Jim Layzer honored by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tennessee Tech University biology professor Jim Layzer has devoted his professional life toward protecting endangered fish and mussel species, and recently, that perseverance was acknowledged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

Layzer was one of 16 USFWS partners honored with the 2007 Southeastern Regional Director's Conservation Awards, given for accomplishments toward fish and wildlife conservation.

"We applaud their efforts and dedication, which are freely given in service to the natural world," said Sam Hamilton, USFWS outheastern regional director, in a recent press release.

Hamilton presented the award to Layzer and the other honorees during a May ceremony in Atlanta, Ga.

Layzer's career has spanned more than two decades pursuing research interests in the areas of stream regulation effects on aquatic wildlife; the ecology and conservation of freshwater mussels; the restoration and maintenance of aquatic biodiversity; and the ecology of stream fishes.  Many of his funded research projects have been administered by Tennessee Tech's Center for the Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources.

"I consider this award to be really a recognition of the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of my students and staff that worked alongside me," Layzer said.

Thanks to Layzer and his research team, who study species including the endangered pink mucket ( Lampsilis abrupta ) mussel, five different mussel species have been cultured through their entire life cycle.  And their use of fish raceway techniques to propagate and culture freshwater mussels was groundbreaking in those efforts.

Earning his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Massachusetts and his doctorate from Oklahoma State University, Layzer has served as a project leader for the USFWS office in Amherst, Mass.; a University Fellow for the Oklahoma Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at Oklahoma State University; a fishery biologist and ecologist for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C.; and most recently, as a biology professor and leader of the Tennessee Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at Tennessee Tech.

His extensive research has been acknowledged by being published in peer-reviewed journals ranging from River Research and Application to BioScience.   He has presented numerous papers on his research at scientific meetings throughout the United States and at international meetings in Mexico, Canada, Australia and throughout Europe.