URI, NOAA researcher wins ‘equivalent’ of Nobel for sustainable development

KENNETH SHERMAN’S groundbreaking model for understanding undersea ecosystems, developed at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Narragansett facility, is being rewarded with a major international award.
Posted 8/19/10

NARRAGANSETT – A researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration laboratory in Narragansett will share an international prize for environmental research.

Kenneth Sherman will receive the Göteborg Award for Sustainable Development, considered the environmental equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Sherman is the director of NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Marine Ecosystems Studies and of the agency’s lab in Narragansett, as well as an adjunct professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. He and his fellow award winner, Costa Rican activist Randall Arauz, will pick up the award during a ceremony in Göteborg, Sweden, on Nov. 17. Both will share 1 million Swedish crowns, or about $135,000.

Sherman and University of Rhode Island colleague Lewis Alexander pioneered the concept of studying large marine ecosystems. Sherman and his colleagues promoted the idea that managing oceans could be better by identifying distinct ecosystems based on topography, water depths and currents, productivity and food chain interactions. His work attracted funding from NOAA and the United Nations.

“Ken Sherman’s LME model is exceptional because it’s built on a holistic view with a system perspective,” the award committee said. “Ken Sherman has worked tirelessly for decades, and become more and more successful in generating acceptance for the concept among scientists and politicians. Today the LME concept is generally accepted around the world and has a global network of 64 LME areas.”

The Göteborg Award for Sustainable Development was founded in 1999 by the city of Göteborg and several businesses to stimulate and recognize strategic work in sustainable development, nationally and internationally.

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