Kansas Biological Survey scientist Huggins chosen for KU Research Achievement Award

Donald Huggins, a senior scientist with the Kansas Biological Survey and director of two of its programs, is the 2010 recipient of the KU Research Achievement Award.

Donald Huggins

Huggins was recognized Feb. 22 at the Research Engagement Task Force open forum at the Kansas Union. Steve Warren, vice provost for research and graduate studies, made the announcement, and Danny Anderson, interim provost and executive vice chancellor, presented a plaque. The award includes $10,000 in research funds.

The award is given annually to a full-time KU academic staff researcher working within an academic department or research center. To qualify, the recipient’s research must have “significant influence in his or her field and/or should represent a productive record of important research that has expanded intellectual or societal insights. A substantial portion of the work for which the award is given must have been done at KU.”

The Kansas Biological Survey is a research and service unit of KU and the state of Kansas. Huggins joined the staff in 1970 as an aquatic biologist. He is director of the Ecotoxicology Program and the Central Plains Center for BioAssessment. He also holds courtesy appointments in the departments of civil engineering and ecology and evolutionary biology.

In nominating Huggins for the award, Edward Martinko, director of the Kansas Biological Survey, wrote, “he has conducted research in a large number of scientific areas, demonstrating his expertise in water quality, aquatic ecology, taxonomy, data storage and analysis and experimental and field study design.” He added, “for nearly 40 years, Don has made significant contributions to KU, the state and the nation through his research and leadership in aquatic ecology.”

Huggins established the Central Plains Center for BioAssessment in 1998. It works closely with state, tribal, federal and academic scientists, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, to conduct research and provide technical assistance. The program “quickly became a model with national visibility that was replicated elsewhere in the country,” wrote Martinko. Huggins also mentors students and postdoctoral associates at KU, Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. “Many of these students have gone on to successful careers with the EPA, state agencies, consulting firms and academic institutions,” wrote Martinko.

Huggins has published numerous technical articles and reports, and he consults regularly with industry as well as government agencies. His academic background includes a bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology from Westmar College, a master’s in fish and wildlife biology from Iowa State University, and a doctorate in environmental health sciences from KU.

Past recipients of the Research Achievement Award are David VanderVelde, former director of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory; Rick Miller, associate scientist in the Exploration Services Section of the Kansas Geological Survey; and Debra Kamps, director of the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training.

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