Donald Jackson of MSU honored for gulf fisheries research


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Posted: 9/26/2007


An internationally recognized Mississippi State fisheries biologist is receiving a major honor for his post-Katrina work from a national professional society.

Donald C. Jackson, a 21-year teaching and research veteran of the university, was presented with the American Fisheries Society's 2007 Distinguished Service Award at the organization's recent annual meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

Jackson was honored for contributions of time and energy spent restoring professional capacity of fisheries biologists in the wake of the 2005 storm that did major damage to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Southeast Louisiana.

Jackson led the AFS Hurricane Disaster Relief Program. He assisted members in maintaining professional connections while also collecting funds to jump-start research and management programs of those affected.

Jackson also has led efforts to restore coastal fisheries. Working with graduate students from Mississippi, Iowa, Malaysia, New Jersey, and Oregon, the College of Forest Resources professor is studying how fish populations in South Mississippi streams evolve following hurricanes.

In addition to tracking natural population processes, the study is examining effects of the supplemental stocking of game fish, primarily catfish and bass.

A second study is focused on rebuilding artificial reefs offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Critical components of fisheries-based economic enterprises all along the coast, the reefs were almost completely annihilated by the massive late-August hurricane. Jackson and his student team are working with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to determine the best way to re-establish the artificial structures and enhance local fishing.

A third Jackson project sponsored by the National Marine Fisheries Service deals with the potential impacts on commercial shrimp populations of weather-related river discharges into the Gulf of Mexico.

Founded in 1870, AFS is the oldest and largest professional group representing fisheries scientists. With headquarters in Bethesda, Md., it seeks to promote scientific research and enlightened management of resources for optimum public use and enjoyment, among other missions.

Jackson currently serves as the organization's first vice president and becomes the top officer of the 10,000-member organization in 2009.

He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Arkansas and a doctorate from Auburn University.

NEWS EDITORS/DIRECTORS: For more information, contact Dr. Jackson at 662-325-7493 or

Wildlife and Fisheries