Jeff Chanton Honored with Highest Award for FSU Faculty

Professor Jeffery Chanton. Credit FSU Photography Services.

Professor Jeffery Chanton. Credit FSU Photography Services.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) congratulates Dr. Jeffrey (Jeff) Chanton, the John W. Winchester Professor of Oceanography, for receiving the Florida State University (FSU) 2017-2018 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor award. Faculty members honor colleagues who have achieved distinction in both research and teaching.

Chanton, a FSU faculty member for 29 years, is an acclaimed climate scientist and has met with government and community leaders to help them better understand its impact. He has also done extensive work investigating the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill with the C-IMAGE and ECOGIG consortia, including how methane-derived carbon from the spill entered the food web and how much of the oil sank to the ocean floor.

“It’s an amazing group of distinguished faculty whom I’m joining that have received this honor,” said Chanton. “I owe a lot of the kudos to the people who I work with. They are really supportive, work independently, and I can count on them. And that’s a really important thing.”

University of Georgia Oceanographer Samantha Joye, Principal Investigator for the ECOGIG consortium, said, “Jeff Chanton is an outstanding scientist, an incredible science communicator, and a valued science advocate. His research has led to numerous advances in the field of geosciences, and more importantly, he has touched and influenced the careers of many young scientists.” Joye explained that Chanton’s ingenuity and innovation have been steady hall marks of his research, transforming the field and pushing it forward.  “Few people have pushed science forward on as many diverse fronts,” said Joye, explaining that his work spans ecosystems from the tropics to the poles and from inland to nearshore to offshore waters. “His curiosity, intellect, and character are unmatched. I am honored to have Jeff as a good friend and close colleague. The ECOGIG program would not be the same without him as a core member of our research team.”

The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor award was first presented in 1957-58 and has been presented annually ever since. To be eligible for this award, the faculty member must be a tenured professor, have been at the University at least 12 years and have achieved true distinction in his/her discipline or profession. Although scholarly distinction is the primary qualification, evidence of quality teaching, including the directing of graduate research and service to the University and the academic community at large should be emphasized.

Chanton is a Distinguished Research Professor and the J.W. Winchester Professor of Oceanography in FSU’s Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Science. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) named Chanton as a Fellow in 2015. He was a 2006 Aldo Leopold Fellow and the 2005 Florida Wildlife Federation’s Science Communicator of the Year. He directs the FSU undergraduate and graduate programs in Environmental Science, currently supervises 5 graduate students and has been advisor to 18 doctoral and 21 thesis masters’ students over his career.


The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit

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