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FWC snook researcher wins conservation award

FWC snook biologist Ron Taylor won the 2011 Louise Ireland Humphrey Achievement Award.

The Wildlife Foundation of Florida honored longtime Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologist Ron Taylor with the 2011 Louise Ireland Humphrey Achievement Award at the FWC Commission meeting Thursday in Crystal River.

Taylor has studied marine fisheries for the state for 35 years. He is the lead scientist for snook research in Florida and is noted worldwide as an authority on the sport fish.

Taylor's research has led to many discoveries about snook. Among them, one he considers his greatest professional achievement, is finding that all snook are born as males and some later become females. This information is important to the management of the fishery.

Taylor continues to study snook today. His most recent work in rivers and on offshore reefs has provided valuable insight into the life history of snook species other than the popular common snook. Taylor's research also has helped identify a new species of the fish in Florida: large-scale fat snook.

“Ron has dedicated his life to the study of marine fisheries in Florida, and snook in particular,” said Gil McRae, director of the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “His knowledge, passion and commitment to a team-based approach make him a major asset to the agency and well-deserving of this recognition.”

Taylor is noted by his colleagues as a great mentor and a popular presenter at scientific conferences and meetings. His love for his work has rubbed off on his son as well. Ron Taylor takes great pride in the fact that Josh Taylor has followed in his footsteps as a marine fisheries researcher with the FWC.

The Wildlife Foundation of Florida created the Louise Ireland Humphrey Achievement Award in 1999 as an annual honor for an FWC employee whose dedication and service have made outstanding contributions to conservation of Florida's fish and wildlife. The award is named for the first female commissioner of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission who served from 1984 to 1999, including two terms as Chairman.

Louise Ireland Humphrey was an avid outdoorswoman and a dedicated participant in conservation efforts throughout the southeastern United States. Humphrey died in March at her home in Leon County, but her legacy lives on through this prestigious award.

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