A marine geologist who was instrumental in creating the marine science degree at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) UHI more than 20 years has been awarded a professorship.
Professor John Howe was one of four scientists who established the programme for the Oban-based institute. His colleagues Axel Miller, Keith Davidson and Mark Inall have also previously received the academic title from the university.
The course has significantly grown in numbers, from six students on 2000 to 120 currently.
Prof Howe, who currently leads the BSc programme, said creating the course was both “exhilarating and challenging.”
‘Terrific’ to see students undertake course and accomplish ‘amazing’ things
He said: “It is a tremendous honour to be recognised by the university in this way.
“I feel privileged to have played a part in the early years of the university. Writing the degree programme was incredibly exhilarating and challenging, so it is very satisfying to see it grow and flourish.
“In the beginning, there were just the four of us teaching. There are now 34 staff directly involved in teaching.
“The most terrific thing is seeing students come to us, develop their knowledge and then go off to get amazing jobs and travel the world.”
Prof has travelled world for his own maritime research
Prof Howe, who lives in Bonawe, in Argyll, arrived SAMS UHI in 1998 when the institute was known as Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory.
It was almost exclusively a marine science research centre until it became a founding partner of the UHI Millennium Institute.
Originally from Bournemouth, he previously worked at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge.
Over the last 23 years at SAMS UHI, he has explored the seabed off Scotland, including the famous Corryvreckan whirlpool, and travelled to Svalbard, Antarctica, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Chile and the deep Atlantic Ocean.
He has discovered a total of 12 underwater wrecks of ships and wartime planes off the coast of Oban through his research; specialising in seabed mapping.
His findings forms part of a wider project to map the seabed off the west coast.
Professorship ‘highly deserved’
Prof Miller, now deputy director at SAMS UHI, said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Prof Howe into the professoriate. It is a highly deserved recognition of his tireless work on behalf of the university and the success of its marine science students.”
Prof Howe will give his inaugural professorial lecture, Getting into deep water: adventures in marine geology, on World Oceans Day – June 8.
Professor Todd Walker, principal and vice-chancellor of UHI, praised Prof Howe’s accomplishments and said he had played a “vital role” in attracting students from around the world to the course while making “significant contributions” to the greater understanding of Scotland’s seabeds.