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Kenneth Frank (Biology) receives international award for marine research

Kenneth Frank
Kenneth Frank

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has awarded its Prix d'Excellence 2020 to Kenneth Frank, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology.

Over his career, Dr. ​Frank has been a research scientist at Bedford Institute of Oceanography since 1983 as well as professor at Queen’s and Dalhousie universities, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2013.

Starting his career in fish stock assessment, Dr. Frank later focused more on ecology and ecosystem responses to fisheries and climatic changes, at both the local and global level.

In 1978 he joined the Bill Leggett's lab at Queen's, beginning a 40-year collaboration.

“Dr. Frank joined my research team days after the completion of his PhD and throughout his illustrious career, he has contributed enormously to research into management of and leadership in the area of marine resources worldwide,” says Dr. Leggett, a former principal of Queen’s University.  

A defining characteristic of Dr. Frank’s work has been its grounding in ecological theory – a focus that has made his findings widely applicable to marine, freshwater, and terrestrial systems.

His transformative research on recruitment dynamics in marine fishes was identified as a body of work that changed thinking in the field and provided profound documentation of the influence of oceanic/atmospheric variability on recruitment phenomena. His peers describe that there is “before and after" Kenneth Frank in marine ecology, stating that marine ecosystems are now perceived differently because of his research.

In the early 2000s, he led an innovative series of investigations into the dynamics of large marine ecosystems and their vulnerability to perturbation. Focused initially on the Scotian Shelf in the Northwest Atlantic, and concurrent with the historic collapse of cod and other groundfish his research led to the first documentation of a trophic cascade in a large marine ecosystem – and fundamentally accelerated and advanced knowledge of the dynamics of marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems worldwide.

“Without question receiving this award is a great honour,” Dr. Frank says. “The award is really very special to me because the ICES community was instrumental early in my career which led to many scientific collaborations and long-term friendships – like being part of a great circle for which I will be forever grateful.”  

Read the full release on the ICES website.