended ‘Flora and Fauna’ exhibit,” said Knox.
The Indiana Academy of Science noted that during his 40 years in Indiana, Rothrock served the botanical community in many ways, listing his major contributions to Indiana and the academy as:
- IAS Fellow, 1992-current
- IAS President, 2009
- Editorial Board Member, Proceedings of the IAS, 2011-2023
- Co-Editor, Proceedings of the IAS, 2011-2023
- Recipient of IAS Distinguished Scholar Award, 2014
- Author of books published by the IAS:
- Sedges of Indiana and Adjacent States: The Non-Carex Species
- Sedges of Indiana and Adjacent States: Volume 2. The Genus Carex
- Presenter of multiple workshops at IAS Annual Meetings and throughout the state on sedge identification, digital herbarium, and floristic quality assessment
- IAS committee member: Biodiversity & Natural Areas, Editorial, Budget, and temporary committee to review the IAS constitution and leadership structure
- Frequent participant and team leader of bioblitz events
- Recipient of seven IAS Senior Grants and three Winona Welch Grants
According to its website, the Indiana Academy of Science is a professional membership organization of Indiana scientists. Founded in 1885, it is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting scientific research and diffusing scientific information, to encouraging communication and cooperation among scientists, and to improving education in the sciences.