UH oceanography professor honored by National Academy of Sciences

University of Hawaiʻi
Jodi Leong, (808) 956-9437
Director of Communications, External Affairs and University Relations
Posted: Apr 29, 2013

David Karl
David Karl
David Karl & UH President M.R.C. Greenwood
David Karl & UH President M.R.C. Greenwood
David Karl (3rd row left) & fellow NAS award recipients, including Bill & Melinda Gates
David Karl (3rd row left) & fellow NAS award recipients, including Bill & Melinda Gates

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Oceanography Professor David Karl received the prestigious Alexander Agassiz medal from the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 28.

Karl is a professor at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.  He is recognized for his leadership in establishing multi-disciplinary ocean-observing systems for detecting significant changes in the ocean ecosystem.

“I am humbled and honored to have been selected to receive the 2013 Alexander Agassiz Medal for excellence in oceanography.  I thank the UH ʻohana, my students, post-docs and staff, and my many colleagues at UH and from around the world for their invaluable contributions to my career.  With so many remaining scientific challenges, it should be a thrilling next decade,” Karl said.

Karl is perhaps best known for his work on the Hawaiʻi Ocean Time-series (HOT) program, which he co-founded.  HOT made the significant discovery that climate change and the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide are making the ocean more acidic and affecting the ocean ecosystem.  The finding was published and won widespread recognition.

In addition, Karl’s work on 23 research expeditions to Antarctica helped to reveal the unanticipated thriving food web that exists in those frigid waters.  He has also witnessed iconic moments like the discovery of hydrothermal vents at the Galapagos Rift in 1979.

Karl currently directs the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) at UH Mānoa, a National Science Foundation sponsored program that he created.

The Agassiz Medal is presented every three years for original contributions in the science of oceanography and was established by a gift from Sir John Murray in 1913. Alexander Agassiz was a marine zoologist, oceanographer, and mining engineer who made important contribututions to systematic zoology and to the knowledge of ocean beds.

Karl was among several distinguished award recipients at the NAS award ceremony, where Bill and Melinda Gates received the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal.