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B.H. Ketchum Award


The Ketchum Award was established in 1983 to honor an internationally recognized scientist who demonstrates an innovative approach to coastal research, leadership in the scientific community, and who provides a link between coastal research and societal issues. The 17th award was presented to Dr. Don Anderson, Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, on May 10, 2010 at a ceremony, presentation, and reception held in Clark Laboratory, Quissett Campus. The award is administered by the WHOI Coastal Ocean Institute and Rinehart Coastal Research Center.

The award is named for renowned oceanographer Bostwick H. "Buck" Ketchum, who served WHOI for more than forty years as a graduate student, scientist, chairman of the Biology Department, member of the Corporation, and as Associate Director of the Institution (1962 to 1977). Like his mentor, the late physiologist and oceanographer Alfred C. Redfield, Buck Ketchum was equally at home in the physical, chemical, and biological realms. His broad view of oceanograp

hy and his appreciation for the interconnectedness of marine phenomena are evident in more than 70 papers he authored on subjects ranging from estuarine physics to deep ocean biology.

Buck Ketchum's early research provided a basis for our understanding of productivity of the oceans. In later years, he turned his attention to the effects of man's activities in the coastal zone. Buck's commitment to translating research results into useful information for policymakers and resource managers was exemplified by his organization of a national conference on critical problems of the Coastal Zone. The conference and its proceedings, The water's edge: critical problems of the Coastal Zone (MIT Press, 1972), are widely credited with maintaining the momentum and focusing the direction of present national coastal zone management policy. This scholarly review contributed to the development of Coastal Zone Management Act and formed the rationale for WHOI's establishment of the Coastal Research Center.

Buck passed away in 1982. At the time of his death, he was one of four co-authors of a six-volume series entitled Wastes in the Oceans (John Wiley & Sons). The first volume was dedicated to Dr. Ketchum, "who, until his death, had worked for and believed in the immortality of humanity and science."

Award Selection

Recipients of the Ketchum Award are recommended based on the following

  • innovative coastal/nearshore research
  • leadership in the scientific community
  • strong interdisciplinary interactions with colleagues
  • inspiration to students and younger scientists
  • effectively translating research results into the policy arena
  • addressing societal and environmental effects of coastal processes




Bostwick H. "Buck" Ketchum (Photo courtesy of WHOI Archives)

Bostwick H. "Buck" Ketchum (Photo courtesy of WHOI Archives)

B.H. Ketchum Award Medal

B.H. Ketchum Award Medal