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USF’s College of Marine Science taps Florida’s Chief Science Officer as new dean

Megan Holmes

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The University of South Florida College of Marine Science has a new dean.

The appointment, announced this week, taps Thomas K. Frazer from his position as Florida’s first Chief Science Officer in the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. His appointment will take effect in August.

Frazer will take over the helm of the prestigious College of Marine Science from Jacqueline Dixon, who became Dean of the College of Marine Science in 2011. Dixon announced that she was stepping down as dean after more than eight years to re-immerse herself in teaching.

According to a release from USF, as dean, Frazer will work to increase the stature of USF and the College of Marine Science, and to “envision and develop an interdisciplinary center of academic and research excellence in oceanographic and environmental sciences.”

Frazer is a recognized and prolific research scientist. His work is centered around the ecology of coral reefs, water quality and restoration of degraded ecosystems.

“We are excited to welcome Thomas Frazer to USF and the College of Marine Science,” said USF Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph Wilcox. “He brings decades of commitment to studying environmental issues in both marine and freshwater systems. As a national and international leader in his field, Frazer is a dedicated advocate for oceanographic and climate science.”

In his expert capacity, Frazer served on numerous policy-driven committees and task forces addressing problems related to marine science. He served on an Oil Spill Research Strategy Review Panel with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Advisory Council for the Office of Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration. He currently chairs the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and oversees Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Blue-Green Algae Task Force.

“I am incredibly honored to join the talented and vibrant team of scientists at the College of Marine Science,” Frazer said. “I look forward to working with my new colleagues not only in the college, but across the USF campuses, to expand the reach and influence of a research and education enterprise that is uniquely positioned to become a global leader in the ocean sciences arena.”

Prior to Frazer’s appointment as Florida’s Chief Science Officer, Frazer directed the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. Frazer spent more than 20 years of experience at the University of Florida, with roles in its Water Institute, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, and Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. At UF, Frazer’s research focused on the effects of human activity on the ecology of both freshwater and marine ecosystems.

The College of Marine Science is internationally recognized for its excellence in oceanographic sciences.

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