Kenneth Tenore, 63, coastal ecologist

May 09, 2006|By JACQUES KELLY | JACQUES KELLY,SUN REPORTER

Kenneth Tenore, a coastal ecologist who was a proponent of environmental ethics, died of acute pancreatitis Sunday at University of Maryland Medical Center. He was 63 and a resident of Hollywood in St. Mary's County.

For the past two decades, until he stepped down last year, Dr. Tenore had been director of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory on Solomons Island. He was an expert on decaying bay grasses and their role in feeding crabs and marine worms. He continued to teach until he became ill.

Born in Cambridge, Mass., he received a bachelor's degree from St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., and studied briefly to become a Benedictine brother. He earned his doctorate in oceanography from North Carolina State University in 1970, after conducting his early research on bottom-dwelling marine organisms and shellfish aquaculture.

"He was very much a scholarly man who once studied in a monastery and was deeply concerned with the ethics of science," said Margaret A. Palmer, who succeeded him as the lab's director. She said he was a pioneer in understanding how plant detritus moves into the marine food chain.

He was on the staff of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts from 1972 to 1975 and the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Georgia from 1975 to 1983. The next year he became director of the laboratory on Solomons Island and developed programs in environmental chemistry and toxicology.

"He was a pioneer for our center in advancing the use of the interactive video system," said Donald F. Boesch, president of the Cambridge-based University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Colleagues at the Solomons Island lab said Dr. Tenore also led collaborative research programs involving U.S. marine scientists and scientists from the Galicia region of Spain and Portugal. He frequently visited both countries and helped build enduring relationships between scientists.

At his death, he was leading the Navigator project, an international effort funded by the National Science Foundation and Luso-American Foundation to study the ecology of coastal seas around the world.

Dr. Tenore founded and directed the Alliance for Coastal Technologies, an effort of research institutions, environmental managers and industry to study the use of sensors in environmental monitoring in coastal zones.

In early 1990s, Dr. Tenore taught a course in science and ethics with collaborators at the University of Notre Dame's Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values in South Bend, Ind.

"He was an inspirational teacher who had a strong feeling for the philosophical and ethical issues in science," said Father Ernan McMullin, a retired Notre Dame professor.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 1 p.m. Friday at Our Lady Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church, 14400 Solomons Island Road South.

Survivors include a brother, Louis Tenore of Norton, Mass.; and a sister, Elizabeth Tenore of St. Helena Island, S.C.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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