Conservation leader Jim Leape and Hopkins Marine Station ecologist Fiorenza Micheli, both from Stanford University, have been appointed to jointly lead Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions (COS), effective April 1.

“Since its inception in 2008, COS has worked to solve the major problems facing the ocean by bridging cutting-edge science to policy, and preparing leaders to take on these challenges,” said Chris Field, the Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “We now enter an exciting new chapter. Fio Micheli and Jim Leape are both tremendously influential leaders and effective collaborators with a keen sense of what’s needed to advance ocean solutions from the bench to the decision-maker’s toolbox. We’re thrilled that they will now lead Stanford’s efforts to connect ocean research to action.”

Moving forward, the center will focus on bringing the university’s singular strengths to bear on helping solve the major challenges facing the oceans, including world-class expertise across the natural, physical and social sciences.

Last year, Leape and Micheli worked with other colleagues to outline a vision for the center’s future. They recommended that COS focus on the urgent challenge of sustaining ocean health in the face of a rapidly changing climate and, in particular, to harness innovations of the ‘data revolution’ to help the world meet those challenges. To that end, the center’s refocused mission is to bring together faculty from across Stanford – in marine biology and oceanography, climate science and modeling, engineering, behavioral sciences, design, business, law, and computer science – and connect them with partners across the public and private sectors to forge solutions and translate them into action.

The plan draws on Stanford’s deep expertise across the many disciplines that are important to understanding sustainability challenges and creating solutions, in addition to deepening the center’s work with partners to translate those solutions into impact in the water, Micheli and Leape said.

“We see exciting potential for the center at a time when the health of the oceans has never been more imperiled, by climate change and an array of compounding threats, from overfishing to destruction of coastal habitats,” said Leape, who has been appointed as the William and Eva Price Senior Fellow at Woods.

“There are now unprecedented opportunities to leverage innovative thinking and tools to sustain ocean health in the face of climate change and the many other pressures on oceans.” said Micheli, the David and Lucile Packard Professor in Marine Sciences at Stanford's School of Humanities and Sciences. “This is both an exciting and paramount time to lead the efforts of a team that is poised, now more so than ever, to tackle these challenges.”

“In particular, Stanford is in a unique position to bring the immense power of the data revolution to bear on solving these and other challenges facing the oceans,” Leape added. “We look forward to working with colleagues from across the university, and with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and other partners to create powerful solutions and translate them into action.”

“COS has always been at the forefront of identifying and tackling emerging ocean issues, and is a key player in the science-policy arena,” said Hopkins Marine Station Director Steve Palumbi. “It is our chance to bring the entrepreneurial Stanford brand of problem solving to the oceans.”

Field added, “We have been fortunate that COS has had strong and visionary leadership throughout its history. The entire community is grateful for all the dedicated work of COS Science Director Larry Crowder and the rest of the COS staff, and are looking forward to what comes next.”