NOAA Fisheries Scientist Receives Prestigious Award

November 02, 2018

Dr. Tom Munroe received the 2018 Robert H. Gibbs, Jr. Memorial Award in recognition of his outstanding body of published work in systematic ichthyology.

Tom Munroe with Peltorhamphus novaezeelandiae Photo Credit C. Struthers.jpg

Dr. Tom Munroe with two Patiki or common sole (Peltorhampus novaezeelandiae) in the lab. Credit: C. Struthers.

 

NOAA Fisheries scientist Dr. Tom Munroe received the 2018 Robert H. Gibbs, Jr. Memorial Award in recognition of his outstanding body of published work in systematic ichthyology (the field of study describing and naming fishes). This award is presented annually by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists to an individual engaged in systematic studies of fishes. 

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Dr. Munroe (pictured at right with the Gibbs Award) is a senior scientist at the NOAA Fisheries National Systematics Laboratory located at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.  He is regarded as a world expert and authority on flatfishes such as flounders, soles, tongue soles, and halibut.  Flatfishes are immediately identified by having both eyes on the same side of the head and in having flattened bodies (from side to side).  

 

Dr. Munroe has described 28 new species of flatfishes in his 30+ year career at NOAA and is currently involved with several studies that will describe another 15+ new species.  Described by his nominators as the “go-to” person for flatfishes, he has made substantial contributions to the body of knowledge on these and other groups of fishes.  He has produced an impressive 115 peer-reviewed papers (over 50 as first author) and an additional 20 book chapters. 

His contributions are also recognized internationally.  He wrote several chapters on flatfishes for the book Fishes of New Zealand, which received the 2016 Whitley Medal for an outstanding publication in Australasian Zoology from the Royal Society of New South Wales.  Dr. Munroe’s research also extends to other commercially and ecologically important species such as herrings, shads, and anchovies.

With over 840 known species of flatfishes, and more undescribed species discovered each year, there remains a strong demand nearly worldwide for taxonomic information on this interesting group of fishes.  Species-level taxonomic research provides the foundation for understanding species boundaries, facilitates the development of fish identification keys and field guides, and also provides the basic information necessary to assess the conservation status of species. Dr. Munroe has been integral to the continued research related to this unique fish group.

 
 

NOAA congratulates Dr. Munroe on this tremendous achievement! 

Last updated by Office of Science and Technology on November 02, 2018