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Jacqueline McGlade

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Jacqueline McGlade

Jacqueline McGlade
Born (1955-05-30)May 30, 1955
Nationality British-Canadian
Fields Marine biology, Environmental informatics, Aquatic science, Theoretical ecology, Zoology
Institutions European Environment Agency, University College London, University of Warwick
Alma mater University of Cambridge, University of Guelph, University College of North Wales
Thesis Genotypic and phenotypic variation in the brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchell)[1] (1980)
Notable awards Masaryk Gold Medal, Minerva Prize, Jubileum Award, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation Award in Genetics

Jacqueline Myriam McGlade (born May 30, 1955) is a British-born Canadian marine biologist and environmental informatics professor. Her research focusses on the spatial and nonlinear dynamics of ecosystems, climate change and scenario development.

She was Executive Director of the European Environment Agency from 2003-2013. Upon receiving this appointment she took leave from her post as Professor of Environmental Informatics in the Department of Mathematics at University College London.


Professor McGlade completed her BSc in Marine Biology, Biochemistry and Soil Science at the University College of North Wales, UK, in 1977. She obtained her PhD degree in 1980 on aquatic sciences and zoology from the University of Guelph in Canada. In 1987, she obtained a MA degree from the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Honorary titles

Early career and research

Spatial population dynamics

McGlade’s PhD research on the mathematical and statistical analysis of the phenotypic and genotypic variability showed the critical importance of spatial dynamics in determining evolutionary divergence and ecological sustainability in freshwater and marine fish populations. This work led to her establishing the first population dynamics and genetics laboratory in Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Her subsequent research at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography laboratory helped move existing fisheries assessment methodologies from logistic models of population growth to spatially extended predator-prey, or Lotka-Volterra type models. She has also created the basis for a new research activity to become established at the Bedford Institute in spatial modelling and artificial intelligence to apply space-based observations to biological oceanography.

After developing fleet deployment models at the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the USA) and working on ecological networks with researchers at the intelligence systems laboratory at Xerox PARC, Professor McGlade continued her research in systematics, ichthyology and population dynamics in Cambridge as the Adrian Fellow at Darwin College during the period 1987-1990. At the same time, she expanded her research in coastal issues at the International Federation of Institutes of Advanced Study in the Netherlands and the Cranfield Institute in the UK, where she worked to develop spatial models for environmental issues.

Theoretical ecology, ecosystems and policy

From 1988 onwards, Professor McGlade focussed her research on theoretical ecology to study short and long-term changes in ecosystems at FZ Jülich research centre and RWTH Aachen University in Germany. She and her research staff applied their knowledge of dynamical systems, especially in the area of spatial dynamics (differential equations, coupled-map lattices, cellular automata and individual based models) to study the behaviour ecosystems.

In 1992, she accepted a post at the University of Warwick. The ideas and theories developed during the following ten years led to significant insights into the role of evolutionarily stable attractors, invasion exponents and phenotype dynamics in a wide range of ecosystems, including the African savannah, marine communities, annual and perennial plants and forests and red grouse.

She was briefly Director of NERC's Center for Coastal and Marine Science, resigning after less than two years in post with the Centre being disbanded shortly after[3]

With her appointment as NERC Professorial Fellow at University College London in 2000, her work field extended to environmental policy in areas as diverse as waste, pollution, air quality and biodiversity.

She is a member of the Advisory Council for the Campaign for Science and Engineering.[4]

European Environment Agency

Professor McGlade was appointed Executive Director to the European Environment Agency in 2003 for a five-year term. The appointment was renewed in May 2008 for a second term, ending May 31, 2013.[5]

At the EEA, Professor McGlade introduced a shift in environmental reporting and indicator development towards a shared European spatial environmental information system. Such information system aimed to bring together key aspects of national and international research outputs including those from the Copernicus programme, previously known as the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative.

Under her leadership, the Agency sought to reinforce its capability to produce integrated environmental assessments, analyse the state of Europe’s environment as a whole, and provide reliable projections. Professor McGlade worked to strengthen the link between science and policy. She pointed at the magnitude of climate change and urged policymakers to start developing and applying adaptation measures.

McGlade was a firm advocate of informing and involving the public in all aspects of the environment. To this end, she strove to strengthen the information and feedback channels between researchers, public and policymakers, making environmental information understandable and accessible through technological media.

In conjunction with her role at the EEA, McGlade promoted environmental issues in European and international fora, including various UN committees, European Agencies and Environment Protection Agencies networks, and as well as a number of research, institutional and non-governmental advisory committees. McGlade is a member of several technology and environment advisory and honorary boards, including the Open Geospatial Consortium.

McGlade left the EEA during a period of controversy during which the agency was investigated by the anti-fraud office for misuse and misreporting of EU budgets. "[6]

Academic Prizes & Scholarships

  • Global Citizen Award, Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association, 2013
  • Masaryk Gold Medal, University of Brno (Czech Republic), 2005
  • Minerva Prize (Germany), 1992
  • Member of Honour, International Institute for Dynamical Systems (Romania), 1991
  • Jubileum Award, Chalmers Technical University (Sweden), 1991
  • Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation Award in Genetics (USA), 1980
  • Best Research Paper, American Fisheries Society (USA), 1979
  • Commonwealth Scholarship (Canada), 1977–80
  • Rotary International Graduate Scholarship (Indonesia), 1977

Research interests

  • Metrics of sustainability and prosperity
  • Analysis of risk and uncertainty in complex systems
  • Development & implementation of enviroinformatics, including definition of metadata structures, semantic nets and data analysis
  • Fuzzy-logic expert systems for environmental management and environmental forecasting
  • Ecological economics
  • Evolutionary ecology, with special reference to systematics of fishes and marine organisms
  • Marine ecosystems analysis
  • Application of earth observation data to ecosystem analysis and management
  • Modelling the spatio-temporal dynamics of terrestrial and aquatic systems
  • Nonlinear dynamics in biology
  • Artificial ecologies
  • Development of integrated fisheries management models
  • Development of a theory of governance for natural resources, with particular reference to sustainable development, global food security and the changing political, global order


  1. ^ WorldCat, Retrieved on 2012-12-27.
  2. ^ "Honorary graduates 2000-09". University of Kent. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Times Higher Education - Nerc sinks centre for coastal research
  4. ^ "Advisory Council of the Campaign for Science and Engineering". Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  5. ^ "Jacqueline McGlade leaves the EEA after 10 years as Executive Director," EEA website, May 31, 2013. Accessed: May 31, 2013.
  6. ^ "Environment agency and Council fail MEPs' budget test" EU Observer website September 27th 2012

External links

  • European Environment Agency
  • Bedford Institute of Oceanography
  • FZ Jülich
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