Photo Courtesy Dr Sue MooreThe International Arctic Science Committee awards the 2020 IASC Medal to Dr. Sue E. Moore for Outstanding Achievement in Understanding Marine Mammals as Ecosystem Sentinels and how Climate Change is Influencing the Phenology of Arctic Species

Dr. Sue Moore has worked in the Arctic and contributed to Arctic science for over 40 years. During her early career, she concentrated on the ecology of Arctic marine mammals and established the first understanding of cetacean habitat selection in the North American Arctic. Her research on marine mammals as ecosystem sentinels is seminal work that has influenced conclusions on how climate change is influencing the phenology of both Arctic and sub-Arctic species. Dr. Moore’s research transcended and evolved to include an interdisciplinary understanding of Arctic ecosystems that integrates physical oceanography and atmospheric measurements with lower trophic levels. She was involved in creating mitigation scenarios to guard Arctic whales, walruses, and seals from negative impacts associated with commercial shipping and offshore oil and gas development and developing ecosystem scenarios to predict the future Arctic under the “Arctic Marine Pulses” model.

Dr. Moore has served in key roles in the international Arctic community including advisory positions at the International Whaling Commission (IWC), participated in multiple of science panels (including the IASC/SCAR Bipolar Action Group), and played other roles with the US National Science Foundation and the US Marine Mammal Commission. Her work in IWC has supported the rights of indigenous whalers to continue traditional subsistence harvests as part of a larger effort to sustain cultural practices.

Dr. Moore has advised and mentored early (and advanced) career scientists, including numerous women, who are currently working on Arctic issues as scientists and policymakers. She continues her work as a Research Scientist at the University of Washington’s Center for Ecosystem Sentinels. Based on her continuous and extremely productive career examining and understanding how climate change is transforming the Arctic and how these transformations influence trophic levels from phytoplankton to the subsistence culture of Arctic Indigenous Peoples, IASC is honored to award Dr. Sue Moore the 2020 IASC Medal.

The other shortlisted candidates for the 2020 IASC Medal were:

  • Atsumu Ohmura for outstanding achievement in understanding complex climate and glacier relationships, thermal energy flow in the Arctic, and in building programs and data-archives in the Arctic
  • Peter Wadhams for outstanding achievement in understanding polar climate and sea-ice interactions, and the effect of the warming Arctic on sea ice loss and reduction of albedo

Dr. Moore is planned to deliver her IASC Medal lecture as part of ASSW2021. Be sure to sign up for the IASC email list to receive the latest information.

IASC would like to thank this year’s Medal Committee for their service: João Canário (Chair), Stanislav Ksenofontov, Guðrún Nína Petersen, and Karen Frey.