David Reznick, a professor of biology, has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research.

With his election, Reznick joins some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts. Members contribute to studies at the academy of science and technology policy, global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities and education.

A total of 212 new members were elected to the academy this year. Among the 2011 class of scholars, scientists, writers, artists, civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders are winners of the Nobel, Pulitzer and Pritzker prizes; the Turing Award; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; and Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy awards.

“This is a wonderful surprise and honor,” Reznick said. “I value this recognition a great deal because I know that it represents some assessment of my career by a group of peers. I had no idea I was being considered for any such recognition. It just came out of the blue.”

Reznick studies evolution and performs experiments on natural populations of organisms. He is the author of “The Origin Then and Now: An Interpretive Guide to the Origin of Species.”