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Garfield to lead Romberg Tiburon Center

June 6, 2007

Newell (Toby) Garfield appointed Director of Romberg Tiburon CenterAfter a national search, oceanographer Newell (Toby) Garfield, PhD, has been named director of the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies (RTC). Garfield, who has served as acting director of RTC since 2006, will lead the activities of University marine researchers, faculty, students and operating staff. He is an associate professor of geology.

"Toby Garfield has an outstanding record as a scientist, teacher and administrator," said Sheldon Axler, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. "He has an unusual ability to explain science to nonscientists in an understandable fashion. I expect him to lead the Romberg Tiburon Center to a new level of excellence."

Garfield has conducted research at sea in both hemispheres of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and published widely in scientific journals including "Science", "Journal of Geophysical Research" and "Journal of Physical Oceanography." His areas of expertise include the hydrodynamics of coastal waters, the California current system and coastal upwelling. He was a researcher at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey and at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. A member of the Geosciences faculty at SF State since 1989, Garfield has also taught oceanography at the Moss Landing Marine Lab, California State University, Monterey Bay and the Naval Postgraduate School.

A native of Massachusetts, Garfield grew up in Connecticut and Puerto Rico. He received his doctorate in physical oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. He holds a master's degree in marine sciences from the University of Delaware and bachelor's degree in geology from Williams College in Massachusetts.

"I am honored to lead the continuing development of the Bay Area's principal marine and estuarine educational research facility," Garfield said. "In an era when the world is facing a range of critical environmental issues, I can't think of a more exciting place to work."

According to Garfield, RTC is located on San Francisco Bay at one of the few places where deep water is directly adjacent to the shore. "This allows us to easily sample both the surface flow of water moving out of the estuary and the more oceanic waters that are at the bottom of the channel," Garfield said. "It is also the perfect location to monitor the fluctuations between a freshwater runoff flow and a tidally driven flow...we have our finger on the pulse of the bay."

Garfield, who lives in Oakland with his wife, Julie McClean, an oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, said that his new position will not interfere with his love for teaching. The instructor, who said his proudest moment came when he recently received a spontaneous round of applause after a lecture, plans to continue to teach a course in physical oceanography.

The Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies is the only academic research institution on San Francisco Bay and home to the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. In addition to research and providing hands-on marine science education to University students, RTC offers programs for local school teachers. For more information about RTC and its programs, visit the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies Web site.

-- Denize Springer
Photo: Courtesy Rob O’Dea


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Last modified June 6, 2007 by University Communications