Victoria Sork, dean of the division of life sciences in the UCLA College, has been award the 2020 Molecular Ecology prize, which recognizes an outstanding scientist who has made significant contributions to the field.

Sork, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, has made major scientific contributions — from working to build the foundation of landscape genetics to pioneering the use of molecular markers in tracking plant dispersal to unraveling the genomic and epi-genomic basis of climate adaptation in organisms.

A renowned plant evolutionary biologist, Sork has been a preeminent scholar in her field for decades, while serving as a role model and mentor for many early career scientists, and as a continual advocate for increasing diversity and inclusion in STEM, the prize committee said.

Elected in 2004 as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she has conducted pioneering research in the field of landscape genomics, which integrates genomics, evolutionary biology and conservation science. She is particularly concerned with the ecological and genetic processes that will determine whether California oaks will tolerate climate change.