Five Marine Scientists Awarded WESTPAC Outstanding Scientists 2014

Dr. Fangli Qiao (China), Dr. Suchana Chavanich (Thailand), Dr. Yutaka Michida (Japan), Dr. Nguyen Tac An (Vietnam), and Dr. Yasuwo Fukuyo (Japan) were awarded WESTPAC Outstanding Scientist 2014 on 22 April 2014 at the WESTPAC Ninth International Scientific Symposium, Nha Trang, Vietnam.

On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of WESTPAC, the WESTPAC Outstanding Scientist Award is established in recognition and appreciation of those marine scientists for their long term dedication to regional marine science development and cooperation in the region. The selection process has been conducted since December 2013 with broad engagement of WESTPAC Offices, Officers and WESTPAC Advisory Group.


Dr. Fangli Qiao, First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration of China.

Dr. Fangli is holding PhD on Physical Oceanography from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has been dedicated to the development of ocean model for more than 20 years. With recognition on the crucial importance of surface wave in the mixing layer formation, large-scale ocean circulation and climate system. He first established the non-breaking surface wave-induced vertical mixing theory. Building on this theory, he led the development of the global wave-circulation coupled model with much improved performance on the simulation of mixed layer and sea surface temperature. With the adoption of the theory into POM, the correlation coefficient between the simulated and observed temperature has been improved from 0.68 to 0.76 for the whole global upper ocean (Qiao et al, 2010, Ocean Dynamics). The history simulation of the past 150 years by this model is one of the best among all in the fifth phase of the international Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP5). He has been a stalwart supporter and active member of IOC/WESTPAC and has been an advocate for marine science cooperation on many important national and international boards, commissions and panels. He is currently serving as Director for IOC Regional Training and Research Centers on Ocean Dynamic and Climate, and co project leader for SEAGOOS Ocean Forecasting Demonstration System with plenty of training opportunities developed for developing countries in the WESTPAC and adjacent regions. Dr Qiao has published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal papers and two books, supervised 16 PHD students and 18 Master Students. He also serves as editorial board member of international journals including Ocean Modelling, Journal of Marine Systems, and Acta Oceanologica Sinica etc. In 2011, In view of his achievement in the development of wave-tide-circulation coupled model and its operational application, he was awarded the Marine Engineering Science and Technology Award.

Dr. Suchana Chavanich, Department of Marine Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Dr. Suchana Chavanich has nearly 20 years of experience in marine biodiversity and conservation research with focus on coral reef. After completing her PHD study in U.S, she joined the Department of Marine Science, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand as a lecturer. Being a marine ecologist, her primary research is now on marine species and communities in coral reefs in tropics and Antarctica, and how those organisms are adapted to their environmental changes. She and her research group at Chulalongkorn University is the first group that successfully developed technique of mass culture of corals using sexual propagation in Thailand. She is the first female scientist of Thailand to go to Antarctica with the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition in 2009, and one of the first two Thai scientists to join with the Chinese National Antarctic Research Expedition in late 2013. Her research work on Antarctica has inspired Thai and young people on the value of Antarctic ecosystems and the importance of international collaborations between Thailand and other Asian countries. In 2013, she was selected to be one of the 100 Most Inspiring People in Thailand. Serving as Project Leader, she has been instrumental in the development and promotion of marine scientific research related to marine biodiversity in the region. Under her leadership, her group has published the current status report on marine non-indigenous species in the Western Pacific region, which has been widely used and cited both national and international levels. In addition, notable efforts have been made by Dr. Chavanich to enhance the regional capacity for managing marine ecosystems and for sustainability of ecosystems. She has been active in the development of regional trainings on taxonomy of marine organisms and coral reef restoration. Dr. Chavanich has been serving as peer-reviewer for many journals, has published 50 peer-reviewed papers, authored and contributed to 11 books. Because of her passion and hard work for the healthy marine ecosystem, she has received several awards, for example: Award For Women in Science, Thailand by UNESCO and L’OREAL in 2008; Medal of Honor for Outstanding Dedication to Underwater Conservation, the Royal Thai Navy in 2010.

