Vintage Science Demonstrates Research Impacts

1988 was a very good year for Wisconsin Sea Grant-funded research papers. Project Assistant Molly Daniels surveyed 48 years’ worth of peer-reviewed journals – going back to 1970 – and identified 1988 as having the greatest number of citations: 1,857.

The popularity of one particular paper accounts for most of 1988’s good vintage. That was Thomas J. Miller and team’s seminal work on the larval size and recruitment mechanisms in fishes, published in the “Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.” The paper promoted the idea of using the body size of larval fishes as a predictor of survival success – a measure useful to fisheries managers.

Miller et al.’s paper generated 876 citations. Coming in second with 687 citations was Adrian J. Hill and team’s 2005 paper on zebrafish as a model vertebrate for investigating chemical toxicity, published in “Toxicological Sciences.” Next was James F. Kitchell and colleagues’ 1977 paper on applications of a bioenergetics model to yellow perch and walleye, with 644 citations.

“The 15 most highly cited papers demonstrate the breadth of expertise that Wisconsin Sea Grant-funded researchers have contributed to their fields, particularly in the areas of fisheries, toxicology and contaminants, lake ecology and aquatic invasive species,” said Jennifer Hauxwell, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s research coordinator.

In total, since the 1970s, Sea Grant researchers published more than 930 papers, which have been cited over 33,850 times.

“It’s important for researchers to publish in peer-reviewed journals because it means their work is high quality,” Hauxwell said. “It also means that the world has access to the details of their studies in perpetuity, and it lays the foundation for the next set of scientific questions. Over time, researchers can build off the work that came before them as they continue to explore how our world works and functions.

“We are proud of the scientific legacy associated with over 900 published papers cited over 33,000 times in a wide array of scientific journals. It means our researchers are conducting top-notch work on a number of different topics and getting their work out there for others to use. That is the foundation of our mission,” Hauxwell said.

An archive of Sea Grant-funded journal articles is available on our website. To see the searchable list, visit