Archived: CFOS Dean Reports
Interim Dean Braddock January 2016 - February 2015
January 8, 2016
This will be my last issue of Inside CFOS. I feel privileged to have had the chance to serve as your interim dean over the past year. It has been a wonderful way for me to move on to retirement. I have enjoyed the people I have met and worked with over the past year. People are what make an organization great and CFOS has a lot great people. I thank the many people who have been supportive of me over the past year and have been patient with me while I learned about the school.
To not lose track of things to celebrate from the past few weeks I will include those items here and then provide a few more parting thoughts below.
Things to Celebrate:
Welcome to Davin Holen who will start as the Coastal Community Resiliency and Adaptation Specialist for the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program on Tuesday, January 19 . Davin is an anthropologist by training and worked for many years in the Subsistence Division of ADF&G, particularly in Southeast Alaska and Bristol Bay. He lives in Anchorage and is finishing up his PhD under Courtney Carothers. Many thanks to ACCAP, AOOS, National Sea Grant, National Weather Service, NOAA Climate Office, and National Ocean Service for funding the position.
At the end of December we said a sad farewell to Magali Philip, who worked for us in a temporary position as part of the web transition team. The story of how she came to Alaska was featured in a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story in late December and the story was accompanied by a photo by Dave Partee. See: http://www.newsminer.com/features/sundays/becoming_alaskan/mushing-draws-magali-philip-to-far-north/article_6e592490-abaf-11e5-b061-ef7abb44e250.html
Congratulations on a new grant awarded in December:
- "Flow and Turbulence in the wakes of abrupt topography" - Harper Simmons - Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution - $102,629
Other Parting Thoughts and Information:
As I said in one of my first issues of this electronic newsletter, a challenge of leadership in CFOS is that the school is diverse in mission and geographical distribution. But I also believe the diversity is a strength and that there is room to capitalize more on integration and collaboration across the school.
Change is required to be able to respond to new initiatives and in that sense change is good for an institution. But the state budget situation will force changes over the next few years more rapidly than normal for academia. Dean Moran will need your help in assuring that we use the state resources we do receive in the most efficient manner possible. It is very likely we will not be able to do everything we have done in the past but we need to make sure that we preserve resources for our most critical functions.
Until the day before the holiday closure I was attending meetings with the Provost to discuss the budget planning process for FY17. I was tasked with submitting a plan for a reduction of $1.4M from our state allocation for FY17. That memo was due to the Provost earlier this week. We do not know how deep the cuts will be but we do know that there will be a substantial cut to the budget next year. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a great deal of time to discuss the budget with a broader group in the school although I have now shared the plan with the associate deans and directors.
To help put peoples’ minds at ease, a priority in the budget plan was to protect existing employees. We did include reductions in positions where we anticipate retirements or resignations and made some preliminary decisions from fully replacing an open position to partially replacing an open position to not replacing an open position. We will also be looking toward some reduced staff contracts. But overall the current plan depends largely on one-time carry forward funds, a re-structure of faculty filled management positions (more on this in a separate correspondence), and open positions from retirements or resignations. I have also attached an FAQ document that answers some general questions about the CFOS budget.
Again, I encourage you to think about our priorities and how you can support Dean Moran as he joins the school. There will be challenges but there are also many opportunities and we have high quality staff and faculty to respond to those opportunities. I know CFOS will continue to excel and am happy that I had a chance to be a part of such a fine organization over the past year. I wish you all a great 2016.
December 11, 2015
It has been a busy few weeks and this Inside CFOS is thus a bit longer than usual. Among news items over the past few weeks, I am pleased to say that many CFOS faculty, staff, and students have been in the media (see some links below) and many CFOS faculty and students are featured in the September special issue of the journal, Oceanography , which focused on the RUSCALA program (see references below).
In other news, we have a brand new tri-fold brochure that provides a nice overview of CFOS with up-to-date information. If you would like copies for any event you might be attending, please stop by the dean’s office.
I also want to strongly encourage faculty to use faculty time off (FTO) over the break. FTO cannot be carried forward so not taking days accrued will either penalize the school or your grants. Please help us to balance the budget this year by taking the time you have accrued. Our HR Coordinator, Christi Lepley (firstname.lastname@example.org), is a good resource if you have questions.
Finally, I want to wish each of you a very happy holiday season. Inside CFOS will be taking a break for the holidays with the next issue scheduled for January 7, 2016 . Have a safe and happy break.
Congratulations on new grants awarded in November:
- Doug Dasher, AKMAP NPRA Estuaries Survey Support DEC FY2016, AK Dept. of Environmental Conservation - $70,851
- Geoff Wheat, Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) Continuation, University of Southern California - $83,236
Also, Alaska Sea Grant funded several proposals by CFOS faculty (see https://seagrant.uaf.edu/news/fishlines/2015/november.php)
- Anne Beaudreau, Navigating the predator gauntlet: Impacts of nearshore marine fishes on hatchery and wild juvenile salmon in Southeast Alaska
- Keith Criddle and Gordon Kruse, Parallel and divergent fishery management structures in state and federal waters
- Jacqueline Overbeck (ADGGS), Sue Flensburg (Bristol Bay Native Association), Gabe Dunham, and Christopher Maio (UAF), Stakes for stakeholders: Community-based shoreline erosion monitoring
- Heather Finkle (ADF&G), Peter Westley and Anne Beaudreau, Exploring linkages between marine and freshwater ecosystems to predict sockeye salmon responses to climate change and to inform enhancement options on Kodiak Island, Alaska
Congratulations to CFOS authors in the September special edition of Oceanography featuring results from the RUSCALA program:
- The Relationship Between Patterns of Benthic Fauna and Zooplankton in the Chukchi Sea and Physical Forcing <http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/28-3_pisareva.html>
M.N. Pisareva, R.S. Pickart, K. Iken, E.A. Ershova, J.M. Grebmeier, L.W. Cooper, B.A. Bluhm, C. Nobre, R.R. Hopcroft, H. Hu, J. Wang, C.J. Ashjian, K.N. Kosobokova, and T.E. Whitledge. 2015. /Oceanography/ 28(3):68–83, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2015.58.
- Long-Term Changes in Summer Zooplankton Communities of the Western Chukchi Sea, 1945–2012 <http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/28-3_ershova.html>
E.A. Ershova, R.R. Hopcroft, K.N. Kosobokova, K. Matsuno, R.J. Nelson, A. Yamaguchi, and L.B. Eisner. 2015. /Oceanography/ 28(3):100–115, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2015.60.
- Time-Series Benthic Community Composition and Biomass and Associated Environmental Characteristics in the Chukchi Sea During the RUSALCA 2004–2012 Program <http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/28-3_grebmeier.html>
J.M. Grebmeier, B.A. Bluhm, L.W. Cooper, S.G. Denisenko, K. Iken, M. Kędra, and C. Serratos. 2015. /Oceanography/ 28(3):116–133, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2015.61.
Other new publications:
- Divine LM, Bluhm BA, Mueter FJ, Iken K (2015) Diet analysis of Alaska Arctic snow crabs (Chionoecetes opilio) using stomach contents and δ13C and δ15N stable isotopes. Deep-Sea Res II. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2015.11.009
Congratulations to CFOS people recently in the news:
- Two articles related to walrus haulouts and the potential "walrus poaching event" that Lara Horstmann-Dehn was interviewed for in September/October: https://news.vice.com/article/poachers-may-have-killed-these-25-walruses-for-their-heads-and-tusks and http://geographical.co.uk/nature/wildlife/item/1286-walrus-haul-outs-in-alaska
- Article featuring PhD student Casey Clark in ADN: http://www.adn.com/article/20151003/old-walrus-bones-dug-alaskas-arctic-could-shed-new-light-point-lay-haulouts
- Alaska Sea Grant article about the research of Anne Beaudreau and her student, Emily Whitney: http://seagrant.uaf.edu/news/2015/11-25-15-southeast-alaska-glacier-estuary.php
- Chris Sannito was featured in a recent article on his new use for Pollock skins sure to make your special dog very happy: http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/12/09/pollock-skins-for-fido/
Finally, congratulations to Peter Westlley who was recently invited to a four year membership position on the Marine Fishes Specialist Subcommittee for COSEWIC in Canada. Peter was also selected as a fellow in the UAF Chancellor’s Innovation in Technology and Elearning program.
November 30, 2015
November 30, 2015
Inside CFOS took a short break last week for Thanksgiving. I hope each of you had a great Thanksgiving break.
On the topic of giving thanks, I would like to formally recognize Karl Wuoti, Fisheries Division and Serena Likar, Geophysical Institute, for their dedicated efforts processing IMS travel over the past two months. IMS and GPMSL travelers are now fully transitioned to the shared services travel office & we couldn't have done this without Karl and Serena.
I would also like to announce that starting in January Sarah Hardy will be the new program head for the GPMSL Program. I want to thank outgoing head, Katrin Iken, for her service to the program and school. Please join me in welcoming Sarah to her new role and help her in making the transition a smooth one.
If you need a few minutes break and want to see some beautiful Arctic photography taken on a recent Sikuliaq cruise, you may want to check out: https://www.facebook.com/bernm8r/videos/10207121877061357/
Speaking of the Sikuliaq, John Haverlack and Jeffrey Simonson will be working on Sikuliaq IT projects during December and January. If you need IT support please do not contact them directly but rather use the CFOS IT service desk (contact information below). The IT team will respond to your request as soon as possible.
