Dedicated to the study and conservation of Pacific Seabirds and their environment.

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

P. Dee Boersma awarded 2018 Indianapolis Prize!

PSG is very excited to congratulate Dr. Boersma on this prestigious award.    Read more

Call for Nominations: PSG Awards!

Please submit your nominations for PSG Lifetime and Special Achievement Awards to the PSG Past Chair by 18 August 2017, 5 PM PDT.  Please see the PSG Awards page for more information.

P. Dee Boersma

Dr. P. Dee Boersma is the Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science in the University of Washington’s Department of Biology. Her decades of research have extended from Alaska and Washington to Argentina and the Galápagos Islands. In the southern hemisphere her work has focused on penguin ecology and conservation, combining scientific rigor with resource management. Throughout her career she has mentored scores of undergraduate and graduate students while studying seabirds as indicators of environmental change. Her research started with Galápagos penguins and how their breeding biology was honed to the unpredictable Galapagos upwelling. She worked on Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels in the Barren Islands, Alaska for more than a decade, showing they ingested petroleum and could be used as indicators of oil spills. Dee directs the Center for Penguins as Ocean Sentinels, and for 30 years she has directed the Magellanic Penguin Project at Punta Tombo, Argentina, as a scientific fellow for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Her work on penguins led the charge for responsible fisheries in the South Atlantic, and helped guide management at a major tourist destination. She serves on numerous marine conservation boards spanning international, national, and scientific domains.

For her lifetime of education, research, and international leadership in conservation of seabirds, including opening new frontiers in ecological studies and conservation of penguins in South America, the Pacific Seabird Group honors Dr. Boersma with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sarah Wanless

Dr. Sarah Wanless is internationally recognized as a leading and influential marine scientist, with a lifetime focus on seabirds. Her work has included long term studies of a variety of North Atlantic species, particularly murres, puffins, kittiwakes and shags, with groundbreaking research into seabird-prey interactions and the influence of commercial fisheries in seabird ecology. Sarah is based at the United Kingdom’s Center for Ecology and Hydrology and, among other appointments, holds Honorary Professor positions at the University of Glasgow and the University of Aberdeen. During her career, Sarah has mentored more than 30 Doctoral and Masters students. Concurrently, she has served as an expert advisor for European policy makers, particularly on seabird – fisheries interactions. Sarah is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and received the Zoological Society of London Marsh Award for Conservation Biology. With a remarkable 250 papers and two books authored to date, she is an accomplished author and educator.

In recognition of her decades of research on the ecology of Atlantic seabirds and their prey, leading to long-term studies and conservation efforts, her international leadership in education, ecosystem studies, and management that have benefitted seabirds, the Pacific Seabird Group honors Dr. Wanless with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Larry B. Spear (1945 – 2006)

LAA_LarrySpear_2016PSGLarry Spear received his BS, with Honors, from the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Biology, University of California, Davis, in 1978; and his MS in Marine Science, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, in 1986. The latter required him living in his car for three years, traveling up and down the West Coast from Seattle to San Diego, stopping at all the fish-processing plants, dumps, and river mouths, and keeping track of two cohorts of Western Gulls that he had banded as chicks on the Farallones. His thesis, “Dispersal in the Western Gull,” was published in The Auk. He went on to write 11 papers about Western gull life-history strategies, from hatching to senescence, published in The Auk (3X), Journal of Animal Ecology (2X), Studies in Avian Biology, The Condor and elsewhere. His piece in Natural History Magazine, about how a Halloween mask can fool gulls into misidentifying humans, was recognized by the magazine as the article of the decade.

He then set out to understand the at-sea ecology of seabirds. He pioneered the correction of ‘flux,’ whereby the speed and direction of a bird relative to the speed and direction of the research platform, transforms what we perceive as bird ‘density.’ He developed the only existing technique to accurately determine the population size of burrow-nesting species (published in Journal of Applied Ecology) from at sea data.

Perhaps his greatest contribution is a series of papers, 33 thus far, was his investigation of the at-sea biology of seabirds, including those of the Southern Ocean and the Eastern tropical Pacific. Within that body of work he showed convincingly that, indeed, many seabirds do feed at night; rediscovered the thought-to-be extinct Fregetta grallaria titan subspecies of White-bellied Storm-Petrel; showed that eating plastic does negatively affect seabird well-being; discovered mimicry in Kermadec Petrels that was of a form not yet described in vertebrates; revealed how morphological differences between polar and tropical seabirds related to their respective windfields; described the Pacific-basin-wide migration of Sooty Shearwaters, now confirmed by satellite telemetry; and estimated the true population of the Hawaiian Petrel, much higher than thought at the time – but now confirmed by the discovery of new nesting populations. Since his death two monographs of his have been published, one on the diet of an entire mid-ocean seabird fauna, and the other on the at-sea biology of storm-petrels of the eastern Pacific.

Larry’s legacy also lives on in museum collections; he was a master taxidermist whose study skins with their associated data continue to make significant contributions to our knowledge of seabirds.

In recognition of a passionate scientist whose unstinting focus on solving unanswered questions about seabirds led to many profound discoveries, the Pacific Seabird Group honors Larry Spear posthumously with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

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