Joseph Pawlik, a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, is the recipient of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professorship of Marine Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, according to a press release.
Established by the C.D. Spangler Foundation, the award recognizes international achievement in marine science and a commitment to outstanding research and student mentorship, according to the university.
Pawlik joined the university in 1991 as an assistant professor in what was the Department of Biological Sciences at the time. His hiring followed an international search by the university. He is a marine invertebrate zoologist.
Pawlik’s research focuses on marine chemical and coral reef ecology, specifically Caribbean coral reef sponges. He oversees an ongoing research program studying the ecology of the giant barrel sponge in the Florida Keys at Aquarius Reef Base/Florida International University.
“I am truly honored by my faculty colleagues to receive this award. It is a treasured capstone to a wonderful 26-year career here at UNCW,” Pawlik said in the release. “And it is a huge credit to our Department and College that a reward mechanism like this one exists for senior, research-active faculty.”
Pawlik has published more than 125 scientific articles. Pawlik has been the primary mentor to more than 30 graduate students in UNCW’s Marine Biology graduate program and has taught an undergraduate course in Invertebrate Zoology almost every year since joining UNCW.
Pawlik is also a member of a team of UNCW researchers that recently received more than $818,000 from the National Science Foundation to examine sponges on Caribbean coral reefs. He is a recipient of the UNCW Award for Faculty Scholarship and is a member of the UNCW Office of Research Administration’s "Five Million Dollar Club," which honors researchers that have received more than $5 million in sponsored funding.