Division of Ocean Sciences - Fall 2002 Newsletter
NSF 04-003
(Replaces NSF 03-014)

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OCEAN SECTION

Crosscutting Programs | Biological Oceanography | Chemical Oceanography | Physical Oceanography | Marine Geology and Geophysics | Ocean Drilling Program | Education | Ocean Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination


Chemical Oceanography

As most of you know by now, the NSF Chemical Oceanography Program has just advanced from being the primary source of funds for unsolicited research proposals in ocean chemistry to being the only source. Earlier this summer, the Office of Naval Research, for more than a quarter-century our major partner in funding basic research in marine chemistry announced that its marine chemistry program would stand down this year. Shortly after setting up the ONR Marine Chemistry Program, Neil Andersen came to NSF and did the same thing here – and stayed. The rest is history, of course, but the two programs have had an illustrious history together. We will miss our big sister, but we look back with gratitude for all the good times.

During the February 2003 proposal competition, we received the second largest number of proposals in the history of the Program – second only to the onslaught in 1996 after two other agencies that funded marine chemistry announced severe cutbacks in extramural ocean research funding. In cooperation with the Physical Oceanography and Biological Oceanography Programs, we funded three medium-sized (i.e., multi-million dollar) projects in ocean biogeochemistry about which the community is certain to hear great things. Also, the Program has funded, for the first time, three proposals for U.S. Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere (SOLAS) projects. We anticipate that the number of requests in such categories – medium-sized interdisciplinary biogeochemistry expeditions and U.S. SOLAS projects – is likely to increase over the next few years.

This year, the Dissertations Symposium in Chemical Oceanography (DISCO) – the archetype of the oceanography dissertation symposia — will be meeting in Hawaii as usual. But there will be a couple of innovations this time for DISCO XVIII. First, for the first time, the Symposium will be held at a small resort in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii rather than in Honolulu. Secondly, the corresponding physical oceanography dissertations symposium (PODS) will convene there at the same time. Although the two symposia will meet separately, we plan to share a few joint social receptions, and we will have two joint field trips for the invitees – one to Mauna Kea to a close-up look at oceanic basaltic volcanism, and another to the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Observatory. Remarkably, thanks to the costs of air travel and lodging, having our meeting venue on the Big Island will cost no more than our longtime usual venue on Oahu.

Staffing

We are always interested in hearing from members of the ocean chemistry community who are interested in coming to NSF on temporary assignment as a program officer in the Program. The smooth operation of the CO Program depends heavily upon the willingness of members of the U.S. ocean chemistry research community to volunteer to come to Arlington for a two-year rotation to help us manage proposal review, award management, and scientific planning. Having “rotators” in the Program provides obvious benefits to NSF, the advancement of our scientific discipline, and the community. But equally important, “rotators” invariably leave with a sense of accomplishment and a wealth of knowledge about NSF and the do’s and don’ts of proposal writing that are of immense benefit to colleagues and administrators at their home institutions. If you think you might be interested in joining us to help shape the future of ocean chemistry, please give me a call.

In closing, I want to thank Simone Metz who Simone Metzhas devoted the past four years of her career to serving our community as Associate Program Director rotator in the CO Program. Frankly, I cannot imagine what it would have been like without her here to help manage this exciting but omplex and demanding set of activities that we collectively call “Chemical Oceanography”. I invite all of my colleagues in the ocean chemistry community to wish her the best.

Don Rice (drice@nsf.gov)

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