Ivan Arismendi
Oregon State University

Emmeline Moore Prize

The American Fisheries Society (AFS) has established a career achievement award, named after the first female AFS president, Emmeline Moore (1927-1928), to recognize efforts of an individual member in the promotion of demographic diversity in the Society.

Dr. Ivan Arismendi is an aquatic ecologist who currently holds an Assistant Professor position at Oregon State University. Growing up in southern Chile, his interest for aquatic ecology was sparked as he witnessed the invasion of trout and salmon in his native waters. He successfully obtained a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries Engineering and a Doctorate degree in Forest Sciences from Austral University in Chile. Currently, he leads scientific research to improve our understanding about the role of natural variability and human-related disturbances on aquatic ecosystems. Specifically, he focuses on global environmental change, invasion biology, and aquatic food webs. But, he is also interested in the people who use or study in natural resources, which has led to emergent research on diversity, equity, and inclusion in science. To date, Dr. Arismendi has led to over 70 scientific publications and has received various awards, including the “Savery Outstanding Young Faculty Award” from the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University this year. As a mentor and advisor, Dr. Arismendi helps students become the professionals they desire to be and he enhances the student diversity in his department by mentoring and advising both graduate and undergraduate students, including students from Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, and Vietnam. His research lab includes members from a variety of identities and backgrounds including racial minorities, gender minorities, veterans, and international students. In total, he has mentored 2 postdocs, advised 14 graduate students, and mentored 19 undergraduate students. He contributes to several DEI initiatives, including a summer camp to engage high school students from underserved communities, which received the Oregon State University Outreach and Engagement Vice-Provost Team Award for Excellence in 2020. He self-identifies as a LatinX scientist with a strong commitment to serve as an example to students that science is available to everyone. Twitter: @Timaukel


Wolf Dieter Busch
US Fish and Wildlife Service, retired

President's Fishery Conservation Award - Member

Presented in two categories: (1) an AFS individual or unit, or (2) a non-AFS individual or entity, for singular accomplishments or long-term contributions that advance aquatic resource conservation at a regional or local level. The award is administered by the Past President’s Advisory Council.

Dieter started his career with the FWS as a Fisheries Research Biologist, focusing on determining the health and abundance of key fish species in Lakes Erie and Ontario. He moved to the Gulf of Mexico to help address the federal requirements for protection and restoration of the coastal zones.  Dieter returned to the Great Lakes and focused on native fish species restoration and endangered species protection. In 1990, Dieter opened a new FWS office as Chief of Lakes Erie and Ontario, to support the mission of the four States, Canada, and the International Commissions. He also implemented ecosystem-based studies concerning the health of Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and restoration of Lake Erie. After the FWS, Dieter joined the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Washington DC as Director, Interstate Fisheries Management Program for the 15 Coastal States

The genesis of the birth of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 1990 started when Dieter began his professional career as a Fisheries Research Biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in 1969.  He participated in research dealing with the health and abundance of fish species in Lakes Erie and Ontario.  The Great Lakes Fisheries Commission and the International Joint Commission (IJC) provided general guidance and coordination to the four states, the province of Ontario, and the two federal governments who share responsibility for the natural resources of these Great Lakes. During this 20-year period in research, habitat protection, and resource restoration, Dieter was exposed to key professional mentors such as Joseph Koonce, Edward T. LaRoe, William Pearce, Peter Sly and others.  He also participated in major studies or activities such as the IJC’s proposed “Winter Navigation on Lake Ontario,” restoration of lake trout, and prevention of exotic species.  It also became clear that numerous other resource management agencies besides those directly dealing with fish and wildlife resources have responsibility for the health of these watersheds.  Dieter’s support for the use of an ecosystem-based approach increased.   

The US Fish and Wildlife Service encouraged keeping the resource partners and the public informed.  As part of this charge, Dieter made it a point to meet with members of Congress.   A key meeting was with the Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, Congressman Henry Nowak of New York and his Legislative Aide, Brett Kaul in 1989. They became very interested and wanted to support an ecosystem approach to be used in restoring and protecting the Great Lakes watershed.  Throughout numerous meetings, key descriptive data and supportive information was prepared by Dieter and provided to Brett Kaul for the Water Resources Committee.  Within two years the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act was born and signed by President George Bush, November 6, 1990. 

