Dennis McGillicuddy Receives 27th Annual Rosenstiel Award
Oceanographer Shines Light on Plankton Dynamics
The University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and
Atmospheric Science has selected Dennis J.
McGillicuddy, Jr., Ph.D., as recipient of the 2008 Rosenstiel Award.
McGillicuddy, a senior scientist in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), is a pioneer in the study of physical-biological interactions in the ocean. His multidisciplinary studies of plankton and ocean currents are helping to decipher what controls the productivity of marine ecosystems and how this affects the global carbon cycle.
The Rosenstiel Award is designed to honor scientists who, in the past decade, have made significant and growing impacts in their field. It's an award targeted for researchers who, in their early to mid-career stages, are already making outstanding scientific contributions.
McGillicuddy has broken new ground by bridging the gap
between several physical and biological oceanographic disciplines, revolutionizing
progressive marine ecosystem modeling and observations.
He has developed physical-biological models for studying the population dynamics of copepods (tiny free-swimming crustaceans) on Georges Bank, as well as harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Maine. Some of these models have assimilated physical and biological data, an important step in providing forecasts of harmful algal blooms (popularly known as “red tides”).
“Understanding how marine systems function requires an integrated strategy that includes theory, observation, and modeling,” said McGillicuddy. “By weaving these three approaches together, we can build comprehensive simulations that explicitly resolve the coupled physical-biological-chemical processes. This integration of observations and models not only provides a useful methodology for oceanic process studies, but also maximizes the utility of observations and aids in their interpretation.”
McGillicuddy’s research uses field data, satellite remote
sensing and numerical models. Projects
range from mesoscale ocean dynamics to coastal ocean prediction, bio-optics,
marine biogeochemistry, marine ecology, and fisheries oceanography. He also has
a distinguished publication record, with more than 52 refereed journal
publications to his credit.
As a member of the steering committees for GLOBEC (Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics) and GEOHAB (Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms), he participates actively in the oversight of national and international programs pursuing interdisciplinary research.
Raised in west Florida, McGillicuddy earned all of his degrees at Harvard University: a bachelor's in engineering science in 1987, a master's in applied physics in 1989, and a doctorate in earth and planetary sciences in 1993.
The Rosenstiel Award, created through an endowment from the
Rosenstiel Foundation, recognizes outstanding scientists for their
contributions to marine science. It is awarded annually to one individual on a
rotating basis for achievements in six broad disciplinary areas: marine geology
and geophysics; meteorology and physical oceanography; marine and atmospheric
chemistry; marine biology and fisheries; applied marine physics; and marine
Founded in the 1940s, the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization in Falmouth, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean's role in the changing global environment.