Scripps Institution of Oceanography / University of California, San Diego
A physiologist recognized for his research of deep-sea marine life has been selected to receive the 2005 Robert L. and Bettie P. Cody Award in Ocean Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
James Childress, a physiologist in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will be awarded the prestigious prize on May 24. On Monday, May 23, Childress will present a public lecture at 3 p.m. in Sumner Auditorium on the campus of Scripps Institution, 8602 La Jolla Shores Drive in La Jolla (Sumner Auditorium is one-half block north of El Paseo Grande). This lecture, "Metabolic Rates of Deep-sea Animals: Everything You Know is Wrong," is free and open to the public.
A deep-sea biologist and ecological physiologist, Childress has been studying the animals that surround hydrothermal vents since 1979. He has made numerous dives in Alvin and other deep-sea submersibles to collect and study the organisms that thrive in hydrothermal vent communities.
The Cody Award, which consists of a gold medal and a $10,000 prize, recognizes outstanding scientific achievement in oceanography, marine biology and Earth science.
It was established by an endowment from the late Robert Cody and his wife Bettie, and a substantial contribution from Capital Research & Management Company, in recognition of Mr. Cody's service to the Los Angeles-based firm.
Since his days as a graduate student at Stanford University, Childress's interests have focused on the rates of biological processes, such as metabolism and growth, in deep-sea animals. His thesis and later work was concerned primarily with the metabolic rates of deep-living pelagic animals. His research now encompasses many different groups of deep-sea animals, and has shown that some of these animals have lower metabolic rates than their shallower-dwelling relatives.
With the discovery of hydrothermal vents in the 1970s, there was a new deep-sea environment was revealed for Childress and others to explore. Unlike other deep-sea habitats, the areas surrounding hydrothermal vents are characterized by high biomasses, high productivity and warm temperatures. Childress's initial interest in vent animals centered on the metabolic rates of animals in these very unusual, high-pressure environments.
Childress has received a number of scientific honors for his work, including being elected a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He also is listed in "Who's Who in America" and by ISI Web of Knowledge as a "highly cited researcher" in the plant and animal science category. He has made more than 65 dives in deep submersibles and authored nearly 160 science publications. Several of his research papers have appeared in the highly prestigious journals Science and Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
A native of Indiana, Childress attended Wabash College and graduated in 1964 with a B.A. in zoology. He received a Ph.D. degree from Stanford University in 1969.