- email@example.com or 907-474-7259
CFOS people recently in the news:
- Lauren Frisch’s article on walrus research led by Lara Horstmann-Dehn was published in the Delta Discovery ( http://www.deltadiscovery.com/story/2015/10/28/in-our-native-land/research-gives-insight-into-historic-walrus-population-dynamics/3699.html ), Nome Nugget (see page 3: http://www.nomenugget.net/archives/2015/10.29.15%20NN.pdf ) and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership website ( http://oceanleadership.org/research-gives-insight-into-historic-walrus-population-dynamics/ )
- Seth Danielson was interviewed for an article in the Monterey Herald ( http://www.montereyherald.com/environment-and-nature/20151028/monterey-bay-coast-waiting-on-the-waves )
- A new profile of MAP faculty member, Gabe Dunham, authored by Barb Hameister has been posted on the CFOS website (see: http://www.uaf.edu/cfos/people/)
November 12, 2015
As always there are a number of things to celebrate in the past few weeks. Hearty congratulations to Gordon Kruse and Ben Meyer (see details below) for being recognized at the recent AFS Alaska Chapter meeting. Congratulations also to those receiving new grant support.
- Dr. Gordon Kruse received the Wally Noerenberg Award for Fisheries Excellence. This is the highest award of the Alaska Chapter, bestowed as a special honor on individuals who have made great and outstanding contributions to Alaska fisheries. Gordon is just the 18th recipient of this award since its inception 34 years ago. For more information see: http://www.uaf.edu/cfos/
- Ben Meyer won the "best student poster" award at the AFS meeting in Homer. The poster can be accessed at: http://southcentral.epscor.alaska.edu/catalogs/11496-effects-of-temperature-regime-on-juvenile-chino
Congratulations on new grants awarded in October:
- "R/V Sikuliaq Oceanographic Technical Services - Year 1 of 2" - Murray Stein - NSF - $412,221
- "FY16 Support for Marine Scientist Polasek" - Lori Polasek - ASLC/SAAMS - $37,055 - ASLC
- "FY16 Support for Marine Scientist Andrews" - Russ Andrews - ASLC/SAAMS - $94,944 - ASLC
- "FY16 Support for Marine Scientist Hollmen" - Tuula Hollmen - ASLC/SAAMS - $153,123 - ASLC
October 30, 2015
In this issue of Inside CFOS I would like to take a few minutes to remind everyone of your responsibilities regarding Title IX (sexual misconduct) incidents. As anyone who has been following the news lately knows, an audit at UAF brought to light past inadequacies in handling sexual violence and sexual harassment incidents.
While the most important reason for responding appropriately to a possible Title IX incident is to protect students and employees, there are other consequences to UAF for non-compliance including the possibility of losing our eligibility to receive federal funding.
How should you respond to a possible incident?
If an employee or student discloses information to you or you overhear a situation that falls under Title IX, you are considered a responsible employee and must contact a Title IX coordinator to report the situation within 24 hours. This is not an option; it is mandatory.
It is important that information be reported even when heard in confidence and it is important that the report be made directly to the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity. They are the ones trained to determine what further action is needed. Please help me in assuring that UAF is a safe working environment for students, faculty and staff. For more information see: http://www.alaska.edu/voice/2015/jan-2015/system-news/responsible-employee
And now for a few congratulations:
New aquaculture grant
Alaska Sea Grant received a new grant from NOAA Aquaculture titled “Alaska Mariculture Diversification, Innovation and Technology Transfer”. PIs are Paula Cullenberg, Gary Freitag and Quentin Fong. The $297,000 project is a two-year grant to support workshops and demonstration projects designed to advance seaweed aquaculture, oyster farming and other species in our state.
Oxtoby, L.E., J.T. Mathis, L.W. Juranek, and M.J. Wooller. 2015. Estimating stable carbon isotope values of microphytobenthos in the arctic for application to food web studies. Polar Biology.
Employees of the Year recognition
The K-Bay lab group was recognized with the employees of the year award by NOS (NOAA National Ocean Service). This award recognizes significant group contributions to NOAA-NOS programs and the demonstration of exceptional and sustained effort toward the accomplishment of NOS missions. This award is in recognition of the team efforts to conduct coastal science and support marine education at Kasitsna Bay Lab. The award is being given to the lab employees as a group, which also includes Connie Geagle and Hans Pedersen from UAF/CFOS. This is the highest honor a NOAA Line Office can award a group. Connie and Hans are not NOAA employees, and legal limitations do not allow NOS to recognize employees and partners in the exact same manner, but their contributions were fully included in the nomination write-up and NOS will be providing them with recognition certificates as well.
October 16, 2015
October 16, 2015
Congratulations to CFOS people in the news and with new publications! As always, please feel free to send me items to share in future issues of Inside CFOS.
Congratulations on accomplishments:
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation recently endorsed faculty members Chris Sannito and Brian Himelbloom as Process Authorities in the State of Alaska. Process Authorities are recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as experts in the field of high-risk food processing.
Trent Sutton was recently named as an Associate Editor for the North American Journal of Fisheries Management.
CFOS in the news:
A new article on the CFOS website authored by Lauren Frisch about Franz Mueter’s work on climate change and the risk to fisheries: https://web.sfos.uaf.edu/wordpress/news/?p=2012
Two new articles recently published in the Cornerstone also by Lauren Frisch:
First an article featuring Lara Horstmann-Dehn’s work on historic walrus population dynamics http://news.uaf.edu/research-gives-insight-historic-walrus-population-dynamics-2/ .
Second an article on the research of CFOS PhD student, Ellen Chenoweth with UAS Associate Professor, Jan Straley, on humpback whales taking advantage of “fast food” http://news.uaf.edu/fast-food-opportunity-appeals-humpback-whales/
Recent books from Sea Grant by CFOS authors:
Jewett, S.C., R.N. Clark, H. Chenelot, S. Harper, and M.K. Hoberg. 2015. Field Guide to Sea Stars of the Aleutian Islands. Alaska Sea Grant. 173 pp.
Wynne, K. and G. Mix. 2015. Guide to Marine Mammals and Turtles of the U.S. Pacific. Alaska Sea Grant. 133 pp.
Congratulations on new journal articles:
- Bodenstein, B., K. Beckman, G. Sheffield, K. Kuletz, C. Van Hemert, B. Berlowski, and V. Shearn-Boschler. 2015. Avian cholera causes marine bird mortality in the Bering Sea of Alaska. Long Letter. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 51: 934-937. http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/2014-12027 .
- Ravelo AM, Konar BH, Bluhm BA (2015) Spatial variability in epibenthic communities on the Alaskan Beaufort Sea shelf. Polar Biology, DOI 10.1007/s00300-015-1741-9
- Divine L, Iken K, Bluhm BA (2015) Regional benthic food web structure on the Alaskan Beaufort Sea shelf. Marine Ecology Progress Series 531:15-32
- Eicken H, Bluhm BA, Collins RE, Gradinger RR, Haas C, Ingham M, Mahoney A, Nicolaus M, Perovich D (2015) Field techniques in sea ice research. 8. Sea ice biota. In: Cryospheric sciences research techniques. UNESCO. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems ( www.eolss.net )
- Bluhm BA, Carmack E, Kosobokova K (2015) A tale of two basins: An integrated physical and biological perspective of the deep Arctic Ocean. Progress in Oceanography http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2015.07.011
- Grebmeier JM, Bluhm BA, Cooper LW, Danielson S, Arrigo K, Blanchard AL, Clark JT, Day RH, Frey KE, Gradinger RR, Kedra M, Konar B, Kuletz KJ, Lee SH, Lovvorn JR, Norcross BL, Okkonen SR (2015) Ecosystem characteristics and processes facilitating persistent macrobenthic biomass hotspots and associated benthivory in the Pacific Arctic. Progress in Oceanography 136:92–114
- Renaud PE, Sejr MK, Bluhm BA, Sirenko B, Ellingsen IH (2015) The future of Arctic benthos: expansion, invasion, and biodiversity. Progress in Oceanography, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2015.07.007
- Foley, K., Rosenberger, A., Mueter, F., 2015. Effectiveness of single-pass backpack electrofishing to estimate juvenile coho salmon abundance in Alaskan headwater streams. Fisheries Science 81: 601-610.
- Yasumiishi, E.M., Criddle, K.R., Hillgruber, N., Mueter, F.J., Helle, J.H. (2015). Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) growth and temperature indices as indicators for the year class strength of age-1 pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) in the eastern Bering Sea. Fisheries Oceanography 24(3): 242-256. doi:10.1111/fog.12108
- von Biela, V.R., Kruse, G.H., Mueter, F.J., Black, B.A., Douglas, D.C., Helser, T.E., and Zimmerman C.E. (2015). Evidence of bottom-up limitations in nearshore marine systems based on otolith proxies of fish growth. Marine Biology 162, 1019-1031. doi:10.1007/s00227-015-2645-5
- Malick, M.J., Cox, S.P., Mueter, F.J., Peterman, R.M. (2015). Linking phytoplankton phenology to salmon productivity along a north/south gradient in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72(5): 697-708. doi:10.1139/cjfas-2014-0298
October 6, 2015
Here’s hoping that everyone in Fairbanks now has power restored! It was kind of an ordeal at our house but we are now fully back to normal. But I should not complain too much as I missed the worst of the storm because I was attending the Marine Advisory Program/Alaska Sea Grant annual meeting in Nome. I greatly enjoyed learning more about the activities of our MAP faculty and their value to local communities across Alaska as well as participating in strategic discussions about future directions for MAP and Alaska Sea Grant.
As always, there are a number of accomplishments to celebrate. I get new grant information from our terrific grant techs but only get publication information when people send that to me. I am always looking for publications or any other accomplishments that can be shared with the school.
Links to CFOS in the news:
- Article on HF radar in the Arctic Sounder authored by Lauren Frisch: http://www.thearcticsounder.com/article/1538wind-powered_radars_collect_remote_data
- Article on the R/V Sikuliaq in UAF’s Aurora Magazine authored by Sharice Walker: http://news.uaf.edu/sikuliaqs-crew-delivers-the-ship-home/
- New student profile on Jonathan Whitefield by Barb Hameister at http://www.uaf.edu/cfos/people/
Congratulations on new grants:
- Seth Danielson , Glacier Bay oceanographic investigations, NPS, $64,807.
