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On May 8, USGS Supervisory Research Geophysicist Carolyn Ruppel (Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center) and USGS Supervisory Research Geologist Curt Storlazzi (Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center) each received the Department of the Interior's Distinguished Service Award (DSA) from Secretary Deb Haaland in a ceremony at the Main Interior Building in Washington, DC. 

USGS Director Dave Applegate, Chief Scientist Geoff Plumlee, and other USGS officials also attended the Awards Ceremony. The official language describes the DSA as “DOI’s highest honorary recognition that is presented to employees for outstanding contributions made during an eminent career with DOI or exceptional contributions to public service.”

Carolyn Ruppel (Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center): Carolyn has long led the USGS Gas Hydrates Project, which is shared between the Natural Hazards and Energy and Mineral Resources Mission Areas. Carolyn’s research established USGS leadership in studies of climate-hydrate interactions, and she has also made seminal advances in marine methane dynamics and gas seeps. She led delivery of the Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program’s (CMHRP) Decadal Science Strategy, manages marine environmental compliance for CMHRP, and produced a landmark federal study on the impact of controlled acoustic sources on marine animals, which is improving marine permitting practices for site surveys for offshore renewable energy.

Since joining the USGS in 2006 following a career in academia, Carolyn has worked tirelessly to exemplify a scientist representing the best of public service. In gas hydrates/climate and marine seeps systems, her leadership has kept the USGS at the forefront of these increasingly competitive fields. Her contributions to strong interagency and academic collaborations have strengthened USGS science, and she has made mentorship of the next generation of scientists a priority. Carolyn has served as the Acting Senior Science Advisor to the USGS Chief Scientist since July 2022. 

Curt Storlazzi (Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center): Curt’s pioneering research couples coral reef science with coastal resiliency that has been cited in Congressional legislation as well as laws enacted in Hawai’i, Florida, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Curt developed a modeling system that integrates oceanographic, coastal engineering, ecosystem, and socioeconomic data and tools to provide a rigorous national assessment of the hazard risk reduction provided by coral reefs at a spatial resolution to produce actionable results for managers and decision makers. Curt’s work has been referenced by the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction, the International Coral Reef Initiative, and other national and international bodies.

Curt is recognized internationally and throughout the United States for his stalwart leadership in coral reef science. His extraordinary and unwavering dedication to the advancement of science, willingness to consult and collaborate with managers and colleagues alike, and effective sharing and communication of his research in actionable ways has created a legacy of knowledge.  Curt has also shown admirable dedication to nurturing the next generation of researchers, at the Center, across CMHRP, and in the wider scientific community. 


Distinguished Service Award - Carolyn Ruppel
Distinguished Service Award for Carolyn Ruppel.
Distinguished Service Award - Curt Storlazzi
Distinguished Service Award for Curt Storlazzi.

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