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In Memoriam: Nancy Marcus, a distinguished FSU Oceanographer and a shining example of a colleague and mentor who stood for the very best.

The Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Science is saddened by the death of one of our premier faculty, Dr. Nancy Marcus. Nancy arrived at FSU thirty years ago, in 1987, after receiving a BS from Goucher College and her PhD from Yale. She was director of the FSU Marine Lab for 11 years, from 1989 to 2001. She was selected as Chair of the Department of Oceanography in 2003, and Dean of the Graduate School in 2005.

As women were beginning to make their mark in the field of Oceanography, Nancy Marcus was in their vanguard. In addition to leading in the scientific field, she took it upon herself to open the doors to science careers to women and other groups not traditionally represented. She was the Director of the Women in Math Science and Engineering Program (WIMSE) here at FSU from 2001 until she took up leadership at the graduate school. When she was awarded the Lawton Professorship in 2001, rather than spending her Lawton time promoting her own research, she reviewed the scientific progress of women, particularly here at FSU. She gave up an opportunity for self promotion to advance the cause of female scientists. Said Nancy, “I want to ensure they have the opportunities and experiences that I had because they were wonderful experiences. It goes for women, but it also goes for ethnic and racial diversity, which in many cases could be a lot better.”

As Department Chair, Nancy took a non-traditional path. She initiated the Aquatic Environmental Science MS non-thesis degree program, to allow, in part, state government employees to work on MS degrees while retaining their jobs. Numerous leaders at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have come through this program. With her guidance, the Department also started a Professional Aquatic Environmental Science MS degree, which has a business component for placement of students into the consulting world.

Among many other things, Nancy worked on copepod eggs, a key herbivore that transmits marine primary production up the food web to fish. Copepods produce two kinds of eggs, those that hatch within a short period, and those that are deposited in the sediment and lie dormant for extended periods. These so called “resting eggs” buffer the population. They serve as a copepod seed bank that can weather unfortunate conditions and pop out when the time is right to extend survival and viability of the species.

We will remember Dr. Nancy Marcus for her unique and powerful leadership. Our hearts are with her lifelong partner Cecile Reynaud and her beloved family at this time.