Emeritus Professor Alasdair McIntyre CBE, DSc, FRSE
Alasdair Duncan McIntyre, CBE, BSc, DSc, FRSE, FIBiol, FRSA, was born in Helensburgh on the 17th November in 1926.
He was educated at Hermitage School, Helensburgh, and Glasgow University, graduating in 1949 with first class honours in zoology – a subject he had switched to in second year.
In 1951, he joined the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen, where he was to remain for 36 years, now part of a directorate known as Marine Scotland, to work primarily on halibut. He studied halibut for many years, working on commercial long-liners or research ships off Greenland, and later moved to different aspects of marine science, including the study of life on the ocean floor, known as benthos.
It was at the Marine Laboratory that he met his wife, Catherine, when she started work as an administrator in April 1964. He was 39 and she was 24. They married in 1967 at Aberdeen’s Craigiebuckler Church and it proved an enduring partnership with Catherine taking on the role as his secretary when he was appointed to Aberdeen University
During his career at the Marine Laboratory, he conducted and led research on marine ecology, fisheries and pollution. Such was his eminence he was also chairman of the United Nations Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution and advised the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea on marine pollution.
In the early 1960s, he and some colleagues, notably Prof Anastasios Eleftheriou, carried out a far-reaching and lengthy research project at Loch Ewe. It was initially aimed at understanding the early life of young plaice – at that time a candidate for the emergent fish-farming industry in Scotland – but grew into a much larger investigation of marine ecosystems involving experts from around the world.
Professor McIntyre was also involved in another demanding and major field exercise which studied the sandy shores of the entire Scottish coastline – including the Hebrides.
He was awarded a DSc by Glasgow University in 1970 for his thesis on Marine Benthic Ecology and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh the following year, becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Biology in 1980.
He was appointed director of Fisheries Research for Scotland in 1983 and co-ordinator of Fisheries Research and Development for the United Kingdom in 1986. He retired from the Marine Lab aged 60 in 1987 and became Emeritus Professor of Fisheries and Oceanography at Aberdeen University.
Professor McIntyre was deeply involved in issues of marine environmental quality and human impact, including the effects of fishing, pollutants and oil exploitation. In 2003, he advised the fishing industry and the Government to find a compromise when the Government proposed a "no fishing" zone off the north coast of Scotland. His contribution to marine conservation and fisheries was recognised when he received the Queen's Birthday Honours List, in June 1994. He was also awarded two honorary doctorates, from Stirling University in 1997 and Napier University in 2005.
Amongst many varied positions held, Professor McIntyre represented the UK on the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, was chairman of the Marine Forum for Environmental Issues, Chairman of the Falkland Islands Exploration and Production Environmental Forum, president of the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science and chairman of the Buckland Foundation trustees.
He continued to work until shortly before his death, manfully editing a book based on a 10-year worldwide census of marine life involving 2000 scientists, 17 chapters and 145 contributing authors. The book set to be published in the autumn of 2010, will provide a lasting tribute to an incredible career and an incredible man.
In his spare time Professor McIntyre was an enthusiastic supporter of Aberdeen Football Club, holding a season ticket at Pittodrie. When he was not on the terraces, he found time to indulge his passion for gastronomy, becoming a wine, malt whisky and food connoisseur.
Professor McIntyre died on 15th April, 2010, in Aberdeen, aged 83, he was survived by his wife, Catherine, and their daughter Alison.
Professor Anastasios Eleftheriou, Emeritus Professor at the University of Crete and a former student and colleague of McIntyre, on hearing of his death, described him thus: "Alasdair McIntyre was that rare and often undervalued individual: a real all-rounder, scientist, researcher, administrator, academic, writer, wine connoisseur, gourmet and passionate reader."