Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday the appointment of Thomas K. Frazer, Ph.D., as Florida’s first chief science officer. Joining DeSantis at the announcement in West Palm Beach were Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Noah Valenstein and state environmental organization leaders.
On Jan. 10, DeSantis announced major water policy reforms for the state by signing Executive Order 19-12 (Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment). Among many other initiatives, the executive order called for the appointment of a chief science officer to coordinate and prioritize scientific data, research, monitoring and analysis needs to ensure alignment with current and emerging environmental concerns most pressing to Floridians.
“We are excited to have Dr. Frazer join our team and lead the effort to ensure sound science is at the forefront of our mission to achieving more now for Florida’s environment,” said DEP Secretary Valenstein. “Dr. Frazer’s impressive background and connection to our state’s leading research institutions will be the perfect addition. Through collaboration and science as our foundation, we are on the path to meaningful improvement for Florida’s water quality.”
Responded Frazer, “I am incredibly honored by this appointment and I thank Governor DeSantis for naming me Florida’s first chief science officer. Our environment and waterways make Florida unique. I look forward to working with the governor and the Department of Environmental Protection on ways we can use sound science and research to improve our state’s water quality and protect the environment.”
Since 2012, Frazer has served as the director of the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and previously served as acting director of the UF Water Institute. Prior to this position, he served as associate director of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the leader of the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program.
At UF, his research has focused on the effects of anthropogenic activities on the ecology of both freshwater and marine ecosystems. He currently serves as chair of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. He received his B.S. in marine fisheries from Humboldt State University, his M.S. in fisheries and aquatic sciences from the University of Florida and his Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of California Santa Barbara.