Throughout the Coral Reef Conservation Program’s 20th Anniversary, we are highlighting Coral Heroes — individuals and organizations that have worked with the program and are making a real difference in coral reef conservation.
We are thrilled to close out this year with our favorite NOAA Coral Hero, none other than Admiral Tim Gallaudet!
NOAA has been a leader in coral reef conservation since the creation of the Coral Reef Conservation Program 20 years ago. NOAA has a proven track record of strong leadership support for its coral reef work, and the current administration exemplifies that.
From day one, Rear Admiral Gallaudet has invested heavily in the Coral Reef Conservation Program and in NOAA’s role as a national and international leader in coral reef conservation. In 2020 alone, he lead a virtual meeting of the US Coral Reef Task Force, provided the keynote address for the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute conference, gave opening remarks for a press event on the national coral reef status report, represented NOAA in an all interested Congressional staff briefing on coral conservation, and participated in filming for a documentary on Force Blue’s 100 Yards of Hope restoration project, which NOAA is supporting. His consistent presence highlights his recognition of the role that coral reefs play in the nation’s blue economy, specifically in promoting seafood production, tourism and recreation, and coastal resilience.
Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet is the current assistant secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and deputy administrator of NOAA. From 2017 to 2019, he served as the acting undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. Before coming to NOAA, he served in the U.S. Navy for 32 years and completed his military service as the oceanographer of the Navy. Rear Admiral Gallaudet has a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and master’s and doctorate degrees from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, all in oceanography.
Rear Admiral Gallaudet’s role at NOAA includes serving as co-chair of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, which allows him to witness first-hand how NOAA collaborates with other federal agencies and state and territorial government agencies to address coral reef issues. In particular, Gallaudet recognized the devastation of stony coral tissue loss disease in the Caribbean region and the genuine fear of the disease’s spread into Indo-Pacific coral reefs. In response, NOAA recently released a national stony coral tissue loss disease strategy, which will inform continued disease response and the prevention of disease spread.
“It has been an honor and distinct pleasure working with Admiral Gallaudet on coral conservation issues. He is an incredible champion and enthusiastic fan of the Coral Reef Conservation Program’s work and a wonderful Co-Chair of the US Coral Reef Task Force,” commented Jennifer Koss, director of the Coral Reef Conservation Program. “He is also great to travel with and up for any site visitation involving snorkeling or diving - good luck in getting him out of the water though!”
Rear Admiral Gallaudet’s contributions to coral reef conservation in the past three years have been invaluable for NOAA and partner organizations, and we are confident that his support will continue for years to come.
Follow the celebration on our Facebook and Twitter pages and the National Ocean Service Instagram page all year using the hashtag #NOAACoral20th.
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program was established in 2000 by the Coral Reef Conservation Act. Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the program is part of NOAA's Office for Coastal Management.