Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 08 Issue 03

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Volume 08, No. 3
Pages 115 - 115


Ann Gall Durbin, Oceanographer, 1946–1995

Margaret Leinen
First Paragraph

This July I lost a friend and colleague, and our field lost a scientist of tremendous range, depth and energy, Ann Gall Durbin. Although Ann received her undergraduate degree in geology she moved to oceanography at the University of Rhode Island and became a biological oceanographer who specialized in the field called “trophodynamics” or “bioenergetics” of coastal marine systems: the transfer of food energy through the oceanographic food chain and its importance for biogeochemical cycles in the ocean. I described it to the Provost of the University in my letter recommending Ann for promotion to Full Professor, as “who eats who, how often and why we care.” Ann did much of her scientific work in partnership with her husband, Ted. They met as graduate students and developed a unique partnership certainly at the Graduate School of Oceanography but as far as I can tell it was unique in the University and in much of the scientific community. They were true collaborators, each contributing toward something that was greater than both of their individual contributions. In Ann and Ted’s unique partnership he concentrated on the “fishier” side and she concentrated on the “plankton” side of joint work on the ecology of plankton and their role in food chains.


Leinen, M. 1995. Remembrance: Ann Gall Durbin, Oceanographer, 1946–1995. Oceanography 8(3):115, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.1995.16.

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