- Katrin Iken , Tracing sea ice algae in Arctic benthic food webs using the sea ice diatom biomarker IP25, NPRB, $198,830.
- Russ Hopcroft , The Chukchi borderlands - exploration of pelagic life in a complex polar environment, NOAA, $1,019,914.
- Brenda Konar , Collaborative research: changes in ecosystem production and benthic biodiversity following widespread loss of an ecosystem engineer, NSF, $303,195.
- Gordon Kruse , Graduate studies agreement between Kevin McNeel and ADFG, ADFG, $17,622.
- Gordon Kruse , Graduate studies agreement between Laura Stichert and ADFG, ADFG, $19,748.
- Franz Mueter , Arctic gadids in a changing climate, NPRB, $255,288.
- Murray Stein , Research vessel support for the Navy funded cruises on UAF's R/V Sikuliaq during CY 2015, Office of Chief of Naval Research, $1,423,330.
- Peter Winsor , Glider based Arctic marine mammal monitoring, NPRB, $177,583.
Congratulations on new publications:
- Angulo-Preckler, C., Spurkland, T., Avila C., Iken, K. , 2015. Antimicrobial activity of selected benthic Arctic invertebrates. Polar Biology doi: 10.1007/s00300-015-1754-4.
- Wang, S.W., Budge, S.M., Iken, K., Gradinger, R., Springer, A.M., Wooller, M.J. 2015. Importance of sympagic production to Bering Sea zooplankton as revealed from fatty acid-carbon stable isotope analysis. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 518: 31-50.
September 17, 2015
September 17, 2015
I am delighted to welcome incoming CFOS dean S. Bradley Moran. Dr. Moran plans to arrive in Fairbanks in early January 2016 and will be attending the Alaska Marine Science Symposium later that month in Anchorage. Dr. Moran is interested in temporary housing when he arrives. Please let him know if you know of an opportunity for housesitting or renting (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As always, I am delighted to receive news items for inclusion in future issues of Inside CFOS.
Congratulations on new publications:
- Kowalik, Z., A. Marchenko, D. Brazhnikov and N. Marchenko. 2015. Tidal currents in the western Svalbard Fjords. Oceanologia 57:318-327 (available at www.sciencedirect.com).
- Lu, K.-F., T. Weingartner, S. Danielson, P. Winsor, E. Dobbins, K. Martini and H. Statscewich. 2015. Lateral mixing across ice meltwater fronts of the Chukchi Sea shelf. Geophysical Research Letters.
- The August 2015 issue of Progress in Oceanography is a special issue on Synthesis of Arctic Research (SOAR)
The issue has numerous papers by CFOS authors including Arny Blanchard, Bodil Bluhm, Courtney Carothers, Jessica Cross, Seth Danielson, Doug Dasher, Wiley Evans, Adrian Gall, Rolf Gradinger, Brenda Holladay, Steve Jewett, Brenda Konar, Jeremy Mathis, Brenda Norcross and Steve Okkonen.
Welcome new graduate students:
Douglas Duncan- Advisor: Anne Beaudreau
Emily Fergusson- Advisor: Ginny Eckert
Danielle Gerik- Advisor: Andres Lopez
Genevieve Johnson- Advisor: Andres Lopez
Amy Kirkham- Advisor: Shannon Atkinson
Michael Knutson- Advisor: Ginny Eckert
Tessa Minicucci- Advisor: Megan McPhee
Kristin Neuneker- Advisor: Jeff Falke
Jason Leppi- Advisor: Mark Wipfli
Valentia Melica- Advisor: Shannon Atkinson
Laura Stichert- Advisor: Gordon Kruise
Jared Weems- Advisor: Ginny Eckert
MS Marine Biology
Jacob Metzger- Advisor: Brenda Konar
Mark Nelson- Advisor: Mat Wooller
Alexander Thornton- Advisor: Lori Polasek
PhD Marine Biology
Benjamin Weitzman- Advisor: Brenda Konar
Ann Zinkann- Advisor: Katrin Iken
Esty Willcox- Advisor: Eric Collins
Faith Stemmler- Advisor: Russ Hopcroft
September 4, 2015
September 4, 2015
Welcome to new assistant professor, Amanda Kelley, who will be joining CFOS in May 2016. Her research focuses on the biological effects of ocean acidification.
News related to President Obama’s visit:
- Katrin Iken just reported that the AMBON (Arctic Marine Biodiversity Observing Network) project was listed in the newest White House fact sheet on President Obama's Arctic issues. The link is:https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/01/fact-sheet-president-obama-announces-new-investments-enhance-safety-and
- Gordon Kruse represented CFOS at the Science Expo for Media in Anchorage on Sunday presenting information on research efforts in the area of climate change and fisheries. He also highlighted CFOS research at a meeting at the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute in Juneau with a D.C. delegation including John Holdren (President's chief science advisor, and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy), Tammy Dickinson (Principal Assistant Director for Environment & Energy, OSTP), and Beth Kerttula (Director, National Ocean Council). Both presentations were well received. Thank you, Gordon.
Check out new articles on CFOS faculty and students:
- Read about CFOS-designed remote power modules in the latest edition of the Cornerstone:http://news.uaf.edu/new-funding-expands-radar-use-alaskas-oceans/. Or the full-length version of the story on our website at: https://web.sfos.uaf.edu/wordpress/news/?p=1977. The articles feature CFOS research associate, Rachael Potter, and CFOS faculty member, Tom Weingartner.
- Read the new faculty profile of Tuula Hollmen on the CFOS website: http://www.uaf.edu/cfos/people/
- Read about a large research initiative to predict and reduce future Chinook salmon declines also on our website at:https://web.sfos.uaf.edu/wordpress/news/?p=1985. The article features CFOS faculty Milo Adkison, Jeff Falke, Lara Horstmann-Dehn, Trent Sutton, Megan McPhee, and Mark Wipfli.
- The CFOS website homepage also has recent articles on the Arctic GEOTRACES cruise on the USCGCHealy with CFOS faculty member Ana Aguilar-Islas and graduate student, Kyle Dilliplaine, and on the AMBON project in the Chukchi Sea.
Congratulations to the following people who received new grants in August:
- "The Chukchi Borderlands - Unexplored Seafloor Communities" - Katrin Iken (PI), Brenda Norcross (co-PI) and Sarah Hardy (co-PI) - NOAA - $2,308,991
- "Planetary Science Research & Analysis Support" - Geoff Wheat - Universities Space Research Association - $138,783
- "Causes of Decline in Pacific Halibut Size at Age" - Gordon Kruse - UA Foundation (PCCRC) - $74,618
- "Using a Stage Structured Population Dynamics Model to Determine Key Environmental and fishery-related drivers of AYK Chinook salmon survival" - Milo Adkison - UA Foundation (PCCRC) - $103,925
- "The Role of Ocean Heat Flux Processes on Ice Melt in the Chukchi Sea" - Thomas Weingartner - NPRB - $122,081
- "Investigating the Impacts of Prehistoric and Historic Climate Variability on the Foraging Ecology of the Pacific Walrus" - Casey Clark (major professor, Lara Horstmann-Dehn) - NPRB (Student Award)- $25,000
- "Physiological Control of King Crabs by the Parasite Briarosaccus callosus" - Leah Sloan (major professor, Sarah Hardy) - NPRB (Student Award) - $25,000
- "Using Remote Sensing Methods to Study Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) Productivity in the Gulf of Alaska" - Sarah Tanedo (major professor, Tuula Hollmen) - NPRB (Student Award) - $25,000
- "Trophic Ecology and Distribution of Chukchi Sea Fishes with an Emphasis on Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida)" - Jennifer Marsh (major professor, Franz Mueter) - NPRB (Student Award) - $25,000
- "Changes in the Reproductive Capacity of Female Pacific Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) through Long-Term Monitoring Programs" - Jenell Larsen (major professor, Shannon DeMaster) - NPRB (Student Award) - $25,000
Congratulations on new publications:
- Keogh, M. J. and S. Atkinson. 2015. Endocrine and immunological responses to adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) administration in juvenile harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) during winter and summer. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A.
- Di Poi, C., S. Atkinson, A. Hoover-Miller, and G. Blundell. 2015. Maternal buffering of stress response in free-ranging Pacific harbor seal pups in Alaska. Marine Mammal Science.
- Atkinson, S., D. Crocker, D. Houser and K. Mashburn. 2015. Stress physiology in marine mammals: how well do they fit the terrestrial model? 2015. Journal of Comparative Physiology B.
And finally, welcome to new PhD student, Valentina Melica, a Fullbright Fellow from Italy who will be working with Shannon Atkinson in Juneau.
August 21, 2015
August 21, 2015
A few celebrations before the academic year begins.
- Hearty congratulations to Trent Sutton who was just honored by being named to the Start-Up Class of the American Fisheries Society Fellows Program. The official announcement was made at the recent meeting in Portland, Oregon.
- Congratulations on new publications:
o Divine, L.M., K. Iken, and B. Bluhm. 2015. Regional benthic food web structure on the Alaska Beaufort Sea Shelf. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 531:15-32.
o Ershova, E.A., R.R. Hopcroft, and K.N. Kosobokova. 2015. Inter-annual variability of summer mesozooplankton communities of the western Chukchi Sea: 2004-2012. Polar Biology.
o Ravelo, A.M., B. Konar, and B. A. Bluhm. 2015. Spatial variability of epibenthic communities on the Alaska Beaufort Shelf. Polar Biology.
- The AMBON (Arctic Marine Biodiversity Observing Network) project is currently conducting its first research cruise to the Chukchi Sea aboard the Norseman II. The program includes CFOS PIs Katrin Iken, Seth Danielson, Russ Hopcroft, and Franz Mueter, as well as PIs from the University of Maryland, University of Washington APL, USFWS, and NOAA. The group is making excellent progress during their cruise both with station sampling as well as mooring recoveries and deployments.
