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Dr. Ambrose Jearld, National Marine Fisheries Service

Dr. Ambrose Jearld, Jr.
National Marine Fisheries Service


Dr. Jearld was born in 1944 into a Navy family in Annapolis, Maryland. He lived on the family farm and attended elementary school in Orrum, North Carolina. He returned to Annapolis and graduated from Wiley H. Bates High School in 1961. He graduated from Maryland State College (now University of Maryland Eastern Shore) with a degree in biology in 1965. He worked as a chemist with Publicker Industries in Philadelphia for two years, and between earning his M.S. (1970) and Ph.D. (1975) at Oklahoma State University, he was drafted and served two years in the U.S. Army.

Since 1978 he has been a fisheries biologist at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center's Woods Hole Laboratory, where he has conducted and published research and has served as an administrator and manager. His appointments include Chief of the Fishery Biology Investigation; Chief of the Research Planning and Evaluation Section; and Chief of the Research Planning and Coordination Staff. He is currently the Director of Academic Programs at the NEFSC. He is a charter member and former chair of the Woods Hole Scientific Community's Black History Month Committee. He chairs the Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee, a multi-institution committee that advises six Woods Hole science organizations.

In his role as a biologist and administrator, he has provided NOAA with leadership on national and international affairs in South Africa. He was appointed to the US - South African Bi-Lateral Commission's Working Group on Fisheries and he worked with Sea Fisheries, South Africa, on development and implementation of a strategic plan, organizational restructuring, mandates for corrective actions dealing with human resources, and outreach and engagement with Tertiary Higher Education Institutions in South Africa. He has been intricately involved in NOAA science and technical support for six West African countries around the Gulf of Guinea.

He is a strong advocate of NOAA's commitment to diversity and equity in employment. He has devoted much of his career to fostering NOAA's goal of maintaining a workplace in which all people are respected as individuals and valued for their contributions. His work with NOAA, higher education institutions (especially Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions) has helped make oceanography and marine biology more accessible to a diverse body of students and research faculty.

Prior to living and working in Falmouth, Massachusetts, he held professorships in Zoology at Howard University (Washington, DC) and Biology at Lincoln University (Pennsylvania). He is also a member and serves on the boards of numerous professional and technical scientific societies, including the research society, Sigma Xi.

He is married and lives in Falmouth with his wife, Anna C. Martin-Jearld, PhD, who is a professor of social work. They have an adult daughter and son.