Samantha Joye and Wei-Jun Cai Elected 2017 AGU Fellows

Professors Samantha Joye (L) and Wei-Jun Cai (R). Credit for Joye photo: University of Georgia. Credit for Cai photo: University of Delaware, Kathy Atkinson.

Professors Samantha Joye (L) and Wei-Jun Cai (R). Credit for Joye photo: University of Georgia. Credit for Cai photo: University of Delaware, Kathy Atkinson.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) congratulates Dr. Samantha Joye and Dr. Wei-Jun Cai on their selection as American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fellows.

The Fellows program recognizes AGU members who demonstrate visionary leadership and scientific excellence in Earth and space sciences and who have fundamentally advanced research in their respective fields. Not more than 0.1% of all AGU members in any given year receive the AGU Fellow designation, and all elected Fellows must receive a majority of the committee’s votes. The 2017 class of AGU Fellows represent ten countries.

The Chair of the GoMRI Research Board Dr. Rita Colwell said, “I am delighted to learn of this superb recognition of Drs. Joye and Cai, both of whom are leaders in their respective fields and highly deserving of this significant honor.  My congratulations to Mandy and Wei-Jun!”

Joye is an oceanographer, microbiologist, geochemist, and Professor at the University of Georgia’s Department of Marine Sciences and is a Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Joye said that she could not have achieved this honor on her own, “I share this award with an amazing group of former and current graduate students and postdoctoral research scientists. They trusted in me as their mentor to guide them along their scientific journey; and their work ethic, creativity, curiosity, and commitment inspires me.” Joye also acknowledged her colleagues who share a love and fascination of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. “My academic family keeps me energized and engaged, while supporting me and helping me strive each day to become a better scientist and an even better person.”

Cai is an oceanographer, marine chemist, and Professor at the University of Delaware’s Earth, Ocean, and Environment’s School of Marine Science and Policy. “I am please and humbled by this honor, Cai said. “I hope it will further draw people’s attentions to coastal ocean issues that I have worked on including the interaction between hypoxia and acidification in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Joye leads the GoMRI-funded consortium Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf-2 (ECOGIG-2). She was also co-Principal Investigator of the first ECOGIG consortium and of a project immediately following the 2010 oil spill NIUST Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Multi-Task Research.

Cai led two GoMRI-funded projects 1) Dynamics of Dissolved Inorganic Carbon and Dissolved Oxygen Following Natural or Manmade Petroleum Carbon Release into Marine Environments and 2) Collection of Water Column Samples in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone and Areas Near the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Site.

An international nonprofit scientific association with 60,000 members in 137 countries, the AGU is a worldwide scientific community, promoting discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity. The Fellows program serves to meet the need for identified authorities to advise, upon request, the various government agencies and other organizations outside the Earth and space sciences.


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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