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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Gulf Research Program
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Standing Committee to Advise the Gulf Research Program on the Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems Research Campaign


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has appointed a group of experts to serve on a standing committee to guide the Gulf Research Program in the design, planning, and implementation of a long-term research campaign to improve understanding of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current and other Gulf ocean systems. The campaign is based on recommendations outlined in the consensus report Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Gaps and Recommendations.

The standing committee is made up of 9 volunteer experts with expertise in a range of disciplines, including observational physical oceanography, ocean engineering, ocean observation networks, oceanographic and atmospheric modeling and forecasting, and management of a large multidisciplinary oceanographic campaigns. Committee members are required to be free from conflicts-of-interest and will not be eligible to apply for any funding opportunities developed from the committee’s work.
Committee activities will include:
  • Advising on the design and implementation of related funding opportunities.
  • Suggesting experts to serve as external reviewers for proposals submitted for associated funding opportunities.
  • Developing opportunities for collaboration and joint sponsorship of activities and recommending ways to increase interaction among relevant organizations.
  • Reviewing the success of projects supported by the Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems Grants 1 funding opportunity and assessing their collective capacity to inform the long-term research campaign.
  • Suggesting opportunities for new approaches, improved technologies, or transfer of technologies from other realms that could benefit the research campaign.
  • Specifying modifications to the long-term field campaign outlined in the consensus report Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Gaps and Recommendations based on the most recent advancements in related fields or findings by ongoing projects funded by the Gulf Research Program and others.

Committee Members

Dr. Melbourne G. Briscoe, Chair
OceanGeeks, LLC

Dr. Steven Anderson
Areté Associates

Dr. Antonio J. Busalacchi, NAE
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)

Dr. Elva Escobar-Briones
Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología

Dr. David Halpern
NASA/California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dr. Eileen E. Hofmann
Old Dominion University

Dr. Kathryn (Kate) Moran
Ocean Networks Canada


Dr. Francis Wiese
Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.

Dr. Jerry M. Melillo, NAS, Ex-Officio Member
Marine Biological Laboratory


  



Committee Members' Biographies

Dr. Melbourne G. Briscoe, Chair
OceanGeeks, LLC

Dr. Melbourne Briscoe is the President of OceanGeeks, LLC, an environmental consulting company and information provider specializing in information on ocean policy issues, advice on forming and maintaining ocean partnerships and collaborations, and best practices in the translation of ocean research results to practical applications. Prior to his consulting work, Dr. Briscoe was Director, Ocean, Atmosphere, and Space Research Division with the Office of Naval Research; Director, U.S. Global Ocean Observing System with NOAA; and Vice President and Director, Research and Education with the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. He is a member of multiple professional associations: the American Geophysical Union, the Oceanography Society, and the American Meteorological Society. Dr. Briscoe received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering (fluid dynamics) from Northwestern University; he has prior NRC committee experience and holds certifications in aspects of group dynamics and meeting facilitation. (Back to Top)


Dr. Steven Anderson
Areté Associates

Dr. Steven Anderson is a Senior Principal Scientist at Areté Associates. Before joining Areté Associates in 2009, Steven was a Chief Scientist at Horizon Marine for nine years. Dr. Anderson is an oceanographer and engineer with experience in upper ocean dynamics, instrument design, and operational oceanography. He has conducted basic research on internal gravity waves, mixed layer dynamics, air-sea interaction, remote sensing, and Loop Current dynamics. His engineering development experience includes acoustic Doppler profilers, air-deployable oceanographic instrumentation, meteorological sensors, and remote sensing systems. Dr. Anderson has directed government and industry-sponsored research and development programs. Dr. Anderson received his Ph.D. in applied ocean sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, U.C.S.D. and was an assistant scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for six years. (Back to Top)


Dr. Antonio J. Busalacchi, NAE
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)

Dr. Antonio J. Busalacchi has served as the president of UCAR since August 2016. He has extensive experience in management of academic, laboratory, and government programs. Prior to his appointment at UCAR, he served as director of the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) and as a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland. Dr. Busalacchi began his professional career at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He has studied tropical ocean circulation, its role in the coupled climate system, and phenomena such as El Niño. His interests include the development and application of numerical models combined with in situ and space-based ocean observations to study the tropical ocean response to surface fluxes of momentum and heat. His research on climate variability and predictability has supported a range of international and national research programs dealing with global change and climate, particularly as affected by the oceans. He currently serves on the GRP Advisory Board and has extensive NRC committee experience. Dr. Busalacchi received his B.S. in physics, M.S. and Ph.D. in oceanography from Florida State University. (Back to Top)


Dr. Elva Escobar-Briones
Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología

Dr. Elva Escobar-Briones is the Director of Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (ICML) from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). The Institute addresses multidisciplinary research of high quality in inland waters, coastal and open ocean ecosystems and resources. Dr. Escobar-Briones’ personal research area focuses on benthic fauna and marine conservation. She and her students conduct field work on board the Oceanographic research Vessel "Justo Sierra"; in collaboration with national and international institutions describing the structure and function in the abyssal Gulf of Mexico and other ocean regions of Mexico in scientific collaborative efforts. Dr. Escobar-Briones received her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. (Back to Top)


