Blair Thornton is an Associate Professor of Oceanic Engineering at the University of Southampton in the UK with an adjunct position at the University of Tokyo in Japan. He holds an EPSRC Innovation Fellowship and leads the Ocean Perception Laboratory. His research interests focus on developing scalable methods for visual and in situ chemical seafloor observation through improved sensing and autonomy. He is dedicated to fielding systems in real environments and overcoming bottlenecks in the flow of information from data-collection through to human interpretation and insight.

Blair graduated with a B.Eng in Marine Engineering at the University of Southampton where he went on to receive his PhD in Underwater Robotics in 2006. During his PhD, Blair spent 2 years at the URA laboratory at the IIS, University of Tokyo, where he continued his research until he rejoined the University of Southampton in 2016 in his current role. During this time, he has participated in more than 40 ocean research expeditions (26 of which as principal investigator) and spent over 350 days at sea.