The GLF&WR Act continues to provide significant funds each year to many agencies in support of the Act and its underlying philosophy encouraging the use of the holistic or ecosystem approach in natural resource management. 


Upper Willamette Stewardship Network/ Jared Weybright

President's Fishery Conservation Award - Non-Member

Presented in two categories: (1) an AFS individual or unit, or (2) a non-AFS individual or entity, for singular accomplishments or long-term contributions that advance aquatic resource conservation at a regional or local level. The award is administered by the Past President’s Advisory Council.

In 2018, the Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council, Friends of Buford Park and Mount Pisgah, Long Tom Watershed Council, McKenzie Watershed Council, McKenzie River Trust, and Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council nonprofit launched the Upper Willamette Stewardship Network (UWSN). Network members recognize that effective regional stewardship only happens through the cooperative efforts of multiple individuals, organizations, and agencies, and by addressing not only biological and ecological factors, but social, political, and economic factors as well. Through this collaborative effort, UWSN members are working to improve and expand programs, increase cost effectiveness, eliminate duplication of efforts, and achieve long-term organizational stability to serve the region’s land and water resources and its communities. Examples of recent collaborations include the hiring of a fulltime Network Coordinator in July 2019, several successful joint grant proposals, a new regional initiative for stormwater management, a regional environmental education planning team, hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, and increased sharing of resources and expertise across a wide range of program areas from restoration projects to fiscal management. UWSN priorities for productive collaboration include engagement with a diverse range of communities, increasing the pace and scale of habitat restoration projects, more effective and sustained land stewardship and conservation efforts at the regional scale, coordinated regional environmental education, and increase revenue generation.


Larry Nielsen
North Carolina State University, Professor Emeritus

Excellence in Fisheries Education

Presented to an individual to recognize excellence in organized teaching and advising in some aspect of fisheries education. This Award is administered by the AFS Education Section.

Larry Nielsen has been a prominent leader in the fisheries community for over 40 years. The long list of his accomplishments does not adequately portray the impact he has had on our field, and the tradition of excellence he has instilled in his students and beyond. Focusing first on his contributions in education, Larry began his teaching career in 1977 at Virginia Tech. Over his career, Larry has proven his versatility in the classroom, teaching courses ranging from introductory fisheries and wildlife to graduate level courses in administration and policy. His commitment to teaching is perhaps most evident in the fact that he continued to teach after his move to Penn State as Director of the School of Forest Resources in 1994. Larry’s path as an administrator led him to NC State where he served as Dean of the College of Natural Resources and eventually as provost of the University. In these roles he shaped the educational mission of the University in ways that few can imagine. Even after serving in these distinguished positions, he returned to the classroom to lead a general education course in the conservation of natural resources. His dedication to teaching is an inspiration to all.

In addition to classroom instruction, Larry’s teaching endeavors extend to mentorship of graduate students and continuing education for fisheries professionals. For many years he has worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation and Training Center and with the US Forest Service to provide opportunities for managers and scientists to heighten their skills in strategic planning, ecosystem management, and communications – all critical needs for effective resource management. Larry was major professor for 17 graduate students, and his impact is evident in the fact that three of his former students have served or are slated to serve as president of AFS (as did Larry in 1900-1991).

Larry’s contributions to leadership in education begin right from the start of his career. He participated in the founding of the AFS Education Section in 1978, and served as its second president. Among his 100+ publications, many are focused on various aspects of pedagogy, curriculum development, or have served as seminal textbooks for fisheries and natural resource scientists. He has also taken this scholarship beyond to help guide and educate college-level administrators with the publication of his book “Provost” in 2013.

In summary, it is hard to imagine an individual who has had a broader impact across all levels of our field, and the field of education than Dr. Larry Nielsen.


Doug Dixon
Electric Power Research Institute, retired

William E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award

Presented to any entity (individual, group, agency, or company) for accomplishment or activity that advances aquatic resource conservation that is significant at a national or international level.

