GoMRI Mourns the Passing of Dr. Flower, Member of C-IMAGE and DEEP-C

Professor Ben FlowerJuly 5, 2012. GoMRI honors the passing of friend, mentor, and colleague Benjamin (“Ben”) P. Flower. Ben was an ardent scientist with a passion for the natural world. A key contributor to the C-IMAGE Consortia, Ben’s contributions to science and society were significant and long lasting.

Ben’s paleoceanographic research focused on the role of ocean circulation in past global climate change on decadal through orbital timescales. He was a pioneer in recognizing the value of pairing foraminifera to determine the past oxygen isotopic composition of seawater. Despite his propensity for seasickness, Ben participated in eight oceanographic research cruises, including expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico following the DWH oil spill. He was a key player in early work to assess the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the sediments and deepwater communities of the West Florida Shelf and Slope. He coined the terms “flocculent blizzard” and “dirty bathtub ring” referring to two mechanisms for oil residue sedimentation. He also initiated a high-resolution sediment sampling approach, which proved to be essential for detecting the Deepwater Horizon in the sediments of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Although his scientific accomplishments were substantial, Ben was also a loving and involved father and an accomplished athlete. He played tennis competitively at Brown, was an avid soccer and ultimate Frisbee player, and was a member of the National Champion Santa Barbara Condors ultimate team. In ultimate, players are responsible for playing fairly, refereeing themselves, and upholding the “spirit of the game.” Ben was a special person: kind, caring, hardworking, honest, and dedicated to his family, friends, and colleagues. In Ben’s personal and professional life, he truly embodied the “spirit of the game.”

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