Bruce B. Collette, National Marine Fisheries Service Systematics Laboratory has received the Joseph S. Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in Ichthyology for 2014.
The award was presented by Larry G. Allen, Chair, 2014 Nelson Award Committee at the plenary session of the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists held in Chattanooga, Tennessee on July 31, 2014. The text of Allen’s presentation follows:
THE Joseph S. Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in Ichthyology from the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH) recognizes a member of ASIH for an outstanding body of work in any area of ichthyology, including, but not limited to: ecology, behavior, life history, genetics, conservation, and systematics. While the award is granted principally on the basis of the quality of the awardee's research, consideration is also given to educational and service impacts of the individual's career. This year's awardee has a long, distinguished career in ichthyological research and publication, has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students from several scholarly institutions, and has performed extraordinary service for ASIH over the last half century.
Excluding six herpetology papers, the current list of ichthyological publications by this year’s awardee includes over 260 titles plus others in press published over a career that spans almost 60 years, so far. The wide array of subjects covered in these publications include: systematics of freshwater fishes, especially halfbeaks and darters; major revisions or reviews of genera and families of marine fishes; conservation and fisheries; phylogeography, marine biodiversity, faunal summaries and checklists; functional morphology and anatomy; ecology and behavior; hybridization in fishes; parasite and fish associations; early life history studies; and finally, too many identification guides for fishery purposes (primarily FAO contributions) and book chapters to count. Throughout it all, our awardee has described 51 new taxa of fishes: 3 genera, 42 species and 6 subspecies.
As a co-author of the premier ichthyology textbook “The Diversity of Fishes,” (2nd ed., 2009), he has had a major influence on the conservation and study of fishes in general. In addition, this year’s awardee has written or edited three other ichthyological books: Bigelow & Schroeder’s Fishes of the Gulf of Maine (3rd ed., 2002), The Fishes of Bermuda (1999), and Fishes: The Animal Answer Guide (2011). In 1989 he was the first recipient of the Robert H. Gibbs, Jr. Memorial Award “for an outstanding body of published work in Systematic ichthyology” from ASIH. He also received a Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Superior Performance Award in 1969 for his paper “Comparative anatomy and systematics of the tunas, genus Thunnus, and on three separate occasions (1975, 1984 and 1996) he received Best Paper awards,” for Fishery Bulletin publications. His work as the NOAA representative on the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) resulted in the receipt of one of Vice-President Gore’s Hammer Awards in 1998. More recently, in 2004 he received a Distinguished Career Award from NOAA “for his excellence in research and service in the fields of fish taxonomy, systematics and marine biodiversity” for his then 44-year Federal career, and in 2013 he was awarded a Department of Commerce Gold Medal “for leadership in use of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List Criteria to assess extinction risks of tunas and billfishes.”
The awardee has served on graduate committees and as post-doctoral advisor for 25 students, mostly at Northeastern University, George Washington University, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, many of whom are active in ichthyology today. Throughout his remarkable career at the National Marine Fisheries Service Systematics Laboratory, he has steadfastly capitalized on every opportunity to demonstrate the value of the field of ichthyology and promote important conservation efforts to fisheries scientists and to the nation.
Finally, our awardee has been a highly visible and active member of ASIH. He has been a member of the ASIH Board of Governors since 1962 and held critical ASIH positions including Ichthyological Editor of Copeia (1964-1968), Secretary (1974-1978) and President (1981). Maybe most importantly, he has shared his research and vast knowledge through 48 papers and posters enthusiastically presented at ASIH annual meetings since 1956, another indication of his leadership and active involvement in ichthyology. A symposium and dinner were held in his honor at the 2004 ASIH meetings in Norman, Oklahoma, marking his 70th birthday.
It is an honor and a privilege to present the 2014 Joseph S. Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in Ichthyology to Dr. Bruce B. Collette.