Dr. Douglas Dixon is a Fisheries Scientist with over 30 years of experience in fish protection at electric generating facilities (fossil, nuclear, hydro, marine and hydrokinetic). In 2018 after 21 years of service, he retired from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) where he was a Technical Executive and Program Manager. He was the manager of EPRI’s Fish Protection at Electric Generating Stations Program. His research activities focused on a variety of fish protection-related issues including development and evaluation of power plant intake fish protection technologies, aquatic impact assessment, fish-friendly hydropower turbines, and upstream and downstream fish passage. He also worked for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, private consulting, and the Smithsonian Institute – Chesapeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies. He has been a member of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) since 1993, President of the AFS Bioengineering Section and frequent contributor to the Annual AFS Continuing Education Program. He has authored, coauthored and edited numerous journal articles and books on fish protection topics. Dr. Dixon received a BA in Biology (1971) from the State University of New York, College at Geneseo and a PhD in Marine Fisheries Science (1996) from the College of William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science. His dissertation was titled “Contributions to the Early Life History of Blueback Herring.”


Bob Rose
Retired, Yakama Nation Fisheries Resource Management Program

Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award

Presented to an individual or organization for outstanding contributions to the conservation of fishery resources. Eligibility is not restricted to AFS members, and accomplishments can include political, legal, educational, scientific, and managerial successes.

Bob Rose grew up in eastern Oregon. Whenever he could avoid school he’d be bird-hunting, hiking or fishing with like-minded friends. From those days came a life-long love, appreciation and curiosity for our natural world that grew stronger and deeper thanks to the excellent education he received at Oregon State University. He graduated from the OSU Fisheries program in 1986.

Through the 1990’s Bob worked as a fishery biologist with the U.S. Forest Service in eastern Oregon. Representing fisheries interests within the various Inter-disciplinary Teams was an outstanding education, instructing him how multiple-use resource management works on our public lands. He appreciated those insights when he worked (1998 – 2000) with the Confederated Tribes of the Warms Springs in the Deschutes River basin, Oregon. There, he focused on the identification of improvements to fishery resources contained within the FERC License application (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) submitted by the Warm Springs tribes in 1999 for the Pelton-Round Butte Hydrolectric Project. In the years 2000 through 2019, Bob worked in fisheries with the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation whose Ceded lands occupy much of central Washington State.

With the persistent decline of salmon, steelhead and Pacific lamprey populations in the Columbia River, there was no lack of work. His attention spanned the Ceded lands and was often in coordination with other tribes throughout the Columbia River basin. He was involved in stream habitat restoration and worked extensively on fish mitigation issues associated with both private and federal hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River and other large regional rivers. Through the later portion of his career he focused much time towards the conservation of Pacific Lamprey and the development of the regional Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative, in coordination with and sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Prior to his retirement in 2019, Bob managed the development and creation of the (Draft) Yakama Nation Climate Change Action Plan. He now resides in Yakima, WA. with his wife JoAnn, continuing to hike and fish whenever he can slip away. Bob also continues to enjoy hunting birds – although his shotgun has been replaced with a camera and binoculars.

Emerging Leader Mentorship Awards

The AFS Emerging Leaders Mentorship Award Program was established to develop future leaders of the Society, and the fisheries profession as a whole, by providing selected candidates an opportunity to participate for one year in activities of the AFS Governing Board.


Janessa Esquible-Hussion
Orutsararmiut Native Council


Corbin Hilling
Virginia Tech


Michael Lawrence
University of Manitoba

J Frances Allen Scholarship

This scholarship fund was established with the intent of encouraging women to become fisheries professionals. The qualified applicant must be a female Ph.D. student conducting aquatic research in line with AFS objectives and be an AFS member as of December 31, 2019. This Award is administered by the AFS Equal Opportunities Section.


L. Zoe Almeida
The Ohio State University


Runner Up
Emily T. Slesinger
Rutgers University

John E. Skinner Memorial Fund

The fund provides monetary travel awards for deserving graduate students or exceptional undergraduate students to attend the AFS Annual Meeting. Any student who is active in fisheries or related aquatic disciplines is eligible to apply. This Award is administered by the AFS Education Section.

16 Skinner_Baker

Michael Baker
University of Georgia


Alexander Catalano
Southern Illinois University


Allison Durland Donahou
University of Florida


Kenneth Erickson
Louisiana State University


Avril Harder
Purdue University


Jared Krebs
University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point


Cassidy Miles
Western Illinois University

Tyler Plum
Nova Southeastern University


Shaley Valentine
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale


Bethany Wager
West Virginia University

Skinner Honorable Mentions


Nathan Backenstose
State University of New York at Buffalo


Sam Grinstead
Iowa State University


Dylan Osterhaus
Iowa State University

Kristia Pechacek
University of Wisconsin- La Crosse


Nicholas Somogyi
Oregon State University

Steven Berkeley Marine Conservation Fellowship

The fellowship comprises a competitively based $10,000 award to a graduate student actively engaged in thesis research relevant to marine conservation; a focus on fisheries issues is not required. This Award is administered by the AFS Marine Fisheries Section.


