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On the passing of Scott Nixon (courtesy of RISG)

Friends,

It is with great regret that Rhode Island Sea Grant announces the unexpected passing of former director Scott Nixon during the evening hours of Monday the 21st of May.

Scott Nixon was the director of Rhode Island Sea Grant from 1984 through 2000, during which time he built a robust yet diverse program, all the while continuing a tradition of excellence in scientific research. Early in his career at GSO he pushed the envelope of science—using Narragansett Bay as the laboratory—by employing mesocosms to measure respiration and production at a community level. This began a long and detailed exploration of Narragansett Bay, particularly with regard to nutrients and their impacts on Bay ecology.

While his findings helped define our understanding of marine ecosystems locally, Scott applied his knowledge at broader scales, exploring marine ecosystems around the world, comparing and contrasting them to shape a global view that he then used to challenge himself, and others, to think in new ways and to challenge the scientific dogma of the times.

Because of that thoughtful and challenging nature, Scott played a significant role in the lives of many, many graduate students, who have since gone on to grand careers in the sciences where they continue his tradition of exploring new avenues of thought and understanding.

The list of significant accomplishments and accolades for Scott would go on for pages, though he would humbly tell us they were based on nothing more than the observations of a modest, inquisitive marine ecologist who was building upon the work of others who really deserve the credit.

At his passing, a gaping hole is rent in the field of estuarine ecology; the void left here in Rhode Island is tremendous. Our indebtedness at Rhode Island Sea Grant for his building and leaving behind a rock-solid organization focused on making marine research understandable and usable in the decision-making process goes beyond what words can express.

Details regarding memorial arrangements will be forthcoming.

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