Bill Dennison receives award for contributions to estuarine scientific community

November 7, 2017

CAMBRIDGE, MD (November 29, 2017)—Dr. Bill Dennison, Professor of Marine and Science and Vice President for Science Application and Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, has received the first-ever 2017 Margaret A. Davidson Award for Stewardship from the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) for professional contributions to the estuarine scientific community.

“This inaugural award honors Bill Dennison for his trailblazing work to synthesize scientific results in a way that facilitates public awareness and management decisions,” said Dr. Peter Goodwin, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. "He has made a tremendous impact at the intersection of public policy and science around the world."

The Margaret A. Davidson Award recognizes an individual that demonstrates extraordinary leadership, service, innovation, and commitment to the management of estuarine and coastal systems. The award was presented at the CERF 2017 Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, earlier this month

“Bill is one of those very rare individuals who have this uncanny ability to convey important scientific principles in terms easily understood by resource managers, politicians, and NGOs,” said Dr. Bob Orth, who nominated him for the award. “I can think of no one who is more deserving of the Margaret A. Davidson Award for Stewardship.”

Dennison was lauded for strong scientific leadership, his positive personality, and professional collaboration that have helped create a positive environment and contribution to the scientific community at large.

In more than 33 years of Dennison’s career, he has led dozens of scientific and technical activities from the United States to Australia, from seagrass ecophysiology to science communication, and from elementary school students to graduate students and the public. His background is replete with work across disciplines and with multiple institutions, and his ability to explain science to novices and experts, and to nurture talent along the way, is renowned.

“Bill Dennison has exhibited a deep commitment and extraordinary leadership in the application of science to policies and management concerning coastal and estuarine ecosystems,” said Don Boesch, former president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “I think it is safe to say that few have had as much influence on effective management and no one has had a greater geographic scope of impact on coastal stewardship.”

Dennison leads the Integration and Application Network (IAN), an initiative of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science charged to inspire, manage and produce timely syntheses and assessments on key environmental issues, with a special emphasis on Chesapeake Bay and its waters. The group is best known for producing report cards on ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay and around the world.

“Bill is an inspirational leader, encouraging researchers, managers, and community members by his complete conviction that improving the condition and management of our coastal and estuarine systems is essential and critically important,” said Dr. Tim Carruthers, Director of Coastal Ecology at The Water Institute. “Being truly innovative requires pushing the boundaries of comfort and conservative or traditional approaches. This is essential for creating change and transferring science into effective management and policy.”

As recipient of the Margaret A. Davidson Award, he will receive a $1,000 honorarium.


The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.

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