- The R/V Sikuliaq just visited the Native Village of Diomede and a report by the Acting Mayor, Opik Ahkinga, indicated that the trip was a big success. Crew members and scientists visited Diomede School, a number residents got to tour the ship, and the Sikuliaq even removed recyclables that had been stockpiled at Diomede. A big thanks to the crew and the science party, including chief scientist, Peter Worcester, for their outreach efforts.
- The new website is up and running but is a phase one product. We have organizational and content improvements in the works but are waiting for the technical support needed to move to phase two. In the meantime, please let Brenda Konar know if you identify needed additions, deletions, or corrections.
- I have had a lot of people ask me about our two open searches. I was hoping we would have concrete information about both the dean search and the faculty position in chemical oceanography for this newsletter. What I do know is that progress is being made in both cases and I believe there will be more information very soon.
August 7, 2015
August 7, 2015
I am not sure how we are already finishing up the first week of August. It has been a busy summer. The academic year is coming up quickly and there will be a different rhythm soon. A few accomplishment and celebrations follow. Please remember to send me any items, including new publications, you think might be good to include inInside CFOS.
- Congratulations on new grant awards:
- Development of age determination for commercially important crustaceans in Alaska. Gordon Kruse, NPRB, $107,204.
- Evaluation of nearshore communities and habitats: Ecological process in Lower Cook Inlet. Katrin Iken, National Park Service, $45,900.
- Alaska monitoring and assessment program survey of estuaries within the National Petroleum Reserve- Alaska (NPR-A). Doug Dasher, Arny Blanchard, Stephen Jewett and Sathy Naidu, Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement, $250,594 (administered by CNSM).
- Congratulations to Ray RaLonde, Associate Leader and Aquaculture Specialist with the Marine Advisory Program, who has announced his retirement effective October 1 .
- The Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute held a very successful open house on July 24th to celebrate Ted Stevens Day. Students and faculty from CFOSFisheries Division were on hand to provide information about fisheries research and academic programs. About 200 visitors participated in the event.
- Christina Barile, grant technician, recently trained on NSF Fastlane and is now able to assist P.I.s with the process including requirements and possible sticking points.
- Congratulations on new publications:
- Smith, N.J., T.M. Sutton, and J. Savereide. 2015. Seasonal movement patterns of Inconnu in an Arctic estuary delta complex. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 35: 698-707.
- Smith, N.J. and T.M. Sutton. 2015. Mixed-stock Inconnu Stenodusleucichthys habitat use in an Arctic estuarine delta complex. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 98: 857-869.
July 24, 2015
July 24, 2015
I spent the first part of the week in Nome to help out with an open house event on the Sikuliaq Tuesday afternoon. It was the Sikuliaq’s first trip to Nome. In just over three hours, over 200 people showed up for tours, including many school-aged children. My huge thanks to NW Campus staff, Gay Sheffield, the crew of the Sikuliaq, and Vivian Viar for making the day a very successful event. I think the open house was a good start in showing that we want to be a welcome visitor when we work in the Arctic, and want to both share what we are learning in our research efforts as well as learn about local knowledge and concerns.
- Truly something to celebrate is the launch of the new website. With the new site, we also are launching our monthly student or faculty profile feature. You can read a profile of fisheries graduate student, Jane Sullivan, athttp://www.uaf.edu/cfos/people/. Ms. Sullivan’s major advisor is Gordon Kruse. Stay tuned for a new profile of anCFOS faculty member in about a month. We intend to rotate between student and faculty profiles.
- Congratulations to Kate Wynne who has announced her retirement effective October 1 . We are delighted that she plans to continue doing research into the future.
- Congratulations to Alaska Sea Grant who recently received a very favorable site review from National Sea Grant. The report found that Alaska Sea Grant meets the standards of excellence expected and further identified two best management practices that will be shared nationally.
- Congratulations on new publications:
- Alexandra M. Ravelo, Brenda Konar & Bodil A. Bluhm. 2015. Spatial variability of epibenthic communities on the Alaska Beaufort Shelf. Polar Biology.
- Karson C. Coutre, Anne H. Beaudreau & PW Malecha. 2015. Temporal variation in diet composition and use of pulsed resource subsidies by juvenile Sablefish. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 144 (4):807-819.
- Congratulations to Douglas Duncan who was awarded the Ladd Macaulay Graduate Fellowship in Salmon Fisheries Research. He will be starting his MS Fisheries program in Juneau this fall under that direction of Anne Beaudreau.
- And, finally my first known erratum: The last edition of “Inside CFOS” incorrectly attributed a UA Foundation award of $5,000 to Russ Hopcroft. That award was to Jenn Questrel to support research entitled “Phylogeography and connectivity of four sibling species of Pseudocalanus (Copepoda: Calanoida) in the Northern Gulf of Alaska and Western Arctic Ocean.”
July 10, 2015
July 10, 2015
A lot has happened since the last issue of “Inside CFOS”! I highlight some changes and accomplishments below. Please remember to send me newsworthy items that might be of interest in future issues of “Inside CFOS”. Happy summer to all.
Welcome to our new director of the Seward Marine Center and marine superintendent, Murray Stein. Mr. Stein will be starting his position on July 13, 2015. Our heartfelt thanks to interim superintendent, Pete Zerr, who will be on board to help Mr. Stein with the transition through the end of the month.
Welcome also to Barb Hameister and student intern, Lauren Frisch. Barb, whose primary affiliation is with the Center for Global Change, which recently moved to the Graduate School, will be working for CFOS about 10 hours per week to help with communication. Among her duties, she will be preparing student and faculty profiles for our new website and will be updating school materials including school-wide and program brochures. Lauren Frisch joins us in a brand new fellowship position shared between the dean’s office and Alaska Sea Grant. She will be writing longer feature articles about activities in the school. We hope these efforts will extend the message about the many outstanding accomplishments in our school.
Although we have had some unexpected delays, we believe that the new website launch is very close. As far as we know there is only one last task being working on at OIT before we will be able to launch the site. Stay tuned.
My personal hearty thanks to the Alaska Sea Grant communications group, who are actively helping us promote the broader activities in the school. Several recent press releases were a result of efforts by Alaska Sea Grant that extend beyond their normal work activities. I continue to look forward to working with that group to broaden our communications efforts.
Congratulations to Wiley Evans, Jeremy Mathis and their colleagues for a new publication in the July 1, 2015 edition of PLOS One: “On the Frontline: Tracking Ocean Acidification in an Alaskan Shellfish Hatchery”.
Congratulations also to Sarah Hardy and colleagues for a new Insights/Perspective article in the policy forum of the July 9, 2015 edition of Science. The article is entitled “Managing Mining of the Deep Seabed: Contracts Are Being Granted, but Protections are Lagging.”
CFOS had a significant presence at the recent Governor’s Fiscal Conference held in early June on the UAF campus. Our Executive Officer, Jennifer Harris, was recruited to facilitate one of the sessions at that event and will also be facilitating an upcoming FEDC event with the Governor’s Budget staff. Jennifer has been very involved with the UAF Process Improvement and Training team at UAF, which prepared her for her role as facilitator.
And last, but certainly not least, congratulations to the following people who received new grant awards in June:
- Russ Hopcroft: “Secondary production of the cyclopoid copepod Oithona similis in the northern Gulf of Alaska”; UA Foundation, $5,000.
- Franz Mueter: “Collaborative research: resilience and adaptive capacity of arctic marine systems under a changing climate (RACArtic)”; NSF, $95,655.
- Andrew McDonnell: “NGAARA Zooplankton Survey”; UA Foundation, $2,500.
- Sarah Hardy: “Physiology of parasitic barnacles infecting king crabs”, UA Foundation, $5,000.
July 1, 2015
Inside CFOS is taking a one week vacation to celebrate the 4th of July. Stay tuned for the next edition at the end of next week. In the meantime, I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable 4th of July weekend.
June 19, 2015
I hope that everyone is having a chance to enjoy summer in Alaska. Oddly, I am writing this newsletter from Oregon where it is almost exactly the same temperature as Fairbanks. Summer has not slowed down much on many fronts and there is a lot to report. News items and congratulations follow:
Congratulations to Jeremy Mathis, Jessica Cross, and Wiley Evans for their paper in Oceanography (http://tos.org/oceanography/archive/28-2_mathis2.html). The article on ocean acidification has been attracting news attention including a recent article in the Anchorage Dispatch News (http://www.adn.com/article/20150615/acidification-takes-toll-beaufort-sea-threats-loom-chukchi-and-bering)
In other breaking news, UAF faculty Kate Wynne and Bree Witteveen were among a group reporting that at least nine fin whales have been found dead in southern Alaska waters. The cause of this unusual event is currently unknown (http://www.adn.com/article/20150618/9-endangered-whales-found-dead-alaska-waters-recent-weeks).
The UAF American Fisheries Society Student Subunit was just named Outstanding Student Subunit by the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society. The award will be presented on August 18 at the national AFS meeting in Portland, Oregon. Congratulations to our student group!
This is the second year in a row that an Alaskan was chosen as a national Sea Grant Knauss Fellow. Congratulations to Erin Shew, the new Sea Grant Knauss Fellow. Shew is a student in the UAF masters degree program in Arctic and Northern Studies.
Please join me in welcoming Lauren Frisch to a student intern position with Alaska Sea Grant and the dean’s office. Lauren will be working on writing articles for a broad audience focusing on activities in the school, including research and outreach.
June has been an exceptionally busy month with job candidate interviews. We have interviewed two candidates for the CFOS dean position with a third candidate on-site next week. We have also interviewed one candidate for the chemical oceanography position and have three more candidates visiting this month. Finally we have had two candidates interview for the Director of the Seward Marine Center/Marine Superintendent position. We should have some announcement fairly soon on that search.