John Swenson
University of Massachusetts


Runner Up
Carissa Gervasi
Florida International University



Runner Up
Victoria Quennessen
Oregon State University



Dave Ward
HDR, Inc.

Meritorious Service Award

Presented annually to an individual AFS member for loyalty, dedication, and meritorious service to the Society over a long period of time and for exceptional commitment to the programs, objectives, and long-term goals of the Society.

The Meritorious Service Award Subcommittee was unanimous in recommending Dave Ward for the 2020 Meritorious Service Award. Dave has been dedicated to serving the Society over his career, with highlights including serving as Chapter President, Division President, Division Secretary/Treasurer, coordinating an Annual Meeting, and authoring several articles in Fisheries.

Additionally, his professional accomplishments outside of AFS are consistent with the goals of AFS, especially related to science, education, and communication. Dave has worked on numerous regional and national projects of significance and is currently HDR’s national lead for fisheries science. Dave has also served as a mentor for numerous fisheries professionals, which has resulted in compounding benefits to the Society. Finally, it was noteworthy that Dave’s nominations came from a relatively diverse group of people representing State government, Federal government, and the private sector, which mirrors the varied specialties of AFS members.

Jeff Boxrucker

Jeff Boxrucker
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Stanley A. Moberly Award for Outstanding Contributions in Fish Habitat Conservation

Presented to individuals who has achieved significant success in a fish habitat career.

Jeff earned BS and MS degrees in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1977 he began his illustrious career with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation as a fisheries technician at the Oklahoma Fishery Research Laboratory. He was soon promoted to fisheries biologist and in 2000 became the senior biologist at the OFRL. During his career with Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Jeff coordinated the habitat enhancement projects on Lake Thunderbird for many years (brush piles, rock reefs, artificial structures).  He also helped with early efforts in native aquatic plant introductions.  For much of his career Jeff was involved in research directed toward more effective management of impounded waters. To that end he authored or coauthored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and gave numerous presentations before professional and lay groups.

In 2007 he became Assistant Chief of fisheries for the Department. As Assistant Chief, he supervised regional staff who implemented habitat projects across Oklahoma. He also served as the agency liaison to the National Fish Habitat Initiative. Jeff was active in the development of the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership. He served on the Science and Data Subcommittee that provided key information for the development of organizational strategies. He retired in 2010 after 33 years of distinguished service.

Since 2010, Jeff has been in a national leadership role as the coordinator for the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP). Jeff’s leadership has resulted in one of the most robust partnerships in the National Fish Habitat Partnership system.  The RFHP is the only partnership that encompasses the entire nation.  Now in its eleventh year under Jeff’s leadership, the Friends of Reservoirs effort has grown to 125 Chapters and Group members in 30 states. Further, Jeff guided the efforts of the Science and Data Committee to develop a national assessment of reservoir habitat impairments. The assessment serves to aid partners in determining how to be strategic in their approach to habitat restoration efforts. Jeff shepherded a partnership with Mississippi State University to produce a Best Management Practices (BMP) text entitled “Reservoir Habitat Management”. The BMP manual is intended to be used as a teaching aid and as a source of the best science available for use in reservoir habitat restoration efforts.

Jeff is widely viewed as a leader within the fisheries profession in part because of his dedicated leadership service in the American Fisheries Society. He has served as President at the Chapter, Division, and Section levels and served on the Governing Board and Management Committee.

One of Jeff’s greatest contribution to the fisheries profession is his mentoring of students and young professionals. In his career at ODWC he supervised the graduate research of nine MS students and provided them a valuable role model of a fisheries professional. Likewise, he supervised many technicians and biologists who benefitted from his scientific knowledge and insights, as well as his professionalism. Within all levels of AFS Jeff has positively influenced the lives and careers of students and young professionals through formal presentations and informal, individual discussions for which he is seemingly always available. Jeff has always emphasized to young professionals the importance of habitat in fisheries management, especially in the face of aging man-made lakes. Jeff’s outstanding efforts for fish habitat restoration and conservation will undoubtedly pay dividends for generations.

