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Alumni Updates: Mark Eakin

Mark Eakin Awarded Silver Medal by the U.S. Department of Commerce for Scientific/Engineering Achievement

On November 19, 2009, Dr. C. Mark Eakin (Ph.D 1991, MBF) was awarded the Silver Medal by the U.S. Department of Commerce for Scientific/Engineering Achievement. This award is the second highest honorary award given by the Department and is granted by the Secretary for exceptional performance characterized by noteworthy or superlative contributions that have a direct and lasting impact within the Department. Dr. Eakin lead a team who were honored for overseeing the development of experimental and operational satellite and model-based products, alerts, and predictions for coral reef managers and stakeholders who, in turn, addressed coral bleaching and other ecological impacts of climate change. They undertook extensive efforts to train coral reef managers and provide outreach and education to other stakeholders and the general public. Using NOAA tools and training, reef managers and stakeholders respond to and prepare for present and future impacts of climate change on coral reef ecosystems.

In the photo are Honorable Dennis F. Hightower, Deputy Secretary of Commerce; Rik Wanninkhof of NOAA in Miami, FL; Dr. Mary Cécile Penland de Garcia of NOAA in Boulder, CO; Honorable Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce; Dr. Eakin; Lauri MacLaughlin of NOAA in Key Largo, FL; and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (not present: Dr. Robert S. Webb of NOAA in Boulder, CO).

Dr. C. Mark Eakin directs NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch in Silver Spring, MD, an effort focused on the monitoring of coral reef ecosystems through satellite, in situ, and paleoenvironmental observations. A coral reef specialist, with a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami, Dr. Eakin has published on various topics in coral reef ecology, especially the impact of climate change and other disturbance on coral reefs. He co-chairs the US Coral Reef Task Force’s Climate Change Working Group and the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program Climate Change Advisory Panel and has briefed and testified before the US Congress on climate change impacts. He is a Councillor for the International Society for Reef Studies and member and advisor to the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.


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