By: Kristen Weiss
Photo courtesy of Barbara Block
Congratulations to Stanford University professor and marine biologist Barbara Block, a COS Science Advisory Committee member and affiliated researcher, who was among eight winners of the 2016 Peter Benchley Ocean Awards announced this month.
The Benchley Awards, sometimes called the “Academy Awards of the Sea”, honor individuals who have excelled in ocean conservation, recognizing leaders in science, stewardship, and outreach.
Block received a Benchley Award for ‘Excellence in Science’ based on her outstanding scientific contributions that have increased our understanding of large ocean predator physiology, ecology, and behavior. Her work has focused on sharks, tunas, marine mammals and more, solving some of the greatest mysteries related to migration patterns, species interactions, and population biology. Currently, Block heads a lab at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station focused on the biomechanics, genomics, and physiology of the world’s tuna populations.
Among the other renowned Benchley Award recipients were President Tommy Remengesau Jr. of the Republic of Palau, Chris Costello from UC Santa Barbara and co-found of the Sustainable Fisheries Group, and Tara Expeditions, a ship-based non-profit marine conservation organization that has collected thousands of plankton and virus DNA samples from across the world’s oceans in the past several years.
Block’s research, as well as her passion for ocean science and conservation, continues to inspire scientists and the public alike. This latest recognition underscores just how large an impact such research can have not only on people’s understanding of marine systems, but also on their interest in protecting them.
For more on the awards go to the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards website.
Also see the story covered by National Geographic.