Professor Anitra Thorhaug is a scientist and advocate for restoring the earth who has influenced the protection of marine and coastal shallow-water habitats in the Americas, Asia, Africa and several island nations.
Professor Thorhaug has elucidated toxic levels of pollutants through field and laboratory experimentation and helped nations around the world to set scientific standards to eliminate a series of pollutants. She invented the first large-scale seagrass restoration process in the early 1970s to combat habitat pollution effects.
Having organized the first saltwater bay restoration effort in the world for Biscayne Bay, in Florida, she taught the methods to many nations as well the coastal zone management principals of restoration. She taught science, policy, long-term planning and advocacy of coastal protection of living resources to nations in Africa, the Americas, and Asia and the Pacific.
Professor Thorhaug’s academic career includes faculty positions in leading Universities in the USA (Berkeley, Yale, University Miami, Florida International University). Currently, she is researching remote sensing of coastal tropical pollution at Yale, and serves as Chair of Physiology of the American Botanical Society, President of the USA Club of Rome, and is a member of the International Club of Rome.
She is author of 10 scientific books plus hundreds of scientific papers. She has led scientific exchange delegations to Asia, Africa and the former USSR. Her work has focused attention on series of critical issues: for example, on thermal and salinity pollution, heavy metals and radioactivity contamination, oil spill clean-up, pollution in specific nations, and on “The Future of the American Hemisphere”.
Her consulting career includes United Nations Agencies (UNEP, FAO, IOC, UNDP), many national governments, and industry, where she has been influential in alleviating pollution as well as protecting and restoring near-shore resources.
Professor Thorhaug remains active in the restoration of coastal ecosystems. She planted a very large seagrass meadow in the Laguna Madre in Texas, the only bay shared by developed and developing nations. 75 acres have been sucessfully planted. She has also begun planting corals on sand where they have been killed.
She has planted a great many marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses in the heavily used, but damaged Florida Parks, and was on the Florida Governor's advisory committee to examine the effects of the restoration of the everglades in Florida on bays, particularly Biscayne Bay. This was almost a year's work with intense public debate between agencies doing the planning of various parts. It was a 25-year-later add-on to her book Biscayne Bay Past, Present and Future. Biscayne Bay was the first major bay in the USA to have a complete intensive examination by scientists, government and citizens followed a plan of action.