In the spirit of visits to UAF, we have been preparing for a visit by NSF director, France Cordova. She and a group from NSF will be visiting UAF and facilities later this month. The group will be in Seward to tour the Sikuliaq on June 26 .
June 5, 2015
Faculty and Staff-
June is an exciting month at CFOS with candidates here for the dean position and chemical oceanography position. It is also a busy month with people coming and going to the field. And there continue to be a number of great things to celebrate.
Things to celebrate:
- Bob Elsner, Professor Emeritus, just had a book published by the University of Chicago Press. The book is “Diving Seals and Meditating Yogis: Strategic Metabolic Retreats”. From my short time as UA Press director, I felt the need to mention the publisher and to note that the University of Chicago Press is a very prestigious press. Congratulations to Bob on his book. If anyone is interested in looking at the book, I have a copy in my office… but I won’t let you get too far away with it!
- John Kelley, Professor Emeritus, was invited to participate in a Carbon Dioxide Group reunion at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography on June 12 . This event is being held for the designation of Scripps as a National Historical Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society and in recognition of the pioneering research of Dr. Charles Keeling. Dr. Kelly was associated with Dr. Keeling's laboratory at Scripps while at the University of Washington and the University of Alaska.
- We have a number of student fellowships and awards to celebrate including:
- Ken Turner Memorial Fellowship- Jessica Turner
- Francis "Bud" Fay Memorial Scholarship- Brandon Hassett
- Francis & Alfred Baker Scholarship- Kyle Dilliplaine
- Donald Hood Scholarship- Patrick Charapata
- Howard Feder and David Shaw- Kyle Dilliplaine
- Oscar Dyson Memorial- Hanna Christian
- Doyle Scholarship- Taylor Poirrier, Elizabeth Lindley, Eileen Audette, Deanna Leonard, Kristin Brown, Kelly Cates
- North Gulf of Alaska Applied Research Award- Leah Sloan, Jennifer Questel, Jessica Pretty, Mark Nelson
- Dieter Family Scholarship- Jessica Turner
- PCCRC- Cory Graham
- Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center Fellowship-
- Renewals: Patrick Barry, Emily Lescak, Charlotte Regula-Whitefield, Thomas Farrugia
- New Recipients: Leah Sloan, Katie Shink, Kevin Fraley, Janell Larsen, Michael Knutson
- Outstanding Undergraduate Student Awards-
- Senior- Genevieve Johnson
- Junior- Eileen Audette
- Sophomore-Emily Hughes
- Freshman-Hannah Christian
- Leadership- Alexandra Bateman
- Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center Fellowship-
May 21, 2015
Faculty and Staff-
With graduation 2015 behind us, the rhythm has transitioned to summer activities and fieldwork. However, there continue to be many new accomplishments by faculty, staff and students to celebrate.
Please join me in congratulating the following people:
- Major publication. Former Mat Wooller graduate student, Sean Brennan, just had a paper come out in Science Advances (Science’s online journal). The paper is about a new technique for examining population and habitat use and focuses on salmon and the Bristol Bay fishery. See http://news.uaf.edu/salmon-otoliths/ for more information.
- Newsworthy observation. I am not quite sure I feel right about having this item appear under things to celebrate but Brenda Konar and Katrin Iken just reported finding what appears to be wasting disease in sea stars in Kachemak Bay. They found the sick sea stars while surveying long-term monitoring sites for Gulf Watch Alaska. The report has had good news coverage across the state. Please see http://news.uaf.edu/seastar-may2015/ for more information.
- Annual GPMSL Awards:
- Global Change Student Grant Awardees for 2015. Please join me in congratulating the following CFOS students who received awards:
- Maggie Nga Chan, Evaluating behavioral adaptations of subsistence halibut harvesters to environmental and regulatory changes in Southeast Alaska (major advisor, Anne Beaudreau).
- Patrick Charapata, Using the past to give insight into the future: Pacific walrus diet and stress response in a changing environment using bone and teeth (major advisors, Lara Horstmann-Dehn and Nicole Misarti).
- Brandon Hassett, Sea ice microbial eukaryotes: baseline studies to compare and predict future change (major advisor, Rolf Gradinger).
- Deanna Leonard, Late summer distribution of bowhead whales in the Canadian Beaufort Sea: Environmental correlates and predicting future habitat use (major advisor, Lara Horstmann-Dehn).
o Outstanding PhD student in GPMSL: Alexandra Ravelo (major advisor, Brenda Konar)
o Outstanding MS student in GPMSL: Deanna Leonard (major advisor, Lara Horstmann-Dehn)
o Excellence in Teaching Faculty Award: Ana Iguilar-Islas
- Visiting Fisheries Faculty Member: Dr. Cemal Oguz, on sabbatical from Brigham Young University, is spending the next year at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center. He is studying parasites of rockfish.
Successful Wakefield Symposium: The 30th International Lowell Wakefield Symposium was held last week in Anchorage. Terry Quinn chaired the steering committee for the symposium and the topic was “Tools and Strategies for Data-Limited Fish Stocks”. About 85 people from 12 countries and seven states attended the symposium, convened by Alaska Sea Grant
May 7, 2015
Faculty and Staff-
With the end of the school year upon us, there are a number of things to acknowledge and celebrate.
Please join me in congratulating the following people:
- Breaking News: Congratulations to Harper Simmons, co-author of a Nature article that just came out today. Please see one of the images on the MIT news office website: http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/unravel-secrets-internal-waves-0506 and the link to the article at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v521/n7550/full/nature14399.html
- Promotions: Congratulations to Sarah Hardy, Lara Horstmann-Dehn, Andres Lopez, and Andy Seitz who were all promoted to Associate Professor and tenured. Congratulations also to Alexei Pinchuk who was promoted to Research Associate Professor
- Outstanding Student: Congratulations to Genevieve Johnson who is graduating this month with a B.S. in Fisheries. She not only received the outstanding fisheries student award but also received both the dean’s award and a third place overall award in the 2015 URSA Research Day poster event.
- New CFOS Grant Awards:
- "Variability in Particle Size Distributions, Sinking Velocities and Fluxes in the northern Gulf of Alaska" - Andrew McDonnell - NSF - $300,000
- "Collaborative Research: Fjord Ecosystem Structure and Function on West Antarctic Peninsula - Hot Spots of Productivity and Biodiversity (FjordEco)" - Peter Winsor - NSF - $962,297
- "Ecology and Genetic Diversity of Burbot Lota lota in Western Siberia and Alaska: Reconstructing Post-Beringian History and Differentiation" - Trent Sutton - US Civilian Research & Development Foundation - $26,855
- Technical Vocational and Education Program (TVEP) Awards:
- “Alaska Seafood Processor Leadership Institute 2015” – Quentin Fong - $44,000
- “Seafood Processing Quality Control Program” – Chris Sannito - $24,800
- Spring Graduates:
- BA Fisheries: Alexandra Bateman
- BS Fisheries: Shamariah Hale, Rodney Hobby, and Genevieve Johnson
- MS Fisheries: Michael Courtney and Benjamin Gray
- MS Marine Biology: Lauren Bell, Melissa Hajduk, and Andrew Padilla
- MS Oceanography: James Kelly, Stacey Reisdorph, and Chase Stoudt
- PhD Fisheries: Vanessa Von Biela
- PhD Marine Biology: John Maniscalco
I would also like to remind you that CMI letters of intent are due on May 20, 2015 . Please see the following links for more information.CMI Website: https://www.sfos.uaf.edu/cmi/ and LOI document: https://www.sfos.uaf.edu/cmi/CMI-2015LOI.pdf
April 22, 2015
April 22, 2015
Faculty and Staff-
My intent in these emails is largely to focus on our amazing school, and its faculty, staff and students. And, I think that is the focus that will help us get through, together, the uncertainties we face right now. Both budget shortfalls and leadership changes will likely affect us. But I do strongly believe that this is a time to unite, rather than divide. In the short time I have been here at CFOS I have observed that the diversity of mission and people creates some challenges for leadership. But I also can see that it is this very diversity that provides the opportunities for innovation and collaboration that will move us forward into the future.
I have talked with many people since I have been dean and one theme I have heard from many people outside the school is how much additional potential they see for our school. We have outstanding employees, world-class infrastructure including the newSikuliaq, and are here in the North at a time where there is increasing interest in the North and its resources. Through collaboration and innovation, we can continue to move forward, even in a time of uncertainty. With this in mind, I encourage you to attend an open forum hosted by Chancellor Rogers on Tuesday, April 28 , from 1:15–2:15 p.m. in the Margaret Murie Building auditorium. For people outside of Fairbanks, you can view the webcast here http://www.uaf.edu/chancellor/.
And now, a few recent accomplishments to celebrate:
- This year eight staff from CFOS will be recognized for service to the university of fifteen years or longer. Please join me in congratulating Steve Hartz, Max Hoberg, Brenda Holladay, and Mark Vallarino for 25 years of service; and David Leech, Dave Partee, Ruth Post, and Pat Rivera for fifteen years of service.
- Alaska Sea Grant recently announced their first recipients of the new Alaska Sea Grant State Fellows program. Congratulations to Marysia Szymkowiak who is earning her PhD in marine policy and fisheries management from the University of Delaware and will be spending a year at the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service in Juneau, and to Matt Robinson who is working on his MA in northern history and environmental policy at UAF and will be working for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage.
April 10, 2015
April 10, 2015
Faculty and Staff-
Things have been busy in the dean’s office and I think with most everyone I have talked with both here and in Juneau where I spent a day at meetings last week. The major reason for going to Juneau was to meet with UAS and UAF about possible joint programs in fisheries and in marine science. A task force will be formed in the near future to work on the details of how such programs might evolve.
