Jennifer Reynolds new director of Institute of Marine Science

Associate Professor Jennifer Reynolds has been named as the next director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Marine Science (IMS), effective July 1.

Jennifer Reynolds portrait

New Institute of Marine Science Director Jennifer Reynolds. Photo by Sharice Walker

Reynolds has been a member of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences faculty since 2000, specializing in geological oceanography. She is a geologist trained in submarine volcanism and plate boundaries. Her research in Alaska involves applying seafloor geological mapping to benthic habitat research.

“This region is really ground zero for climate change, for impacts on U.S. fisheries, and for a whole host of other marine environmental and ecological shifts, so IMS will be working to understand those,” Reynolds said of the challenges and opportunities facing the institute.

Reynolds earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in geological studies from Columbia University and received her bachelor’s degree in earth science from Dartmouth College.

She has logged nearly three decades of sea-going experience. Reynolds opted to skip her undergraduate commencement ceremony for an internship aboard the R/V Atlantis II on an Alvin diving expedition.

The director position is expected to fill half of Reynolds’ workload, the other half of her time will remain devoted to faculty activities. Reynolds is familiar with dividing her effort between faculty functions and administrative duties. Over the last 14 years at UAF she has served in the positions of science director, associate director and interim director of the West Coast & Polar Regions Undersea Research Center, NOAA’s National Undersea Research Program.

Reynolds has also been active in university governance, culminating in a term as president of faculty senate two years ago.

She is eager to learn more about the research activities of the individual IMS faculty.

“I need to know what people are researching, what their great new findings are, where they want to go next,” Reynolds said. “I need to understand these things in order to do the position, but it’s also really interesting and as a scientist, I look forward to that.”

She sees interdisciplinary research efforts as one of the priorities for the institute’s future.

“Larger, integrated, multidisciplinary research programs are the kind of work that really moves the science forward in our region, so I would like to work on promoting IMS participation or IMS leadership in those kinds of programs,” Reynolds said.

The Institute of Marine Science was established in 1960 and is currently housed in the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

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