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September 07, 2018 - OBISFred Grassle Memorial Lecture Series

Call for applications - Fred Grassle Memorial Lecture Series

FRED GRASSLE MEMORIAL LECTURE SERIES

CELEBRATING THE VISION OF FRED GRASSLE OF BRINGING TOGETHER EXISTING MARINE SPECIES DISTRIBUTION DATA INTO A COMMON, SEARCHABLE FORMAT FOR SCIENCE AND FUTURE GENERATIONS

Dr J. Frederick (Fred) Grassle was one of the founding fathers of OBIS. Thanks to Fred, OBIS was a core component of the Census of Marine Life. With this memorial lecture series as part of the IODE scientific conference, we want to keep his dreams and vision alive.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS BY 15 OCTOBER 2018

OBIS is seeking applications of outstanding scientists and data managers who have made a significant contribution to OBIS, either through contributing data to OBIS, by publishing important scientific breakthroughs using data in OBIS or by developing innovative tools that made science on OBIS data easier or improved the quality and quantity of data in OBIS.

The selected applicant(s) will be honored by providing the Fred Grassle Memorial Lecture at the IODE Scientific Conference, 18-19 February 2019, in Tokyo (Japan).

A one-page description of your contribution, accompanied with a CV, should be sent by email to Ward Appeltans (w.appeltans@unesco.org) no later than 15 October 2018.

SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF FRED GRASSLE

Fred Grassle earned a bachelor's degree in zoology at Yale University in 1961 and a doctoral degree at Duke University in 1967. After a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Queensland, Australia, he joined Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1969.

While at Woods Hole, he led the first biological expedition to deep-sea hydrothermal vents in 1979, the results of which have led to our understanding of the ecosystems near volcanic vents at the sea floor. The discovery of these unique ecosystems were the first life-on-earth examples found to be fueled by chemical energy from the Earth's interior instead of sunlight. Grassle was recruited to Rutgers in 1989 and founded the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences (IMCS), one of the world's top oceanographic research institutions.

In 1997, Fred Grassle hosted a "Census of the Benthos Workshop" at IMCS. This Workshop was part of a series "To explore the value, timeliness, and feasibility of stimulating, designing, and organizing a period of intense, comprehensive oceanic observation whose purpose would be to assess and explain the global distribution of marine life", which led to the Census of Marine Life. At its conclusion, the Benthic Census meeting participants unanimously recommended a project to bring together existing distribution data into a common, searchable format. They formalized this recommendation in a meeting report. This report, together with a concept paper on "the census of the fishes" written by Jesse Ausubel of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation became the guiding principle for OBIS.

Fred Grassle led the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year effort, involving 2,700 scientists in 80 countries, to catalog everything living in the ocean. For this work and his extensive research into improving knowledge of ocean life, Grassle was awarded the 2013 Japan Prize, bestowed by the Japan Prize Foundation to honor work in scientific fields not usually recognized by the Nobel Prize.

Fred passed away on 6 July 2018. He was a role model as a scientist and more importantly being a warm and inspiring person and is missed by many researchers.