Charles H. “Pete” Peterson
Alumni Distinguished Professor
Marine Sciences, Biology, and Ecology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Peterson has a split professional personality, pursuing traditional academic goals of research and teaching, while also serving on governmental policy-making boards in environmental and natural resource management and contributing to processes that better implement environmental stewardship. He was trained as an undergraduate working under Robert MacArthur at Princeton University, as a graduate student by Joe Connell at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and as a postdoctoral scholar with Bill Murdoch also of UCSB. His research interests can perhaps be best described as interdisciplinary marine conservation ecology.

Peterson has published 195 papers in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters. This work is dominated by experimental assessments of processes in estuaries and the nearshore coastal ocean but also addresses such curiosity-driven exotica as community ecology of deep-sea vents. He is currently focusing on developing a better conceptual basis for environmental restoration and defining and quantifying ecosystem services provided by various habitats. His collaborations involve physical oceanographers, geologists, economists, anthropologists, and other social scientists. He has served on several study panels of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Ecology and Environment in 1994. Peterson teaches classes in marine ecology, coastal and estuarine ecology, biological oceanography, and barrier island processes.