As NCCOS Director, Thur oversees the work of approximately 260 staff and the operations of five marine laboratories with an annual budget of approximately $70 million.
Thur’s career with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has focused on applying science to the management, restoration, and conservation of marine resources. He has a particular emphasis on how both the biophysical and social sciences are used to sustain coastal ecosystems and the vibrant human communities that depend upon them for livelihoods, recreation, and as a place for connecting with nature. Thur was the NCCOS Deputy Director from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, from 2007 to 2013, he was the Coordinator of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), the nation’s premier coral reef science program. From 2003 to 2007, Dr. Thur was an economist for the NOAA Office of Response and Restoration.
Thur received his Ph.D. in marine policy from the University of Delaware’s Graduate College of Marine Studies in 2003. His dissertation research was on sustainable financing mechanisms for coral reef marine protected areas. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in biology and economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.