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SCAR Executive Director (2004 - 2010)


Dr Colin Summerhayes is an oceanographer and geologist. He comes to SCAR from UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, in Paris, where he has served since May 1997 as the Director of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) Project Office, and as the IOC Secretariat lead for the Joint WMO/IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology. Dr Summerhayes' career includes spells in academia, government and industry in several countries. Prior to joining UNESCO he was Deputy Director of the Southampton Oceanography Centre (1995-97), Director of the UK's Institute of Oceanographic Sciences Deacon Laboratory, Wormley (1988-95), and a Senior Research Specialist at the BP Research Centre (1982-88), where he was also Manager of the Stratigraphy Branch of the Exploration Division. In his earlier career he has been a Research Specialist and Project Leader in Petroleum Geochemistry in Basin Analysis for Exxon Production Research in Houston, an Assistant Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachussets, a researcher at the University of Cape Town, and a marine geologist for the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute.

While in New Zealand Dr Summerhayes carried out marine geological research on the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic and the Macquarie-Balleny Ridge. He is an expert in the oceanography, geology and climatic history of continental margin upwelling systems and their associated mineral deposits, and has used his expertise on that topic to devise models for petroleum source rock exploration in basins in America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. He has been much involved in deep-ocean drilling. He maintains a strong interest in seabirds and has published several papers on their distribution in the southern hemisphere.

Dr Summerhayes has published around 200 research papers and articles, co-edited 7 books, and produced 230 reports for government and industry. His most recent book (by Island Press, August 2002) is "Oceans 2020: Science, Trends and the Challenge of Sustainability", co-edited with John Field and Gotthilf Hempel. Dr Summerhayes holds a BSc degree in Geology from University College London, a PhD degree in Applied Geochemistry from Imperial College, and MSc and DSc degrees in Marine Geology from Victoria University, Wellington NZ. He is a Chartered Geologist and Chartered Marine Scientist. He has served on many national and international scientific management committees, including a stint on the Scientific Steering Group for the Scott Polar Research Institute (1988-97), and was Chair of the SCOR Working Group on Improved Global Bathymetry from 1996-2002. Currently he is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Marine Science and the Environment, published by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. In 1996 he won the President's Award of the Society for Underwater Technology for his contributions to marine geology, ocean science and technology.

List of all publications