Award for Refuge Biologist Saves Aleutian Research Project from Budget Cuts

Monday, March 19 2012

Major recognition for an Alaskan scientist could mean the survival of at-risk research projects in the Aleutian Islands.

Last week, Jeff Williams, a biologist for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge won the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s top award for science leadership. Williams has been working in Aleutians for over two decades, and he’s best known for his work on Kasatochi. Using the data he had previously collected on the volcano, he was able to examine how life returned to the area after a devastating eruption.

Additionally, Williams was recognized for his work as chief scientist aboard the research vessel Tiglax. That boat hosts 160 scientists each year, and travels 15,000 nautical miles every summer to collect more information on Aleutian life.

As the recipient of this reward, Williams and the Alaska Maritime Refuge will receive $50,000. They’ll be using that money to keep open a field camp that would have likely been closed due to budget cuts. The award money will also be used for additional studies of Kasatochi and St. Matthew Island.

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