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Coastal and Ocean Researchers Receive DOI Meritorious Service Awards

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Several U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists whose work includes coastal and ocean research—Steven Amstrup, Pat Chavez, David Douglas, and Randy Koski—received U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Meritorious Service Awards at the USGS 2008 Western Region Awards Ceremony, February 24, 2009, in Menlo Park, California. The Meritorious Service Award is the second highest Departmental honor award that can be granted to a career employee. Western Region Chief Scientist Brian Cole announced the awards and read the following citations:

"Steven Amstrup developed research techniques that are used worldwide and are instrumental in defining polar bear movement patterns and home-range size, delineating denning habitat, and estimating population size and status. Most recently, Dr. Amstrup led a multidisciplinary team that used highly innovative modeling techniques to forecast how worldwide polar bear populations and habitat will likely change as sea ice declines in the Arctic. Under an extremely compressed timeframe, Dr. Amstrup's team integrated outputs from habitat-use models and General Circulation Models to predict changes in available polar bear habitat in the 21st century. The model was of high value to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of the Interior in their eventual decision to list polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the U.S. Geological Survey in the field of wildlife ecology and in understanding the influences of climate change on polar bears, Dr. Steven Amstrup is awarded the Department of the Interior's Meritorious Service Award."

Steve Amstrup View of the south Moloka‘i reef and adjacent land
Above left: Steve Amstrup. Photograph by Mike Diggles, USGS. [larger version]

Above right: View of the south Moloka‘i reef and adjacent land produced by combining aerial photography and lidar (light detection and ranging) data. From chapter 2 of USGS publication “The Coral Reef of South Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i: Portrait of a Sediment-Threatened Fringing Reef” (USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5101), of which award winner Pat Chavez was an author. [larger version]

"Pat Chavez has been a pioneer in developing new techniques for linking satellite-borne, aircraft-mounted, and ground-based sensors to monitor the Earth. Working with the California Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation, he provided expertise to combine information from several technologies to predict environmental changes caused by water-level declines in the Salton Sea. In this arid environment, exposed sediment becomes windborne fine particulates with a potential to adversely affect the health of half a million people living in adjacent communities. Dr. Chavez created wind-erosion maps that highlight the communities' differing vulnerabilities over time and space so that they can plan for their changing futures. Dr. Chavez has applied similar methods in a multidisciplinary study of water-erosion vulnerability in the Hawaiian Islands. On the island of Moloka‘i, he used satellite images to measure changes in vegetation cover on steep hillsides. This information was used to build a model to predict future erosion rates. Resource managers used these predictions to link their management options with the likely response of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. In the Hanalei River watershed on the island of Kaua‘i, Dr. Chavez used satellite and airborne images to provide the Hanalei Heritage River Hui, a nonprofit environmental organization, with real-time images and measures of erosion events so that unique plant and animal species could best be protected. Throughout his career, Dr. Chavez has been recognized for his skill in collaborating with management and scientific staff from all USGS disciplines, DOI bureaus, State and local agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Supporters from both inside and outside the USGS continue to seek his expertise and advice on remote-sensing issues. Dr. Pat Chavez is awarded the Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the U.S. Geological Survey in the area of remote-sensing research."

Randy Koski receives DOI Meritorious Service Award from Western Regional Director Anne Kinsinger Polar bears on sea ice
Above left: Randy Koski (left) receives DOI Meritorious Service Award from Western Regional Director Anne Kinsinger while Western Region Chief Scientist Brian Cole (at podium) reads the award citation. Photograph by Mike Diggles, USGS. [larger version]

Above right: Polar bears on sea ice in the Arctic Ocean near Barrow, Alaska, October 1, 2008. Award winner Dave Douglas has investigated how climate change might affect polar bears and other species dependent on sea ice. Photograph by Jessica Robertson, USGS. [larger version]

"David Douglas is internationally recognized for his ability to integrate multidisciplinary data in a spatial framework to better understand landscape processes and wildlife ecology in the Arctic. He maintains one of the largest satellite-tracking databases of wildlife in the world. Integrating data on wildlife movements and population dynamics with remote-sensing data relating to variations and trends in landscape and oceanic features, he defined how landscape changes can affect wildlife populations. As the leading USGS expert on sea ice, Mr. Douglas and his Russian and NOAA colleagues have published nine articles on sea ice and climate. Because of his breadth of skills, Mr. Douglas is widely sought as a collaborator on studies related to climate change, most recently an analysis of how climate change might affect polar bears and other sea-ice-dependent species. For his outstanding contributions to the mission of the USGS, it is my pleasure to present the Meritorious Service Award to David Douglas."

"Throughout his career, Randy Koski's research has focused on understanding processes that create metallic sulfide mineral deposits. He is one of only a few scientists who study such deposits, which are formed at active oceanic spreading ridges, and similar ancient mineral deposits now stranded in terrestrial geologic settings around the world. In his research he used ships, deep-sea submersibles, and land-based techniques, yielding a body of scholarly works that establish critical links between many kinds of massive sulfide deposits observed on land and the processes by which they formed at the sea floor. The knowledge of ore formation resulting from his work has improved mineral exploration and development strategies in industry. Through his attention to the geochemical pathways of oxidized mine wastes, Mr. Koski produced a series of papers revealing how potentially toxic metals from oxidizing mine waste might affect environmental quality in nearshore and intertidal marine environments. As evidence of his international reputation, he participated on international committees with the Dahlem Workshop in Berlin in 2001 and the International Geological Congress in Florence in 2004, both of which dealt with the rapidly emerging field of marine mineral deposits. He continued his visionary leadership during his tenure as Chief Scientist of the Western Mineral Resources Team. For his exceptional contributions to the USGS in marine and terrestrial mineral resources research, Randolph A. Koski is granted the Meritorious Service Award of the Department of the Interior."

Congratulations to all the award winners!

Related Sound Waves Stories
Biologists Honored for Rapid-Response Investigations of the Impacts of Future Sea-Ice Change on Polar Bears
January/February 2008
New Method to Estimate Sea-Ice Thickness
June 2008

Related Web Sites
The Coral Reef of South Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i—Portrait of a Sediment-Threatened Fringing Reef - Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5101

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in this issue:

cover story:
CO2 May Help Wetlands Keep Pace with Sea-Level Rise

Erosion Doubles Along Alaska's Arctic Coast

Shrinking Beaufort Sea Coastline

Rapid Disappearance of Antarctica's Ice Shelves

Effects of Climate Change on Infectious Diseases

Outreach Diamondback Terrapin Survival

Science Fairs in Falmouth, MA

Meetings Coastal Erosion Workshop in Ghana

Awards Findings Used to Preserve Coral Reef

Ted Melis Receives DOI Meritorious Service Award

High-Flow Experiment from Dam Leads to Awards

Researchers Receive DOI Meritorious Service Awards

Miles Receives Diversity Award

Group Honored for Research on Alaska

Government Communicators Award

Staff Team Wins Silver in Curling Club Nationals

Publications May 2009 Publications List

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