top of page


Dr. Barbara A. Block holds the Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Chair in Marine Sciences at Stanford University. Her research is focused on the physiology of tunas, sharks and billfishes and studies how large pelagic fishes utilize the open ocean environment. Dr. Block is Co-director of the Tuna Research and Conservation Center the only facility in North America holding bluefin tuna for captive research.  The lab studies tunas from a whole organism to genome perspective with a specialized interest in endothermy, cardiac ecological physiology, energetics and reproduction.  Her team has worked with engineers to develop and deploy electronic tags on ocean fish and sharks. The combination of lab and field work has led to a rapid increase in the understanding of movement patterns, population structure, physiology and behaviors of pelagic fish. Dr. Block leads a bluefin tuna tagging program called TAG –A-Giant that has placed almost 2000 electronic tags on northern bluefin in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to better understand their ecology, physiology and conservation. She was a co-Chief Scientist for the Tagging of Pacific Pelagics program, organized under the Census of Marine Life. This international program succeeded in deploying 4000 tags on 23 predators in the California Current to better understand how pelagic animals (tunas, sharks, turtles seabirds and whales) use the North Pacific ecosystem. Dr. Block earned her B.A. at University of Vermont and began her oceanographic career at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution working with Dr. Frank Carey. She earned her Ph.D at Duke University with the physiologist Dr. Knut Schmidt Nielsen. Block did a post-doc at University of  Pennsylvania and was an assistant professor at University of Chicago. She joined the faculty of Stanford University in 1994. Block has received a NSF Young Investigator Award, MacArthur Award, the Pew Marine Fellow Award, the Cannon Award from the American Physiological Society, and the Rolex Award for Enterprise


bottom of page