Dr. Robert O. Fournier, born and educated in the United States, is now a Canadian citizen. He received his Master's and Doctoral degrees in Biological Oceanography from the College of William and Mary, and the University of Rhode Island. In addition, Dr. Fournier held fellowships in Norway and England before joining the faculty of the University of Hawaii in 1969.
In 1971 he joined Dalhousie University where he is now a Professor of Oceanography (Emeritus). His research interests have included studies of the physical and chemical processes that contribute to the high biological productivity on continental shelves. From 1985 to 2000 Dr. Fournier served as Associate Vice-President (Research & International Relations), and Executive Director of Ocean Studies and was instrumental in facilitating the acquisition of a number of important research initiatives.
Dr. Fournier is a former member of the Science Council of Canada, the National Advisory Board on Science and Technology, which reported directly to the Prime Minister, and chaired the Nova Scotia Council of Applied Science and Technology, which advised the Nova Scotia government on science and technology policy. At the request of the Premier of Nova Scotia, he chaired the Halifax Harbour Task Force, and also served as a member of the Northern Cod Review Panel that reported to the Federal Minister of Fisheries. Subsequently, he chaired the Joint Public Review Panel for the Sable Offshore Energy Project, the Electricity Marketplace Governance Committee, and the Joint Review Panel for the proposed Whites Point Quarry on Digby Neck. He is presently active in marine-related projects in Uruguay and Nunavut.
Dr. Fournier is a well-known interpreter of science to the public, and has been a regular contributor of science commentaries to many local and national CBC radio and television programmes since 1974. He has delivered more than 2000 weekly science commentaries on local radio (Information Morning, 1978-present) and national television (Midday, 1985-2000). In addition, during the mid 1980s he was science columnist on This Country in the Morning for five years, hosted a one-hour TV documentary, Iceberg Alley, and has been involved in a large number of diverse speaking engagements, both locally and nationally, usually on contemporary science issues.