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NOAA Fisheries Scientist Honoured By Obama

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US - President Obama has honoured NOAAs Dana Hanselman, an Alaskan fisheries scientist, with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

The award is the highest honour bestowed by the United States government on outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers.

"This is incredible. I like my work and try to do my best for fisheries science in Alaska, but I didn't expect anything like this," said Hanselman. He will travel to the White House in the fall to formally receive his award, next to two other NOAA scientists also being honored, both meteorologists from the National Severe Storms Laboratory.

Hanselman serves as the primary analyst and author for annual stock assessment and fisheries evaluations of Alaska sablefish plus several similar reports for rockfish in the Gulf of Alaska. He works from Juneau in the Auke Bay Laboratories, a division of Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

"Dana Hanselman's innovative work provides essential management advice to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and NOAA Fisheries," said Doug DeMaster, Director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. "He has focused on determining how uncertainty can be evaluated and incorporated into fishery stock assessments given the often limited and highly variable data we are able to gather on fish populations. He's also developed improved methods for surveying fish populations at sea. Better fisheries assessments help managers maintain sustainable harvests."

As a graduate student at the University of Alaska's Juneau Fisheries Center and supported as a National Sea Grant Fellow in Population Dynamics, Hanselman worked closely with scientists of the Auke Bay Laboratories on his dissertation project to determine a more cost effective and accurate method of conducting fish population surveys. The new designs were tested at sea twice during several years of cooperative research between the University of Alaska and NOAA Fisheries, resulting in several journal papers and recommendations to Alaska Fisheries Science Center survey scientists. This research will be continued in 2009 through a grant from the North Pacific Research Board.

Besides his cutting edge research and prodigious publications, Hanselman is known for his support of colleagues, and of scientific education and for collaboration within the fisheries science community. He is also active in the Juneau community in general. For instance, he organized a Juneau city league basketball team, the Flounders.

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