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News Release 07-074

Mark Abbott of Oregon State University to Become NSF Assistant Director for Geosciences

Mark Abbott of Oregon State University will become NSF Assistant Director for Geosciences.

Mark Abbott of Oregon State University will become NSF Assistant Director for Geosciences.

July 10, 2007

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Arden L. Bement, Jr. has named Mark Abbott of Oregon State University (OSU) as NSF assistant director for Geosciences. He will assume his new NSF position on October 1, 2007.

Abbott is currently dean of the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and professor of biological oceanography at OSU. Abbott, who joined OSU in 1988, became dean in 2001.

"We at NSF are extremely pleased to welcome Mark Abbott," said NSF Director Arden Bement. "In his position as Dean at OSU and as a practicing biological oceanographer, he has worked with scientists in geosciences directorate fields throughout the country and the world and is uniquely positioned for this leadership post."

In his new capacity, Abbott will oversee the Geosciences Directorate (GEO), which has a fiscal year 2007 budget of $744.85 million and supports research in the atmospheric, earth and ocean sciences.

GEO funds basic research that contributes to a better understanding of the processes that affect the global environment, such as the role of the atmosphere and oceans in climate, Earth's water cycle, and the importance of natural variability and the effects of increased greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Better prediction and understanding of natural environmental hazards such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis is also a GEO focus.

Abbott has been a member of the National Science Board, co-chair of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski's Climate Change Integration Group, and a member of the board of trustees of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

His research focuses on the interaction of biological and physical processes in the upper ocean, and relies on both remote sensing and field observations. Abbott is a pioneer in the use of satellite ocean color data to study coupled biological and physical processes.

"Abbott is a recognized national figure in the field, and this appointment to the leadership team at NSF is testimony to his personal strengths and professional excellence," said Sabah Randhawa, OSU Provost. "His leadership is characterized by hiring the best and brightest scientists in the country, and by creating a mentoring system that encouraged success by new faculty members."

Abbott holds a bachelor of science degree in conservation of natural resources from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctorate in ecology from the University of California at Davis. He formerly held positions with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.


Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734, email:
Luanne Lawrence, OSU, (541) 737-4875, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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