Susan Adams Receives National Rise to the Future Award

Adams shares highlights from her research and career with fellow awardees, their guests, and Washington Office staff during a pre-award ceremony. USFS photo.

USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station aquatic ecologist Susan Adams received the 2019 Rise to the Future Jim Sedell Research Achievement Award. The award was presented during the Forest Service’s Rise to the Future (RTTF) awards reception in Washington, DC.

The RTTF awards recognize outstanding individual and group achievements by natural resource professionals in the Forest Service, as well as partners in the fisheries, hydrology, soil, and air programs. The Jim Sedell Research Achievement award honors science leadership, accomplishment, and intellectual curiosity contributing to freshwater ecology, fisheries, and watershed management.

Adams was recognized for her contribution to a vast array of diverse publications that have increased our knowledge of various warmwater fish, coldwater fish, crayfish, and amphibians related to land management activities. The award acknowledges her years of research quantifying the effects of land management and disturbances on aquatic fauna and providing information helpful to the conservation of warmwater fishes and crayfishes.

“Throughout my career, I have valued and admired Jim Sedell’s research on fish conservation and aquatic ecology, so it is a great honor to receive an award bearing his name,” says Adams. “I can only hope that my research makes a fraction of the impact on land management and conservation that his research has made. Also, working in the southeastern U.S., the center of the nation’s aquatic biodiversity, I am grateful that the award recognizes the importance of research into warmwater ecosystems and crayfish ecology.”

Adams is a research aquatic ecologist with the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Biology at the University of Mississippi. She conducts research on the biology, community ecology, taxonomy, and distribution of crayfishes and native warmwater fishes at various spatial and temporal scales.

Adams with USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen and USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Dan Jiron. USFS photo.

Her research has informed policy decisions and numerous National Forest plan revisions. Her work weaves new knowledge and synthesis into watershed research — more fully developing the story of why we should care about aquatic resources.

Award recipients were invited to talk about the research for which they were receiving awards during a pre-award ceremony. “As a career award recipient, it was an honor to talk about my research and to share highlights of my career accomplishments,” adds Adams. “My presentation, Crayfish: Current Issues and Research, included an overview of crayfish taxonomic and ecological diversity, current conservation issues, and a synopsis of my research accomplishments.”

“Dr. Susie Adams is a talented and enthusiastic scientist whose research is fueled by her curiosity about nature and a desire to understand what we don’t know, but need to know, to restore and preserve aquatic fauna in an ever-changing environment,” says Ted Leininger, project leader of the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research and Adams’ supervisor. “Susie’s science leadership and impressive accomplishments make her a natural choice for this award.”

Additionally, Adams is one of the world’s leading experts on crayfishes and is the first U.S. woman to have served as president of the International Association of Astacology. She leads the Forest Service Ecology of Aquatic and Terrestrial Fauna Team and the Mississippi Crayfish Working Group, co-leads the Alabama Shad Research Team, and is a member of the Crayfish Invasion Risk Assessment Modeling Team.

Learn more about Adams and her crayfish research in this Woman in Science article.

For more information, email Susan Adams at

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