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Dean's monthly update

May 2006

May began with the announcement on May 1 that Dr. A. J. (Tony) Gharrett, professor of fisheries, was the recipient of the 2006 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Research Award.  Tony is an internationally recognized leader in his field of genetics.  During his 30-year career at UAF, Tony’s research has focused on Alaska fish, primarily salmon and rockfish, and genetic markers within their populations. He and his colleagues recently discovered that the rougheye rockfish, which is commonly caught in commercial fisheries, includes two genetically distinct species.  Please congratulate Tony on this award, the highest award for research given by UAF.

The Board of Directors of the Coastal Villages Region Fund visited SFOS on May 2.  This Community Development Quota (CDQ) group represents twenty coastal villages from Platinum up to Scammon Bay and three Kuskokwim river villages.  President and CEO Morgen Crow brought the board to Fairbanks to discuss how we might work together to assure the sustainability of fisheries in Alaska waters.  Chancellor Steve Jones joined in the discussion.

A meeting of the Contractor Selection Committee for the Lena Point Fisheries Facility was held in Juneau on May 3.  Four contractors presented their plan to undertake the project as a “construction manager at risk,” the contracting method being used by UAF to build Lena Point.  Mike Ruckhaus and David Miller represented UAF Design and Construction on the project and I served as the SFOS representative.  Kiewit Building Group was selected for the project and development of the construction drawings is underway.  Tony Gharrett is the faculty representative for the final design and construction phase of the project.

As if one meeting in Juneau was not enough for the week, I traveled back to Juneau on May 6 to participate in the May 7 commencement ceremony at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS).  Graduation was held on campus for the first time in the new UAS Joint Use Facility.  John Joseph Piccolo received his Ph.D. at the ceremony (advisor:  Nick Hughes) and Nathan Soboleff and Naoki Tojo, both advised by Gordon Kruse, received their M.S. degrees.  It was impressive that the entire Fisheries faculty attended the graduation.

Research Professor Geoff Wheat was the host for the NSF-funded International Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 301 post-cruise meeting in Fairbanks May 9-11.  About twenty researchers spent three days discussing their efforts to evaluate the basement alteration, microbiology, solid and fluid chemistry, and crustal hydrogeologic properties from cores taken in the Juan de Fuca Ridge area.  I welcomed the participants to Fairbanks and presented an overview of SFOS activities.

The IODP meeting that began at 8:30 a.m. was actually my second meeting on May 9.  I began the day with a 4:00 a.m. teleconference meeting of the CORE-JOI Ocean Council, the group working to devise a plan to merge CORE and JOI.  I would have to refer to the minutes of the meeting to remember what transpired during the six-hour phone call.

Commencement in Fairbanks was held on May 14.  SFOS Ph.D. graduates were Arny L. Blanchard (advisors:  Howard Feder and Sue Hills), Sang Heon Lee (advisor:  Terry Whitledge), and Amy Childers (advisor:  Terry Whitledge).  Two students (Lisa Linnel and Andy Padilla) received B.S. degrees in Fisheries.  Including the May graduation, 19 SFOS students received their M.S. degrees this academic year.