SAFS Spring / Summer 2019 Newsletter – Director’s Message

Dear Friends,

André Punt
André Punt

Welcome to the first e-issue of the SAFS newsletter in many years. This e-version allows us to include much more material than our printed issues, which is great because there is always a lot going on at SAFS. The fall-winter issue of the newsletter will continue to be published as both an online PDF and a printed piece for those on our mailing list. If you’d prefer to “go green” and only receive the newsletter online, please let us know by contacting us at

The six months since we published the previous issue of the newsletter have been exhilarating, exhausting, and just plain amazing as I hope you will see from these articles.

In April, we celebrated the School’s 100th birthday with a special Bevan symposium. More than 50 speakers—alums, faculty, staff, current students, post-doctoral fellows, and friends—gave talks. There was also plenty of time to reminisce, catch up with old friends, and discuss the latest science happening at SAFS. The symposium started with a talk by former Director and Professor Emeritus David Armstrong, who provided a historical overview of the School—from its humble beginnings in 1919 to the present. Over two and a half days, symposium sessions focused on biology and ecology of aquatic species, aquaculture, fisheries management, and ecosystems and also on the future of aquatic and fishery sciences. Over 400 people registered for the event and, at times, more than 60 people were listening to the talks online. You can view the symposium online on the SAFS YouTube channel. You can also  download the 100th anniversary commemorative booklet, or request a printed copy by emailing me at

Bevan Symposium 2019 view from auditorium
Bevan Symposium 2019

While the 100-year celebration was the highlight of the last six months, many other things are happening around SAFS.

Mark Scheuerell
Mark Scheuerell

We’ve had several faculty transitions in the past six months. In May 2019, Mark Scheuerell became the new assistant unit leader in the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit and associate professor in SAFS. Mark is not new to many of us, having been a UW PhD student and a member of the NOAA team that teaches a class on time-series analysis every other spring. Mark is looking forward to mentoring his first graduate students and teaching a new class in data analysis next year.

On July 1, Professor Tim Essington stepped down from his role as SAFS associate director, and Associate Professor Steven Roberts became the new associate director. I would like to thank Tim for everything he has done for SAFS during the seven years he has held this position. He will continue to serve the College as director of the Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management and Quantitative Science programs. Please join me in welcoming Steven to his new role.

In this issue, we profile some of the research being conducted in the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers in Cambodia. SAFS Assistant Professor Gordon Holtgrieve has been working in the region for many years. Earlier this year, SAFS Professor John Horne joined Gordon to install an echosounder, which, with additional funding, could become part of a network of sensors that monitor migration and fishing mortality along the Tonle Sap. The information gathered could be used by managers. Read here about the work Gordon and John are doing, along with other UW colleagues.

With help from a local fisherman, professor John Horne (right) installs underwater components of an echosounder.
With help from a local fisherman, professor John Horne (right) installs underwater components of an echosounder.

This year has again been a very successful one for SAFS staff, students, and faculty. José Guzmán, currently an Acting Instructor in SAFS, won the College of the Environment Outstanding Teaching Award and followed that achievement with the UW Distinguished Teaching Award. José joins several SAFS faculty who have won this award, which includes membership in the University of Washington Teaching Academy. José was not the only winner of a major award this year; learn more about the many awards the SAFS community obtained during the last six months here.

As always, many thanks to all of our donors and friends who have given so generously to the program over the last year. The long list of names you see in the fall-winter edition of the newsletter does not do justice to the impact your gifts have. Your support for the program allows us to examine new avenues of research through “start-up” grants, fund travel for graduate and undergraduate students, and, of course, cover some of the stipend and tuition costs that make studying at the UW challenging for so many students.

Have a great summer!

André E. Punt
Director and Professor, UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

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