Marion scientist honored with award

Apr 04, 2017
Courtesy of: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Don Anderson testifying at the 2009 U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy & Environment hearing on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia: Formulating an Action Plan.

Marion — Marion resident Dr. Don Anderson has been selected to received the 2017 Bostwick H. Ketchum award by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The award honors an internationally recognized scientist who demonstrates an innovative approach to coastal research, leadership in the scientific community and who forges a link between coastal research and societal issues. Anderson will receive a bronze medallion and an honorarium at an award reception in Woods Hole on May 10.

Anderson is the 17th winner of the award, and he has been a leader in the field of harmful algal blooms for over 35 years. These blooms are outbreaks of microscopic algae that can cause a host of problems, such as: making fish and shellfish poisonous to humans; causing mass mortalities of fish, seabirds, whales and other marine animals; driving tourists from beaches due to toxic sea spray or huge quantities of rotting and noxious biomass; disrupting food chains; and making drinking water poisonous. Anderson has been a leader in research on this and other related organisms and their toxics, and in communicating and disseminating research results and observations to resource managers to avert potential disasters.

Anderson mainly focuses his research and activities in support of New England and U.S. fisheries, but also spends considerable time working with international colleagues and their governments. He was recently invited to Chile where one major algae bloom had killed 40 million farmed salmon worth $800 million.

In the United States, Anderson helped create a national program on marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms, testifying eight times before House and Senate committees and championing legislation that authorizes the program and provides funding for the field.

He is also the director of the Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic region as well as the U.S. National Office for Harmful Algal Blooms. With colleagues, Anderson helped pioneer the use of new technologies to detect and define harmful blooms in a more efficient and timely manner.

Anderson earned his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977 and came to Woods Hole as a postdoctoral investigator in 1978. He moved through the ranks to his current position as senior scientist. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific papers and more than a dozen books, and is a recipient of numerous awards and distinctions.

The Ketchum Award was established in 1983 as a tribute to the late Bostwick Ketchum, an internationally respected oceanographer.

At the award ceremony, Anderson will present a talk titled “The New England red tide: a retrospective and synthesis of Alexandrium bloom dynamics and ecology.” A reception will follow.

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