MSU doctoral student Dan O'Keefe selected for national award


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Posted: 12/16/2005


A College of Forest Resources doctoral student at Mississippi State is among four honored recently by professionals attending the 2005 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in Michigan.

Daniel M. "Dan" O'Keefe of Shepherd, Mich., who is completing a terminal degree in wildlife and fisheries at the land-grant university, received the first Janice Fenske Memorial Award for Outstanding Students. His MSU research focuses on restoring paddlefish in Mississippi streams, especially those draining into the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

The MFWC award is a tribute to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' fisheries biologist who died earlier this year.

The paddlefish, also known as the spoonbill catfish, is a large, primitive species native to rivers throughout the state and region. Channelization, gravel mining and associated activities have taken a toll on the once viable populations, however.

Since entering the doctoral program in the summer of 2003, O'Keefe has worked under the direction of veteran MSU fisheries biologist Don Jackson to introduce hatchery-produced fish into tributary streams, oxbow lakes and other backwater environments. Both have said preliminary results look "promising" for survival of the hatchery-raised fish.

Before enrolling at MSU, O'Keefe completed a bachelor's degree at Michigan State University and a master's at Central Michigan University.

Wildlife and Fisheries