This is an alternating award given every three years to a faculty member who has excelled in teaching, research, or advisory service.
This year's winner of the Outstanding Researcher Award is Dr. Robert (Bob) Diaz.
Robert J. Diaz (Bob) is an eminent scientist and benthic ecologist. His research has focused the world’s attention on the growing problems of hypoxia and dead zones around the globe. Bob has expanded our understanding of diverse habitats, from tidal freshwater to seagrass to the deep sea; and has illuminated the processes that regulate secondary production and ecosystem energy flow. He has developed indices of benthic integrity; improved management of dredging, sand-mining and oil-exploration activities; and applied his broad knowledge of organisms, communities, and ecosystems to better conserve living resources. His technological advances have provided exciting new insights into organism-sediment interactions.
Bob’s 80 scientific publications have been published in Science, Nature, Estuaries, Marine Ecology Progress Series, and Deep Sea Research. His 1995 review paper on marine benthic hypoxia, published in Oceanography and Marine Biology Annual Review, has nearly 600 citations and is the most highly cited monograph in the field of coastal biogeochemistry. Bob was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa from Gothenburg University, Sweden, for his research on hypoxia. He has also served on many important scientific advisory committees.
Bob’s two dozen Ph.D. and M.S. advisees have gone on to successful positions in academia, government, and the private sector. They all benefited from his depth and breadth of knowledge in marine science, and his advice on statistical methods and experimental design. Over the years Bob has also very generously supported many interns and young people with summer jobs in his lab.
Bob has shown an enduring dedication to the field of marine science as a researcher, educator, and advisor. His work has elevated VIMS in the eyes of scientists, policy-makers, and the general public. For these reasons and more, Robert J. Diaz is highly deserving of the VIMS Outstanding Faculty Researcher Award.
Thank you, Bob—you are an excellent role model for researchers at VIMS and elsewhere, and we all are grateful for your contributions.