FSU oceanography professor wins Leopold Leadership Fellowship

Jeff Chanton, the John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State University, has won a 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship that will provide him with intensive communication and leadership training to help him communicate scientific information effectively to non-scientific audiences, especially policy makers, the media, business leaders and the public.

Twenty fellows are selected annually through a competitive application process.

A man of numerous interests, Chanton often can be found working on a variety of projects, many of which involve protecting the environment. He likes to say, “Oceanographers do what environmental scientists can’t,” and he lives by those words.

Chanton and his students have been studying submarine groundwater discharge in Sarasota Bay, carbon exchange in forests, the decline in sea grass population in the estuaries and bays around Panama City, the use of bio-covers to reduce methane emissions from landfills, and deep-sea gas hydrates — methane ice formations found on the sea floor and called burning ice — as an alternative energy source.

Chanton, who holds a master of science degree and a doctorate in marine sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been a member of the FSU oceanography department faculty since 1988.

The 2005 fellows represent a broad range of environmental science disciplines, including forest ecology, sustainable agriculture, environmental engineering, environmental economics and oceanography. They join 80 other outstanding environmental scientists who have received the Leopold Leadership Fellowships, participated in the training and remain part of the Leopold Leadership Network. Felicia Coleman, Associate Scholar Scientist with the FSU department of biological sciences, received a Leopold Leadership Fellowship in 2000.

Based at the Stanford Institute for the Environment, the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program was launched in 1998 and is named for Aldo Leopold, a renowned environmental scientist who communicated his scientific knowledge simply and eloquently. His writings, including his 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, are credited with infusing the emerging conservation movement with good science and a stewardship ethic.