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So Long Gary Duker!

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Gary Duker
Gary Duker. Photo by Karna McKinney.

Gary Duker, head of the AFSC's Publications and Communications group for 24 years, expert adviser to the Center on all matters relating to publications, communications, peer review, copyright issues, data quality, and long-time friend and colleague to many, announced his retirement from federal service effective 29 July 2011.

Gary's gift as a scientific editor combined with his indefatigable capacity for work have had a profound and long-lasting impact on the quality of Center information and, in turn, the professional stature of many NMFS scientists.

During his career as Publications Chief, Gary has reviewed more than 2,500 Center-authored manuscripts published in prestigious scientific journals such as Science, Nature, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, and numerous others; in books and compilations published by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Academic Press; in the Center’s NOAA Technical Memorandum Series and AFSC Processed Report series — all further enhancing the reputation of the Center as a premier research facility.

"Gary’s contributions and insights as both a fishery biologist and technical editor over the years have contributed significantly to the Center's outstanding record of published peer-reviewed papers and technical reports," commented AFSC Science and Research Director Dr. Doug DeMaster. "Publications are the currency by which scientific institutions are judged. By this standard, Gary has had a rich legacy indeed. In addition, while no scientist likes to have their manuscripts revised, Gary’s enthusiasm for publications and his positive demeanor when dealing with Center scientists has made the review process work for everyone."

Gary's reputation of excellence as a scientist and editor has extended well beyond the Center. Gary contributed significantly to the scientific and editorial review of the first Steller Sea Lion Biological Opinion in 1998 and recommended to the agency how to manage future editions. He has contributed to the editorial review of documents published by major international organizations such as ICES (International Council for Exploration of the Sea) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). He provided consultation and direction for the editorial program and services of PICES (North Pacific Marine Science Organization).

In addition to a quarter century's worth of contributions as a scientific editor, Gary has contributed to our understanding of science as a writer. He helped complete the book chapter 'Life History of Chum Salmon' in Pacific Salmon Life Histories (1991). He is senior author of three scientific publications appearing in the proceedings of various symposia on Pacific salmon and the co-author of four, including "The Development of Recruitment Fisheries Oceanography in the United States," co-authored with former Center scientist Art Kendall Jr. (Fisheries Oceanography, 1998).

During his career Gary has developed a deep and abiding interest and expertise in agency and fisheries history. He contributed to the collection of 125 years of historical fisheries information in the 125th anniversary NOAA publication Baird's Legacy: The History and Accomplishments of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, 1871–1996. Moreover, he is collaborating in the compilation of an extensive archive of information, photographs, and illustrations on the history of federal fisheries in Alaska, which eventually will be available as a peer-reviewed journal article and repurposed for the Center's website.

  Gary Duker
Gary Duker in 1986 in Traitor's Cove, Alaska, towing a skiff carrying former ABL biologist Dick Carlson.  Photo by Pete Hagan.

Gary has provided the final editorial review of the AFSC's Quarterly Report, a primary public voice of the Center, for more than half of the Quarterly's 40-year history and has reviewed countless other materials such as handouts, brochures, posters, and educational and outreach materials. For years he served as a representative for the Center at the University of Washington's (UW) College of Ocean and Fishery Science's Career Fair.

During his tenure, Gary carefully steered the Center's Publications Unit from a time of typewriters and desktop publishing, into the information age, and onto the Web. Under his supervision, the Publications team, originally made up of four editorial positions, has evolved into a Communications team including additional positions for two specialists in visual information, two in education and outreach, and one in information technology.

A manager with unparalleled patience, Gary has given his staff the freedom and encouragement to explore new avenues in their job duties as they strive for excellence in the communication of an increasing range of Center information products both in print and online, visual and textual, formal and informal, scientific and general.

As a Ph. D. precandidate in fisheries from the UW's College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences, Gary was hired by the National Marine Fisheries Service in summer 1986 to do chum salmon work in Southeast Alaska as part of the Auke Bay Laboratory's U.S.-Canada Salmon Investigations, an experience he highly values still today. He joined the editorial team of what was then the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center's Publications Unit at Seattle’s Mountlake campus in 1987 and advanced quickly to a supervisory position in the fall of that year, taking over for former Publications Chief Roger Pearson.

The son of a career Marine, Gary grew up in California, Florida, and Hawaii (attending a total of 22 grade schools) and graduated from Orange High School, California, in a class of 1,000 in 1965. He attended Fullerton Junior College, then went on to San Diego State in 1967, where he started off majoring in engineering, then in history, and finally settled on biology with a minor in chemistry, graduating with a B.S. in 1970.

Gary and his wife Joyce married in 1970 and in 1971 packed all their belongings into a Volkswagen Beetle, left southern California, and drove to Cleveland, Ohio, where Gary worked as a pulmonary tech at University Hospitals for two and a half years. The couple traveled to the Caribbean, Nova Scotia, Maine, Woods Hole, Florida, to Southern California, San Francisco, on to Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia, then up to Corvallis, and finally to Seattle where Gary began his graduate studies at the UW.

Gary received his M.S. in fisheries from the UW in 1977 and conducted his doctorate work there during the 1980s. One of his early jobs was as project leader of an anadromous fish project at UW's Big Beef Creek Fish Research Station (1978–81). In 1986, the School of Fisheries honored Gary with an award for his study of Pacific salmon and for showing exceptional promise. And, indeed, exceptional Gary Duker has proved to be. It's been a great ride Gary. Enjoy retirement!

By Susan Calderón

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