Division of Ocean Sciences - Fall 2002 Newsletter
NSF 03-014
(Replaces NSF 02-055)

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Biological Oceanography

New Addition

Lita Proctor arrived in March as a visiting scientist (Associate Program Director) in Biological Oceanography. Lita comes from the Department of Oceanography at Florida State University and is also a Visiting Scientist with the National Research Program, U.S. Geological Survey in Reston. She took her Ph.D. at SUNY Stony Brook. Her current research interests are in microbial ecology, including the diversity and function of communities in marine sediments, biofilms and zooplankton microflora. She has broad experience working both in the water column and in sediments, and on research that spans from marine virus ecology to molecular characterization of microorganisms in the N cycle.

Reviewer Workload

Many of you may have noticed a recent increase in the number of proposal review requests that you receive, especially during the Spring months. With an increase in the number of special funding initiatives relevant to biological oceanography (particularly at NSF), with Bio OCE getting actively involved with virtually all of these initiatives, and with projects submitted to other regular core programs, our community is being tapped for an ever-increasing number of reviews.

While we try to limit the number of review requests in our core program, we have less control over requests generated by other programs or in the context of special initiatives. Unfortunately, constraints imposed by the federal fiscal year mean that many of the special programs are run during the Spring, generating a huge pulse of review requests within a relatively short time frame (March-June). We are well aware of the burden this imposes on you in the community, and we are working to try to spread the submission dates and review load throughout more of the year. In the meantime, we apologize for the sometimes excessive number of review requests. We fully appreciate that everybody has multiple commitments, but your participation in the review process is absolutely essential to our efforts to fund the best science. Bio OCE, and OCE in general, tends to place a greater emphasis on getting a good number of mail reviews than programs in many other divisions, so your reviews really do have a major impact on funding decisions. And if you really can’t find the time to help out on any particular request, whether due to multiple requests, fieldwork, or other commitments, please let us know so we can consider the need to make the request of alternate potential reviewers.

Finally, many thanks to our colleagues in the United States and abroad, for the very significant time and effort put into reviewing.


We recently completed the review and proposal selection for this initial round of Synthesis Activities in the U.S. GLOBEC Northwest Atlantic Program, with six new projects receiving funding. The U.S. GLOBEC Program and the Synthesis Activities are cooperatively supported by NSF and NOAA. More details, including a list of the projects, should be posted on the U.S. GLOBEC website http://www.usglobec.org soon.


In cooperation with the Chemical Oceanography Program, we recently completed the review and proposal selection for final Synthesis Activities in the U.S. JGOFS Program. The new projects in this final round of synthesis, which will be ongoing for the next three years or so, will soon be posted to the U.S. JGOFS website http://usjgofs.whoi.edu.


A panel was convened 16-18 April in Washington, D.C. to evaluate 58 proposals submitted to the interagency Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) program. Requests for support totaled $42 M. Of these, we anticipate supporting between $5-7 Million for new programs in this 2002 competition. Successful PIs will be contacted by the participating agencies and a final list of funded projects will be posted on the web page of the National Office for Marine Biotoxins and Harmful Algal Blooms at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution http://www.whoi.edu/redtide/ when agency processing is completed. BioOCE will fund along with NOAA a single, large (5-year, $5million+), inter-disciplinary project headed by Dr. Barbara Hickey, University of Washington entitled: ECOHAB PNW: Ecology and Oceanography of Toxic Pseudo-nitzschia in the Pacific Northwest Coastal Ocean.

A workshop was held in early September to plan collaborative efforts between the U.S. (ECOHAB) and European (EUROHAB) harmful algal bloom (HAB) research communities. Participants in the workshop were asked to focus on the rationale of taking a comparative ecosystem approach to understanding HAB phenomenon and to identify opportunities for collaboration between the two communities.

Results of the workshop will be made available by postings on the web page of the National Office for Marine Biotoxins and Harmful Algal Blooms at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, http://www.whoi.edu/redtide/. There will be a request for comments on the draft planning document. There will also be a public presentation of the workshop activities at a “town meeting” at the upcoming International HAB conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, in November 2002, and at other forthcoming meetings where the Ocean Science Community is represented.

This activity is part of the continuing involvement of the Biological Oceanography Program, and the U.S. ocean science community in developing the SCOR/IOC international GEOHAB (Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms) Program. It is also part of the ongoing development of cooperation and coordination in environmental research between the NSF and the European Commission.

Biocomplexity and Carbon Cycle Programs

The Biological Oceanography Program is active, along with others across NSF, in administering parts of the Biocomplexity Program (GEN-EN, CBC, CNH and IDEA) and the Integrated Carbon Cycle Research (ICCR) program. The results of the FY 2002 Biocomplexity Competition will soon be available at http://www.geo.nsf.gov/ere/ere_be-competitions.html. See the Chemical Oceanography section of this newsletter for more details on the FY 2002 ICCR competition.

Phil Taylor (prtaylor@nsf.gov)
Dave Garrison (dgarriso@nsf.gov)
Phil Yund (pyund@nsf.gov)
Lita Proctor (lproctor@nsf.gov)
Gayle Pugh (gpugh@nsf.gov)

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