Jeff’s coordination of the RFHP has resulted just over $800,000 in project funding through NFHP. Those funds were used to partially fund 42 projects in 19 states. Partners provided over $6.25 million toward those projects which amounted to over $7 in partner funds for every $1 in NFHP funds.

In summary Jeff Boxrucker is deserving of the award both by virtue of his career long impact that has greatly advanced fish habitat management and by virtue of his influence on future fisheries managers through his mentoring and his professionalism.


Aaron Bunch
Clemson University

Distinguished Service Award

Recognizes outstanding contributions of time and energy for special projects or activities by AFS members.

Aaron Bunch assumed the volunteer leadership position for a new project for the American Fisheries Society this past spring; these efforts truly embodied the spirit of the Distinguished Service Award. 

AFS members experience Aaron’s brainchild in April, when they attended the 2020 AFS Virtual Spring Conference. This online forum was created for AFS members whose meetings were canceled due to COVID-19; this virtual platform allowed for presenting talks for an audience across the country and beyond. Aaron very quickly assumed the role of chair for the Virtual Conference, drafting a model for session deployment and enabling information exchange between staff and chapter contacts. Each session has focused on a specific AFS chapter and/or division that had a canceled meeting. In this role, Aaron recruited co-moderators for each session to represent the featured chapter, drafted a schedule of talks for each session, and personally helped host each webinar. In addition, he recruited a small team of fellow Clemson University undergrads/grad students to assist with social media and marketing.

In total 8 virtual conference sessions were hosted and recorded; a total of 1622 logins were recorded during the conference sessions! As one chapter president noted, the online attendance for their session reached an audience that surpassed their live chapter meeting’s reach. By posting recorded presentations online for member’s to access, the reach of these presentations can continue into the future.

Aaron helped bring this effort to fruition quickly with his motto “Light Speed Ahead!”, while providing a valuable service to the AFS community. 


Bob Lusk
 Pond Boss

Award for Excellence in Public Outreach

This award is presented to an AFS member who goes the “extra mile” in sharing the value of fisheries science/research with the general public through the popular media and other communication channels.

Bob Lusk is a Fisheries Biologist and The Pond Boss Lake Management Consultant, in Salder, Texas. Editor of Pond Boss magazine and website, Lusk has 30+ years of practical field experience in the art of lake and pond management. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas A & M University in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, in fisheries management.  His talented writing skills, combined with many, many years of hands-on experience, makes him one of the best known lake management consultants in the world.  

As stated by one of the reviewers, “This was truly an impressive application and I think Bob is exactly the candidate this award was made for. The number of years Bob’s been doing outreach, the number of people he reaches, and the multiple communication methods he uses were home runs.”

Chapter and Student Subunit Awards


Outstanding Large Chapter Award
California-Nevada Chapter

Outstanding Small Chapter Award
Utah Chapter


Outstanding Student Subunit Award
Lake Superior State University

Publication Awards

Best Paper in Journal of Aquatic Animal Health

Sivakumar, S.*, Raja Swaminathan, T., Kumar, R. and Kalaimani, N. 2019.
The Development and Characterization of a Cell Culture System from Indian Mud Crabs Scylla serrata.
J Aquat Anim Health, 31: 244-258.


Best Paper in Marine and Coastal Fisheries

Christopher C. Nack, Dennis P. Swaney, Karin E. Limburg. 2019.
Historical and Projected Changes in Spawning Phenologies of American Shad and Striped Bass in the Hudson River Estuary.
Marine and Coastal Fisheries 11: 271-284


Best Paper in North American Journal of Aquaculture

Benjamin J. Schall. 2019.
Evaluation of Portable Water Filtration Systems to Reduce the Transport Risk of Zebra Mussels and Asian Clams during Fish Spawning and Trap‐and‐Transfer Operations.
NAJA 81(3): 253-257.


Best Paper in North American Journal of Fisheries Management

Zeigler, M., Rogers, K., Roberts, J., Todd, A., and Fausch, K. 2019.
Predicting persistence of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout populations in an uncertain future.
North American Journal of Fisheries Management 39: 819-848.


