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URI Graduate School of Oceanography biologist receives lifetime achievement award from American Fisheries Society

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Narragansett, RI -- May 5, 2004 -- URI biological oceanographer and professor emeritus Saul B. Saila has been given the 2004 Dwight A. Webster Memorial Award, the most prestigious award given by the Northeastern Division of the American Fisheries Society (AFS). Saila received the award at the 60th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference that convened last week in Ocean City, Maryland.

Saila received the award for lifelong contributions to fisheries science and the profession in the Northeast, meritorious service to the profession and fisheries, significant academic or technical accomplishments, and long-term service in the Northeastern Division as an AFS member. He is one of an elite group of 48 individuals who have been AFS members 55 years or more, having joined AFS in 1949.

Saila has enriched the field of fishery science through innovative research and dedication to education in more than fifty years of professional service. He has pioneered the application of new analytical techniques in fisheries research, placing new tools in the hands of researchers that have substantially advanced the discipline in more than one hundred scientific papers and reports.

He was an early proponent of the development and utilization of quantitative models in fisheries applications. He recognized the revolution that computers would bring to the field from an early date and served as the director of the first computer center established at the University of Rhode Island, while continuing in his role as professor in the departments of Oceanography and Zoology.

He established the Marine Experiment Station at URI, modeled on the agricultural experiment stations of Land Grant Colleges. He later contributed to research areas as diverse as multispecies and ecosystem modeling, complex nonlinear dynamics, and uncertainty theory.

Saila has served with distinction on many scientific advisory committees at the local, national, and international levels. At the age of almost 80, he still travels abroad as a consultant.

A resident of Hope Valley, Saila received a B.S. in agronomy from the University of Rhode Island, and an M.S. in limnology and a Ph.D. in fishery biology from Cornell University where he was Dwight A. Webster’s second graduate student. He came to URI as an assistant professor of marine biology in 1956 and became a professor of oceanography and zoology in 1967. He has been the major professor for more than 65 students at URI and has written more than 100 papers for professional, peer-reviewed journals. He retired from teaching in 1988, but continues to conduct research throughout the world.

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography is one of the country's largest marine science education programs, and one of the world's foremost marine research institutions. Founded in 1961 in Narragansett, RI, GSO serves a community of scientists who are researching the causes of and solutions to such problems as acid rain, harmful algal blooms, global warming, air and water pollution, oil spills, overfishing, and coastal erosion. GSO is home to the Coastal Institute, the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography, and the National Sea Grant Library.