SREL mourns loss of Rebecca Sharitz

Rebecca R. “Becky” Sharitz, former professor of plant biology and senior research ecologist at the UGA’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, died Oct. 20 at her home in Aiken, South Carolina.

A native of Virginia, Sharitz joined the UGA faculty at SREL in 1972 and later served as acting director of the laboratory. She was also an adjunct faculty member in the Odum School of Ecology until 2017. Her faculty affiliation with the ecology school dates back to its previous history when it was known as the Institute of Ecology.

She was recognized internationally for her research in wetlands ecology and was author of a dozen books, including textbooks on freshwater and estuarine wetlands. She received the National Wetlands Award in Science Research from the Environmental Law Institute and was elected Fellow of the Society of Wetland Scientists and the Ecological Society of America, for which she served as national vice-president. She was president of the Association of Southeastern Biologists and vice-president and member of the executive board of the International Association for Ecology.

As major professor and mentor to numerous graduate students during her career, Becky Sharitz was considered to be the quintessential role model in the field of ecology, both professionally and personally.

Rebecca Sharitz in wetland