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Auke Bay Laboratories

Adam Moles Retires With 40 Years of Federal Service

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With an impressive 75 publications during his 40-year career, Dr. Adam Moles retired from Federal Service on 1 July. Adam’s research at Auke Bay Laboratories (ABL) focused on the interactions of contaminants, habitat alteration, and disease for dozens of marine and freshwater species.  He also served as scientific editor for the National Marine Fisheries Service from 2005 to 2008, overseeing the scientific content for the Fishery Bulletin and NOAA Professional Paper series.  In recent years, he stepped away from research to take a more active role in planning and administration for ABL.

Starting as a bottle washer with ABL in 1972, Adam’s assigned tasks were to prepare hydrocarbon solutions for other scientists and clean up the oil-soaked apparatus between trials.  Many of the hydrocarbon studies done by Adam and others at ABL from 1972 to 1988 provided a basis for the Center’s successful response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill proved to be a watershed event for Adam.  Laboratory experiments were superseded by field studies. Adam took this opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. and to focus on a wide variety of laboratory-based growth and behavior studies, often with limited funding.  In particular, Adam pioneered the use of parasites as indicators of oil pollution.  Some of his methods for monitoring water quality were adopted worldwide, most notably by the city of Venice, Italy.  Adam also proved adept at administrative tasks and took on many of the administrative chores at ABL. Adam enjoyed mentoring writers and served part time as ABL editor.  His favorite saying was “done climbing ladder, now lifting others.”

For many years, Adam taught English classes at the University of Alaska, as well as classes in fish diseases and microbiology.  His hobby has always been medieval literature, going so far as to pick up a master’s degree in literature in 2003 at Oxford University, where his tutor, Douglas Gray, held the Tolkien Chair for Languages and Literature.

 In retirement, Adam hopes to do some part-time teaching in English literature in Bellingham, Washington.  After a lifetime in Alaska, he and his wife Terri are looking forward to seeing a bit more of the world. They’ve heard rumors about something called “sunshine.”


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