Van Dover Reappointed as Duke University Marine Lab Director and Division Chair

December 20, 2011

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

DURHAM, N.C. – Cindy L. Van Dover has been appointed to a second five-year term as director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory and chair of the Division of Marine Science and Conservation at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Nicholas School Dean William L. Chameides said, “It’s my distinct pleasure to announce that Cindy has agreed to a new five-year term.  She is a remarkable scientist, teacher and administrator whose leadership in challenging times has been critical to the Marine Lab’s sustained growth in programs, facilities and enrollment, and in our ability to attract some of the brightest young minds in the field today.”

Located on Pivers Island in the historic coastal town of Beaufort, N.C., the Marine Lab is a year-round research and teaching campus with academic programs at the undergraduate, masters and PhD levels.  The lab is a unit within the Nicholas School and serves as administrative headquarters for the Division of Marine Science and Conservation.

Faculty at the Marine Lab focus on education, research, and service to understand marine systems, including the human component, and to develop approaches for marine conservation and restoration.

Among other milestones achieved during Van Dover’s first term as director, the lab opened a state-of-the-art Marine Conservation Molecular Facility and has significantly expanded its research and teaching programs in the rapidly emerging field of marine molecular biology, which has applications in biotechnology, conservation genetics and medical sciences.

"I am pleased to continue my leadership service in the Nicholas School,” Van Dover said. “I work with faculty, staff, and students who are never complacent: We thrive on moving forward, finding the next thing that needs to be done, and doing it.  The Marine Laboratory and the Division of Marine Science and Conservation together have a new momentum that coincides with the gathering realization that the health of our planet is intimately linked to the health of our oceans.  We have a lot to do."

A widely cited expert on deep-sea hydrothermal vents and the ecology of chemosynthetic ecosystems, Van Dover is a Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. She has authored or coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications; has shared her expertise with nonscientific audiences through the book, The Octopus’ Garden, and through numerous interviews and articles in mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times and National Geographic Television.  She is the author of the first textbook on hydrothermal vents, The Ecology of Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents, published by Princeton University Press in 2000, and curator of Beyond the Edge of the Sea: Discovery of Life in the Deep-Sea Wilderness, a traveling exhibition of painting by expedition artist Karen Jacobsen.

Van Dover is the first woman and PhD to complete the rigorous training necessary to pilot the ALVIN submersible research vehicle, allowing her to explore the ocean floor to depths of more than 3,600 meters, and has served as an active participant and chief scientist in National Science Foundation, NASA, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-sponsored field programs to hydrothermal vents and other chemosynthetic environments worldwide.

Prior to joining Duke’s faculty in 2006, Van Dover held positions at the College of William & Mary, the University of Oregon's Institute of Marine Biology, West Coast National Undersea Research Center, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Marine Science, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

In 2009, she was named the inaugural recipient of the Mines Award from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, which honors an individual for his or her exceptional contributions toward understanding and resolving the technological challenges that impact society.