Tom Malone, the former Director of Horn Point Laboratories near Cambridge, should have had a career west of the Mississippi. Born just outside the city limits of San Francisco, a graduate of Colorado College, and who later earning a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii in oceanography, and finally, a Ph.D. in biology from Stanford, this academic pedigree would have suggested a career on the West Coast rather than his distinguished tenure at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science over the past five decades.
But the way Dr. Malone tells it, it was his wife’s gentle reminder after he had completed his doctorate in 1971 that he did, indeed, need to make a living. And with that in mind, he and his young family moved East, first by teaching at City College of New York and then joining Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, before agreeing to move to the Eastern Shore to be part of UM’s Center for Environment Study.
Since those early days, Malone had a remarkable impact on that institution. During that time, he served as the Director of its Horn Point Laboratory, was appointed Interim President of UMCES, the Interagency Ocean Director, and served on the US Office for Sustained and Integrated Ocean Observations.
And while those titles do indeed suggest a career in academic bureaucracy, what is remarkable was how successful Tom has been in maintaining his primary focus on research. In fact, over his time there, Malone has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications on phytoplankton ecology, coastal eutrophication, and the development of ocean policy and integrated coastal ocean observing systems.
Even when he “retired” and assumed the title of Professor Emeritus in 2010, Malone has never stopped his scholarship work. In fact, at the time of our interview with him, Tom, along with his colleagues, Alenka Malej and Jadran Faganeli, had just published Coastal Ecosystems in Transition: A Comparative Analysis of the Northern Adriatic and the Chesapeake Bay, which provided an in-depth study of how two coastal ecosystems are responding to the pressures of human expansion.
While Malone quips in his recent Spy interview that he’ll need to figure out what to do in the future to maintain his “relevance” since the book was published, there is little doubt of his lasting impact in leading and assisting his colleagues to protect the Chesapeake Bay.
This video is approximately ten minutes in length. For more information about University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Horn Point Laboratories, please go here.