Barbara Block, Ph.D.

Nobel Conference 48

Charles & Elizabeth Prothro Professor in Marine Sciences and co-director, Tuna Research and Conservation Center, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, Calif.

Marine biologist Barbara Block uses a multidisciplinary approach to study how large pelagic fish move around (and stay warm) in the open ocean. She and her team from Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station use electronic tags to track large predators—tunas, billfish, and sharks—on their ocean journeys and study how and why their muscle makes heat at a molecular level. Collaborating with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Block and her colleagues also established and operate the Tuna Research and Conservation Center, a member of the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) program.

Block earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Vermont (1980) and her doctorate in zoology from Duke University (1986). After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, she was with the University of Chicago before joining the Stanford University faculty in 1994. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator award and in 1996 was awarded a so-called “genius” award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.