Recipients of the Timothy R. Parsons Medal
Dr. Louis Fortier
A specialist of zooplankton and fish, Louis Fortier has authored and co-authored over 90 scientific papers on subjects from carbon fluxes in the Arctic Ocean to policy in a changing Arctic, and is a tireless promoter of a multi-disciplinary and cross-sector approach to the ecosystem-level concerns raised by a warming of the Arctic. Dr. Fortier was nominated for his incredible contribution to international collaboration and mentoring interdisciplinary scientists, including through ArcticNet; work that has contributed significantly to the further development of multidisciplinary ocean science.
Dr. Fortier is the scientific director of ArcticNet, a Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence that brings together specialists from 27 universities for integrated study of the transformation of the coastal Canadian Arctic, which has made such an outstanding contribution to the careers of many scientists and to our understanding of the Arctic. Currently, in addition to his position as a professor at the Université Laval, Dr. Fortier holds the Canada Research Chair on the Response of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change and is the project leader for the CFI-funded Canadian Research Icebreaker Amundsen.
Dr. Fortier received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the Université Laval in 1976 and 1979, respectively. In 1983 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba.
Dr. Curtis Suttle
At the annual congress of the Canadian Meterological and Oceanographic Society, on June 7, Dr. Siddika Mithani presented the 2011 Parsons Medal in Multidisciplinary Ocean Science from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to Dr. Curtis A. Suttle, Associate Dean of Science at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Suttle's groundbreaking research on marine viruses is work that has contributed significantly to the further development of multidisciplinary ocean science.
Dr. Suttle's research has demonstrated that viruses, as mortality agents of marine primary producers, have significant implications for the pathways of nutrient and energy flow in the ocean. These findings have had significant implications for many other ocean science disciplines.
In addition to the Parson's Medal, Dr. Suttle's many distinguished honours acknowledging his contributions to science, include being named the Zheng Zhong Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Xiamen University, China, 2010; the A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science, 2010; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 2008; and Fellow of The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Program in Integrated Microbial Biodiversity, 2007.
Dr. Suttle received his B.Sc. in Zoology (with honours) from the University of British Columbia in 1978. In 1987 he received his PhD in Botany, also from the University of British Columbia. He has made significant contributions at a number of institutions. Over the years, his career has taken him to: the University of Washington, the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Constance, in Germany.
Dr. Brian Petrie
Dr. Brian Petrie is the 2010 recipient of the Timothy R. Parsons Medal for Excellence in Multidisciplinary Ocean Sciences. The award was announced by Dr. Savithri Narayanan, the Director General of Ocean Sciences - Canadian Hydrographic Service, in Ottawa at the 2010 CMOS-CGU Annual Meeting.
Brian is noted for his extensive contributions to multidisciplinary ocean research with 35 years of service with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Brian joined DFO in 1975 in the Marine Ecology Laboratory at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. One of his first major services to the scientific community and province at large was his research associated with the Halifax Harbour Task Force. His model-based scenarios built on observations were the quantitative foundation for its recommendations and this body of research set a new standard for sewage modeling by incorporating a broad suite of variables beyond bacterial counts. Based on his unique blend of field and theoretical experience in physical oceanography and environmental monitoring, it was only natural that Brain was a key contributor in the design of DFO's Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program (AZMP).
Dr. Petrie has received numerous medals for his scientific contributions. These medals include the J.P. Tully Medal, awarded by the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society "for his collaborative, multidisciplinary research, and his sustained leadership to the description, understanding and implications of physical oceanographic variability in the Atlantic Canadian coastal ocean in 2004; and the Deputy Minister's Prix d'Excellence on two separate occasions.
Dr. Petrie joins a distinguished group of scientists with the addition of the Timothy R Parsons Medal. Congratulations Dr Petrie!
Dr. Richard Thomson
On behalf of Wendy Watson-Wright, Assistant Deputy Minister for Science of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Faith Scattolon, DFO Regional Director General, Maritimes Region presented the Timothy R. Parsons Award to Dr. Richard Thomson. The award was made at the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society 2009 Congress in Halifax, NS. Dr. Thomson received the award for his extensive contributions to multidisciplinary ocean research over more than 35 years of service with Fisheries and Oceans.
