Erik Cordes

Ocean Sciences



Professor and Vice Chair of Biology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

AGU embraces the global community and welcomes diverse leaders from around the world, representing various identities, voices, and perspectives. List any identities, voices, and perspectives you would bring, including but not limited to nationality, regional representations, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and any other identity you feel comfortable sharing.

I am deeply committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse community of researchers in the Ocean Sciences. While I come from a privileged background as a white male in the U.S., I work in a highly diverse institution (Temple University) in terms of ethnicity, gender-identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status, and the composition of the graduate and undergraduate students in my lab reflects that diversity. I am the faculty adviser for a program that provides summer research experiences for Philadelphia High School rising seniors from disadvantaged backgrounds, and I am hosting two of these students in my lab. I am leading the U.S. component of the Challenger150 UN-Decade program, co-leading a U.S.-Mexico Integrated Research Team in the Network-2-Network Gulf of Mexico (N2N GoM) program, and leading collaborative research programs in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, and Kiribati. As the co-lead of the Offshore Energy Working Group in the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI), I have assisted with conservation efforts in South Africa, Guyana, Senegal, Nigeria, Canada, and Israel. I also serve as a mentor for early career researchers through the Deep-Sea Biology Society. Through all of these activities, I try to use the privileges that I inherited to promote a more equitable vision of ocean science.

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

1. Trustee for Development, Deep-Sea Biology Society; 2. Integrated Research Team Co-Lead, N2N GoM (U.S.-Mexico Partnership Organization); 3. Board of Directors, Star Island Corporation (non-profit conference center and retreat in New Hampshire, USA); 4. Co-Lead of Offshore Energy Working Group and member of Core Team, Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative; 5. Chair of Organizing Committee, 6th International Symposium on Deep-Sea Corals, Boston, MA, USA


This leadership position is a liaison role; it is one that aims to catalyze community and build AGU as envisioned by the strategic plan. How will you engage with members of your section to advance AGU’s strategic plan? How will you facilitate engagement with other sections and people outside AGU to support our mission?

Through this role as the President of the Ocean Sciences section of AGU, I will work to further the strategic plan of the society. The increased focus on actionable and openly-available science to solve real-world problems that is central to the latest strategic plan is one that is very close to my own research activity. I have cultivated a global network of collaborators in academia, the non-profit sector, industry, and government who share this vision for the way that our science can make a significant impact on societal issues. I will work through this network, and continue to expand it, to promote AGU’s vision and mission to empower a diverse and inclusive group of scientists to change the way humans interact with our environment and ensure the prosperity of generations to come.

Section affiliations:

Biogeosciences; Global Environmental Change; Ocean Sciences