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Collette with students
Bruce Collette speaks with visitors to the Smithsonian's Sant Ocean Hall exhibit and the "Ask a Scientist" station.
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August 22, 2014
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

NEFSC Scientist Honored by American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists

Bruce B. Collette, a zoologist and senior scientist with the NEFSC’s National Systematics Laboratory, has been honored by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH) with the 2014 Joseph S. Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in Ichthyology.

The award, an engraved crystal obelisk “to commemorate a prestigious career devoted to the study of fishes,” was presented July 31 during the society’s annual meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  It recognizes an ASIH member “for an outstanding body of work in any area of ichthyology, including, but not limited to: ecology, behavior, life history, genetics, conservation, and systematics.” Consideration is also given “to educational and service impacts of the individual’s career.”

Collette has been a member of ASIH since 1955 and has served as Ichthyology Editor of Copeia, the society’s peer-reviewed scientific journal, as well as Secretary and President of the society.

Joseph S. Nelson was an ichthyologist best known for several editions of “Fishes of the World” and as lead author of several editions of the American Fisheries Society (AFS)-ASIH Names of Fishes Committee. A professor emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta in Canada, Nelson died in August 2011 just before assuming the presidency of ASIH.  

Bruce Collette
Bruce Collette

Collette was honored by the Department of Commerce with a 2012 Gold Medal “for leadership in use of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List Criteria to assess extinction risks of tunas and billfishes. Bluefin tunas were deemed endangered, and bigeye tuna and some marlins as vulnerable.”  The Gold Medal is the highest honorary award granted by the Secretary and is given for “distinguished performance characterized by extraordinary, notable or prestigious contributions that impact the mission of the Department and/or one operating unit and which reflect favorably on the Department."

In 2004, Collette received a Distinguished Career Award from NOAA “for excellence in research and service in the fields of fish taxonomy, systematics, and marine biodiversity.”  The award recognizes long-term achievement in advancing the goals and mission of NOAA.

Learn more about the Nelson Award presentation to Bruce Collette at:

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