Marine Biologist selected as Cal State Long Beach’s 2009 Outstanding Professor

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csulb-prof-christopher-loweChristopher G. Lowe, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and an internationally recognized expert on sharks, rays, and marine fisheries ecology, was named the recipient of the university’s 2009 Outstanding Professor Award.

Both a faculty member and an alumnus, Lowe earned his master’s degree in biology from CSULB in 1991 after receiving his B.A. from Barrington College in Rhode Island, then went on receive a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

He returned to CSULB in 1998 to take over the department’s Shark Lab founded by his faculty mentor, Donald R. Nelson. Since that time, Lowe has developed and taught 11 different courses ranging from lower division non-major lecture/laboratory classes to graduate seminars.

He has built an outstanding research program, averaging eight graduate and three undergraduate students in his lab each semester, many of whom have gone on to doctoral programs or are employed in education, government agencies and marine-related organizations.

Over the past decade, Lowe has authored or co-authored more than 40 papers in a variety of scientific journals and published three book chapters. He has two manuscripts in review and an additional 14 manuscripts in various stages of completion. Additionally, he and his students have given more than a dozen presentations in the past year at national and international meetings. His expertise, including using electronic animal tracking telemetry, has led to numerous invitations to collaborate with researchers at other institutions.

In addition to his ongoing shark and ray research, he and several of his graduate students recently studied marine ecosystems that have developed around Southern California offshore oil drilling platforms, many of which will be decommissioned in coming years. Their results are providing insight to help state and federal authorities decide whether platforms should be fully or partially left in place or removed altogether.

“It is a great honor (to receive this award). I’m still pretty shocked they selected me for this honor, especially since there are so many outstanding faculty here at Cal State Long Beach,” Lowe remarked. “While I feel that I have contributed to my field of science, my students are my greatest scientific achievement. Many of them are going on to do great things. I’m very proud of them and what they have been able to achieve. CSULB has one of the best marine biology programs in the country and I am very proud to be a part of that.”

As one of the leading experts in his field, Lowe has served as chair of the California State University Ocean Studies Institute’s diving control board and has been on the institute’s board of governors since 2008. He has been elected to numerous high-profile positions, serving on the Los Angeles-San Diego region working group of the California State Marine Life Protection Act; International Union for Conservation of Nature shark specialists group; and as co-secretariat of the Western Society of Naturalists. He is a member of the American Fisheries Society, the American Elasmobranch Society, the American Academy of Underwater Scientists and the Southern California Marine Institute’s board of governors.

Recently, Lowe was among a team of experts who consulted on “Ocean in Google Earth,” a feature of the virtual globe, Google Earth, and he will be a keynote speaker at the Sharks International conference in Cairns, Australia, in June 2010.

Lowe is a resident of Long Beach and is married to another CSULB marine biology alumna, Gwen Goodmanlowe, a full-time lecturer at the university who is an expert in marine mammals.

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