Growing up near the seashore in central California, Peter Wiebe developed a love for and a curiosity about the oceans at an early age. As a youth, he spent hours free-diving in the Monterey Bay area, and he assembled his first scuba gear in 1954. His undergraduate studies took him to northern Arizona, a region whose oceans disappeared 40 million years ago, thus making him too late to study them firsthand. He returned to California and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to obtain a Ph.D. in biological oceanography, and then came to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1969.
Now a senior scientist at WHOI, his interests have focused most recently on the dynamics of zooplankton populations on Georges Bank and on krill living on the continental shelf region of the Western Antarctic Peninsula—two components of the U.S. Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics Program. For his efforts leading the GLOBEC program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded Wiebe its Environmental Hero Award for "tireless efforts to preserve and protect the nation's environment."