Citation/W.W. Hutchison Medal
In only 11 years since be receiving his PhD, Dr. Duane G. Froese is within the upper echelon of Quaternary researchers in Canada, and his contributions are widely recognized internationally. His focus on northern environments, his stellar research achievements, and his success in attracting established scientists and students into the study of geoscience problems of the North show that Dr. Froese is destined to be a leader in science pertaining to Canada’s North
Dr. Froese’s contributions to our understanding of the late Cenozoic environmental history of eastern Beringia—the unglaciated part of Alaska and Yukon—are many. They include: (1) confirmation of the hypothesis that the Yukon River reorganized itself in response to continental glaciation about 2.6 million years ago; (2) demonstration that continuous permafrost was established in the Yukon by about 3 million years ago; (3) discovery of relict ground ice that is nearly 1 million years old in the same region, which is an important constraint to models attempting to forecast permafrost degradation in the Arctic in a warming climate; (4) vindication of Dale Guthrie’s controversial hypothesis that a “Mammoth Steppe” existed in Beringia during the Last Glaciation; and (5) recognition that organic beds in reworked loess sequences in eastern Beringia are interglacial deposits formed under boreal forest conditions. Dr. Froese also has shown that the famous, gold-bearing White Channel gravels in the Klondike date to the Pliocene, and he has been a key player in the recent exciting research on ancient DNA found in fossil vertebrate remains being done by biochemists from New Zealand and Denmark. This research has provided new and exciting information on the nature and timing of faunal exchanges between the Asia and North America.
A key strength of Dr. Froese, which was on display even in his formative years as a PhD student, is his ability to assemble and lead an interdisciplinary international team of researchers experts to tackle Quaternary scientific problems in Canada’s north. This team, augmented by Duane’s own graduate and postdoctoral students, is a testament to his outstanding abilities in science, coupled with superb organizational and communication skills.
In his short career, Dr. Duane Froese has set a very high ‘bar’ for Canadian geoscience researchers. His strategy has been to identify and address key scientific questions and to apply innovative cutting-edge research tools and partnerships with researchers in complementary fields to answer those questions. A formula for scientific success if there ever was one!