Dr. David Halpern
NASA/California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr. David Halpern is Senior Research Scientist at the California Institute of Technology/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) since 1988. While on assignment from JPL from 2002 to 2012, he served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and at NASA Headquarters. He has chaired many national and international committees. Currently he serves as U.S. Representative to the UN Bureau for the Regular Process for the World Ocean Assessment, Chair of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Task Group on Group on Earth Observations (GEO), Vice-President of Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), Eos ocean sciences editor, and the Joint Committee on Oceanography and Meteorology (JCOM) Satellite Data Coordinator. He is a member of the NASEM Ocean Studies Board (OSB), OSB liasion to NASEM Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC), the Research Board of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), and GEO Program Board. He has been a visiting or adjunct professor at University of California at Los Angeles, California Institute of Technology, University of Washington and University of Maryland at College Park. Dr. Halpern pioneered the measurement of near-surface ocean currents and surface winds in shallow and deep-water regions, including the highly challenging equatorial Pacific. His research focused on ocean circulation and ocean-atmosphere interactions using in-situ and satellite measurements, and he served as Chief Scientist on many cruises in the Atlantic and Pacific. Dr. Halpern received the B.Sc. (Honours) in geology and physics from McGill University and Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Back to Top)


Dr. Eileen E. Hofmann
Old Dominion University

Dr. Eileen Hofmann is a Professor in the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and a member of the Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, both at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA. Her research interests are in the areas of physical-biological interactions in marine ecosystems, environmental control and transmission of marine diseases, descriptive physical oceanography, and mathematical modeling of marine ecosystems. She has published extensively in marine ecosystem modeling and other areas of marine research and has co-edited nine special issues of journals and two books. Her contributions to modeling physical-biological interactions in marine systems were recognized by her election in 2013 as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). She was a member of the international and U.S. science steering committees for the Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) program. She coordinated the U.S. and international Southern Ocean GLOBEC field program and synthesis phases. From 2010-2015, she served as Chair of the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) and in this role, oversaw the development of a new ten-year IMBER Science Plan and Implementation Strategy. She is currently President of the Ocean Sciences section of the AGU. She represents the Ocean Sciences section at the AGU Council Meetings and is a member of the AGU Council Leadership Team and Board. She is Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Marine Systems. She received a B.S. in Biology from Chestnut Hill College, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Sciences and Engineering from North Carolina State University. (Back to Top)


Dr. Kathryn (Kate) Moran
Ocean Networks Canada

Dr. Kate Moran is the President and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada where she overseas Canada’s leading cabled ocean observatories, that have pioneered a new generation of ocean observation systems. Using power and the Internet, the observatories provide continuous, long-term monitoring of ocean processes and events, as they happen. She is also a professor in the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Science. Her research focuses on marine geotechnics and its application to the study of paleoclimate, tectonics and seafloor stability. Dr. Kate Moran has led many major oceanographic expeditions, including the first drilling expedition to the Arctic Ocean in 2004. She has also made major contributions to the assessment of seafloor hazards in Canada's offshore regions. In 2009, Dr. Kate Moran served a two-year term as assistant director in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, DC. In her White House role, Moran's portfolio in the Obama administration included the oceans, the Arctic and Antarctic and climate change. She also worked with an administration team that helped to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico during the 2009 oil spill. She currently serves on the GRP Advisory Board and was a member of the Committee on Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Kate Moran holds degrees in ocean engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Rhode Island and Dalhousie University. (Back to Top)


Dr. Francis Wiese
Stantec Consulting Services Inc.

Dr. Francis Wiese is currently Stantec’s Marine Sciences lead for the USA, based in Anchorage, Alaska. He joined Stantec in August 2013 after serving as the Science Director for the North Pacific Research Board in Alaska for 8 years. In that position, Dr. Wiese designed, implemented and managed large multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional marine ecosystems programs, and set annual research priorities to address pressing fisheries management and marine ecosystem needs. In addition to his diverse disciplinary background, he has vast international knowledge, having lived and worked in eight different countries on four continents. His technical skills include ecosystem program development, implementation, and management; conceptual ecosystem modeling, Natural Resources Damage Assessment; assessing environmental impacts as a result of anthropogenic stressors; climate change; aerial surveys; satellite telemetry; study design, and statistical analyses. Dr. Wiese has worked for and with academia, government, non-profits and industry; he is a technical reviewer for over 20 international journals and has served on a variety of national and internal science panels and working groups. He has also provided expert testimony for oil pollution related issues in Canada and the United States. Dr. Wiese received his B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Victoria and Ph.D. in Conservation and Marine Biology from Memorial University of Newfoundland. (Back to Top)


Dr. Jerry M. Melillo, NAS, Ex-Officio Member
Marine Biological Laboratory

Dr. Jerry Melillo is a distinguished scientist and director emeritus at the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and a professor of biology at Brown University. Dr. Melillo specializes in understanding the impacts of human activities on the biogeochemistry of ecological systems from local to global scales, using a combination of field studies and simulation modeling. In 1996 and 1997, he served as the Associate Director for Environment in the U.S. President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Melillo has completed terms as the president of the Ecological Society of America and of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), an international environmental assessment body headquartered in Paris. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He is also an honorary professor in the Institute of Geophysical Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Melillo has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles, two ecology textbooks and three edited volumes on biogeochemistry. Between 1998 and 2014 he co-led three assessments for the U.S. Global Change Research Program on the impacts of climate change on the United States (2000, 2009 and 2014). Dr. Melillo is nominated as an ex officio member to ensure integration of this activity with other GRP activities. (Back to Top)