Dr. Yutaka Michida, Professor of the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo

During his 16 years’ service in JCG from 1984, he had been focusing on velocity structures in the surface mixed layer by analyzing surface drifters’ data and shipmounted ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler). As one of the leading scientists in the Surface Velocity Programme (SVP) of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) in 1990s, One of his major scientific papers described a seasonal reversal of surface currents in the Indonesian Throughflow. He also has long experiences in oceanographic data management, as he served as the Deputy Director of Japan Oceanographic Data Center (JODC) in 1997-1999. After he moved to U. Tokyo, his major research target has shifted to the coastal waters, covering not only Japanese coast but the Upper Gulf of Thailand (UGOT). Prof. Michida has made remarkable achievement in the promotion of international cooperation since 1980s, starting from China-Japan Joint Research on the Kuroshio; Since 2000, he has more actively been playing a leading role in IOC and related activities globally and regionally. In terms of ocean services, he has made remarkable contribution to the IOC oceanographic data exchange policy. In terms of WESTPAC, he has been contributing to the ocean circulation in coastal areas, he served as a member of WESTPAC Advisory Group for 2009-2012. Dr. Michida had been instrumental in the development of regular data management training courses for WESTPAC for many years. He currently serves as the vice-Chairs of IOC, leading the IOC’s tsunami-related activities. He published more than 100 scientific and technical articles including 54 peer-reviewed papers in international and national journals. He has a balanced expertise from oceanographic research to ocean services, and long experiences in international and intergovernmental organizations and programmes, with invaluable achievements in promoting WESTPAC activities over 25 years.

Professor Dr. Nguyen Tac An

Professor Nguyen Tac An received his PhD degree in Natural Science from Leningrad State University, Russia, in 1978. Throughout his 40 years service in the institute of Oceanography, he had been dedicated to the development of marine science in Vietnam and the WESTPAC region. He led a number of national projects with focus on marine resources, and environment management and conservation, instrumental in enhancing the capacity of Vietnam for marine observations and services. Serving as the Director of Institute of Oceanography, Nha Trang, Vietnam (1997-2005) and the Chairman of Vietnam IOC during 2000-2012, Prof. Tac An had been a strong advocate for marine science cooperation among countries in the region. He initiated a number of marine scientific research programs in line with IOC/WESTPAC priorities and policies at the regional level, which include “International Bathymetric Chart of the Western Pacific" project (IBCWP - Viet Nam has completed the sheets of 3-6 and 3-11); and project “Coral Reefs under Climate and Anthropogenic Perturbations". As a leading scientist on oceanography in Vietnam, Prof. Tac An has developed, and led many cooperative programmes with Japan, Philippine, Indonesia, China, Russia, Germany, Sweden, India, France, Denmark, Netherlands, America, Canada, and Australia. It is worth mentioning, it is because of Prof. Tac An that this WESTPAC Symposium could be hosted by Vietnam. After retirement, Prof. Tac An has been keen on education and training on oceanography for young scientists from Western Pacific countries. Currently he is still teaching students in University of Ho Chi Minh city and supervising doctoral and master students in several Universities in Vietnam. Taking this opportunity, we wish Prof Tac An a happy retirement life!

Dr. Yasuwo Fukuyo

Dr. Yasuwo Fukuyo's interest in dinoflagellates was sparked by PSP events in Ofunato Bay since 1960s. He has been dedicating more than 40 years of his life to the Harmful Algal Bloom research. He has described various new species, and most of them are HAB causative ones, including Gambierdiscus toxicus, as the causative agent of ciguatera, and Ostreopsis ovata, O. lenticularis, Alexandrium affine, A. hiranoi, A. satoanum, Prorocentrum concavum, P. emarginatum, P. vietnamensis. He is a “roving professor”, with a record of ‘frequent flyer miles’ and enthusiastically teaching innumerable courses in diverse lands such. He is a key figure in the organization of many training courses, conferences, and workshops at the IOC-WESTPAC Scientific Symposia on Marine Science. He played a leading role in the establishment of IOC-HAB Programme. Dr. Fukuyo published more than 100 scientific articles and books, but one of the items he contributed to HAB science is collection of HAB related photographs, i.e. HAB events and HAB species. These photographs have been very widely used by many people. There is no one in the harmful algal bloom research community who has not benefited greatly from his legendary generosity, beautifully presented images of algae and his pedagogy and public service sustained over three decades. By these contribution some scientists appreciated his achievement and use his name as a species epithet of new species such as Prorocentrum fukuyoi, Alexandrium fukuyoi, Protoperidinium fukuyoi, and Pseudo-nitzschia fukuyoi.

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