The nomination of Oregon State University marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reflects OSU’s growing leadership in federal environmental science programs. If confirmed, Lubchenco will be the second OSU scientist to head NOAA. Former OSU president John Byrne served as NOAA Administrator from 1981 to 1984. The agency’s $4 billion budget supports research and monitoring of fisheries, weather and marine and coastal resources.
Also serving in national agency leadership roles are five professors in OSU’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences (COAS):
- Michael Freilich, director of the Earth Sciences Division at NASA
- Timothy J. Cowles, program director for the Ocean Observatories Initiative, the National Science Foundation’s signature research project on climate change
- Kelly Falkner, director of NSF’s Antarctic Ocean and Climate Sciences program
- Jim McManus, associate program director of the chemical oceanography program at the National Science Foundation
- Mark Abbott, COAS dean and member of the National Science Board (and co-chair of Oregon’s Global Warming Commission)
OSU scientists also chair federal government committees that guide programs in such areas as marine reserves, social science research, public health, biomedicine and forest resources.