Florida Institute of Oceanography Appoints New Director

Dr. Bill Hogarth, director of FIO since 2011, announces retirement

Photos taken Thursday, August16, 2012 at the USFSP campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. Regional Chancellor Bill Hogarth. Photos were taken by Bill Serne

Dr. Bill Hogarth. Photo by Bill Serne.

The Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO), a statewide academic infrastructure support organization in St. Petersburg, dedicated to marine science education, research and community outreach, welcomes Dr. Philip Kramer as its new director. An accomplished marine geologist with experience leading marine conservation efforts for both the public and private sectors, Kramer will work with FIO’s 30 member institutions to advocate for Florida’s most precious natural resource on statewide, national and international stages.

Kramer, a senior marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Global Oceans Program, currently oversees the organization’s global coral reef strategy in more than 30 countries around the world. He has held a number of scientific and senior management positions within TNC over the past 13 years, including nearly eight years as managing director of the Caribbean region.  During his tenure, he helped design and launch the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) which has dramatically scaled up protection of marine resources in the region and put in place long term sustainable financing for management.

“I’d like to thank USF College of Marine Science Dean Jackie Dixon, chair, and members of FIO who served on the search committee, for their dedication and due diligence in recruiting a highly qualified and diverse pool of candidates. I am confident that Dr. Kramer’s strong scientific background, combined with a superlative record of leadership and powerful vision for the future, will allow FIO to build upon an impressive legacy and international reputation developed under Dr. Hogarth’s directorship” said Dr. Ralph C. Wilcox, Provost and Executive Vice President, at the University of South Florida, FIO’s host institution.

Kramer replaces Dr. Bill Hogarth, who has spent the last five years leading FIO. Hogarth, who has announced he will retire in July, has laid a strong foundation for FIO’s growing national prominence, particularly with his focused leadership in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Hogarth has served as FIO’s director since January 2011. He previously served as dean of the USF College of Marine Science, housed in St. Petersburg, from January 2008-2011. He also served as USF St. Petersburg’s Interim Regional Chancellor from August 2012-June 2013. Among his many distinguished appointments, Hogarth was appointed by Governor Crist to serve on the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Board (GoMRI), which oversees the funds of $500 million committed by BP over the next 10 years to investigate the impacts of the oil effects on the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  Hogarth will continue to serve on the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Board and remain connected during the transitional period.

“On behalf of the State University System, I’d like to welcome Dr. Kramer, who brings an impressive variety of national and international experience” said Marshall Criser III, Chancellor of the State University System. “I’d also like to thank Dr. Hogarth for his service to the state of Florida and his commitment to advancing Florida’s knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”

Trained as a marine geologist with a PhD from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Kramer has spent much of his scientific career pioneering tropical ecosystem monitoring, management, and restoration efforts in Florida and internationally. He is a co-founder of the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment Program (AGRRA), which is widely accepted as the standard scientific monitoring protocol for reefs and currently houses one of the largest databases on coral reef condition. Kramer has led numerous scientific oceanographic expeditions to some of the most remote and extensive reef systems of the Caribbean, including the south coast of Cuba, the Mesoamerican Reef, Andros Island in the southern Bahamas, and the north coast of Haiti.

For the past two years, Kramer worked with a number of external groups to develop innovative solutions to reduce beach erosion and vulnerability to rising sea levels while promoting coral accretion and fish production. An avid diver and boater, Kramer will relocate to the Tampa Bay area with his wife and three children to begin his appointment August 1.

“Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, and the beaches and waters directly support a large proportion of State’s economy,” Kramer said. “How we manage our seas is one of the most crucial issues facing our state today. Supporting Florida’s oceanographic research priorities and expanding marine educational opportunities has never been more important. I am honored to help lead this effort on behalf of FIO, and I’m grateful to Dr. Hogarth and the rest of the FIO team for their dedication to this cause and confidence in my ability to help maintain its momentum.”

FIO is a State University System of Florida Academic Infrastructure Support Organization, established by the Board of Governors and a consortium of 30 various scientific and educational resources. FIO is hosted by the University of South Florida.