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UGA professor recognized for coastal stewardship

Katie Cowart

Merryl Alber, professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of marine sciences, will receive the 2019 Margaret A. Davidson Award for Stewardship from the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding and stewardship of estuarine and coastal ecosystems worldwide. 

The Davidson Award recognizes an individual who demonstrates extraordinary leadership, service, innovation, and commitment to the management of estuarine and coastal systems. Other CERF awards focus on research and education excellence; this award recognizes those who have worked in the estuarine and coastal arena and excelled in management and policy.

“Facilitating connections between scientists and managers is an important part of why I do science, and a responsibility I take very seriously,” said Alber, who serves as director of the University of Georgia Marine Institute based on Sapelo Island. “I am honored to be recognized by the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation for this award.”

A renowned coastal research scientist and leader, Alber serves as Principal Investigator of the Georgia Coastal Long-Term Ecological Research program, a National Science Foundation-funded program now in its second decade of studying long-term change in coastal ecosystems such as the saltwater marshes that characterize Georgia’s coastline.

Alber is also Project Director of the Georgia Coastal Research Council, which she founded in 2002 as an innovative way to exchange information between coastal scientists and decision makers in the state of Georgia. Since 2005 she has served as the Managing Editor of Coastal and Estuarine Science News, which translates key scientific papers for resource managers and policy makers. She has also written a children’s book about the salt marsh.

“I am fortunate that UGA has provided me with the opportunity to pursue my interest in coastal stewardship as part of my faculty position,” said Alber. “My work in this area informs my other activities, and has allowed me to take an integrated approach to teaching, research and service.”

CERF is a private, non-partisan,multidisciplinary organization of individuals who study and manage the structure and functions of estuaries, as well as the effects of human activities on these environments.Members include students, researchers, resource managers, policy makers, and educators representing academic and research institutions, government, industry and consulting, and non-governmental organizations. Alber will receive the award at the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation conference in Mobile, Alabama in November. 



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