Craig R. Smith
Craig R. Smith obtained his Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1983 and is now a Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii with strong interests in biodiversity, disturbance ecology and human impacts on seafloor ecosystems. His research and conservation efforts have focused on the vast and poorly understood deep-sea and Antarctica, where high diversity, fragile habitats, and slow recovery rates cause ecosystems to be especially sensitive to human impacts and climate change. Smith has conducted research from the equator to Antarctica, studying mangroves, submarine canyons, whale-fall communities, cold seeps, continental slopes and abyssal plains to obtain a broad perspective of natural and anthropogenically stressed marine ecosystems. He has been chief scientist of 66 research cruises that have conducted >200 dives into the deep sea with human occupied vehicles (Alvin, Pisces, Sea Cliff, Turtle, Nautile), ROVs (5 different vehicles), AUVs, gliders and a variety of other imaging platforms. This work led to the discovery of whale-fall communities, king crabs invading the Antarctic shelf, a numerous species new to science. He has published over 160 papers in the peer reviewed scientific literature and his work has been featured in the BBC Blue Planet Television Series (The Deep), the documentary film Expedition to the Abyss, the NPR program Radiolab, the television program Bill Nye the Science Guy (on which he was a “Way Cool Scientist”), and in exhibits in 7 museums and public aquaria in five different countries. He has a received a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation (which led to the setup of the world’s largest network of marine protected areas in the deep sea) and the international Senckenberg Prize for Nature Research.