January 20, 2020
Staff Accomplishment

PNNL Emeritus Scientist Recognized for Contributions to Puget Sound

Ron Thom regarded as leading voice in coastal and estuarine ecosystem research


Ron Thom

PNNL Emeritus Scientist Ron Thom was recently honored with the 2019 Environmental Leadership Award at the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative Conference.

The award recognizes Thom’s scientific contributions to the Puget Sound, which includes 48 years of research related to coastal ecosystem restoration, climate change and adaptation, and ecology of fisheries resources.

Thom is a gubernatorial appointee to the Northwest Straits Commission and chairman of the commission’s Science Advisory Committee. The commission oversees the initiative and provides funding to the Marine Resource Committees in seven counties in the Northwest Straits.

“Dr. Thom is a leading voice on using sound science to make informed decisions,” the Northwest Straits Commission wrote. “Dr. Thom has positively influenced the work of many here in Puget Sound and abroad.”

The award highlights Thom’s role in the commission’s use of the net ecosystem improvement concept as a scientifically valid method for quantifying the effect of various actions of the advisory Marine Resource Committees. The net ecosystem improvement also helps the commission secure funding for restoration and protection work that is done by volunteers.

“This type of volunteer work is very enjoyable and rewarding for me at this stage of my life,” Thom said.

Before retiring from PNNL in 2013, Thom led research in coastal and estuarine ecosystems at the Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Washington.

“Above all, since 1990, the work by the coastal and estuarine ecosystem team at PNNL’s Marine Sciences Laboratory has produced a tremendous level and value of results that are recognized and appreciated locally, nationally, and internationally,” Thom said. “The present staff members are continuing to grow the level and impact of the work.”

Published: January 20, 2020