The Coastal Marine Institute just issued a call for Letters of Intent. Seehttps://www.sfos.uaf.edu/cmi/ for further information.
Below are a few recent news and celebration items.
- In February and March 2015, CFOS received two new grant awards. Congratulations to:
- Paula Cullenberg, Knauss Fellowship for Thomas Farrigua, NOAA, $56,000
- Russ Hopcroft, Optimizing Recruitment of Neocalanus Copepods through Strategic Timing of Reproduction and Growth in the Gulf of Alaska, NSF, $414,961
- Congratulations also to Wendel Raymond, PhD Fisheries student, who received a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. His advisor is Ginny Eckert.
- Alaska Sea Grant underwent a very successful National Site Review in late March. The review team was very complimentary of the work Sea Grant is doing and of the positive impact their efforts are having statewide.
- Three CFOS faculty will be honored at this year’s commencement and will receive emeritus status. Congratulations to Stephen Jewett, Ray RaLonde, and Alan Springer. And the honor really does come with a parking pass (at least at UAF)!
- As the 2015 emeritus with the longest faculty service, Stephen Jewett will also be front and center at graduation this year as the Grand Marshal of Commencement.
- Next year’s scientific diving class will have some new equipment thanks to Brenda Konar who wrote a successful proposal to the instructional equipment fund for $13,000 to support the course. With Stephen Jewett’s retirement, he will be transitioning the Diving Safety Officer responsibilities to Brenda Konar. Thanks to both Stephen and Brenda for their efforts to make this course so successful.
- Please join me in extending best wishes to Linda Lasota, who is retiring from UAF on May 29 . Linda has worked at the Seward Marine Center since 1995 in various administrative capacities most recently as the port captain. We wish Linda the best in her future endeavors.
March 27, 2015
March 27, 2015
Faculty and Staff-
Below are a few recent news and celebration items. Happy Spring to all.
- Changes at Seward Marine Center: First, Dan Oliver, who has been instrumental in the design, construction, launching, and commissioning of the Sikuliaq, is leaving the university on April 4 . Even in my short time as interim dean, I have realized what a major contribution Dan has made to the success of the Sikuliaq. We wish him all the best in his next chapter of life. We are happy that we have been able to recruit Pete Zerr, most recently marine engineering manager at Schmidt Ocean Institute, to serve as the interim marine superintendent while we complete the recruitment for the permanent position. He will start his position on April 2 . And, finally we are happy to announce that Doug Baird, commanding officer at NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, has accepted our offer to serve as port captain in Seward. He will be joining the center this summer.
- CFOS Dean Search Update: In other recruitment news, the CFOS dean search committee is in the process of phone interviewing five candidates. Paul Layer, chair of the search committee, anticipates in-person interviews sometime in late April or May.
- Sikuliaq Visit to Dutch Harbor: Many thanks to Carin Ashjian, chief scientist of the sea ice trials on the Sikuliaq, Melissa Good, MAP agent in Unalaska, and the crew and scientists aboard the Sikuliaq for their very successful efforts with events and ship tours when the Sikuliaq was recently in Dutch Harbor.
- Reduced Staff Contract Options: Several people have asked me about reduced contracts (e.g., 11-month contracts). The people who have asked me about reduced contracts have asked because they see that option as allowing them flexibility in their personal lives. If you are interested in exploring a reduced contract, the dean’s office and HR can provide you with further information on the implications. Anyone considering this option should check with their immediate supervisor first to assure that there is a plan to accommodate workloads. While having some staff elect reduced contracts will help with the budget challenges we face, the option is voluntary.
- Safety Training: CFOS had the dubious distinction in the recent March report of being one of the worst units at UAF with respect to safety training. The Chancellor has made it clear that he will be looking at sanctions against units with poor safety training records. He has promised that he “will direct a safety stand-down for units that continue below this level (80% completion) beyond the next 30 days”. I am not entirely sure what that entails but I am pretty certain we do not want to find out. I urge each of you to make sure you have completed the required safety trainings including the more recent trainings on bullying and Title IX. I have asked directors to help me by contacting people who have not completed trainings. I will also follow up personally if necessary.
- Vera Alexander Award for Marine Science and Education: The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner had a full-page article on March 16 about Vera Alexander receiving the first ever achievement award from the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center in January at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in January. Future awards will be called the Vera Alexander Award for Marine Science and Education.
February 26, 2015
February 26, 2015
Faculty and Staff-
As promised in my first edition of “Inside CFOS” I intend to send a short email out every two weeks to let you know about things happening on campus and in the school that might be of interest.
While not quite ready to move into the “things to celebrate” category, I do want to let you know that the web team (led by Mercedes Anderson) has been very active in updating databases and webpages. Some of you may have already been contacted about updated content for various pages. While it is a work in progress, we have a great team in place and the renovation process is moving along very well.
There are a lot of good things going on in the school that I would particularly like to celebrate. Certainly the Sikuliaq coming to Alaska is a major cause for celebration for 2015 but there are many other great things happening as well. I greatly appreciate you letting me know as newsworthy things happen in the school. I will try to include as many as possible in future editions of “Inside CFOS”.
A Few Things to Celebrate:
• The R/V Sikuliaq had its second Alaska port call in Juneau. Most of the public events were held on February 17. In addition to a great turnout by residents, we had a lot of legislators come on board the ship and to the VIP reception. It was also great to see former UAF people, including past Vice Chancellors Pat Pitney and Mark Myers. Senator Murkowski was able to attend the reception and was clearly delighted to see the ship arrive in Alaska. The ship is now in Seward and many of us are looking forward to attending the commissioning next week. You can follow the ship’s activities at: http://www.sikuliaq.alaska.edu/alaskahomecoming/
• In January 2015, CFOS received three new grant awards. Congratulations to:o Milo Adkinson, Characterization of the Salmon By-catch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Pollock Fisheries and Its Effects - North Pacific Research Board - $59,001
o Arny Blanchard, Environmental Studies of Port Valdez 2015 - Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. - $42,474
o Thomas Weingartner, Chukchi/Beaufort High Frequency Radar Surface Currents - Shell Oil Co. - $400,000
• And for a tasty celebration, Pickled Willys Co. in Kodiak won the Symphony of Seafood (sponsored by the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation) for their smoked blackcod tips. CFOS faculty Quentin Fong, Chuck Crapo (emeritus), and Alex Oliveira (affiliate) contributed technical assistance to the company for the past five years, leading to the award-winning product.
Dean Michael Castellini March 2013-August 2011
Spring is here
I signed my contract with CFOS in late 1988, but I was still at UC California during March of 1989 preparing to move my lab and projects to Fairbanks. That spring, the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound and Fairbanks set record low temperatures. Everyone knew Maggie and I were moving to Alaska and we almost had T-shirts made that said “Yes…we know how cold it is in Fairbanks today” or “Yes…we have heard about the Alaska oil spill and the otters” (We were living in Santa Cruz, very sea otter “aware” location on the California coast).
That was 24 springs ago and every March, I remember what is was like to be moving to Alaska and our great new adventure, and how special spring is to everyone who lives in Alaska. The Iditarod winners came in last week, UAF students are wearing shorts and light sweaters, the ice-carvers are out in force, the number of graduate theses showing up on my desk is increasing and planning is spinning up for UAF Commencement, just two short months away. You can simply tell from the “spring is in the air” attitudes and the general buoyancy of everyone, that another winter has passed.
For us in CFOS, spring is getting students ready to graduate, theses defended, preparing for field seasons, internships, and looking ahead to new careers for students who are leaving. I enjoy attending the graduate defenses, reading and commenting on the theses and hearing back from the students. As our undergraduate program grows, it is a pleasure to congratulate students and hand out diplomas at the graduation exercises. Being part of the ceremony for the graduate students is wonderful. Commencement is an important component of our academic programs; please attend if you are in town.
Spring is also when we look ahead to new workloads for the coming year, meet with our various Advisory Councils, and plan for operations and support. This coming year, for the first time, we have operations support for the Sikuliaq, which should arrive in Seward in mid-January, 2014. UAF and CFOS are moving into a whole new world when the ship comes on-line. Sikuliaq business level meetings are now several times a week here in Fairbanks, and many times per day in Seward. We are setting up scientific meetings, events and philanthropic tours of the ship for February 2014 while it is in dock in Seward. Spring next year will be one like we have never had before in CFOS.
Our CFOS research teams are extending their operations from winter field work into the spring/summer mode. The number of research related travel authorizations coming through my office is increasing as the days lengthen, and faculty prepare to head out to field sites and collection schedules with their graduate students and teams.
I was in Southern California last week, where spring is not nearly as precious as it is here in Alaska. I told everyone that we still have more than 2 feet of snow in our backyard, but that is was warm, sunny and the students on campus were out and about…..my friends and colleagues mostly like to hear stories about Alaska, but still can’t figure out why we call it “spring” when there is still snow on the ground. I usually just smile, and remember.
Holidays, cold weather and solstice 2012
I am sure that we all have the same story from talking with friends and relatives who live Outside:
How cold does it get during the winter?; How do you stand the darkness?; That’s not as cold as we get in …..(pick location); How do you like living in Alaska?
Based on the level of hectic activity across CFOS this week in the last few days before the holidays, I would guess that we are all ready to slow down a little, get grades turned
in, enjoy the quieter time and take a deep breath. Yeah, it’s cold right now (-40 something in Fairbanks at the moment), we know EXACTLY when solstice is going to occur and we are ready to answer those questions for our relatives and friends. I admit that I did take a “noon” picture the other day and send it to my sister in California. But, would we have it any other way? UAF talks about us being “Naturally Inspiring” and I think we live that every single day. I was out shoveling snow over the weekend and getting really cold…better than being stuck in freeway traffic though.
