The Alaska Fisheries Science Center is proud to have a Presidential Early Career Award winner on its team. Elizabeth Siddon received this distinguished award this summer. The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government upon outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers. It recognizes their achievements and community service. The PECASE also embodies the high priority placed by the Administration on maintaining the leadership position of the United States in science by producing outstanding scientists and engineers and nurturing their continued development.
Past Alaska Fisheries Science Center PECASE award winners include:
- Dana Hansleman in 2009 for his work developing alternative ways of surveying highly aggregated species such as rockfish.This was the first attempt at applying "adaptive sampling" methods to a marine fish population over a large geographic area of the open ocean. He also developed a generalized method to incorporate the uncertainty of abundance estimates from surveys into the calculation of catch limits.
- Alan Haynie in 2012 for his work developing innovative economic tools and models to predict fisher behavior amid changing environment, market conditions and management systems. He also worked with various stakeholders to create and implement new programs to reduce unintended catch of salmon bycatch, in the Bering Sea pollock fishery.
- Jim Thorson in 2013 for his work developing dynamic models showing variation in fish populations and productivity over space and time, developing innovative modelling tools for data-rich and data-limited species, and efforts to better estimate variation in fish growth and maturity (Jim was working for the Northwest Fisheries Science Center at the time).
Now let's take a closer look at this year's honoree. Elizabeth works for the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in our Auke Bay Laboratories in Juneau, Alaska. She is a member of the Ecosystem Modeling and Assessment Program. Her work is predominantly focused on the Bering Sea, and connecting ecosystem science to management. She is responsible for developing the annual Ecosystem Status Report for the Bering Sea. This report is used by regional fisheries managers at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to inform fishing quotas each year. In 2018 she produced the first public-friendly Brief of this report. As a graduate student, she was part of the team that won a NOAA Gold medal in 2015 for the Bering Sea Project. Elizabeth is the first woman to be selected for the PECASE award for the Alaska Fisheries Science Center.