In Memoriam

A ship drifting off course began what would soon come to be known as one of the worst environmental catastrophes in our country’s history. Millions of gallons of crude oil would soon spread across the pristine waters of the Gulf of Alaska, oiling many miles of shoreline and killing untold millions of plants and animals, and altering both the structure and function of this large marine ecosystem for decades to come. Two young scientists at the time, sharing the name of “Pete”, would dedicate much of their careers to understanding the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but more importantly, would work tirelessly toward turning the disaster into a legacy of learning through science that would ultimately benefit and aid in the restoration of the injured Gulf and the humans that rely on and value it. Pete Peterson and Pete Hagen fought diligently, using science, law and policy, to honestly understand and represent both the acute and chronic effects of the spill through thoughtfully designed, well executed and defensible study. Over the course of time, the “Pete’s” were pivotal in directing the course of Exxon Valdez oil spill science and management in the Gulf of Alaska toward a legacy marine science program, “Gulf Watch Alaska” and “Herring Research & Monitoring”, that has helped transform a tragedy of the past to a treasure in the present. The fruits of their labor will continue to grow as the science they advocated provides answers to current and as yet unanticipated questions. Their work will be remembered with deep appreciation and gratitude. In some large part, thanks to the “Petes”, the ship’s course has been corrected. - Jim Bodkin (Alaska Science Center, USGS, Scientist Emeritus)

Pete Hagen (1957 - 2020)

Charles "Pete" Peterson (1946 - 2020)

Cherri Womac (1952 - 2020)