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- University News
Noted Marine Biologist to Head Marine and Coastal Sciences Institute at Rutgers
Rich Lutz named director of world-class oceanographic research institute
Richard A. Lutz, a highly respected oceanographer and marine biologist, has been named director of the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences (IMCS) at Rutgers University.
Lutz, who joined the faculty at Rutgers in 1979, has been the associate director of IMCS since 1989. He will immediately assume his new responsibilities as director, succeeding Francisco E. Werner, who became the director of NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif., in January.
"Rich is an outstanding choice to lead this world-class oceanographic research institute, which is a leader in the science of ocean-observing and an integrative "laboratory" for alternative energy research," said Robert. M. Goodman, executive dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers.
"The challenge ahead is to bring Rutgers into the ranks of the top five marine science programs in the country within the next five years," said Lutz. "With the institute's world class faculty and staff providing the wind behind my sails, I'm up for the challenge."
Twenty-five years ago, Lutz served as chairman of the Planning and Search Committee for the envisioned Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers. "Today, I am proud and delighted to take the helm of an institute that was once just a gleam in my eye," added Lutz.
In addition to directing the research programs at IMCS, Lutz will oversee various field stations, including the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory in Cumberland County and the Multi-Species Aquaculture Development Facility in Cape May County, a high-tech center for the growth and culture of finfish and shellfish that will strengthen fisheries and aquaculture in New Jersey.
Lutz is one of the foremost authorities in the world on the ecology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Since the first biological expedition to these unique ecosystems in 1979, Lutz has spent countless hours on the bottom exploring thermal vents throughout the world's oceans in a variety of deep-diving submersibles.
In April 1991, Lutz joined a number of his geological colleagues on an oceanographic expedition, during which they used the deep-submergence vehicle Alvin to dive, for the first time, into the caldera of an actively erupting volcanic ridge along the East Pacific Rise at a depth of a mile and a half. Lutz has returned to the site at approximately annual intervals to document events that have occurred since the eruption.
The results of his studies at the volcanic eruption site have been featured in many scientific journals and magazines, including Science, Nature, American Scientist, and three separate issues of National Geographic. Observations made during the course of Lutz's research endeavors in this unique "natural deep-sea laboratory" have dramatically altered our views of the rates at which many biological and geological processes are occurring on the face of the planet.
The pioneering dives of Lutz and his colleagues in the deep-submergence vehicle Alvin over the past decades is captured in the IMAX film Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, funded by the National Science Foundation. Lutz, who served as the film’s science director, received the 2005 Scientific Literacy Achievement Award from the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research for his contributions to the film.
He received a B.A. in biology from the University of Virginia in 1971 and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Maine in 1975. He spent several years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University, joining the faculty at Rutgers in 1979.
Lutz, who has over 175 publications to his credit, was the recipient of the Rutgers' Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research in 1988.
Media Contact: Paula Walcott-Quintin
E-mail: 732-932-7000, ext. 4204.