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American Fisheries Society Honors Biologist Walter R. Courtenay

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Jennifer Nielsen presents the William E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award to Walt Courtenay
Above: American Fisheries Society President Jennifer Nielsen (USGS, Anchorage, Alaska, left) presents the William E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award to Walt Courtenay at the society's annual meeting. [larger version]

The American Fisheries Society (AFS) honored biologist Walter R. Courtenay with the 2007 William E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award on September 3, 2007, at the society's annual meeting in San Francisco, California. AFS president Jennifer Nielsen of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s Alaska Science Center presented the award to Courtenay at the opening plenary session, while another AFS officer, William Franzin of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans, read a citation highlighting Courtenay's many contributions to benefit native aquatic communities through research and publications on introduced fishes.

The Ricker Award is presented to an individual or organization for outstanding accomplishment or activity in resource conservation that is significant at a national or international level. Courtenay, currently an emeritus professor of zoology at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, and a volunteer fishery research biologist at the USGS Florida Integrated Science Center office in Gainesville, Florida, was recognized for his long career of fishery research, conservation, and education. Here is the award citation (also posted at URL http://fisc.er.usgs.gov/courtenay/courtenay.html):

"Dr. Walter Courtenay has worked tirelessly for more than 30 years, conducting research, educating students, and raising public awareness of the environmental threats posed by invasive species. His studies and his publications encompass exotic fish populations throughout their ranges—introduced and indigenous. Most of these species are important in the ornamental and aquaculture industries and can be extraordinarily destructive to native communities. Consequently, the work of Dr. Courtenay influences trade and conservation policy at scales ranging from regional to international. His work benefits conservation of native aquatic communities in North America and elsewhere in the world.

"First working as a fish morphologist in the late 1960s, Dr. Courtenay soon began intensive study of the ecology of invasive fishes in Florida. His work, describing and publicizing environmental dangers of these sometimes innocuous-appearing species, made his name synonymous with invasive-species research by the mid-1970s. At that time, he was conducting innovative pond studies to evaluate impacts of cichlids and walking catfish on native fishes. In the following decades, Dr. Courtenay and his students continued to provide the scientific community and the general public with case studies and comprehensive overviews of the introduction, spread, persistence, and ecological effects of invasive fishes. Because of his work, people of all backgrounds have been sensitized to impacts of invasive species; they are less likely to release nonnative species and more likely to support management and control programs.

"Walter Courtenay merits this award for two very basic reasons: he has spent a lifetime devoted to fish conservation and education, and he is sharing that lifetime of experience, insight, and wisdom with new generations of conservationists."

Related Web Sites
American Fisheries Society Honors Dr. Walt Courtenay
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)

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Meetings USGS Emeritus Scientist Leads Field Trip

Awards Abby Sallenger Wins USGS Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communication

American Fisheries Society Honors Biologist Walter R. Courtenay

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)