Best Paper in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society

Samuel Shephard, Karen Delanty, Martin O’Grady, and Fiona Kelly. 2019.
Salmonid Conservation in an Invaded Lake: Changing Outcomes of Predator Removal with Introduction of Nonnative Prey.
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 148:219–231 

Fellows of the American Fisheries Society

AFS designates as Fellows of the Society certain members who have made outstanding or meritorious contributions to the diversity of fields that are included in the American Fisheries Society. Contributions can include, but are not restricted to, efforts in leadership, research, teaching and mentoring, resource management and/or conservation, and outreach/interaction with the public.

mike allen

Micheal Allen
University of Florida

Dr. Mike Allen has been a leader on the quantitative aspects of fisheries management, principally sportfish population management and the multidisciplinary interface between resource users and fish population management.


T. Douglas Beard, Jr.
USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center

T. Douglas Beard, Jr. is the Chief of the USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center. His career has spanned from state-level management to United Nations policy negotiations. Doug is a leader in the fisheries profession, perhaps most notably as the President of the World Council of Fisheries Societies.


James R. Bence
Michigan State University

Dr. James Bence is a professor and co-Director of the Quantitative Fisheries Center at Michigan State University. His research and training in quantitative fisheries stock assessment has transformed the way important commercial and recreational fisheries in the North American Great Lakes are managed.


Scott Bonar

Scott Bonar is President of the American Fisheries Society (2019-2020), professor of natural resources at the University of Arizona, and leader of the USGS Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. He serves as an AFS officer in his personal capacity. He has conducted award-winning natural resources work in natural resources programs of state and federal government, universities, and private industry for over 25 years, authoring over 100 publications and supervising over 80 employees.


Kai Lorenzen
University of Florida

Dr. Kai Lorenzen has been selected as a Fellow in recognition of his outstanding contributions to multiple areas of the fisheries sciences including fish population dynamics, fisheries enhancement, aquaculture and the human dimension of fisheries management.


Julian D. Olden
University of Washington

Dr. Julian Olden has been selected as an AFS Fellow in recognition of is contributions to the fields of invasion biology, ecohydrology, and freshwater conservation, as well as his contributions to student education.


Michael C. Quist
University of Idaho

Dr. Mike Quist has made noteworthy and important contributions to fisheries ecology and management, university education, and service to AFS. He has been a leader in his field with an impressive level of productivity and impact.


Jesse Trushenski

Jesse Trushenski is Past President of the American Fisheries Society and the director of animal health and welfare for Evaqua Farms and its sister company, Riverence. Whether it’s fish nutrition, physiology, or health, Jesse has always been driven by the practical applications of science, going from data to information and information to action.


Villy Christensen
University of British Columbia

Award of Excellence

The Society’s highest award for scientific achievement is presented to a living AFS member for original and/or outstanding contributions to fisheries and aquatic biology.

Dr. Villy Christensen received his Ph.D. in Ecosystem Modelling from the University of Copenhagen in 1992.  He served as a Program Leader with International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management in the Philippines prior to joining the faculty at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.  He now serves as Director of the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at UBC.

Dr. Christensen grew up in a Danish commercial fishing family, and his research interest has always been in finding ways to provide sustainable fishing opportunities in the face of often conflicting demands for ecosystem protection or conservation.  He has been a tireless worker towards that end.  As such, he is best known as the principal architect behind Ecopath and the project leader and core developer of this software system.  Because it is freely distributed, Ecopath software has revolutionized the ability of fisheries scientists to understand ecosystems and to inform living marine resource management throughout the world. In 2009, Ecopath was recognized by NOAA as one of ten major scientific breakthroughs in the organization’s 200-year history.

Dr. Christensen is a highly productive scientist, authoring more than 100 scientific papers, several of which have been published in high-profile journals such as Science and Nature.  According to Google Scholar, his papers have been cited more than 24,000 times.  He is the most highly cited researcher in the general area of ecosystem modeling, and is among the top 10 people cited in the areas of fisheries management and fisheries in general.

In addition to his research contributions, Dr. Christensen has led more than 65 training courses and workshops in 22 countries, centered on the development of ecosystem approaches to fisheries management.  He served as graduate advisor to 24 graduate students and mentored 34 visiting students and fellows from Asia, Australia, Central America, South America, and Europe.

Dr. Christensen is one of the most influential fisheries scientists in the world today. His scientific leadership and insights have had a profound effect on fisheries scientists, fisheries management, and mankind.