Ocean Scientist Awarded Equivalent of Nobel for Sustainable Development

Ken Sherman, M.S. ’59, URI and NOAA researcher, shared the Göteberg Award for Sustainable Development this fall. The international award is considered the environmental equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Sherman, director of the Narragansett Laboratory and the Office of Marine Ecosystems Studies in NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and adjunct professor of oceanography at URI, pioneered the concept of large marine ecosystems with URI’s Lewis Alexander and others during the 1980s.

The scientist and his colleagues recognized that large areas of the oceans function as ecosystems and that pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, habitat degradation, toxic pollution, aerosol contamination, and over-exploration of living resources, along with natural factors, influenced the varying productivity of these ecosystems.

That knowledge has led to a growing recognition that actions on the part of governments and society are required to address the degradation.

Sherman shared the prize, one million Swedish crowns or about $148,000, with conservationist Randall Arauz of Costa Rica.