Dr. Richard Beamish has been called a captain of science-one of those few who scorn precedents and strike out in new directions, undeterred by doubts or the criticism of their peers.
As a graduate student in 1969, Dr. Beamish co-discovered the problem of acid rain in North America. His work at the Fisheries and Oceans Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg forced INCO Ltd. to reduce its emissions. He highlighted the role that atmospheric processes play in transporting contaminants, and the potential effect this may have on marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. A leader in the world’s scientific community, his work has been instrumental in encouraging governments and others to address these problems.
Dr. Beamish has also been at the forefront of other types of research. He is one of the pioneers examining how climate changes affect marine fish populations, which has significant implications for the management of Pacific salmon and other species. He pioneered novel approaches to determine the age of fish, and the methods he developed and verified are now routinely used around the world. He is one of the world authorities on parasitic and non-parasitic lamprey in North America.
He has authored or co-authored more than 250 scientific papers and reports. An educator and mentor to the next generation of potential scientists, Dr. Beamish has served as a director on the Foundation Board at Malaspina University College, and taught a fisheries management course there for 10 years. He makes science fun, exciting and challenging, and has been described as “the standard for everything that is good about teaching.”
Currently the senior scientist at the Pacific Biological Station, Dr. Beamish has received national and international awards and recognition. Among them is his appointment as a member of the Order of Canada, election to the Royal Society of Canada, and an international award for “significant contribution over the past 20 years to the field of population biology.” He represents Canada on a number of prestigious international panels and commissions.