Former Senior Scientist from NATO to Lead Research within Northern Gulf Institute

Geosystems Research Institute
March 27, 2007

A chief scientist has been chosen for the recently created Northern Gulf Institute at Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis. A former senior principal scientist from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Undersea Research Centre in La Spezia, Italy, Michael J. Carron has officially accepted the position, pending approval by the IHL Board, according to Dr. David R. Shaw, director of the NOAA-sponsored cooperative institute which is led by Mississippi State University.

Dr. Carron most recently focused his research at the NATO Undersea Research Centre to understanding the environmental effects of man-made noises, especially SONARs, on marine mammals. He led an international team of volunteer organizations, the Sound, Oceanography and Living Marine Resources (SOLMAR) Project, who worked together to better understand both the behavioral characteristics of marine mammals threatened by man-made noises. Dr. Carron's projects created and maintained high-quality data bases of cetacean strandings and sightings of marine mammals in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic Ocean and developed multidisciplinary techniques to create marine mammal habitat models and risk planning and mitigation tools for NATO experiments and operations.

"We feel very fortunate to have someone of Mike's distinction on board with us at the Northern Gulf Institute at Stennis Space Center. His impressive qualifications and exemplary record of research accomplishments poise him to lead the research program for the entire Institute," declared Dr. David R. Shaw, NGI director, "and we look forward to Mike spearheading superlative research that will aid in the improved and enhanced scientific developments of the Gulf of Mexico Region."

Dr. Carron graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a B.S. in Oceanography and subsequently earned both a M.A. and Ph.D. in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, and a M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies at the Naval War College, Newport RI. He began his career at the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) on the Advanced Technology Staff working on the development of ocean climatologies and the analysis of both geophysical and oceanographic data from the GEOSAT program. After serving as a scientific advisor to Commander Sixth Fleet in Naples, Italy, he became head of NAVOCEANO's Physical Oceanography Branch, responsible for oceanographic surveys ranging from the Arctic to the Southern Ocean. At NAVOCEANO, he was chief scientist, responsible for the overall scientific program of the Office. He is presently a member of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission/International Hydrographic Organization's Guiding Committee for the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans Subcommittee on Digital Bathymetry and team leader and coordinator of the GEBCO Centennial World-wide Grid Project and subsequent editions.

Glade woods, co-director and on-site manager of the NGI at the Stennis Space Center, stated, "Mike will be an esteemed asset to our operations. He brings to the table indispensable expertise in the fields of research directly related to the Gulf of Mexico Region. We are enthusiastic about his involvement with the Northern Gulf Institute."

The Northern Gulf Institute brings together the resources of five academic institutions, including Mississippi State University, Louisiana State University, Florida State University, University of Southern Mississippi, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

For more information about the Northern Gulf Institute, contact Dr. David R. Shaw of Mississippi State University at (662) 325-9575, or email him at You may also visit the NGI web site.

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