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Mark Edward Hay, Ph.D.

An experimental field ecologist, Mark Edward Hay is pioneering innovative and effective new opportunities for coral reef conservation. Dr. Hay’s research and discoveries have influenced the foundations in the field of marine chemical ecology and created new procedures for effective conservation and management of the world’s coral reefs.

Dr. Hay has conducted 5,000+ SCUBA dives, four saturation missions where team members lived underwater for ten days each mission (using Hydrolab and Aquarius), and for the past decade, has invested 3-6 months annually living with villagers in Fiji and conducting research to better understand, protect, and restore tropical coral reefs.

Hay’s conservation innovation is devised from discovering how to “listen-in” to the chemical communication among species and provide unique insights into ecological and evolutionary processes that allow for fundamentally new and effective approaches to marine conservation. By decoding and translating this chemical language in marine systems, Dr. Hay’s is learning to cure environmental collapse, thereby generating the field of chemical ecology.

With more than 200 papers and over 16,000 citations to his work, Web-of-Science designates Hay as one of the field’s “most highly cited” authors. He is an Ecological Society of America Leopold Fellow; a recipient of the Mercer Award for the best ecology study; the Cody Award for excellence in Ocean Sciences; and he was elected a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science for He will also receive the 2016 Silver Medal from the International Society of Chemical Ecology.

Dr. Hay serves as Harry and Linda Teasly Chair and Professor of Environmental Science and Technology at George Tech. Ongoing research projects in his lab focus on diverse aspects of community ecology and chemical ecology with considerable emphasis on tropical marine systems, and expanding efforts in freshwater systems. In both cases, findings from aquatic systems are compared with those from terrestrial systems to help assess the generality and robustness of conclusions.

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste