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ECU biologist honored by U.S. Coast Guard

GREENVILLE, NC   (Apr. 7, 2004)   —   Lisa M. Clough, assistant professor of biology at East Carolina University, has been honored by the U.S. Coast Guard with an award for public service.

Clough served on a committee of scientists who provided technical expertise to the Coast Guard in its effort to build a research-friendly polar icebreaker, the USCGC HEALY.

"In the United States, if you want to do research in the Arctic Ocean, you have to go out and do your work on a Coast Guard ice breaker," Clough said.

"In the past, the ice breakers were built for the military and retrofitted for science," she said. "In 1994, the Coast Guard planned to build a new ice breaker and they wanted to take science into consideration from the beginning."

In 1996, Clough was invited to serve as a founding member of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System's Arctic Icebreaker Coordinating Committee. She and a team of seven other Arctic scientists provided scientific oversight to the design, testing and evaluation of the 420-foot HEALY icebreaker, which made its maiden voyage in 2000. In 2001, Clough was asked to chair the committee and lead its second charge: to serve as a liaison for the new ship's guest scientists and officials at the Coast Guard.

"Dr. Clough's leadership and enthusiasm for the Coast Guard icebreaker program and her positive interaction with the science and academic communities has strengthened the working relationship between the Coast Guard and its science customers," says the Coast Guard's Distinguished Public Service Award. "Dr. Clough's accomplishments are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard."

Under Clough's leadership, the committee broadened its focus to encompass science operations onboard all three Coast Guard polar icebreakers.

"After every science cruise, I would run a discussion of the chief scientists to get feedback on how to improve the ship," she said.

Clough, who studies creatures that live at the bottom of the sea, first conducted research in the Arctic waters in 1993 as part of her post-doctoral studies with William Ambrose at ECU. She would later return to the Arctic once or twice a year to continue and expand her research in benthic ecology.

Clough said she was pleased to receive the award last month at a banquet in Washington DC, and hopes that others will benefit from the committee's work in the future.

"In a lot of ways I think we have made a significant difference in the way ships are available for the scientific community," she said.


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481