Nov 132008
 
Authors: Kelley Bruce Robinson

Although he was awarded what’s being called the “Nobel Prize for fisheries research” last week, CSU professor Kurt Fausch said he’s most fortunate to have been able to balance a fulfilling career with a meaningful family life.

“My family and their achievements are the most important thing in my life, after which my work comes second,” Fausch said.

The Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology professor is the first recipient of the International Fisheries Science Prize, a newly created honor.

The award, given by the World Council of Fisheries Societies at the World Fisheries Congress last month, recognized Fausch’s knowledge on global fisheries and conservation. In addition to receiving the award, Fausch was a keynote speaker at the convention.

While Fausch acknowledged the rest of CSU’s faculty as contributors to his winning the award, Joseph O’Leary, dean of CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources, said he recognized how privileged the group is to have a world-renowned scientist like Fausch.

“He is the first scientist of all the scientists in the world in this area to be honored,” O’Leary said. “This is like the Nobel Prize for fisheries research, a very special class to be in especially when you are the first out of many who could have been chosen.”

“I think his leadership, concern about the people he is engaged with, both students and scientists, and ability to add value to collaborations contributed significantly (to his receiving the award).”

Fausch, who has been receiving praise and congratulations from people across the campus and the world, said he is proud to have received the award while still at CSU.

“We have built a strong program in aquatic biology and fisheries at CSU over the last 30 years,” Fausch said. “This is due to the hard work of my colleagues and graduate students and myself. This award is a tribute to this entire group and their work.”

Fausch has been internationally respected since publishing his 1981 doctoral work on salmon and trout habitat use and competition, sparking work on similar issues in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Since then, he has produced more than 90 influential papers, book chapters and edited volumes on topics ranging from landscape ecology to trophic links between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Over 20 of those works were collaborated on with authors outside the U.S.

“Dr. Fausch is an exceptional researcher who has aligned himself with an international set of colleagues who also are very good at what they do,” O’Leary said.

Fausch has also recently helped produce a documentary film, titled “RiverWebs,” about his work in Japan on stream ecology. The film was a tribute to Dr. Shigreu Nakano, a close Japanese colleague of Fausch’s who was tragically killed in the Sea of Cortez off Bahia de Los Angeles in Baja, Calif. where a research vessel capsized in an unexpected storm.

In addition to airing on PBS in Colorado and CSU’s CTV Channel 11, the film was shown at the World Fisheries Congress before an address from the Emperor of Japan.

Fausch said he plans to continue teaching and conducting the research that he hopes will continue to result in further contributions to his field.

“I attempt to be an excellent teacher as well as to conduct research that generates new knowledge and helps solve practical problems. If I’ve been able to accomplish those goals, then I’m happy with my achievements.”

Staff Writer Kelley Bruce Robinson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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