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David Karl

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Professor of Oceanography 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 and director of 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. 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.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Professor David Karl, center, being presented with the Alexander Agassiz medal by National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone, left, and Paul Falkowski, chair of the National Academy of Sciences selection committee.

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.

The Agassiz medal

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 contributions to systematic zoology and to the knowledge of ocean beds.

A UH Mānoa news release

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