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Margaret Leinen (born September 20, 1946) is vice chancellor for Marine Sciences. Leinen was appointed the 11th director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as well as the dean of the School of Marine Sciences at the University of California, San Diego.[1] Leinen is an award-winning oceanographer, she is a very accomplished executive with a wide range of experience in ocean science, global climate, environmental issues, Federal research administration, and non-profit organizations.

Margaret Leinen
Born (1946-09-20) September 20, 1946 (age 71)
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Illinois, Oregon State University, University of Rhode Island
Occupation Director
Employer Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
Known for Paleoceanography, Paleoclimatology

She has had a major impact in sea-going research, leading 24 research cruises. Two major cruises Leinen has led were, the DSV Alvin to Juan de Fuca Ridge and Mariana Back-Arc; studying the Sedimentation from Hydrothermal vents.



In 1969 Leinen received her Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of Illinois, a master's in geological oceanography from Oregon State University in 1975, and her doctorate in oceanography in 1980 from the University of Rhode Island, receiving Distinguished Alumni Awards from all three universities.[2]


Margaret's passion for geology came forward in her first year at the University of Illinois. She had many different ideas for what she wanted to pursue as a career; thoughts of being a biochemist and even a criminal lawyer. Her geology professor had a major impact on her personal opinion of geology; Leinen would take part in very intuitive field trips alongside her professor as well as graduate students in her classes. She thoroughly enjoyed these excursions, as she could build a beneficial relationship with her teacher and colleagues. This played a large-scale role on her choice of pursuing geology to further lengths.

Margaret emphasized the need for diversity in science and geology. She had stated that women and minority groups need to be represented in geology. She highlighted the idea of the minority groups bringing in new fresh perspectives to the scientifical approach. Stating with the importance to prevent stagnation within scientific research.[3]


Leinen is a national leader in oceanography. Leinen has shown interest and contributed to research in many fields, such as paleoceanography, paleoclimatology, biogeochemical cycles, and climate change.

She was previously the Vice Provost for Marine and Environmental Programs and Dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography and College of the Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Rhode Island; Assistant Director for Geosciences and Coordinator of Environmental Research and Education at the National Science Foundation, President of the Climate Response Fund; and, Vice Provost for Marine and Environmental Initiatives and executive director of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute of Florida Atlantic University.[2]

She is president of the American Geophysical Union Board of Directors; a member of the Board of the National Council for Science and the Environment; a member of the distinguished Leadership Council of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative; and past president of The Oceanography Society[4]

Leinen played a key role in the success of the National Science Foundation. Her major duties were to identify the important new research infrastructure needs, along with advancing those needs. Eventually she would successfully defend $1 billion in improvisations to the National Science Board.

Leinen defined techniques used to partition sediment chemical composition in her work "The origin of paleochemical signatures in North Pacific pelagic clays".[5] She also found a way to more accurately measure the content of opal in deep sea sediment using a technique that doesn't rely on structural integrity. This technique is described in her publication "A normative calculation technique for determining opal concentrations in deep-sea sediment".[6]

Leinen Co-authored many publications in her field. An article titled: "Institutional coordination of global ocean observartions" demonstrates her commitment to growth. She and her co authors highlight the need for an institutional global framework in ocean observation. This was needed in order to properly monitor the effects of climate change and global ocean heating.


She has been elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science[7] and of the Geological Society of America.[8] In 2016, she was selected as a U.S. Science Envoy by the United States State Department.[9]

Leinen received the WLNE Freedom Torch Award; Distinguished Lecturer from the United States Geological Survey.

She was a member of the board for the Consortium for Ocean Research and Education.


  1. ^ "New Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences Creates Vision for Scripps Oceanography". Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. October 24, 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Director's Biography". Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. March 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Margaret Leinen". Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  4. ^ "AGU President". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Leinen, Margaret (February 1987). "The origin of paleochemical signatures in North Pacific pelagic clays: Partitioning experiments". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 51: 305–319. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(87)90243-2. 
  6. ^ Leinen, Margaret (May 1977). "A normative calculation technique for determining opal in deep-sea sediments". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 41: 671–676. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(77)90304-0. 
  7. ^ "American Association for the Advancement of Science". Archived from the original on 6 January 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Geological Society of America". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "Announcement of U.S. Science Envoys". United States Department of State. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.