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Dr. Mark Abbott

Past President and Director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Mark Abbott was the tenth President and Director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and is presently on sabbatical. He received a BS in Conservation of Natural Resources from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD in Ecology from UC Davis. His research focuses on the interaction of biological and physical processes in the ocean and relies on remote sensing and field observations. He advocated the inclusion of chlorophyll fluorescence bands in MODIS (the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s EOS Terra and Aqua satellites) and developed next-generation ocean primary productivity algorithms that used chlorophyll fluorescence data to estimate the physiological health of upper ocean phytoplankton. He deployed a wide variety of ocean color sensors in the upper ocean, including moored arrays at the Polar Front in the Southern Ocean and ocean drifters in the California Current as well as the Polar Front. Dr. Abbott has also advised the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation on issues regarding advanced computer technology and oceanography. He is the principal investigator on a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, formulating a new vision for the design, development and deployment of ocean sensors.


He is a member of the National Academics of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Ocean Studies Board and has served as chair of the Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space, and member of the Committee on Future Directions for NSF Advanced Computing Infrastructure to Support US Science. He was a member of the National Science Board and served as president of The Oceanography Society. In 2011, he received the Jim Gray eScience Award from Microsoft Research.