Deep sea explorer and marine conservationist wins MacArthur Fellowship

(Fort Pierce, Florida, September 19, 2006) Dr. Edith Widder, President & Senior Scientist of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (www.oceanrecon.org), has been named a MacArthur Fellow for 2006. She will receive $500,000 in "no strings attached" support over the next five years under the terms of the award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The foundation's criteria for the awards, popularly known as '"genius grants" include exceptional originality, creativity and capacity to contribute importantly to society based on a track record of significant accomplishment. Dr. Widder was selected for her work combining "expertise in oceanographic research and technological innovation with a commitment to reversing the worldwide trend of marine ecosystem degradation." Her work was highlighted for "fostering a greater understanding of ocean life as a means to better, more informed ocean stewardship."

"Everyone focuses on the money," said Dr. Widder, "But what thrills me is the MacArthur Foundation's focus on helping us find critically needed solutions to some of the most pressing conservation challenges facing our ocean." Keith Paglen, Chief Executive Officer of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association said, "Everyone here is thrilled for Dr. Widder. Without a healthy ocean we cannot have a healthy planet, but with proper guidance from scientists--dare I say geniuses--like Dr. Widder and support from the public we can have both."

Dr. Widder joins 25 other recipients of the award this year in fields as diverse as music and medicine. "This new group of MacArthur Fellows illustrates our conviction that talented and creative individuals, free to follow their insights and instincts, will reveal new discoveries and make a difference in shaping our future," said Jonathan Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. "There is something palpable about this group of MacArthur Fellows--about their character as explorers and pio

Contact: Keith Paglen
Ocean Research & Conservation Association

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