About Dr. Timothy R. Parsons

Dr. Timothy R. Parsons

Dr. Timothy R. Parsons' distinguished career in Canadian and international oceanography focused on developing an ecosystem approach to the management of fisheries based on the measurement of dynamic relationships between fish and their physical, chemical and biological environment. Retired from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dr. Parsons is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia and an Honorary Research Scientist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, British Columbia.

Dr. Timothy Parsons devoted his career to a holistic understanding of ecology, and in particular, to understanding how pelagic organisms are interconnected in the oceanic food-web. He is regarded around the world as a major contributor to the development of biological oceanography and is personally responsible for many of the standard analysis methods used in the field.

Increasingly, the ecosystem approach supported by Dr. Parsons is being accepted throughout the world and it is being recognized that oceanography and fisheries research should be linked. Dr. Parsons has always been a proponent of ensuring close links between fisheries science and of oceanography and has repeatedly pointed out how the ever-changing environment of the oceans impacts fisheries. He was founding editor of the journal "Fisheries Oceanography"

Dr. Parsons has also worked to encourage a holistic approach to the evaluation of human impacts on the environment using his experience in biological oceanography. As such he has contributed to understanding the impacts of the construction of the Aswan High Dam, the impacts of large oil spills and has advised industry on countless occasions.

Dr. Parsons has been honoured at the highest levels for his work, both in Canada and internationally. On April 27th, 2001, his Imperial Majesty, Emperor Akihito of Japan, presented Dr. Parsons with the 17th Japan Prize awarded by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan. The office of the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, announced that Dr. Parsons had been appointed Officer, Order of Canada, effective November 17th, 2005.

Dr. Parsons has recounted the story of his lifelong fascination with the ocean in his memoirs, entitled The Sea's Enthrall: Memoirs of an Oceanographer. In the book he recounts the story of his personal journey from childhood in Ceylon to his meeting with the Emperor of Japan on the occasion of receiving the prestigious Japan Prize science and technology achievement award for biological oceanography.