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Milestones: Resource Assessment & Conservation Engineering Division (RACE)

Kevin Bailey Retires With 32 Years of Federal Service

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  Kevin Bailey.

Dr. Kevin Bailey, Senior Scientist of the RACE Division’s Recruitment Processes Program, retired from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center on 4 January 2013 after 32 years of federal service. Kevin was a leader in the field of fisheries biology and fisheries oceanography with an emphasis in early life history studies.  His scientific productivity, the importance of his research, his strong scientific leadership, and his mentoring of young scientists will continue to be a standard of excellence for the field.

Kevin began his federal service in 1974 as a biological technician while pursuing an M.S. degree in fisheries at the University of Washington (UW). His first assignment was on a Japanese crab vessel in the eastern Bering Sea for 4 months taking biological measurements on the catch, and then on a Japanese walleye pollock factory trawler. In 1977 he worked as a Fisheries Research Biologist for a small early life-history team emerging at the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center.  In 1978, he returned to the UW to pursue studies centering on the recruitment and early life history of Pacific hake and completed his Ph.D. in 1981. His strong academic background as well as his practical experience, both in the laboratory and the field, resulted in early career recognition as a leader in recruitment research.  Kevin’s scientific leadership in NOAA’s Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (FOCI) Program was instrumental in getting this program firmly established, nationally and internationally recognized, and into the transition from a single species focus to ecosystem encompassing studies. 

During his career Kevin showed exceptional skill, imagination, and creativity in his applied research.  He produced over 100 refereed publications in journals, books, and symposia providing the field of marine fisheries with the best possible advice on how to understand and predict variability in survival of fishes to the age of recruitment. He worked and published on species as diverse as:  walleye pollock, Pacific cod, arrowtooth flounder, Pacific halibut, capelin and Alaska plaice. Throughout his career he developed, improved and adopted new methods that increased our insight into how and what was causing variation in larval fish survival in Alaska Large Marine Ecosystems.  His research includes seminal articles on:  life history and ecology of fish larvae and juveniles; fisheries oceanography and larval transport, complexity, landscape ecology and ecosystem dynamics; age and growth; trophic interactions; recruitment and population dynamics; effects of periodic environmental signals such as El Niño; and fish population genetics. He advanced the field through his critical application of new techniques such as RNA/DNA condition indices, otolith microchemistry, and molecular genetics. He was given the American Fisheries Society prestigious Oscar Sette Award in 2008 for his outstanding lifetime achievement in marine fisheries.

In addition to his own scientific achievements, Kevin worked tirelessly to promote the education and careers of young scientists. Over the years he served on numerous graduate committees, gave many lectures, and personally encouraged many students. He spent considerable personal effort to create opportunities for young investigators. His efforts included forging relationships between established researchers and new talent, finding funding opportunities for burgeoning scientists, and fostering collaboration and dialogue between new researchers and their international counterparts.

By Jeffrey Napp and Ann Matarese


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