ISME is deeply saddened over the demise of two former executive officers of ISME. Dr. Marta Vannucci passed away on 15 January 2021 in Brazil at the age of 99 years. Dr. Marc Steyaert passed away on 13 February 2021 in France at the age of 87 years. Having played key roles in the formation of ISME, the society extends its heartfelt condolences to their families, relatives and friends for their irreparable loss.

Dr. Marta Vannucci

Dr. M. Vannucci was born in Florence, Italy in 1921, became a citizen of Brazil from 1930, and lived in New Delhi in India from 1970 for over 40 years. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Sao Paulo. Specialized in Biological Oceanography with more than 100 scientific papers, her university career culminated with the post of Director-General of the Oceanographic Institute of the University of Sao Paulo (1963-1969).

In 1966 she was the first woman elected as a full member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. She joined UNESCO in 1970 as a Curator of the International Indian Ocean Expedition Plankton Collections at the Indian Ocean Biological Centre at Cochin, India. Subsequently, she was appointed UNESCO and UNDP Consultant on Ecological and Environmental projects in Asia, Latin America and Africa. From 1982 to 1990, she was the Chief Technical Adviser of UNDP/UNESCO Mangrove Projects for Asia and Pacific, which led to establishment of ISME in 1990. Dr. M. Vannucci was a Vice-President of ISME from 1990 to 1999, and the Acting President in 1999, and Honorary Adviser since 2000. She devoted most of her life working on oceans, coastal and marine environments, and mangrove ecosystems. She was granted the Grand Cross of the Order of Scientific Merit by the President of Brazil in 1997. She was strict and yet witty and charming. To many people across the world, she was a dear friend and a teacher with great influence. Many mangrove scientists and personnel call her “Mother of Mangroves.”

Dr. Marc Steyaert

Dr. M. Steyaert was born in 1934. He spent his young days in an agronomic research station in Africa, where he was trained as an agronomist. He obtained his doctorate degree in Oceanography from the University of Paris and became a marine scientist. He began his scientific career in Antarctica, participating in several oceanographic expeditions during the 1960s, alternating with research on the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1967, he joined UNESCO’s office of Oceanography, which later became the Division of Marine Sciences. In 1973, he was the Director of Division of Marine Sciences and initiated formation of Coastal Marine Project (COMAR). Recognizing the importance of mangrove ecosystems, he initiated the implementation of two UNESCO/UNDP regional mangrove projects from 1982 to 1990. He worked with mangrove scientists and government authorities which led to the inauguration of ISME and its existence today. After retiring from UNESCO in 1995. Dr. M. Steyaert was the Treasurer (1996–1999), and the Vice President (1999–2005) of ISME. He was a great man, a competent scientist, and an outstanding oceanographer who devoted his life on coastal and marine environments, and mangrove ecosystems. He was modest, gentle, generous, and always ready to assist and help others.

ISME bereaves the loss of Dr. M. Vannucci and Dr. M. Steyaert, and honors their memories by following their teachings and guidance. May their souls rest in peace. May their legacies continue to live within the hearts and minds of all who knew them.