The Passing of Scott Nixon
Words of University of Rhode Island Provost Donald H. DeHayes.
It is with great sadness that the University of Rhode Island shares news of the unexpected passing of Oceanography Professor Scott Nixon. Scott served the University community and the oceanographic research community for more than four decades, which included roles as director of Rhode Island Sea Grant, vice-chair of a National Research Council committee on Everglades Restoration, and URI's UNESCO-Cousteau Chair of Coastal Ecology and Global Assessment.
Scott was a world leader in the study of how coastal and estuarine ecosystems work, initially using Narragansett Bay as his laboratory and employing mesocosms to measure respiration and production at a community level. This began a long and detailed exploration of the bay, especially the role nutrients play in its ecology.
While his findings helped define our understanding of marine ecosystems locally, Scott applied his knowledge at broader scales, too, exploring marine ecosystems around the world, comparing and contrasting them to shape a global view that he then used to challenge himself to think in new ways and to challenge the scientific dogma of the times.
He was a member of the National Research Council's Ocean Studies Board, a national associate of the National Academies of Science, chair of the NRC committee to review the Florida Keys Carrying Capacity Assessment Model, and member of the NRC committee to review the Louisiana Coastal Restoration Plan. He was a past co-editor-in-chief of Estuaries and Coasts; a member of the Environmental Protection Agency's Massachusetts Bay Outfall Monitoring Scientific Advisory Committee; and served on numerous other boards and committees.
Scott's students would say that his classes were among the most difficult they ever enrolled in, but they were also the classes they learned the most from and recommended highly to other students. He played a significant role in the lives of many graduate students who have since gone on to impressive careers in the sciences, where they continue his tradition of exploring new avenues of thought and understanding.
Scott was a vital and vibrant member of the URI community and he will be sorely missed.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 AM, Friday June 8th at
35 Ocean Road
To honor Dr. Nixon's lifelong and broad contributions to the knowledge and stewardship of our coasts and estuaries, the family asks that in lieu of gifts or flowers a contribution be made to the Scott W. Nixon Memorial Fund at the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF).
Scott was a longtime supporter, member and leader of CERF. To honor his service, CERF will use all funds contributed in memory of him to support student participation in CERF meetings and events, such as its biennial conferences. Any student, presenting or not presenting, will be eligible to apply for a scholarship to attend any CERF conference, workshop or other such meeting.
For additional information regarding services, events and tributes in Dr. Nixon's honor please visit the website put together by Scott's family and students: http://scottwnixon.blogspot.com. Additional information regarding hotel and transportation for Dr. Nixon's memorial service are also provided on the website.