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Burkholder honored for fisheries conservation

Dr. JoAnn Burkholder, CALS Department of Applied Ecology, received the Fred A. Harris Fisheries Conservation Award, the highest honor given by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

The award recognizes non-chapter members who have distinguished themselves through outstanding research, education and service to the fisheries and aquatic resources of North Carolina. Burkholder received the award at the group’s annual meeting held recently in Carolina Beach.

Burkholder is a William Neal Reynolds Professor of Applied Ecology and Director of NC State’s Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology. She is a broadly trained aquatic ecologist who has embodied excellence in research, academics and public outreach for more than 28 years.

John Crutchfield, a former student of Burkholder’s and a career fisheries biologist with Progress Energy-Duke Energy, was among those nominating her. Crutchfield described her, saying, “like the person for whom this award is named, Dr. Burkholder holds strong science in the highest regard. She firmly believes that the protection and management of our aquatic natural resources can only be achieved by using the strongest, objective science possible, and she works tirelessly to ensure that the best science is produced and can be translated and used by policy makers and the general public alike.”

Burkolder’s research interests focus on algal nutritional physiology and ecology, and her work spans the salinity gradient from freshwater to estuarine and marine species. But most notably, she addresses the pervasive issue of chronic eutrophication (nutrient over-enrichment and associated pollutants) of our aquatic ecosystems.

She has contributed significantly to the understanding of algal and submerged aquatic vegetation population dynamics and their relation to nutrient and other pollutants in North Carolina, across the southeastern U.S., and the throughout the world. Dr. Burkholder has supported fisheries and aquatic science education and professionalism through her extensive classroom and “field laboratory” teaching and in the mentoring of graduate students.

Burkholder earned her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 1975, a master of science degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1981 and doctorate from Michigan State University in 1986. She has been a faculty member at NC State since 1986, director of the Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology since 1999 and a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor since 2008.