2011–Nancy Rabalais

Nancy N. Rabalais is executive director and professor at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Dr. Rabalais’ research includes the dynamics of hypoxic environments, interactions of large rivers with the coastal ocean, estuarine and coastal eutrophication, and environmental effects of habitat alterations and contaminants. Dr. Rabalais is an AAAS Fellow, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellow, a National Associate of the National Academies of Science, a past president of the Estuarine Research Federation, and a past vice-chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone/International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. She is a current member of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) Council, the National Sea Grant Advisory Board, and Trustee for the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and the Governing Board for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System. She is currently serving on two National Research Council committees, and is a past chair of the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board. She received the 2002 Ketchum Award for coastal research from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and shares the Blasker award with R.E. Turner. She was awarded the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Ruth Patrick Award, the National Water Research Institute Clarke Prize and is a recipient of the 2011 Heinz Award in the Environment. Dr. Rabalais received her Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983.

Troubled Waters of the Gulf of Mexico

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill brought the world’s attention to the Gulf of Mexico and raised awareness of the region’s chronic loss of wetlands and the massive dead zone caused by excess nutrients from the Mississippi River.  Now the challenge is to develop and implement large-scale restoration plans for the Gulf Coast ecosystem. Are we up for the challenge?

View the 2011 program or Watch the Lecture.


In 1999, the Ocean Studies Board (OSB) launched the Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture to highlight the important links between ocean science and public policy. The series was named in honor of the late Roger Revelle, a leader in the field of oceanography for over 50 years who spearheaded efforts to investigate the mechanisms and consequences of climate change. In recognition of the critical importance of education in linking science and public policy, the OSB has partnered with the Smithsonian Science Education Center and the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History to bring the Revelle Lecture to a broader audience. The lecture is held annually in conjunction with the OSB meeting in Washington, DC.


  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • The Office of Naval Research (ONR)
  • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • The Smithsonian Science Education Center
  • The National Museum of Natural History
  • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation


For more information, please contact:

Kenza Sidi-Ali-Cherif
Program Assistant
Ocean Studies Board
(202) 334-3361