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Dr. Steve Thur Named National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Director

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Steven Thur has been selected to serve as Director of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) effective December 10, 2017. Dr. Thur brings a high degree of scientific rigor and an emphasis on organizational excellence that we believe will advance the work of NCCOS and coastal science throughout the National Ocean Service. 

Dr. Thur was previously acting as NCCOS Director and was the NCCOS Deputy Director since 2013. Steve’s career with NOAA has focused on applying science to the management, restoration, and conservation of marine resources. He places a particular emphasis on how both the biophysical and social sciences are used to sustain coastal ecosystems and the vibrant human communities that depend upon them for livelihoods, recreation, and as a place for connecting with nature.

While acting as the NCCOS Director, Dr. Thur oversaw the development and adoption of NCCOS's four priority research areas include marine spatial ecology, environmental stressors and their impacts, change along our coasts, and social science. Most recently, Dr. Thur led the development of Advancing Coastal Science, a five-year strategic science plan for NCCOS, and completed the realignment of NCCOS to more efficiently conduct its research.

Prior to working at NCCOS, Dr. Thur was the Coordinator of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, where he oversaw the development of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program, the first nationwide effort that combined physical, biological, and human community monitoring in an integrated manner. He also served as the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the interagency, intergovernmental U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. Before that, Dr. Thur was an economist for the NOS Office of Response and Restoration, where he worked on natural resource damage assessments following oil spills, chemical releases, and vessel groundings with the goal of recovering funds from those responsible to restore the injured natural resources.  

Dr. Thur is a graduate of NOAA’s Leadership Competencies Development Program. Steve received his Ph.D. in marine policy from the University of Delaware’s Graduate College of Marine Studies in 2003. His dissertation research was on sustainable financing mechanisms for coral reef marine protected areas. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in biology and economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Congratulations to Dr. Thur!

W. Russell Callender, Ph.D. 
Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal
Zone Management, National Ocean Service