1986 TOM FENCHEL
Dr. Tom Fenchel, the ninth recipient of the A.G. Huntsman Award, is recognized for his fundamental studies of microfauna in marine benthic and pelagic communities. His pioneering work during the late 1960s, when he investigated the microbenthic flora and fauna of coastal sediments in Denmark, marked the initiation of new ecological work on an undescribed and little known group of marine organisms. During the course of his studies, he developed new techniques to quantify biomass, and identified a new species of micro-organisms that live within the interstitial space of all sediments. These findings led to the first descriptions of the highly specialized foodwebs that occur within these environments. The methods that he developed to measure feeding rates of ciliates preying on bacteria were first applied to the microbenthic environment, and have since been extended to more recent studies of pelagic communities. There his work emphasized the importance of microplankton and micrograzer food webs in the pelagic environment. His findings and conclusions have significantly increased our understanding of the structure and function of marine microbial communities in marine sediments and the water column.