Diaz, mapper of aquatic ‘dead zones,’ is named one of four Virginia Outstanding Scientists

Robert J. Diaz of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science received one of four Outstanding Scientist Awards for Virginia for 2010.

The award is bestowed by the Governor’s Office and the Science Museum of Virginia. Diaz, professor of marine science at VIMS, is the international “go-to guy” on the ecological effects of low-oxygen marine “dead zones.”  His work highlights dead zones as barometers of global environmental stewardship, as their severity corresponds to nutrient inputs from human activities. 

 Last year, Diaz briefed Congress on the ecological effects of chemical dispersants used in the Gulf oil spill, and on the oil’s potential effects on dead zones.

“As the international expert on this issue, Bob is a truly worthy recipient of the Governor’s award,” said John Wells, dean of the School of Marine Science at W&M and director of VIMS. “It reflects his years of research to understand the scientific basis of dead zones, and his success in bringing the problem—and potential solutions—to the world’s attention.”i