GIBS President
GIBS President: Dr. Robert Y. George is a marine conservation biologist and a biological oceanographer. Dr. George began his professional career in the world-renowned Friday Harbor Laboratories in 1964. He was an NSF postdoctoral research scholar working with Prof. Dixy Lee Ray  (University of Washington) on a study of wood-boring organisms in the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound. In 1966 he was appointed as Research Oceanographer at Duke University to study life deep-sea benthos below the Gulf Stream. In 1967 Dr. George led an expedition to McMurdo archipelago in Antarctica to study the role of krill in the marine ecosystem. Dr. George received research grants to study the Gulf of Mexico to study the influence of oil and gas developments on coastal ecosystems in 1968. This led to his appointment as “Research Professor” at Florida State University (Tallahassee) in the graduate department of oceanography. In 1973 he accepted a tenure-track faculty position as Associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to develop a Deep-Sea Biology Program.  Dr. George had been awarded a 4 year-grant by the Office of Naval Research to study the biological impact of the deep-sea dumping of military wastes on the ocean floor off the coast of South Carolina and New Jersey. In 1976 he was tenured and in 1979  promoted to the rank of full professor.

For 10 years Dr. George directed the Oceanography Program at the Institute for Marine Biomedical Research. Fifty percent of his time was devoted to directing this program and the other 50% to teaching deep-sea biology and biological oceanography at UNCW. During the next twenty years Dr. George continued teaching Marine Biology and conducting research in all oceans of the world. He had a keen mind to discover what man has done to the seas, particularly fisheries, coral reefs and the polar marine food chain in the Antarctic and Arctic Ocean. After 30 years, he decided the “time has come” to dedicate 100% of his time to conservation and protection of marine ecosystems from human exploitation and founded the George Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability (GIBS).

Since his retirement from academia in 2003, Dr. George’s conservation focus has been on deep-sea coral reefs and seamounts. Dr. George was unanimously elected as “Professor Emeritus” at the 2004 annual meeting of ASB in Memphis, Tennessee and currently serves on the editorial board of Southeastern Naturalist.  He will serve as the chairman of the Conservation committee of the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB) from 2005-2008. Dr. George is currently serving on the Deep-Sea Coral working group of the International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES). He also serves on the board of governors of the Fulbright Academy of Sciences. Dr. George is currently an Honorary Professor at Kristineberg Marine Research Station in Sweden. His time is devoted to educating the public, students (K-12 and Universities) and policy makers on matters of marine conservation issues.