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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI names prominent fisheries scientist
to lead Sea Grant Program

KINGSTON, R.I. -- July 16, 2001 -- The University of Rhode Island has appointed the former director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant College Consortium, Barry Costa-Pierce, a native of Dighton, Mass., as director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant Program effective Sept. 1. Costa-Pierce succeeds Scott Nixon, professor of oceanography at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, who stepped down from the directorship in 2000 after having served for 16 years.

As director, Costa-Pierce will provide overall leadership for the research, education and outreach activities of the Sea Grant Program, which has a budget of approximately $3.5 million. Rhode Island Sea Grant is one of 30 federal-state partnerships that make up the National Sea Grant College Program. Its efforts address issues of importance to the marine environment in the state, including coastal management, fisheries, aquaculture and seafood safety and quality.

"Dr. Costa-Pierce brings to Rhode Island a wide range of vital experience studying and protecting the marine environment. I am so pleased that we were able to attract a candidate with such a strong national reputation," said URI Provost M. Beverly Swan.

While serving as director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant program, Costa-Pierce supervised completion of an inventory of marine science research and a comprehensive research plan for the Gulf of Mexico. He presently serves as the national co-chair of the Sea Grant Ecosystems and Habitats theme team.

From 1985 to 1992 Costa-Pierce was a research scientist and director for the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malawi. He served as a staff consultant for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the U.S. Agency for International Development on environmental projects in numerous Asia-Pacific and African nations.

Before coming to Rhode Island, Costa-Pierce held various appointments at the University of California/Irvine, Goddard College, the University of Hawaii, the University of Minnesota, Bemidji State University, California State Polytechnic University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the University of Oregon.

"Rhode Island Sea Grant is an extraordinarily well-run organization that has fulfilled its mission of integrated marine research, education and outreach of direct benefit to the Rhode Island public," said Costa-Pierce. "I plan to work tirelessly with University and community leaders to champion Sea Grant’s role in enhancing Rhode Island’s world class oceanographic, coastal, fisheries, and marine affairs programs by building new, innovative and visionary partnerships, and by weaving Sea Grant into the fabric of the state and the University."

Costa-Pierce earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Drew University, a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Vermont, and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Hawaii.

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