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  Molly Sturdevant
Molly Sturdevant is a science mentor for Alaskan youth.

Molly Sturdevant Receives Federal Employee of the Year Award

Molly Sturdevant, a fishery research biologist at ABL, received the Juneau Federal Employee of the Year Award sponsored by the Juneau Federal Executive Association. The award represents a focal point of employee excellence for the many federal agencies and hundreds of federal employees in the Juneau area.

Sturdevant is a 16-year veteran at ABL and works in the Early Ocean Salmon group of ABL’s Marine Salmon Interactions program, where she is a leading expert on the food habits and early marine ecology of juvenile salmon and associated fishes, and on marine zooplankton. Sturdevant, a graduate of the University of Alaska, has published in numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications on a variety of projects researching Alaska’s marine resources.

As part of her duties, Sturdevant trains scientists, technicians, and graduate students in the identification and ecology of marine zooplankton. She frequently serves as chief scientist aboard NOAA research ships and chartered vessels and also manages the Food Habits and Plankton Analyses Laboratory at ABL.

Sturdevant is a science mentor for community youth, visiting schools to give talks about her job, and participating in “job shadow programs,” where students learn about marine science while “shadowing” Sturdevant at work. A mother of two sons who attend Juneau schools, she is also a frequent school volunteer. Sturdevant conducts Plankton Watch workshops for sixth graders in Juneau and Sitka that teach students about the role of plankton as food for invertebrates, fishes, and whales in marine ecosystems. On a recent holiday to Baja California, she conducted a similar workshop for students in Loreto, Mexico.

For many years Sturdevant has participated in Alaska Sea Week, where students in grades K through 12 visit ABL to learn about marine life and marine ecology in Southeast Alaska. Over the past 10 years, she has also served as a science mentor or judge (sometimes both) for the Southeast Alaska Science Fair at Juneau-Douglas High School. Recently this mentoring included 4 months of work with a local student, often in cold, wind-swept field conditions and involving considerable personal time. The training and experience this student received culminated in an award-winning poster presentation at the science fair.

By Bill Heard

Coral Team Receives NOAA Award

The ABL coral research team, which includes scientists from ABL’s Groundfish Assessment and Ocean Carrying Capacity programs, received the NOAA Administrator’s Award for their efforts over the past several years documenting and describing deep-sea, coldwater corals and sponges along the Alaska coast, especially in the Aleutian Islands. Team members each received a cash award and a plaque with the inscription, “For the momentous discovery and documentation of abundant deep-sea corals adjacent to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.”

During the coral team’s research, Jon Heifetz worked on the distribution of corals reported in fisheries surveys and fisheries bycatch databases. Bob Stone coordinated SCUBA and manned submersible studies of coral habitat and the effects of fishing gear on coral. Bruce Wing assisted in taxonomic studies of the more than 100 documented species of coral, in cooperation with the ADF&G crab fishery observer program. Dean Courtney and Pat Malecha assisted with the SCUBA and manned submersible studies, and fishery surveys.

NOAA Administration honors individuals and groups from each branch of NOAA for exceptional work each year. In 2004, 57 individuals and 25 groups received awards. The National Marine Fisheries Service received 11 individual and 7 group awards in ceremonies held in May in Silver Spring, Maryland.

By Bruce Wing


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