Dr. Nancy Auer Earns American Fisheries Society Award

Professor Nancy Auer (BioSci) has been named winner of the 2015 Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society’s Justin Leonard Award. The award recognizes outstanding professional competence and achievement of a professional employed in the field of fisheries or aquatic biology in Michigan.

The award is named in honor of Justin W. Leonard (1909–1975), professor of natural resources and zoology at the University of Michigan. It will be presented at the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society meeting in Bay City this week.

“Dr. Auer remains an internationally recognized expert in fisheries and aquatic science and has spent her entire professional career in Michigan working to improve our understanding and management of aquatic ecosystems and lake sturgeon in particular,” said her nomination for the award. “Dr. Auer came to Michigan from Minnesota and began her career as a graduate student and research assistant at the University of Michigan in 1975, working under Dr. Leonard until his death.

“Upon completion of her M.S. degree, Dr. Auer continued working at the University of Michigan as a research scholar and edited the Identification of larval fishes of the Great Lakes basin with emphasis on the Lake Michigan drainage. This guide has become the standard reference for larval fish ID in the Great Lakes.

“In 1984, Dr. Auer accepted a faculty position at Michigan Technological University and began working on the Sturgeon River lake sturgeon population, work which would lead to her dissertation research and Ph.D. in 1995. Dr. Auer continues on the faculty at Michigan Technological University and has continued working on lake sturgeon, larval fish biology and ecology, food web interactions and comparisons of Arctic and Great Lakes food webs. She has authored or co-authored over 20 journal articles, contributed chapters to four books and co-edited the book, The Great Lake Sturgeon.

“Dr. Auer is also recognized as an outstanding teacher and mentor and has advised numerous graduate students. Dr. Auer’s impact on the fisheries profession extends beyond Michigan as her students have gone on to professional positions across the Midwest. Dr. Auer has been active in AFS both at the chapter and national level since becoming an AFS member in 1978. She served as Michigan Chapter President in 1993 and was chair of the Michigan Resolutions Committee. At the national level she served as President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Early Life History Section, chair of the J. Frances Allen Committee and served on several other committees. In summary, Dr. Auer’s scientific achievements, dedication to quality teaching and mentoring, and service to the fisheries profession are deserving of the Leonard Award.”

Chandrashekhar Joshi, chair of biological sciences at Michigan Tech, congratulated Auer on the award. “Her nomination nicely summarizes her lifetime of research work,” he said. “We are very happy for this well-deserved recognition by her peers, and we are fortunate to have her as our esteemed colleague.”


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