A.G. HUNTSMAN AWARD

FOR EXCELLENCE

IN THE MARINE SCIENCES

 
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TREVOR PLATT (1992)

Dr. Trevor Platt, the fifteenth recipient of the A.G. Huntsman Award, is being recognized for his extensive and clear-sighted contributions to our understanding of the functioning of the pelagic ecosystem, especially of plankton in the open ocean. His research and leadership have brought him to the forefront of biological oceanography at the present time. After graduate work in plasma physics, his subsequent research emphasized the physiological ecology of plankton, the physics (especially the optics) of the pelagic environment, and the problems of quantifying primary production in the ocean. His studies progressed logically from investigations of the spatial inhomogeneity of plankton distribution in response to the power spectrum of turbulence, through the physiological responses of the growth of cells in response to light and nutrients, to dimensional analysis and the size structure of pelagic food chains. At all stages, his contributions have been fundamental, and have become an important part of the corpus of understanding of oceanic ecology. In recent years, he has joined his accumulated understanding of physics and algal physiology to the new possibilities offered by satellite remote sensing of the ocean. Together with his wife, Dr. Sathyendranath, he has developed techniques for the critical computation of the productivity of oceanic plant cells on a global scale. His research over the last 20 years has enabled him to bring to this task a deep understanding of algal physiology and of the essential optical properties of seawater. The analytical solutions and algorithms to compute integrated plant production through the water column, advanced by Dr. Platt, place the critical calculation of annual global production by marine plants within reach for the first time.