David Remsen

It is with sadness that we share the sudden passing of one of our beloved colleagues, David Remsen, Director of Marine Research Services (MRC). David’s contributions to the MBL were far-reaching and impacted many of us. Our condolences, thoughts, and support go out to David’s family, colleagues, and friends. The MBL flag was lowered in his memory.

This is a time of grief for the MBL global community and we are all devastated by this loss. Below is an obituary that has been provided by his family.


WOODS HOLE, Mass. -- David Remsen lost his lifelong battle with mental illness and passed away on Wednesday, December 14, 2022. David was director of Marine Research Services at the Marine Biological Laboratory, and will be remembered as a loving and adventurous father, a loyal friend, son and brother, and an integral part of Woods Hole and the scientific community. 

David was born in Syracuse, New York, on March 23, 1962. He came to Woods Hole at the age of 5 with his family, where he remembers tasting seawater for the first time.  He fell in love with the ocean and never looked back. 

David began working at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in 1984 as a diver collecting specimens during his summer vacations from college. After graduating with a biology degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he worked as a freelance software developer at Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company in Boston and arranged his schedule so he could volunteer full-time at the New England Aquarium. 

David joined the MBL full-time in 1991 and held a variety of roles in information technology for the next 15 years. He developed the MBL’s website and species databases, was systems architect of a biodiversity data service (uBio) that’s now used by research communities around the world, and became an instructor in biomedical informatics—using big data to provide insight into scientific research. He also performed information systems development, software development, and web administration as a contractor for several other marine organizations.

After spending six years in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a senior program officer at the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, David returned to Woods Hole in 2012 - and to the MBL as manager and then director of Marine Research Services. David oversaw the collection, culture, and husbandry of aquatic species on campus, therefore playing a central role in MBL’s research and educational initiatives.

David was an avid naturalist and a community expert on Cape Cod fauna and was always eager to share his knowledge with others. He was an educator, a storyteller, an avid cook and adventurous eater. He loved being on the water, under the water (he loved swimming laps at Nobska Beach with his faithful dog, Rocky), and turning over rocks to look for bugs. He liked to make people laugh to the point of tears. He will be missed by his many friends and loved ones. 

David leaves behind the love of his life, Dana Mock-Munoz de Luna, and his two wonderful sons, Lucas and Gabriel Remsen. He is survived by his mother, Nikki Remsen; his father, Charles C. Remsen; his stepmother, Margaret Remsen; his brother, Stephen Remsen and wife Ellen of Falmouth; his brother, Andrew Remsen and wife Robyn; his sister, Linda Richardson and husband Rich; Jennifer Jonas and husband Jeff; Beth Herzog and husband Paul Sweet; and many nieces and nephews, in-laws, and everyone else who loved him. 

A celebration of David’s amazing life will be held this coming summer. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a college fund for David’s sons: the donation link is here

Please respect the family’s privacy at this time. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please reach out to The Samaritans of Cape Cod by dialing 988.


Photo: Daniel Cojanu