The Office of Global Affairs (OGA) is pleased to share that Dr. Samuel Wasser, a member of the OGA Advisory Council for more than five years, has received the 2022 Lowell Thomas Award. Provided by The Explorers Club, the annual award is given thematically to a group of outstanding explorers to recognize excellence in domains or fields of exploration. The awardees of the 2022 Lowell Thomas Award were selected for their excellence in Conservation Genetics.
According to the 2022 Lowell Thomas Award announcement, “Dr. Samuel Wasser holds the endowed chair in Conservation Biology at the University of Washington, where he is a Professor in the Department of Biology and Co-Executive Director of Center Environmental Forensic Science. He is acknowledged worldwide for developing noninvasive tools for monitoring human impacts on wildlife. Dr. Wasser applies these tools to forensic analyses of transnational wildlife crime. He used elephant dung to assemble a DNA reference map of elephants across Africa, which is now widely used to determine the geographic origins of poached ivory. By comparing genotyped ivory to this reference map, he has been able to identify Africa’s largest elephant poaching hotspots, track the number and connectivity of major ivory traffickers operating in Africa, and uncover strategies that transnational organized crime syndicates use to acquire and move their contraband around the world.”