Tom is a marine ecologist. After completing undergraduate studies at Earlham College in Indiana in 1976, he worked and studied in Germany and received his Ph.D. in biological oceanography at the Institute of Oceanography at the University of Kiel in 1989. His master’s thesis focused on benthic-pelagic coupling during a fall phytoplankton bloom in the Baltic Sea, during which time he worked with three other students to form a multidisciplinary team under the supervision of Drs. Victor Smetacek, Bodo von Bondungen and Gerhard Graf. Under the guidance of Dr. Jürgen Lenz, Tom’s PhD research was conducted largely within the German Special Research Project 313 Circulation and Production of the Northern North Atlantic, in which his focus was on the influence of zooplankton and benthos on carbon cycling and sequestration in the Norwegian Sea. Somehow he became an expert on copepod fecal pellet recycling, as well.
In late 1989 Tom moved to Norway and conducted a post doc at the University of Tromso with Dr. Chris Hopkins and then at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen with Dr. Hein Rune Skjoldal, where his work continued to focus on benthic-pelagic coupling but also marine mapping and habitat condition. Much of this research was conducted with Dr. Francisco Rey in the multinational EU Research Program project Subpolar Ocean Programme, but he also worked in several other projects covering habitat mapping and classification, transport of pollutants in the North Sea, and remote sensing and persistence modeling of harmful algae blooms in relation to salmon aquaculture. Setting ecological objectives for the North Sea and Norwegian Sea, and quality status reporting also required much of his time, For some years he was also running an image analysis laboratory with Drs. Ferren McIntyre and Kenneth Estep, and conducted various analyses ranging from preferred ice floe size for sea haul outs, to otolith ring shape and increments.
In 2001 along with his wife and two children, Tom moved to the USA to work as Lab Director and Chief of the Ecosystems Processes Division in Sandy Hook, NJ at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Currently he is assigned as the acting Director of the Milford Lab in Connecticut and acting Chief of the Aquaculture and Enhancement Division.
Tom serves on several international, national and regional advisory committees and research organizations. Until recently he was the chair of the board of directors for the Canadian Healthy Ocean Network. He was the co-founder of the Gulf of Maine Mapping Initiative (GOMMI) as well as the Norwegian MAREANO, which is one of the largest marine habitat mapping programs in Europe. Dr. Noji served as chair of the ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Ocean) Marine Habitat Committee as well as the ICES Steering Group on Human Interactions on the Ecosystem, and until August 2015 was the US representative on the ICES Science Committee.