British Ecologist Receives Rosenstiel Award

British marine ecologist Peter Mumby receives school’s top honor.

Coral Gables (April 11, 2011) — The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science presented British marine ecologist Peter Mumby with the 2011 Rosenstiel Award, the school’s top honor, on April 6 during a ceremony at its bayside location on Virginia Key. Mumby, professor at Australia’s University of Queensland, has worked extensively on Caribbean reefs to study the impacts of marine reserves.

After brief welcoming remarks from Rosenstiel School Dean Roni Avissar and UM Provost Thomas LeBlanc, Sharon Smith, professor and chair of marine biology and fisheries, took the stage to introduce the award recipient. She mentioned that Mumby is a prolific writer with more than 85 publications who has secured over $20 million in research funding in just the last five years. Mumby is also a Pew Fellow of Marine Conservation and an Australian Research Council Laureate, yet still finds time to mentor junior faculty members. And he is a mid-career scientist who has decades of exciting discoveries ahead of him.

Mumby’s acceptance speech was the highlight of the evening. He shared amusing anecdotes of his many collaborations with Rosenstiel School faculty members through the years, including Bob Ginsburg, Don Olson, John McManus, Kenny Broad, Claire Paris, Bob Cowen, Su Sponaugle, Peter Ortner, and the late mangrove expert Sam Snedaker. He recalled his first interaction with the school in 1993, when he attended a conference hosted by Ginsburg, to whom he gave a dog-eared copy of a paper that would eventually become his first peer-reviewed publication in the Bulletin of Marine Science (which is published through the Rosenstiel School and currently edited by Sponaugle). Mumby also thanked Sidney Hartley and Jackie Reyes, who helped to organize his visit to Miami.

The Rosenstiel Award honors scientists who have made significant and growing impacts in their field in the past decade. It is an award targeted for researchers who are already making outstanding scientific contributions in their early- to mid-career stages. Created through an endowment from the Rosenstiel Foundation, it recognizes outstanding scientists for their contributions to marine science and in oceanographically relevant areas of atmospheric science with a $10,000 prize.

According to Andrew Baker, 2008 Pew Fellow for Marine Conservation and UM Marine Biology and Fisheries faculty member, “Peter is a leading figure in coral reef science whose work spans the fields of remote sensing, connectivity, ecology, and climate change. It is extremely rare for someone to have made such lasting contributions to such a broad range of fields at such an early stage in their career. Pete’s engaging personality and keen sense of humor belie great intelligence, dedication, and drive. With the future of coral reefs currently hanging in the balance, it’s good to know that scientists like Professor Mumby have dedicated themselves to finding ways to help these ecosystems persist and thrive over the next few decades.”


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Left to right: UM Provost Thomas LeBlanc; Sharon Smith, professor and chair, Marine Biology and Fisheries; 2011 Rosenstiel Award Winner Peter Mumby; Marta Weeks, immediate past chair of the UM Board of Trustees; and Rosenstiel School Dean Roni Avissar were on hand at the Rosenstiel Award dinner.

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