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Recognizing Individuals Who Have Attained Eminence in Oceanography Through Their Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Oceanography or Its Applications During a Substantial Period of Years


The origins of TOS are rooted in bringing together and recognizing individuals from all fields of oceanography, representing the broad interests of members in research, engineering, industry, policy, and education, and the diversity and international nature of the society. TOS members from all areas of oceanography will be considered for the Fellows Program. A recommendation for advancement to TOS Fellow is appropriate after an individual has been a TOS member for at least three years, depending on his or her contributions to the field.

The main criteria for being elected a TOS Fellow are outstanding and sustained contributions, and devotion to the broad field of oceanography, commensurate with the founding principles of the Society.

New Fellows may be selected each year, but no more than 0.5% of the TOS membership of the Society will be advanced to Fellows each year. Any TOS member may nominate another member to be a TOS Fellow. Voting TOS officers, Members of the Council, and Members of the Fellows Committee are not eligible for election during their terms of service. Nominations are to be forwarded to the Fellows Committee, via the TOS Executive Director, by October 31, 2015. Nominations will automatically remain active for two years, but the nominator may revise and resubmit new information at any time.

Nomination Procedure

TOS members are encouraged to participate in honoring such individuals by nominating or seconding their election as a TOS Fellow. To be considered this year, the Nominator, who must be a TOS member, should submit a nomination package by October 31, 2015. Important details regarding the nomination package are provided below.

The nominated individual must have been a TOS member for at least the past three years. (TOS members may consult the online membership directory to determine if prospective nominees are TOS members. To access the directory, visit the TOS member login page. Click on "Login" in the menu on the left side of the page and enter your user ID and password. Once in the member area, click on "Membership Directory" on the right side to access the search tool.)

A clear and cogent statement supporting and outlining the Nominee's outstanding and sustained contributions and devotion to the broad field of oceanography is essential and should be included in the Nominee's Professional History.

A completed nomination package includes:

  • A three-page (maximum) nominating letter
  • A minimum of three and a maximum of five supporting letters, each of which is two pages or less in length
  • A document outlining the candidate's professional history
  • A citation, preferably six to twelve words in length, but not exceeding twenty words

At least two of the supporting letters must be from outside the Nominee's own institution or organization. Seconding letters may come from any individual or group of individuals who are knowledgeable about the Nominee's accomplishments. The Nominator must indicate how many seconding letters will be provided with his or her contact information and, where possible, e-mail addresses for each individual providing supporting letters. Responsibility for assuring that the letters are submitted on time remains with the Nominator.

All documents related to the nomination, including the nominating and supporting letters and the professional history should be submitted electronically to: (Subject: Chair, Fellows Committee). When all of the required documents are received by the TOS Executive Director, they will be forwarded to the Fellows Committee. The supporting letters are to be attached to e-mail forwarding the nominating letter, or they may be e-mailed separately (in either MS Word or PDF format).

Nominating and Seconding Letters

The nominating letter should discuss why election of the Nominee to Fellow is appropriate and must propose a brief citation for the Nominee. If the Nominee is advanced to Fellow, the citation will be published in Oceanography. The citation should be preferably six to twelve words in length, but it must not exceed twenty words.

Suggestions for topics that might be considered for a nominating or seconding letter:

  1. Description of the Nominee's contributions to a particular sub-field of oceanography in terms that are understandable to a reader whose expertise lies in another area
  2. Explanation of what new knowledge about oceanography is now available because of the legacy left by the Nominee
  3. Description of specific examples and background on how the Nominee's career activities have advanced ocean sciences
  4. Description of the Nominee's impact on the field by the development of policies, laws, regulations, devices, theories, programs, applications, or technologies leading to advances in our protection or understanding of the oceans
  5. Evidence of professional contributions such as consulting, service to the community, teaching, supervision of theses, management of significant national or international oceanographic programs, laboratories, or institutions
  6. Information that may be pertinent to the Candidate's accomplishments such as honors and awards from TOS or other professional groups or societies focusing on oceanography

Topics that are discouraged for inclusion in a nominating or seconding letter:

  1. Generalized statements such as "... has provided leadership in ..."
  2. Discussion of the Candidate's general personality
  3. Personal information, such as details about the Candidate's spouse, children, home, ethnicity, etc.

Candidate's Professional History

Nominators should also summarize the Candidate's Professional History (i.e., provide a summary CV or résumé) in a document no more than five pages in length (minimum 12 point font), to be submitted electronically, in the format specified below, along with the nominating and supporting letters. It should include, but not necessarily be limited to the following:

  1. Name and professional address, phone, and e-mail of the Nominee
  2. The Nominee's educational background, including degrees, awarding institutions, and dates
  3. Approximate year the Nominee became professionally involved in oceanography and the positions held (if desired, may be limited to the three most recent)
  4. Major professional achievements, honors, and awards
  5. The Nominee's most important contributions to ocean sciences, including, but not limited to: the advancement of basic or applied ocean research; dissemination of knowledge concerning the sea; efforts to promote a broader understanding of oceanography; education of ocean scientists, technologists, and engineers; advancement of technology for use in the ocean; promotion of public understanding of developments in the field of oceanography; and the relationship of ocean research to scientific research in general
  6. Most significant professional activities, committee memberships, offices held in TOS and other ocean science related organizations, and other significant contributions
  7. If appropriate to the positions held, a list of the Candidate's five most important publications
  8. A clear and cogent statement supporting and outlining the Nominee's outstanding and sustained contributions and devotion to the broad field of oceanography

The Committee explicitly recognizes that many of the Candidates for TOS Fellow will have extensive and often lengthy Professional Histories that cannot be easily fit within a five-page limit. The Committee considers it desirable that the Nominators use their best professional judgment by selecting and emphasizing information that will, in their opinion, best reflect their Candidate's impact on the field of oceanography.

James A. Yoder


Mark A. Cane
For contributions to the understanding and prediction of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the tropical oceans and their effects on climate and society.

The Oceanography Society (TOS) would like to congratulate Professor Mark A. Cane (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University) on being selected as the newest Fellow of The Oceanography Society. The citation on Professor Cane's certificate recognizes him for contributions to the understanding and prediction of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the tropical oceans and their effects on climate and society. Dr. Cane will be formally recognized during the Ocean Sciences Meeting, February 21–26, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Professor Eli Tziperman, who led the team that submitted the nomination for Professor Cane, noted that "Mark has made outstanding contributions in an unusually broad set of problems related to tropical oceanography: important theoretical contributions to equatorial ocean wave dynamics, insights obtained via creative numerical modeling guided by wonderful and even stunning physical intuition that led to the understanding of ENSO’s mechanism, application of the theoretical insights to the problem of actual prediction of the state of the tropical Pacific ocean, exploring the role of the tropics in past climates, and demonstrating the effects of the tropical oceans on society from African crops to human conflicts."

Professor Cane is currently the G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. He received his B.A. at Harvard in 1965, his M.A. from Harvard in 1966, and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975.


Richard T. Barber
For his sustained and fundamental contributions to the science, community service and mentorship of countless others in integrated ocean ecosystem science.

Jack Barth
For his contributions and sustained leadership in all aspects of continental shelf oceanography, and for his commitment to community service.

Theresa Paluszkiewicz
For her long-term vision and contributions in basic research, mentoring and outreach, and national and international program leadership.

P. Ted Strub
For advancing the understanding of eastern boundary current upwelling systems and leading interdisciplinary studies of these systems.


James A. Yoder
For his innovative and visionary application of satellite ocean color technologies to interdisciplinary oceanography and his extraordinary service to oceanography.


Ellen R.M. Druffel
For advancing the use of natural abundance radiocarbon measurements in marine carbon cycle research.

Marlon Lewis
For seminal contributions advancing our knowledge of ocean optics, physical-biological interactions, and ecology.

Mary Jane Perry
For contributions to the founding and advancement of the sub-discipline of bio-optical oceanography and the education of more than a generation of bio-optics students.

Mary W. Silver
For pioneering research on the ecology of marine organisms, excellence in teaching, mentoring and service to the oceanographic community.

Lynne D. Talley
For advancements in understanding the large scale circulation of the ocean and dedication to the oceanographic community.

2008 TOS Fellow

Charles S. Yentsch
For promoting oceanography through innovation, fundamental discoveries in bio-optics and phytoplankton production, and the visionary founding of enduring oceanographic programs.

2007 TOS Fellow

Charles H. Greene
For seminal contributions to the field of bioacoustics, innovation and excellence in teaching, and service to the oceanographic community.

2006 TOS Fellow

Grant Ingram
For insightful studies of physical processes and physical/biological coupling in extreme polar regions and for untiring service to the oceanographic community.

2005 TOS Fellows

John J. Cullen
For fundamental contributions to our understanding of the influence of environmental conditions on phytoplankton function in the ocean.

Margaret L. Delaney
For paleoceanographic research in nutrient and carbon cycling and service to the oceanographic and scientific ocean drilling communities.

Robert A. Duce
For research on the global biogeochemistry of trace elements in the ocean/atmosphere system.

Michael J. McPhaden
For ENSO research and unselfish service in providing the community with tropical atmosphere and ocean observations (TAO array).