It has been an amazing year for CFOS…Some very high points, some low points and a great deal of the “everyday” points that keep us going between the peaks and valleys. I read, edited and signed so many theses this semester that I lost track of the count (great problem to have); we rallied some really strong pushes to get multiple research proposals out the door; teams travelled around the world on research cruises, trips and projects; classes were designed and carried out; some students graduated, others started; high school and middle-school students learned about marine science; we even put a long-awaited ship into the water. This all happened because CFOS put in long days, sometimes longer nights, and we do this because it is who we are….because we enjoy answering the question: How do you like living in Alaska?
Have a great holiday break…get some well-earned rest….stay warm if you are staying in Alaska…enjoy relatives if visiting…and here’s to the adventure that will continue in 2013.
Below is the cover of the CFOS Holiday Card we sent out today to our supporters across the country.
Posted for Michael Castellini by John Haverlack
This is a blog that I have been waiting to write for a very long time. I am in Marinette, Wisconsin about ½ of a mile from where the R/V Sikuliaq is now in the water after her successful launch yesterday morning. I can’t begin to express how amazing and meaningful it was to watch her slip sideways into the river with a huge splash and to the noise of the cheering crowd. Despite the rain and cold weather, over 1,000 people were at the site and more across the river and local bridges to watch the launch. To be at this point in time, after close to 30 years of effort, is almost impossible to believe…but I had the chance earlier today to help escort Vera Alexander and Bob Elsner onto the ship so that they could see her and walk on the deck, through the bridge and into the labs. To see them there, the two sponsors who yesterday christened and launched the ship, was something that I will always remember.
For everyone in Fairbanks, we have our big celebration planned this coming Saturday (Oct 20) at the Davis Concert Hall at 4:30 PM. Video and photos of the launch, the Song of the Sikuliaq music, cake and other treats. We will be sending out more information to everyone on Monday.
In any event this complicated to coordinate, there are bound to be some items that did not work as planned: The one that caught us off-guard was that UAF was shutting down its Web access today for power upgrades on the campus in Fairbanks. So, while we have edited pictures and video, we don’t have any means to get them to UAF servers. Many views are on YouTube, and UAF put some pictures on its site late last night. By Monday AM, the links and information should start flowing as we catch up. Be sure to go to Facebook and YouTube for some incredible images and videos.
Despite this mismatch in digital timing, the end result is good: the launch was a success and the Sikuliaq is in the water for the very first time…may she begin a long and safe journey on the seas.
70, 360, 520, 27, 30, 1
For close to three decades, we have been thinking, dreaming and designing what a
new, ice-capable research vessel would look like. As of today, the launch of
the R/V Sikuliaq is now 70 days away and coming on fast. Just this last week, the impressive “Z” drives were installed on the ship and 2 weeks ago I had a chance to walk through the vessel and see it at about 60% completion. Bob Elsner came by my office today
on his way to Massachusetts for about two months and the next time we see him,
he will be helping to launch the ship on October 13. Vera Alexander and I were
together this week at science meetings in Juneau and everyone kept asking her
about “breaking the champagne bottle” over the bow. The launch ceremony committees,
invitations, press, video, even a musical composition, ship preparations, construction
meetings and general Sikuliaq activities are coming on full-speed now and it would
be very easy (and fun!) to turn almost all our attention to October. We are
even looking into an Air National Guard C130 flight from Fairbanks to Wisconsin
to take a color guard, local community members, Native dancers and more. Plan “B”
for the ceremony is if President Obama accepts the invitation to be at the
launch….if we think this is complex……
After the launch ceremony in October, the most important target is about 360 days from now. In late July 2013, the ship is to be “delivered” to NSF/UAF and we take over operations, begin science trials and testing. After a summer of trials in the Great Lakes,
she will sail out the Saint Lawrence Seaway and work up and down the east coast
in ocean trials. When those trials are complete, we take her through the Panama
Canal, up the west coast of the US and expect her to be in Seward the first
week of January 2014, about 520 days from now. We are already planning on having the 2014 CFOS Advisory Council meeting on board when she is in dock at Seward in January.
Below is a picture of the “Z” drives taken just a few days ago.
While is it very easy and tempting to turn all this attention to the ship, it is
essential to remember that Fall Semester classes start in just 27 days (August 30) and there are a host of activities for the new students, welcoming events and lots of preparation to start them on their academic years with us. More and
more of them are showing up and I have enjoyed meeting them in the hallways and
around campus. This year, we have a large class (30) and I urge you to read the Academic Programs Blog about our new students (https://web.sfos.uaf.edu/wordpress/academics/)
Finally, we are a “success” when we graduate our students and see them off to their new
careers. This last week, I read the first CFOS fall semester MS thesis submission (Martin Schuster; Brenda Konar, Advisor). I can report that I only found 1 single
formatting edit in the entire thesis (a missing period after an abbreviation).
Great job Martin, and I hope adding that period did not take too long.
Venus transit from Fairbanks
I am back in the office at 2030 hr on Tuesday, June 5 and the NASA live site is showing that the Venus transit is almost complete. We had a great day out in the front of O’Neill where I had set up a solar protected camera for viewing and photography of the transit. We were able to watch for about 1.5 hr, had to come inside due to storm clouds for a while, and then were back outside from 1700 until 1900 when more clouds came in low on the horizon. Many students, staff and faculty from CFOS and IAB came by to look. Graduate student Jonathan Whitefield and IAB researcher Øivind Tøien were there with their cameras , too. As with most astronomy events, it is fun to help someone look through a large lens for the first time and be amazed at what they see…in this case, a small but obvious dot on the face of the sun…when they realized that this dot was almost the size of Earth, the massive size of the sun becomes very impressive. I heard that the viewing was good in Seward, but don’t know about the rest of the CFOS locations.
Update: 2035: It has cleared up enough that I am able to watch the transit exit through my solar binoculars. I don’t have the camera set up, so the exit image is from NASA and is what I am seeing right now.
My images show Venus from just about the beginning of the transit through to almost 6 hours later. We missed some in the middle, but you can see how Venus made it’s path across the sun.
If any of you want these images to send to friends, just let me know. These are compressed for the Web, but I can email originals to you. Notice the three sunspots to the lower left, most visible in the 1701 exposure and in the NASA image.
First Day of the Rest of Your Life
I have been listening to quite a few commencement presentations over the last few weeks and they have ranged from funny, to obscurely “deep”, to really very good. UAF graduated the most PhD students and had the largest total graduating class on record this academic year. From my side, I could see those patterns by the number of theses on my desk to read, and the growing size of our CFOS undergraduate program. Congratulations to all the CFOS graduates and to the faculty and staff that helped get them there. My youngest son graduated from Lathrop High School this week and while the class was much smaller than UAF’s, it was interesting to be in the same venue and to see the similarities between
the students who are all wondering what the next few years will be like. The
best comment was from the high school Salutatorian who said that she had no
words of wisdom because “I am only 17 years old…what do I know”?
Beyond these “end of the academic year” activities, it has been an eventful spring and I am happy to report no weird border crossings, plane malfunctions or other unusual travel events. Well, except maybe for the small wind-up rental car in Anchorage right after their last snow storm and that little problem of going through an intersection side-ways. First
Day of the Rest of Your Life, indeed.
I had a long week in DC in April working on an Office of Naval Research site visit, and while I was there, the space shuttle Discovery was flown into DC on its 747 carrier and we went outside to watch. David Policansky, our CFOS Advisory Council Chair works in downtown DC and took this picture of the fly-over. A great coincidence in timing and I’m glad I had the opportunity to see it.
On the way home from DC, I stopped in Wisconsin to tour the Sikuliaq…it is amazing, and huge, and looks like a ship now! Only a few short months left in construction
before the launch in October. Through NSF there is an official invitation to
President Obama to attend the launch. I don’t know if he will accept, but it’s
pretty exciting, regardless. So much is happening for the launch that I can
barely keep track, including a proposal we got funded with Rolf Gradinger and
the UAF music department to write music for the event. I believe we should
provide KnightHood to Dan Oliver, Terry Whitledge and Gary Smith when the ship
Too many other meetings to bring up here, but I continue to help Alaska Airlines enjoy a health business economy, am looking forward to a wonderful summer for CFOS and a great First Day of the Rest of my Life.
Scholarships, contests and interesting names
I just completed a week of fun and rewarding student-oriented events. The 15 th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) was held in Seward last week with 20 high school teams from around Alaska. Phyllis Shoemaker and Dean Stockwell continue to provide an impressive organizational and educational event for these teams. The number of volunteers from Seward, CFOS, NGOs, UAS, agencies, and service organizations in Seward continue to grow. This has become a large and significant event in Seward. If you have not volunteered to be part of it, you should consider it in the future.
Juneau Douglas High School won (again!) and Cordova jumped from 12 th place last year to 2 nd this year. A suite of scholarships were given out with highlights by Icicle Seafoods (five $5000 scholarships) and Crowley Marine with their team sponsorship at over $5,000. Development officer Teresa Thompson led the effort to secure that support. UAF/ CFOS and UAS provided $2,000 in scholarships to each of the two top team members.
The teams had some very clever names including: Pelagic Magic (Juneau Douglas); Echinoderminators (Ketchikan) and my favorite: The Omega Fours—”The Not So Fatty Acids” (Kenny Lake Copper Center)
The 2012 NOSB web site is: http://seagrant.uaf.edu/nosb/
Later that week, we held the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center Fellowship meeting in Anchorage. We heard presentations from the six CFOS graduate students who hold fellowships and reviewed applications for new fellowships. This program has been supported for 20 years by an endowment from the Rasmuson Foundation and family. Public Information Officer, Sharice Walker, prepared a “second decade” report with the abstracts from the many students funded during that time. This is a great day to be part of the educational support team for CFOS as we approved $250,000 in fellowships.
