200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 96: “Lifetime Achievement ”

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photo of scientist and boy holding large catfishes
Dr. John Lundberg and a local boy hold two different species of sorubim catfish near the Rio Paraná during a 2005 expedition to Argentina. John is holding a Pseudoplatystoma reticulatum, while the boy is holding a Pseudoplatystoma corruscans.

Lifetime Achievement

Last year Academy Ichthyologist Dr. John Lundberg was completely blindsided. At the annual meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH) in July, Lundberg was anxiously reviewing in his head the opening statements of a keynote lecture he was set to deliver when he was called to the stage to receive the Robert H. Gibbs, Jr. Memorial Award for his lifetime achievement in advancing knowledge of fish diversity. Lundberg remembered being nominated for the award several years ago, but thought his nomination had expired. Still, the surprise was a good one.

The ASIH is a relatively small scientific society with some 2000 members, but the Gibbs award is “a big deal for those of us who are fish lovers and who work on diversity of fishes,” said Lundberg in 2010. Since 1989, the Gibbs award honors scientists with “an outstanding body of published work in systematic ichthyology.” The Academy’s Curator and Chaplin Chair of the Ichthyology Department, Lundberg is widely known for his evolutionary study of fishes. He was a leader of the All Catfish Species Inventory, a five-year global survey of catfish species funded by the National Science Foundation. Lundberg himself has discovered and named more than 37 species and 12 genera of living and fossil fishes. His work provides crucial information for the advancement of biodiversity science and the conservation of fish species and helps inform fisheries biologists by providing the precise taxonomy that is essential for correct species monitoring and management.

Find out more about what’s going on with the Academy’s fish experts.

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