Profile: Dr Tony Haymet

Profile: Dr Tony Haymet

Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and best known for robotic exploration on the surface of Mars, Australian-born and educated Dr Tony Haymet told his Brisbane audience this week of his work on climate change and ocean acidification, as well as highlighted the opportunities for Queensland and Australian laboratories to expand their research collaboration in these areas. He is also a key champion for the clean-tech industry and is co-founder of CleanTECH San Diego.

As this issue of Express goes to press (Wednesday 14 April), Tony Haymet is due to speak at the University of Queensland, in a lecture given in association with The Global Change Institute.

In his address, Dr Tony Haymet, Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is expected to introduce and describe all kinds of robots, in air as well as sea.

He will draw an analogy with the robotic exploration of the surface of mars and other planets. Throughout his presentation Dr Haymet will reference some of his Institute’s work on climate change and ocean acidification.

He will also highlight the opportunities for Queensland and Australian laboratories to expand their research collaboration in these areas and will present a picture of some exciting career opportunities for students considering research or practical careers in this relatively unexplored world.

Tony Haymet has been Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences, and Dean of the Graduate School of Marine Sciences at University of California, San Diego, since September 2006. He is co-founder of CleanTECH San Diego, a business organization devoted to the solution of the climate change problem, and currently serves as Vice-Chair.

He is elected to the board of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL), Partnership for the Observation of the Global Ocean POGO, and appointed to many boards and advisory committees, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology. Dr. Haymet is a highly distinguished researcher who has published more than 165 peer-reviewed articles and numerous Op-Ed pieces in leading newspapers around the world.

He was formerly Chief of Marine and Atmospheric Science and then the Science and Policy Director at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia. Dr. Haymet is a tenured Professor of Oceanography at Scripps, and of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UCSD. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and a Doctor and Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Sydney.

To gain further insight into the interests and views of Tony Haymet, we searched through relevant material on the Scripps website. Here’s what we came up with:

Quote from Tony Haymet on desalination and water conservation:

When someone in the audience asked about current prospects for desalination technology, Australian-born Tony Haymet, who is director of Scripps Oceanography, stepped to the microphone to explain that desalination remains very expensive. Haymet said desalination is more than four times the cost of conventional water treatment. In Australia, where much of the population lives in a coastal climate similar to San Diego, Haymet said a prolonged dry spell led to a concerted effort to reduce excessive water use. The results are dramatic. Haymet said urban Australia has reduced its daily water consumption by 77 percent, from 130 gallons per person to 30 gallons per person. In contrast, the Scripps director says average daily water use in California today exceeds 300 gallons per person. So there’s room for improvement. Haymet noted, however, that Australia calculates its urban water use separately from agricultural use, but California includes both agricultural and urban water use in calculating 300 gallons per capita. So it would be useful to distinguish how much water goes to California’s cities and how much goes to the “Cadillac Desert.”

Quote from the San Diego Business Journal:
In just a little more than two years a local business organization called CleanTECH San Diego has, and is working to mirror the region’s high-tech and science success. CleanTECH San Diego has not only delivered, but has attached itself to some key players from industry, government, and academia, such as Tony Haymet, vice chairman of the organization and director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego

Tony Haymet, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography:California’s continued leadership in business-oriented solutions to global warming, and the international perception of our leadership, will be great for our San Diego clean-tech businesses.

Here’s a report on Tony Haymet’s participation at the World Economic Forum:

Scripps Director Provides Key Scientific Perspective at Davos World Economic Forum

Fisheries, ocean acidification, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch among issues presented by Tony Haymet at global gathering

Scripps Institution of Oceanography/ University of California, San Diego

With the world’s fragile economies beginning to recover from the global economic crisis, all eyes were fixed on the Swiss city of Davos in late January for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.  

The five-day meeting gathered more than 2,500 of the world’s experts in banking and finance, as well as global political leaders and a select number of scientists and educators.  

Among them was Tony Haymet, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, who provided scientific insights in areas where Scripps’ cutting-edge research contributes knowledge to topics around the planet.  

“The World Economic Forum at Davos is a focal point for the greatest minds in business and government, and I was pleased to have been invited to share information about Scripps’ scientific contributions that are imperative for understanding many global issues,” said Haymet. “I’m also very grateful to a great donor family friend of Scripps, who wishes to remain anonymous, for funding my participation at the meeting.”

Formal sessions in which Haymet discussed recent Scripps research:

The state of the world’s fisheries. Based on the work of Scripps scientists Tony Koslow, David Checkley, George Sugihara, and NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center researchers, Haymet offered important perspectives about Scripps research on the health of the world’s fisheries, which supply a significant percentage of the planet’s human food supply.

He also relayed information about overfishing and fish species that have been overexploited and a few others that are rebounding. In addition to Haymet, the panel at this session included Abdoulaye Wade, the president of Senegal; Brian Baird, U.S. Congressman from the State of Washington’s 3rd District; Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization; Lucy Neville-Rolfe, executive director, corporate and legal affairs, of the UK supermarket chain Tesco; and Philippe Sands, a Queen’s Counsel and distinguished professor of law from University College London.

Ocean acidification. As society loads carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the oceans are taking up a certain portion of it. Building on the research of Scripps scientists Andrew Dickson, Victoria Fabry, Uwe Send, Jennifer Smith, Stuart Sandin, and others, Haymet described how the extra carbon absorbed by oceans at their surface converts to an acid form. The change in chemistry robs organisms such as corals and sea creatures that form shells of calcium carbonate, one of the main ingredients they need to develop. This could inhibit the proper growth of marine invertebrates and disrupt the ecosystems in which they reside.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. During a key multimedia “studio” session at the World Economic Forum, Haymet described and illustrated Scripps students’ recent voyage to the North Pacific Ocean Gyre, a location where plastic and other human-produced debris is accumulating. The findings from the expedition, led by student Miriam Goldstein, will help inform communities and world leaders about the scope and impacts of the problem, as well as policy responses.

Global viruses. In addition to their role in global pandemics, viruses also play fundamental parts in the functioning of the ocean environment. Haymet described research by Scripps marine microbiologist Farooq Azam and others that has revealed how marine microbes—at the micrometer scale—help structure the ocean’s ecosystems and response to global change.

Geoengineering. Haymet discussed prospects for a variety of mitigation strategies that involve manipulating the environment. Numerous Scripps scientists and Haymet have warned about the unknown consequences of such ideas, which range from seeding the oceans with iron to inducing greater carbon dioxide uptake to sequestering carbon in seafloor chambers.

Equally valuable were informal meetings with members of Congress, international leaders, and conservationists, especially on the fallout from the recent climate meetings in Copenhagen.  Haymet also renewed Scripps’ friendship with director James Cameron, a member of the Scripps Advisory Council, who packed the local Davos theatre near midnight for advertised 3-D clips of his smash hit movie “Avatar,” followed by much longer—and more interesting—new 3-D undersea footage from his expeditions.  

Haymet also spent a day with the German Wissenschaftsrat (Council of Science and Humanities) chaired by Hilbert von Löhneysen  who invited large vessel operators to discuss the future of the German, European, and global blue water fleets, and the need for large multipurpose vessels, some ice capable. 


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