© 2019 In addition to being an esteemed marine ecologist and oceanographer, William T. (Bill) Peterson was a dedicated public servant, a leader in the ocean science community, and a mentor to a generation of scientists. Bill recognized the importance of applied science and the need for integrated “big science” programs to advance our understanding of ecosystems and to guide their management. As the first US GLOBEC program manager, he was pivotal in transitioning the concept of understanding how climate change impacts marine ecosystems to an operational national research program. The scientific insight and knowledge generated by US GLOBEC informed and advanced the ecosystem-based management approaches now being implemented for fishery management in the US. Bill held significant leadership roles in numerous international efforts to understand global and regional ecological processes, and organized and chaired a number of influential scientific conferences and their proceedings. He was passionate about working with and training young researchers. Bill's academic affiliations, notably at Stony Brook and Oregon State Universities, enabled him to advise, train, and mentor a host of students, post-doctoral researchers, and laboratory technicians. Under his collegial guidance they became critical independent thinkers and diligent investigators. His former students and colleagues carry on Bill Peterson's legacy of research that helps us understand marine ecosystems and informs more effective resource stewardship and conservation.