Dr. Thomson is a prolific writer with more than 170 publications in primary peer-reviewed journals, two books - the best-selling "Oceanography of the British Columbia Coast" published in 1981 and the internationally acclaimed "Data Analysis Methods in Physical Oceanography" coauthored with Bill Emery in 1998 (revised in 2001), and countless reports. Throughout his eclectic career, there are several recurring themes:
- a desire to communicate the results of his research through highly respected national and international journals;
- the need to understand the bio-physical processes of hydrothermal venting regions of the world ocean, including Endeavour Ridge in the northeast Pacific - Canada's first Marine Protected Area;
- a long-term interest in the generation and propagation of tsunamis generated by both earthquakes and submarine slides, including the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004;
- a career-long effort to understand the ecosystem dynamics of the west coast of North America, including the paleoclimate of the region based on sediment cores from anoxic basins; and
- the championing of Operational Oceanography for the prediction of storm surges and climate-induced sea level rise.
Dr. Thomson has also found time to motivate and mentor other scientists, students, and support staff to contribute synergistically to multidisciplinary research activities in Canada's ocean science community. Rick's contributions, ideas, publications, and leadership are evident through his body of research, activities and regulatory contributions in Canada.
Dr. Donald C. Gordon Jr.
Dr. Donald C. Gordon is the 2008 recipient of the Timothy R. Parsons Medal for Excellence in Multidisciplinary Ocean Sciences. In a research career spanning 35 years at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and in his retirement, Dr. Gordon has authored over 65 primary publications and close to 100 interpretive scientific reports and popular articles. He has had an important influence on government policy and regulation with respect to the protection and ecosystem-based management of Canadian ocean resources. He has influenced the assessment and regulation of offshore oil and gas development on the east coast, provided the scientific basis for fisheries closures to protect coral communities, spearheaded the inclusion of habitat issues into fisheries management plans, and provided the baseline information on benthic habitats necessary for the development of integrated management plans for the Scotian Shelf.
Dr. Gordon joined DFO in 1970 and immediately demonstrated strong science leadership skills and a holistic approach to problem solving on oil spills and their impact on the ocean and coastal environments on the Atlantic coast of Canada. He worked hard to clarify the science for regulators and much of his work from that era is used as standard method references today. He reached out to the community and industry, initiating a workshop that grew into an annual Atlantic Regional workshop with international participation.
He next turned the holistic approach to the study of tidal power in the Bay of Fundy. Extracting energy from tidal power became a focus in the late 1970s due to the increasing price of crude oil. Dr. Gordon tackled the problem of predicting the ecological impacts of tidal power development in this macrotidal coastal area. Following consultations, he assembled a multidisciplinary team of scientists from DFO, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Environment Canada, and universities including Dalhousie, Acadia, Mount Allison and the University of New Brunswick which conducted field studies in the intertidal and sub-tidal regions of Cumberland and Minas Basins. The research encompassed the full range of ecosystem functions from primary production to nutrient and ice dynamics. He spearheaded collaboration with Dutch and British scientists to apply ecosystem modelling for the direction of research and the holistic interpretation of research studies. He co-authored substantial ecosystem-level reviews of our knowledge base and ability to predict impacts. At the end of the extensive field program, data analysis, and publication of results, he chaired a regional workshop that reviewed the relevant research and provided a synopsis of the scientific understanding of the potential consequences of tidal power development in the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy. The ecosystem approach to this research was novel at the time but is presently considered essential to the provision of sound scientific advice on the management of human activities in our oceans.
In the late 1980s, Dr. Gordon provided scientific advice on the potential impacts of proposed oil drilling activity on Georges Bank. He assembled a multidisciplinary scientific team that prepared an influential report reviewing the state of knowledge of the Georges Bank ecosystem and how it might interact with the various activities associated with exploratory drilling. Subsequently, a 10-year moratorium was placed on oil exploration on Georges Bank and special funding was provided to support research to fill some of the critical knowledge gaps identified by the science review.
After several years managing science programmes, Dr. Gordon returned to research in the early 1990's and the growing concern for the impact of mobile fishing gear on benthic communities. Again Dr. Gordon assembled scientists from within DFO and NRCan to tackle this difficult research problem and developed a novel approach to sampling the bottom using a combination of video and still photography, grab samples, acoustic sampling and directed trawling. Analysis of the data required the development of custom software to manage and analyse this complex array of geo-referenced information. The results of this research have made a major contribution to Canada's policy on the regulation of benthic trawl fisheries. A minor diversion to this work was the first directed mapping of cold water corals on the Atlantic coast of Canada. This quickly led to fishing closure areas being established to protect this essential fish habitat.
