Michael Kemp ~ Coastal Ecologist

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Michael Kemp and Walter Boynton
Long-time friends and colleagues, Drs. Michael Kemp and Walter Boynton receive the CERF Odum Award for Lifetime Achievement
Dr. Michael Kemp is a natural collaborator, yet he still seems surprised by the results. As a young man, team sports were very important to him, and throughout his career he has continued to work in teams. Long before COSEE came to his institution he was collaborating with coastal managers, fulfilling his interest in having his work applied to solving practical problems. His grad school advisor, H.T. Odum, stressed that humans were part of natural systems, giving Michael the predisposition to want to do relevant research. Working with coastal managers offers the excitement of tackling problems that haven't been addressed by the scientific community, as well as the satisfaction of contributing to protect and restore the environment.

"I've learned new ways to use my old tricks."
"An area of science where we are trying to put together some understanding of complicated things requires collaboration," says Michael's longtime colleague, friend, and collaborator, Walter Boynton. They have collaborated on research and funded projects for almost 40 years and, among other accolades, were jointly given the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) Odum Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2009 – the first time that award has ever been given to more than one recipient. "To us, the message we hope went out was that collaboration can be rewarded in environmental science," says Walter. "There's so much necessary collaboration where there isn't just one winner. In fact, it wouldn't have happened without the collaboration."

While working with graduate students has always been a priority for Michael, the COSEE Coastal Trends project gave him a chance to work with grad students in new ways, and to watch them succeed in unexpected areas. And his work on a global scale, serving on international panels and committees, has also been something of a surprise. "Sometimes in life things happen that are unexpected," he says, "I guess we got lucky."

Michael's Education and Outreach Collaborations