Paerl wins Odum Lifetime Achievement Award for ecological studies

August 25, 2011


Hans Paerl, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, N.C., is the 2011 winner of the Odum Award for Lifetime Achievement. Paerl, William R. Kenan Distinguished Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at the Institute and professor of environmental sciences and engineering at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill, received the award for his four decades of work to clarify the causes, consequences and mitigation of blooms in estuarine and coastal environments.

Dr. Hans Paerl

Dr. Hans Paerl

The Odum Award, named for three outstanding ecological scientists, Howard T. Odum, Eugene P. Odum and William Odum, recognizes the lifetime achievements of an outstanding estuarine scientist whose sustained accomplishments have made important contributions to the understanding of estuaries and coastal ecosystems.

Paerl’s research on the ecology and physiology of harmful algal bloom species is used by management agencies worldwide. He created FerryMon, a ferry-based water quality monitoring system originally used to collect data about the Pamlico Sound, the second-largest estuary on the East Coast, the most important fishery and a very popular recreational destination in North Carolina. Paerl’s most recent research focuses on the effects of global climate change on algal blooms and water quality.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Hans that reflects his many years of sustained excellence in research,” said Michael Aitken, PhD, professor and chair of the public health school’s environmental sciences and engineering department. “Hans has always impressed me with his ability to conduct meticulous, thorough science that addresses bigger-picture issues. We’re proud of his affiliation with our department and the School.”

The Odum Award is presented by the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, a private, nonprofit, international organization, the members of which study and manage the structure and functions of estuaries and the effects of human activities on these fragile environments.


UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or