Smithsonian Journeys Experts

Tom Iliffe

photo of Tom Iliffe

Tom Iliffe is a Professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University at Galveston and a Research Associate with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Prior to coming to Texas A&M in 1989, he worked for 11 years as a Research Scientist at the Bermuda Biological Station. He currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Biospeleology (cave biology) and Scientific Diving, as well as a Study Abroad course in Tropical Marine Ecology held for two weeks on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. He has a Bachelor'’s Degree from Penn State, a Master's from Florida State and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Tom has been a scuba diving instructor for the past 40 years and a cave diving instructor for 33 years. He is recognized as one of the world’'s foremost experts in the biology of submarine caves, having led research expeditions to numerous locations around the Atlantic, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian and South Pacific Oceans. He has published more than 210 scientific publications and has collaborated in the discovery and description of over 250 new species of marine organisms. Tom is the 2013 recipient of Texas A&M’s Newsmaker Image Award and 2013 TAMU Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Teaching Award. Documentary films featuring Tom'’s cave diving research have appeared on the National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, History Channel, Outdoor Channel, PBS, and NOVA, as well as French and German Public TV.

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