2023 Geobiology and Geomicrobiology Division Distinguished Career Award

Presented to M. Gabriela Mangano

M. Gabriela Mangano

M. Gabriela Mangano
University of Saskatchewan


Citation by Marc Laflamme

Prof. Gabriela Mangano is a globally recognized ichnologist (trace-fossils) that has deeply contributed to our understanding of 600 million years of behavioral evolution as showcased in the trace fossil record. Prof. Mangano received her PhD in 1992 from the University of Buenos Aires and has held numerous positions over her career, culminating with her appointment as Distinguished Professor at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) in 2022. During this time, she has (co)supervised close to 60 MSc, PhD, and Postdoctoral fellows, many of which are Latinx and originate from South American institutions that are systematically underrepresented in the geosciences. Prof. Mangano is exceptionally prolific in peer-review publishing, having authored over 250 articles in book chapters/special papers and geoscience journals. Her dedication to positive geoscience education can also be seen in her publishing record as she has co-authored eight (text)books, which are pivotal to the academic growth and maturation of our students and faculty alike. In 2018, Prof. Mangano’s dedication to leadership and mentorship, including her active participation in the WUSC (World University Service of Canada) Student Refugee Program at the University of Saskatchewan, was recognized with the Outstanding Educator Award by the Association of Women Geoscientists (AWG). She is also a dedicated member in several professional societies, having served or serving on different positions at the Society of Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), the Paleontological Society (PS), the International Paleontological Society (IPA), the International Ichnological Association (IIA), and the International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS). She has recently finished her term as Coordinator of the Paleontological Society’s Distinguished Lecturer Program, in which she strongly promoted diverse, international participation. In sum, Prof. Mangano represents one of the strongest research scientists our discipline has to offer and has demonstrated throughout her career a dedication to fundamental scientific principles and promoting the interplay between Earth and Life.


Response by M. Gabriela Mangano

Thanks a lot for this award. I would like to thank my nominator, Marc Laflamme, for thinking about me and for taking the time to do this. Time is precious, and I know a nomination is time consuming, thanks for your generosity, Marc! Also, my sincere thanks to all of those who wrote letters of support and to the Geobiology and Geomicrobiology Division of GSA. Receiving the email came as a big (and pleasant!) surprise. In fact, I first thought I had been invited to be part of the Geobiology and Geomicrobiology Division Award committee (I have been called for similar committees so many times!). In short, wonderful news! As always, there is only “one recipient”, but science is a collaborative enterprise. I would like to share this award with the many collaborators with whom I have enjoyed working with and learn from through all these years. Also, with my dear, and lifelong friends, Verónica Campanucci, Juan Ianowski and Verónica Simionati. Life will be very hard without you. I have a very long list of people who I would like to thank, but due to time constrains (and the fact I do not want to miss anybody!), I will present my acknowledgments in an abbreviated format...

Special thanks to my husband, the love of my life and main scientific collaborator, Luis Buatois, who has been involved in this journey. He has been my main support in difficult times. I also need to thank enormously my mom and dad. My mother, Molly, is one of the main reasons I became a scientist. She, as Luis, has always celebrated my ideas, finding my questions exciting, and giving me the space to do crazy things just because I am always willing to invest time and effort in doing them, regardless the results. Our kids, Melanie, Gabriel and Michelle, have been also part of this adventure (and not without some suffering involved!). Having mom and dad both fully immersed in their mental worlds and constantly challenging them with a different way to look at things, either in the natural world or in the social one, has required a lot of endurance on their part …We have moved our family across hemispheres a couple of times, from Argentina to the US, back to Argentina, and then to Canada. It has not always been easy for them, neither it was for us…

I have huge gratitude to my former and present graduate students and postdocs, who have contributed to create a stimulating ichnoplanet, in which we learn from each other and produce science to the best of our ability. Having an international and multicultural diverse cast of students coming from so many different contexts has been challenging at times, but I have learned a lot! I am very grateful to be able to enjoy the vibrant and friendly research environment that each of them has helped to create. Working with extraordinary colleagues all over the world has shaped the way I am as a scientist and as human being. I have many “ichnofriends” and wonderful, generous colleagues literally across the globe. They have all become a significant part of my life.

I have been living in Canada for almost twenty years, and I have been able to nurture my family while developing a career in a beautiful country. Establishing myself as a scientist in Canada opened the possibility to work at a completely different scale. I also consider myself a product of the university system in Argentina. I studied geology at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires, a public and free institution where I received high-quality education. I have enjoyed learning from excellent professors and mentors. I started my career at the Argentinean Research Council (CONICET), a model institution for scientists in Latin America. Unfortunately, this system is once more under threat at the very same time that I am here receiving this award with promises by a presidential candidate of getting rid of the public university system and shutting down the National Research Council. I would like to finish simply mentioning a well-known quote that I read in a sign hold by a scientist who was demonstrating in support of our teaching and research institutions: “If you think that education is expensive, try ignorance”.

Thanks again!