Gary Saunders will be the University of New Brunswick’s permanent dean of science after a year and a half in the role as interim.

Saunders, who studied at Acadia University, Simon Fraser University and the University of Melbourne is an acclaimed researcher in the field of red and blue-green algaes or rhodoplantae and phaeophyceae.

His research on red algae and brown algae focuses on how certain species have changed, migrated and adapted in the face of climate change and what that means for our oceans.

Also an experienced taxonomist – a biologist who undertakes the discovery and naming of new species – Saunders, along with fellow researchers, has identified and named several new marine plants from around the world.

Saunders has worked at UNB since 1995 and had a “fantastic experience” teaching and conducting research before moving into the interim, and now permanent, dean position.

“I do feel acquiring the permanent position has provided me with more self-confidence to communicate difficult messages and manage difficult situations, but they still had to be managed in the acting role,” he said.

Saunders said he aims to help “collectively confront and resolve issues that prevent UNB from reaching its full potential.”

“I am compelled to work towards solutions,” he said. “I am not going to pretend that I have all of the answers – I do not – or that I can solve the problems myself – I most assuredly cannot. It is more a desire to work with others to identify shared solutions that benefit a wider base than those impacted by the immediate problem.”