Tom Miller Receives Highest Univ. Award for Public Service

Professor Tom Miller.
Professor Tom Miller.

SOLOMONS, Md.—When Professor Tom Miller first arrived at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s historic Chesapeake Biological Laboratory 20 years ago, he knew little about blue crabs. Today, he knows more than most people in Maryland and has been at the forefront in advances in blue crab management in the Chesapeake Bay. This Friday, the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents honored Dr. Miller the 2015 USM Regents’ Faculty Award for Public Service, the highest honor that the Board bestows to recognize exemplary faculty achievement.

An internationally renowned scientist, Dr. Miller has been at the epicenter of advancing scientifically informed decision-making leading to the sustainable use of marine resources, particularly the iconic Chesapeake Bay blue crab, while educating the next generation of environmental scientists.

“Tom Miller exemplifies the tradition of excellent public service in a state university system,” says Don Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “He is also an internationally prominent research scientist, an outstanding teacher, and a highly effective administrator.”

The Board of Regents Faculty Awards publicly recognizes distinguished performance by educators and researchers within the University System of Maryland. Award categories include collaboration, mentoring, public service, teaching, research, scholarship, and creative activity. This year’s awards were given by the Chancellor and Board Chairman at the Board of Regents meeting at University of Maryland Baltimore.

Dr. Miller joined the faculty at the UMCES Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, an historic and influential center for fisheries management research, as Assistant Professor in 1994. He has been Professor since 2006, teaching courses on population dynamics, fisheries ecology, and quantitative methods, and Director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory since 2011.

He has been a leader in the development of approaches to manage several Chesapeake Bay species, including crabs and striped bass, combining laboratory, field and modeling approaches to address questions of interest to society.

“What I do for helping the state manage menhaden and striped bass and crabs is important, but it is nowhere near as important as training the next generation,” said Dr. Tom Miller. “Professor is by far the more honorific title, as far as I’m concerned.”

Declines in the Chesapeake Bay blue crab stocks led Maryland to search for scientific answers and effective management responses in the mid 1990s. The Chesapeake Bay Commission established a bi-state committee in 1996 to examine the condition of the Bay’s blue crab population and to improve interstate management efforts to sustain the fishery. Through his scientific research and work with the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee, Miller played a leading role setting in motion actions that dramatically changed our understanding of blue crab population dynamics and led to important Bay-wide changes in management. Since that time Dr. Miller has been a lead author on three Chesapeake Bay blue crab stock assessment updates providing increasingly clear direction for the management jurisdictions

“If the blue crab is iconic among Bay fisheries, then Dr. Tom Miller is iconic among the Bay’s scientists,” said Ann Swason, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. “He is stellar in his class.”

Miller’s work extends beyond blue crabs. He has been instrumental in developing methods to include ecosystem effects into fishery management models, including an Ecosystem Based Fishery Management Plan for Chesapeake Bay. Most recently, his research has focused on both recruitment issues in menhaden and striped bass and stakeholder involvement in recreational fisheries.

Dr. Miller serves on the Scientific and Management Committees for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and Potomac River Fisheries Commission. He is a Governor’s Appointee to the Patuxent River Commission, the Board of the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the MD Legislative Committee on Ocean Acidification. Dr. Miller has been the recipient of the UMCES President’s Award for the Application of Science.

He and his students have won several best paper awards at regional and national meetings. He chaired the USM-wide committee to reenergize and refresh the Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences (MEES) program curriculum. He is a two-time recipient of the Graduate Education Award for excellence in teaching from the MEES program at the University of Maryland and received the GEMSTONES Outstanding Mentor Award from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Miller completed his Master’s in ecology and Ph.D. in zoology at North Carolina State University. He holds a B.Sc. degree from the University of York in England and was a post-doctoral fellow at McGill University.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is renowned for its groundbreaking research on coastal and terrestrial ecosystems and boasts a number of globally eminent faculty scholars. Dr. Miller joins an impressive group of UMCES faculty members who have received Regents’ Faculty Awards, including Drs. Andrew Elmore, Dr. Keith Eshleman, Patricia Glibert, Rose Jagus, Rodger Harvey, Ed Houde, Michael Kemp, Tom Malone, Margaret Palmer, Allen Place, David Secor, and Diane Stoecker.

Source: University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s historic Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

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