Charles B. Miller (U.S.A.) – PICES 2008 Wooster Award

Charles B. Miller

Selective Biography

At the 2008 PICES Annual Meeting in Dalian, PR China, it was announced that Dr. Charles B. Miller (Oregon State University, U.S.A.) was the recipient of the 8th annual Wooster Award. Dr. Miller is a nationally and internationally distinguished biological oceanographer specializing in studies of zooplankton.

The presentation ceremony took place on October 27, 2008, during the PICES-2008 Opening Session. The Science Board citation was presented by Dr. John Stein, Science Board Chairman, and included in the 2008 Annual Report ( A commemorative plaque was given to Dr. Miller by Dr. Tokio Wada, PICES Chairman, who also read the tribute sent by Dr. Wooster.

Dr. Wooster's tribute

It is a pleasure to acknowledge selection of Charlie Miller to receive the 2008 Wooster Award. His contributions to understanding of zooplankton ecology in the northern North Pacific tie in beautifully with studies of physical changes in the ecosystem. Eventually predictions of these physical changes will lead to predictions of ecosystem changes, with all sorts of applications to fisheries and other problems of PICES concern. Monitoring the ecosystem with the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) and studies in OECOS (Ocean Ecodynamics Comparison in the Subarctic Pacific), both of these involving Charlie Miller, are keys to understanding ecosystems of the region. This work has often made me wish I had chosen zooplankton ecology as the field in which to specialize - too late for me but not too late to appreciate the contributions of Charlie and his colleagues. Congratulations to him for his major contributions to PICES projects in this field.

Very sadly, this was the last public statement by Dr. Wooster who passed way two days later on October 29, 2008, in Seattle, U.S.A. He had influenced generations of scientists and his legacy and spirit will live on in PICES.

Dr. Miller's acceptance remarks

After the Annual Meeting, Dr. Miller sent the following note to the PICES Secretariat:

I have always been dubious of awards in science, because so many who deserve them are never recognized. I am still dubious, but getting the Wooster Award is very gratifying, and I thank PICES for it.

Receiving the Wooster Award at this time comes with some sadness because Warren Wooster died just as I was being honored in Dalian. Warren called many times with PICES tasks for me, and I always said "no". I always ended up doing whatever he asked. That was one of Warren's many gifts: he could turn "no" into "yes" with his magical powers. Forty-five years ago, he and Polly were very kind to the graduate students at Scripps, offering me and others the initial social outreach from the faculty to newcomers. It was a warm touch of humanity in a ferociously competitive place and never forgotten. Warren's shift in interest from marine chemistry and physics to fisheries and ocean policy has been of great benefit to ICES, PICES, the University of Washington and every aspect of our concern for the ocean. We will miss him personally, but his lasting gifts to us will carry his spirit onward.

Very few work at science alone. I cannot thank everyone here who has pursued ocean ecology with me; I made a list of my more important associates and it came out around eighty! However, I have been especially fortunate in working down the years with Bruce Frost, John McGowan, Peter Wiebe, William Fager, Abe Fleminger, William Peterson, Martha Clemons, Harold Batchelder, Patricia Wheeler and Tim Cowles (in order of appearance in my life). Thanks to them and everyone studying life in the oceans. Keep going, there is much yet to be learned.