FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Stout
Peter J. Auster, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been named one of 11 1999 Pew Marine Conservation Fellows. The award is the world's largest and most prestigious in the area of sea preservation.
Recipients of the tenth annual Pew Fellowships include an environmental journalist, an underwater photographer, academicians, and national policymakers. Each "Ocean Champion" receives an award of $150,000 to carry out innovative, interdisciplinary projects that address conservation challenges facing the seas.
Auster works both as research coordinator for NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and as a fisheries ecologist for the National Undersea Research Center in Connecticut. He will use his Pew Fellowship award to assess degradation of the deep-shelf sea floor bottom from bottom trawling. In addition, Auster plans to develop and distribute education materials to inform the public about the diversity of ocean habitats and their importance in supporting healthy stocks of fish.
"It's hard not to have a personal
interest in protecting the health of the ocean in general and
the sanctuary in particular, having spent the past five years
working in these waters," said Auster. "As I sail over
these spots on a map, I can see, in my mind's eye, the unique
and magnificent vistas on the sea floor. I want them to look
Auster recently took part in a fish ecology
project in Stellwagen Bank as part of the Sustainable
Seas Expedition, a five-year project of ocean exploration
and conservation in the nation's national marine sanctuaries.
The Expeditions, made possible by a $5 million grant from the
Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, join in partnership the National
Geographic Society and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. An interview with Auster during the SSE mission
"This sanctuary is rather unique in
that most of its sea floor is deeper than can
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1992, is located 25 miles east of Boston, Mass. The sanctuary surrounds the entire Stellwagen Bank, a glacially deposited topographic feature lying in 65 ft. to 100 ft. of water, and includes some of the richest fishing grounds in the Northeast.