2019 Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Kathleen Vigness-Raposa, Vice-President of Environmental Programs at Marine Acoustics, Inc. was awarded the 2019 Distinguished Service Award by the U.S. Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE) at their annual meeting in Fort Collins, Colorado, in April 2019. The award for Distinguished Service recognizes individuals who have contributed exceptionally to the society. Dr. Vigness-Raposa became a member of the society in 2004 and won best student presentation in 2010. She became co-chair of the Foreign Travel award in 2011, then chair in 2012, until she stepped down from that role 2018.
US-IALE has run a Foreign Scholar Travel Award program for many years, which brings scholars from other parts of the world to the US-IALE meeting. The nominators for Dr. Vigness-Raposa’s award noted that “The participation of foreign scholars has always enriched our conferences, and the presence of so many members of the next generation of landscape ecologists is very much facilitated by these awards. Administration of these awards is a significant amount of work, and I believe the leadership of Dr. Vigness-Raposa years of service ensuring this committee run smoothly deserves recognition.”
When asked what motivated her to volunteer for this service, Dr. Vigness-Raposa stated that it is “Great to give foreign scholars an opportunity they might not have had, to see them network and work with U.S. scholars afterwards, and thus advance the field of landscape ecology abroad and in the U.S.”
Dr. Vigness-Raposa’s research focuses on soundscapes, specifically underwater sound. She looks at what factors affect how sound travels in the marine environment, and what anthropogenic activities affect marine mammals, and sea turtles and fishes. She also builds habitat suitability models to examine exposure of these species to anthropogenic sound such as naval exercises and placement of wind turbines. As an undergraduate at Miami University she participated in an NSF-REU program and has been captivated by the ocean ever since. Her research is novel in that it merges oceanography with landscape ecology using satellite imagery and geospatial statistics.
Her Ph.D. advisor at the University of RI, Dr. Pete August, was especially proud that one of his own received this award. He noted that: “When not serving US-IALE or advancing our knowledge of undersea soundscapes, Kathy can be found on Rhode Island’s freshwater streams with fly-rod in hand. The commitment, focus, patience, and persistence Kathy demonstrates chasing trout also shows in her dedicated service to US-IALE. Kathy is a local legend for her fishing skills. Catching skills? That is a different story.” US-IALE however is glad that she did “catch” all these foreign scholars over the years. Without her hard work our conferences’ landscape (pun intended) would just not be the same.
Kathleen holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and an M.S. in Biological Oceanography from University of Rhode Island, and a B.S. from Miami University, Ohio.