Having made a significant contribution to the global debate on the impacts of trawling, Dr. Gordon's team turned their attention to the related, but more difficult problem of defining essential fish habitat on the Scotian Shelf. This work is on-going, using many of the techniques developed for the trawling impacts studies and adding a third dimension, fish activity and physical and chemical characteristics of the overlying water. The goal is to be able to predict fish community structure and abundance based on knowledge the biotic and abiotic habitat. This has been the subject of a series of regional workshops to classify the benthic communities of the Scotian Shelf and provide fisheries and oceans managers with guidance on the use of this classification system. Such knowledge will be critical to providing advice for an ecosystem-based approach to the management of ocean activities.
Perhaps Dr. Gordon's greatest contribution has been his influence in motivating, mentoring, and providing leadership to other scientists, support staff and students to contribute synergistically to multidisciplinary research. He repeatedly demonstrated the value of the holistic approach includes not only all scientific aspects of the problem but also engages all stakeholders throughout the process.
Congratulations Don Gordon!
Dr. Carl J. Walters
Dr. Carl J. Walters is the 2007 recipient of the Timothy R. Parsons Medal for excellence in multidisciplinary ocean sciences. Equal parts ecologist and mathematician, Dr. Walters has tested new ecological theories and practices and a new management approach using advanced computer-based systems that he has helped devise, and which have become central to the expanding multidisciplinary field of aquatic and oceanic environmental science.
Dr. Walters is viewed as the originator of Adaptive Management Theory and Practice. It represents a revolution in statistical, mathematical and empirical study of complex dynamic systems. His approach spawned Ecosim, a modeling framework to predict ecosystem changes in response to fishing and marine environmental changes that is in use around the world.
He has tested his work in marine case studies on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Florida Everglades and the sockeye salmon fishery of the Fraser River, British Columbia, among others. He has worked to predict trophic interaction patterns in aquatic ecosystems, now widely known as "foraging arena theory", and contributed to the theory and practice of stock assessment.
He has been on the faculty of the University of British Columbia (UBC) since 1969 and was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2006 he and Drs. Daniel Pauly and Ray Hilborn, all of the UBC Fisheries Centre, were awarded the Volvo Environment Prize for "Outstanding innovations or discoveries scientific, socio-economic, or technological which have direct or indirect significance in the environmental field and are of global or regional importance".
Dr. Ken Denman
Dr. Ken Denman received the award in honour of his career-long contributions on the influence of physical processes on ocean productivity, and for pioneering integrated physical-chemical-biological oceanographic research. A tireless researcher with a wealth of original ideas, he has many influential publications to his name, notably landmark papers pioneering the study of physical/biological interactions in the lower foodweb and the coupling of climate systems with biogeological cycles. He is a renowned expert in modeling marine ecosystems and climate, with monumental contributions to climate change science through his identification of processes by which marine ecosystems respond to and feed back on climate. Dr. Denman is employed at both the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria, and at the DFO Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, B.C.
Dr. Trevor Platt
Dr. Trevor Platt received the award in honour of his outstanding contributions to the fields of biological oceanography and marine ecology, the thermodynamics of the open ocean ecosystem and an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. Dr. Platt is a leader in interdisciplinary oceanographic research, a pioneer of new quantitative methodologies and the use of satellite remote sensing data for measuring ocean processes. He is a prolific scientific author, with over 285 publications. He is a major influence internationally, serving with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, the Scientific Committee on Ocean Research, the Joint Global Ocean-Flux Study and the International Ocean Colour-Coordinating Group. Dr. Platt is employed at the DFO Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and is an adjunct faculty member at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS.
Dr. Timothy R. Parsons
The first award of the medal was to Dr. Timothy R. Parsons himself. For more on Dr. Parsons see About Dr. Timothy R. Parsons.
Dr. Daniel Ware
Dr. Daniel Ware was the second recipient of the Timothy R. Parsons Medal, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field of fisheries oceanography. Dr. Ware, who passed away just months after receiving the medal, was a nationally and internationally renowned fisheries scientist with a strong research and publication record in ecology-based multidisciplinary studies. Dr. Ware spent the first 10 years of his career at the Bedford Institute and the next 20 years at the Pacific Biological Station. In 1990, he was selected as the First Chair of the Science Board of the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES). Dr. Ware was a pioneer in the investigation of the inter-relationships between fish stocks and physical environmental factors. He devoted himself to quantifying the effects of environmental variability on fish communities through a combination of field and modeling research. Throughout his career, Dr. Ware challenged conventional wisdom and produced influential papers that changed the way fisheries scientists and managers view the world.
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