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Meghan McGovern Receives NOAA Corps Achievement Medal

medal presentation
AFSC Deputy Director Bill Karp presents the NOAA Corps Achievement Medal to LTjg Meghan McGovern.  Photo by Karna McKinney.

LTjg Meghan McGovern, a NOAA Corps benthic mapping specialist with the AFSC's Groundfish Assessment Program Habitat Research Group, was awarded the NOAA Corps Achievement Medal for her "sustained and extraordinary contributions to the success of the first comprehensive survey of the Pribilof Canyon area in the eastern Bering Sea."

This work produced new information about Pribilof Canyon that directly benefits mariners, the science community, the commercial fishing industry, and Native communities in Alaska. It also significantly advanced the initiative for integrated fisheries research and hydrographic surveying by NOAA.

The Pribilof Canyon survey was a unique and complex collaboration involving three NOAA Line Offices (NMFS, National Ocean Service, and Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research), a nonprofit conservation group, and a private research institute. It was a groundbreaking effort that replaced sparse soundings from reconnaissance tracklines with high-resolution bathymetry and backscatter data collected with state-of-the-art multibeam echosounders. The survey comprehensively mapped the canyon at depths of 200 to 2,200 m (890 nmi2).

LTjg McGovern had pivotal responsibilities and made significant technical contributions necessary to complete the survey. She was heavily involved in survey planning and represented the public-private collaborators at sea during the entire June 2009 survey period. While at sea, she had responsibility for quality control of the bathymetry and backscatter data, technical problem-solving, as well as general contractor oversight and status reporting. In the office, she has had exclusive responsibility for assembling and processing the quantitative backscatter data.

McGovern's shore billet is a unique "cross-over" position that fosters productive interactions between NOAA Fisheries Service and the Office of Coast Survey. To this end, McGovern has supported essential fish habitat research by the Habitat Research Group in the eastern Bering Sea; has delivered bathymetric data acquired during joint projects to update NOAA nautical charts in areas with outdated or nonexistent information; has initiated organized discussions within the hydrographic community about standards for the acquisition and use of quantitative backscatter; and is a key member of the multi-disciplinary FISHPAC team that is developing a prototype long-range sidescan sonar system for both habitat and charting purposes.

By Bob McConnaughey

Grant Thompson Receives Oregon State University's Distinguished Graduate Award

Dr. Grant Thompson's name will be added to the Oregon State University Fisheries and Wildlife Department's "Registry of Distinguished Graduates." The award will be presented at the Department's 75th anniversary celebration in October. Dr. Thompson received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Department in 1981 and 1984, respectively.

He has been employed in the Status of Stocks and Multispecies Assessments Program of the AFSC's Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management Division since 1984. Dr. Thompson has been the senior author of the Bering Sea-Aleutian Islands Pacific cod stock assessment since 1987 and the Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod stock assessment since 1993. He has also contributed significantly to the development of the harvest strategy used to manage the North Pacific groundfish fisheries.

By Susan Calderón

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