Inspirational Leaders of EA’s Legacy Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
Jeff Black – In the Natural, Living Environment
EA was founded in the early 1970s as an ecological consulting firm; indeed EA’s original name was Ecological Analysts, Inc. before being changed in the 1980s to reflect a broader spectrum of professional services. Nevertheless, ecology and the water and natural resource sciences remain a thriving and distinctive element of the firm’s ongoing competence. EA’s heritage in applied ecology was epitomized by one of our long-tenured senior scientists, Dr. Jeffrey (Jeff) Black.
Jeff earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Environmental Health Sciences from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Biology from University of Toledo. Jeff was a charter and avid member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry where he was on the Board of Directors, Aquatic Toxicology Editor for the Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and held leadership positions on many committees including Long Range Planning and Publications committees.
Jeff began his professional career as a faculty member at the University of Kentucky where he and Dr. Wes Birge pioneered the development of short-termed procedures to assess chronic effects of toxicants on aquatic organisms and development of a short-term fish embryo and larvae test for the assessment of teratogenicity; many of these tests are still used today. Jeff left the University of Kentucky to lead EA’s aquatic toxicology practice where he was actively involved in many of EA’s activities including Manager of EA’s Ecotoxicology Laboratory and serving as EA’s Analytical Laboratory Director for many years through the 1990s, until his early passing in 1998.
Although Jeff had a gift of limerick, where he was known to go toe-to-toe with anyone for hours never repeating the same one, his first love as a scientist was the mentoring of young professionals. Always the patient teacher with an unassuming manner, he spent countless time and energy directed toward professional development of his students, staff, colleagues, and clients. Many of Jeff’s students and colleagues continue to make significant national and international contributions in the field of aquatic toxicology and are represented by university faculty, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agency researchers, as well as industry representatives and environmental consultants. Jeff’s strong combination of scientific expertise and mentor-ship of young professionals made him a unique and treasured asset, often called upon in the early developmental years of ecotoxicology research and innovative test development.