Originally published in Compass, October 18, 2012
MERI director receives business award
Susan Shaw, founder and director of Marine Environmental Research Institute, has been named a 2012 Mainebiz “Nexter” for her innovative research and leadership in advancing ocean and human health, according to a news release.
“Maine is a unique state facing a distinct set of environmental, economic and social challenges, and I share a dedication with my fellow award winners to advancing new approaches to Maine’s growth and development,” commented Shaw. “From our legislative work advocating the state’s ban on harmful chemicals to our research on sentinel species in Maine’s coastal waters, the Institute is focused on protecting the health of our society and ocean environment. And Mainebiz has highlighted the importance of a diverse and collective effort to strengthen Maine–from small business job creation to new-energy solutions.”
As a leading marine toxicologist and ocean activist, Shaw has devoted decades to research and advocacy on issues of toxicity in the marine environment. Under her leadership as director, the Institute carries out scientific research and advocacy programs on the impacts of man-made toxic pollutants on ocean life and human health in the Gulf of Maine and beyond. One of the largest long-term projects she leads at the Institute is the “Seals as Sentinels” research project, launched in 2000 to examine levels, effects and trends of toxic environmental contaminants in harbor seals and their prey fish. For this, she is credited as the first scientist to show that flame retardant chemicals used in consumer products have contaminated marine mammals and commercially important fish stocks in the northwest Atlantic.