Awards + Funding

Distinguished Fellow of the Society

The Distinguished Fellow Award of the American Elasmobranch Society is the highest award presented by the Society. It is awarded in recognition of outstanding career contributions to the research and understanding of elasmobranch fishes, and provides a lifetime membership to the Society.

Nomination of a candidate for the Distinguished Fellow Award is made by submission of a statement of justification for the award to the President. The President then submits nominations to the Board of Directors. Nominations submitted to the Board require written approval by a 2/3 majority of the Board. Not more than one Distinguished Fellow shall be designated in any one year. The person(s) advancing a name for candidacy shall work with the President to produce the verbiage and the plaque for presentation of the award at the following annual meeting.

The American Elasmobranch Society has honored the following members with the Distinguished Fellow Award:

1987-Sonny Gruber
1988-Stewart Springer
1989-Perry Gilbert
1991-Jack Casey
1992-Tom Thorson
1998-Don Nelson
1999-Eugenie Clark
2005-Arthur Myrberg, Jr.
2009-Jack Musick
2010-Gregor Cailliet
2015-Carl Luer

The Eugenie Clark Award

Dr. Eugenie Clark (1922-2015) was a pioneer in field and laboratory research on the biology of elasmobranch fishes. She established her long and illustrious career during a time when women were discouraged from becoming research scientists. Always the inquisitive explorer, Genie made her mark in studying the natural history, reproductive biology, and behavior of sharks and other fishes observed in the wild and in captivity. As a university professor, Genie educated thousands of college students in ichthyology and shark biology. In addition to her hundreds of technical publications in journals including Science, Genie wrote many books and articles for popular audiences around the world, for she believed that public understanding of her discoveries was important. In 1999, the American Elasmobranch Society honored Genie with its Distinguished Fellow Award.

Genie’s legacy as a remarkably successful marine scientist and educator in a male-dominated field has served as inspiration for countless numbers of young women aspiring to be the next Genie Clark. To honor her memory and continue to inspire female members of the American Elasmobranch Society, AES established the Eugenie Clark Award. This award recognizes female early-career scientists who demonstrate uncommon perseverance, dedication and innovation in biological research and public outreach on elasmobranch fishes. Candidates can be Master’s or Ph.D. students to five years post-graduate degree. Eligible fields of research are broad but must include some aspect of organismal-level field biology of elasmobranchs. In addition to conducting innovative field studies on elasmobranchs, successful candidates must have communicated the results of their research through effective, broad-based public outreach and scientific publications. This is not intended to be an annual award, but rather bestowed periodically to truly distinguished candidates.

The award consists of a cash prize of US$2,500, dependent upon candidate eligibility and funding availability. Funding for the award is made possible through a donation to AES of $1,250 by the Save Our Seas Foundation and $1,250 by Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research.
Awardees must: be AES members in good standing (society dues paid by January 1 of the calendar year of the award); be in at least their second year of consecutive, in-good-standing AES membership; and have all necessary application materials submitted by the relevant deadline.

Candidates may be nominated by AES Regular, Senior or Lifetime members, by AES officers, by non-AES professional scientists, or by the candidates themselves. Nominees are screened by the AES Grant Fund Committee, and applications are requested from eligible candidates. If an awardee is chosen by the Grant Fund Committee, a final decision is made through consultation with the AES Executive Committee, a representative of the Save Our Seas Foundation, and a representative of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research. Announcement of the winner of the “Genie” award will be made at the AES meeting.

The nomination form is available here and must be emailed to the Chair of the AES Grant Committee, Dr. Kevin Feldheim (kfeldheim@fieldmuseum.org) by February 15, 2022.

Eligible nominees will be notified by the Grant Committee and must provide a completed application form and CV to Kevin Feldheim (kfeldheim@fieldmuseum.org) by March 31st, 2022.

If a winner is selected in 2022, their name will be announced at the AES annual meeting. The winner need not be present at the meeting to win.

The American Elasmobranch Society has honored the following members with the Eugenie Clark Award:

2016-Kady Lyons

2017-Chris Bedore

2020-Jill Brooks

2021-Brit Finucci