Scripps marine research physiologist pioneer to receive lifetime achievement award

Gerald Kooyman, emeritus professor of biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, will be the first recipient of a new lifetime achievement award bestowed by the Society for Marine Mammalogy during the society's 16th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.

The presentation of the Kenneth S. Norris Lifetime Achievement Award to Kooyman, a renowned expert on the diving physiology of air-breathing animals, will take place at a special dinner ceremony Dec. 12 in San Diego.

The 24-year old society selected Kooyman for his ingenious approaches to field work, especially in adapting techniques developed by Per Scholander, director of the Physiological Research Lab at Scripps in the 1960s.

"He's a hero," said James Estes, editor of the society's journal, Marine Mammal Science. "His research has really been groundbreaking. He really changed people's view of how diving animals economize time and oxygen."

Kooyman came to Scripps as a postgraduate researcher in 1968. He is currently a member of Scripps Oceanography's Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine.

But his interest in Antarctic animals began in 1961, when he signed on to serve as a field assistant in a Stanford University expedition to the continent. Once at Scripps, Kooyman devised innovative methods for studying the dive behavior of Weddell seals, returning so frequently he has a mountain in Antarctica named after him.

Kooyman learned that if he led the docile animals to pre-drilled ice holes, the seals would return to the same hole after their dives, making them effective models for study of diving physiology. He would glue small time-depth recorders that he invented onto their fur (the special epoxy falling away in subsequent molts) and wait for them to resurface. His waits would sometimes last more than an hour; the seals frequently reached depths of 700 meters (2,300 feet) and remained submerg

Contact: Mario Aguilera or Cindy Clark
University of California - San Diego

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