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Douglas Karlen.
Douglas Karlen. Click the image for 300 dpi.

USDA's Agricultural Research Service Honors Scientists of the Year

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
September 15, 2015

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Douglas L. Karlen has been named the agency's Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year for 2015 for his work in developing solutions to soil and crop management problems. Karlen, a research soil scientist at ARS’ National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa, and other ARS researchers are being honored for their scientific achievements.

Karlen is being honored for outstanding leadership and research accomplishments in assessing soil quality and sustainable bioenergy feedstock production.

ARS also named four 2015 Area Senior Research Scientists of the Year. They are:

•  Steven R. Evett, with ARS’ Soil and Water Management Research Unit in Bushland, Texas, for outstanding research advances in soil-water measurement and crop-water use and for contributing to scientific and agricultural technology applications worldwide.

•  Yaguang Luo, with ARS’ Food Quality Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, for innovative research contributions to science-based food safety regulations and best industry practices.

•  Mark A. Nearing, with ARS’ Southwest Watershed Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, for innovative advances in modeling erosion processes and for integrating that research into science-based soil conservation decision making practices and policies.

•  Robert K. Vander Meer, with ARS’ Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research Unit, in Gainesville, Florida, for outstanding research and technology development in advancing the understanding and management of fire ants and other pests of agriculture and humans.

ARS is also honoring scientists who are in the early phases of their careers. The early-career awards recognize the achievements of ARS researchers who have been with the agency seven years or less.

This year, the top award in this category, the Herbert L. Rothbart Outstanding Early Career Research Scientist of 2015, will go to Heather K. Allen, a microbiologist at the agency's National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa. She is being honored for exceptional research addressing food safety and antibiotic resistance in food-producing animals that has led to significant contributions to scientific, stakeholder, government and public communities.

ARS is honoring four other Area Early Career Research Scientists. They are:

Kirk E. Anderson, with ARS’ Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, for innovative research on the role of microbes in honey bee nutrition and colony health.

Yaseen Elkasabi, with ARS’ Sustainable Biofuels and Co-Products Unit in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, for outstanding research contributions to the fast pyrolysis research program and for developing novel approaches for bio renewable fuel refining.

Michael J. Rothrock, Jr., with ARS’ Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit in Athens, Georgia, for developing a research program to determine the environmental drivers of food-borne pathogen ecology in alternative broiler chickens on small multispecies farms.

Michael J. White, with ARS’ Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Temple, Texas, for watershed model development and application to support conservation programs.

The agency also announced its 2015 ARS Technology Transfer Award winner. This Award recognizes individuals or groups who have done outstanding work in transferring technology to the marketplace.

This year’s winner is team at ARS’ National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture in Leetown, West Virginia, for developing the ARS-Fp-R rainbow trout. This trout line was selectively bred for improved disease resistance. The team includes ARS research geneticist Timothy D. Leeds and molecular biologist Gregory D. Wiens, among other ARS and industry collaborators.