More information on the Rasmuson/CFOS fellowships can be found at: http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/rasmuson/index.html
I arrived in California on the 11th for two days of National Academy meetings where I chair the review process for selecting life science postdoctoral fellows. Fellows are placed in Federal research laboratories across the country after our review. Anne Beaudreau (newest FISH faculty member) and several of the Fisheries candidates for the Alaska Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit (positioned in Fairbanks) came through this same postdoctoral program.
I left Anchorage after the Rasmuson event and spent the weekend in Vancouver BC before traveling to California. I was not stopped at the Canadian border, no engines quit on the five flight legs, the hotel room and rental car were all OK, and they announced over the Alaska in-flight PA that I reached 1,000,000 air-miles on Alaska Airlines. Twenty-three (plus) years’ worth of flying on Alaska Airlines since I first came to Fairbanks for my job interview in 1988….many miles and many stories, including several good reasons NOT to carry vinegar or other such food items in your luggage: more on those stories next time.
Other than losing an engine at 37,000 feet…
You know that vibration in your car when you get a flat tire at high speed? The thump, thump, thump that resonates through the entire car? When you feel that vibration in an airplane at 37,000 feet, you find yourself thinking, “There is only one thing on this plane that is spinning…the engine, and it should NOT be creating that vibration!” You look out the window to your right and see that the engine is visibly rattling around on its mount, shaking the entire plane. You also notice that the plane is slowing considerably and that the starboard engine speed is dropping. The vibration goes away, but you are now much lower and traveling much slower.
I am on Delta flight 1457 from Seattle to Salt Lake City to attend the Sikuliaq science-planning meeting when the pilot announces:
“You may have noticed some vibration from the right side of the plane (no kidding). It was coming from the engine, and we have turned the engine down to idle to stop the vibration. We are flying on one engine, but this is perfectly normal operating procedure (for an emergency!) and we are continuing on to Salt Lake City. We expect a normal flight. This plane can easily fly on one engine. We will have more information for you as we approach the airport, but we have notified the control tower and they will have fire trucks on the runway. Again, this is normal procedure and these are routine precautions.”
The flight attendants tell us twice to buckle in and to put everything away.
There was definitely no circling the airport or being put into a holding pattern on this approach: straight in, a totally empty runway, and fire trucks and emergency vehicles spread out over a mile of runway. We stop in the middle of nowhere. Vehicles, with all of their lights flashing, race up to us and examine the miscreant engine: no smoke and nothing is falling off. After a few minutes, they leave. The pilot says we are good to go to the gate, and then the flight attendant announces, “Thank you for flying Delta. We are pleased to bring you to Salt Lake City…really pleased.”
The friendly gate agent greets us as we come off the plane and lets us know that Delta is going to credit our accounts $50 because of this bother to our travel plans.
Several CFOS faculty here at the Sikuliaq meeting say they are going to make sure they never get on the same plane with me.
More about the Sikuliaq meeting and other recent CFOS events in my next blog, but for now, remember this story the next time you get a flat tire and the car starts vibrating.
New Year, new students and big times for CFOS
Relative to my last posting, at least I have not been arrested at the border yet, though Alaska Airlines took my drivers license into the “backroom” for about 10 min when I was trying to fly out of Fairbanks for Christmas. Is there something about my background that I don’t know?
Anyway, it is a new and very big year for CFOS and I will get to that in a moment.
2011 ended in a flurry with a suite of Allied Fisheries meetings with the Governor, the Rasmuson Foundation, President Gamble, UA Chancellors, Fishing industry CEO’s etc. The Alliance is picking up speed and intensity quickly with weekly meetings, forums, industry surveys, etc and President Gamble is speaking about “cold water fisheries and research, education and job training” in public arenas now. We will be producing WWW pages and more as this program continues to grow.
Good news came at the end of the year as a group of significant donations were given to us for scholarships, support of the NOSB, research and other activities in CFOS. Teresa Thompson was at the head of this effort and you should contact her for the interesting details.
Promotion and tenure files (21 this year) and a large stack of MS and PhD theses covered my desk in December, but we got them done. In fact, I have already blocked out many hours of time for November and December this coming year, so if you need to see me at 1400 hr on Tuesday, Dec 4, I will be reading files.
Welcome to our new students and to those returning for spring semester classes, which started today. This is A Big Year for CFOS and you are going to be right in the middle of it. It is our 25th Anniversary of forming the school, the RV Sikuliaq will be launched in October and we have a newly re-organized division in Kodiak (Kodiak SeaFood and Marine Science Center).
We have committees working on special events, logos and the history of our School for our Anniversary Year and we will be letting everyone know soon about those. I am planning on activities throughout the year.
What can I say? The ship launches on Oct 13 and I can hardly believe it is actually happening, after all these years. As you might suspect, there is significant planning going on as we complete major construction, move into the launch, finish outfitting, testing and then, start science and outreach operations in just two years from now. This project is getting so large and involved that I now say it is “creating its own weather”.
Take a look at our CFOS Home page about our re-structuring of our Kodiak operations. The Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center was formally adopted by the UA Regents in early December in the place of FITC. We are very enthusiastic about bringing Kodiak operations into closer alignment with our ongoing academic and research programs.
I had a chance to visit the Darden Group in Orlando early in the month. They are interested in supporting our crab resesarch program and I visited with their seafood buyers. This is the group that owns and operates Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, etc. In addition to talking with them about CFOS research and fisheries, I also got to meet the head chefs from several of their restaurants and their research kitchens there in Orlando. Amazing to see a research kitchen for Red Lobster. I was taking notes for next years “UAF Iron Chef” cookoff (see my blog for Oct 24, 2011).
It is a balmy -16 as I write this and much warmer than the -46 from a few days ago. Did I mention that I got back the other night to the FAI airport at -44, went out to start my car and found out that the owner of the beater car next to mine had taken the extension cord off of my car and plugged into theirs? Everyone always says “Mike..how can you be so calm in the midst of all the CFOS things going on”? You would have seen a much less calm person that night out at the airport parking lot!
“Is this your car, sir?”
I should have known that crossing the border from Canada into the States was not going to go well when the Customs dog circled my car twice and then sat down near my door.
Some background: I had been finishing up a particularly intense travel schedule and was at the Marine Expo in Seattle with Teresa Thompson and Amy Voigt where we had our CFOS booth on display (that went really well by the way as we were the only University at the event and attracted considerable attention). I took the weekend off and drove up to Vancouver in my rental car to visit my son in University. Driving back to Seattle on Sunday AM, I approached the border at the Peace Arch at about 0900. Lots of time for my 1500 hr flight from SEA back to FAI. Also, my apologies to those with significant foreign adventures, such as faculty member Russ Andrews who was arrested by the KGB in Russia on a research cruise…ask him about it sometime.
As I was in line and not paying much attention, the Immigration Officer with the drug/bomb sniffing German shepherd dog was working its way up and down the line of cars. Came past my door, stopped for moment, but then went on. I continue in line. About 10 min later, they come back. This time the dog circles the car again, and then sits down.
Immigration: Tap, Tap, on my window: “Is this your car, sir?”
Me: “It’s a rental car” (Colorado license plates).
Immigration: “Where are you going, where did you come from? etc”. Standard questions.
Me: “In Seattle for work, drove up to Vancouver to see my son, home today from SEATAC”.
Immigration: “Please turn off your car, remove and hand me the keys and open the trunk”.
Me: “Do I get out with you?”
Immigration: “No sir. For all of our safety, please remain in the car.”
At this point the dog JUMPS into the trunk of the car and starts nosing around my gear. I have my computer, suitcase and my backpack, nothing unusual. This is not going well. The officer comes back
Immigration: “Thank you, here are your keys, please continue in the line.”
Naïve me to myself: “OK, I guess that’s over…weird, but over”
Reality me: I see in the mirror that the Immigration officer is walking behind my car, holding the next car off and talking in his hand-held radio to the officer in the crossing booth. OK..correction…this is not going well.
Officer in Booth: “What’s the story?” (Honest, that was the exact quote of what he said to me)
Me: “On my way home”.
Immigration: “Where’s home, why, when, etc. “ Standard questions. Meanwhile he is writing on a large, orange sticky note that is now on my passport.
Immigration: “Please drive over there to secondary inspection, see the officer, park the car and take this and your passport inside.”
Me: Drive, park, go inside. Approach officer.
Immigration: “Let me see your passport”. OK Mr. Castellini, please wait over there” and walks away with my passport.
Me: Waiting, waiting, waiting…..
Immigration: Two officers come up: “Mr. Castellini? May we have your car keys?”
Me: Give them the keys and watch them go through the inside of the car. They come back inside.
Immigration: “Here are your car keys back sir, you may leave now, be sure to give this note to the officer at the exit gate”
Me: “Can you tell me what the problem was with the car?”
Immigration: “Problem sir? There was no problem, just a routine inspection”.
Me: To myself: I wonder what was in that car before I got it? I have crossed that border too many times to count and I KNOW that was not just a routine inspection.
I made it SEATAC just in time.
More next week as CFOS gets ready for the Holiday Break.
Is this November?
When I last wrote, we had just completed our All Faculty meeting on Halloween Day and I was getting ready for a suite of travel, meetings and events. I am writing this from Seattle almost at the end of that series.
I went to DC Nov 6-9 to meet with all twelve of the national NSF COSEE program officers from around the country. We had discussions with three NSF program officers (Conover from OCE, Rom from ISE and Hall from COSEE) and they stressed the importance of leveraging COSEE activities into ongoing NSF projects. I talked about the link between COSEE and the RV Sikuliaq with Dr. Conover he said this was exactly the type of interactions they were seeking. In his presentation to COSEE, he brought up Sikuliaq over 5-6 times. While in DC I had the chance to meet with David Policansky (Chair of our Advisory Council) and we talked about setting up the next Council meeting in early to mid March, 2012. I also had lunch with the Executive Director and Deputy Director of the Arctic Research Commission (John Farrell and UAF PhD Alum Cheryl Rosa) and with the NSF Chair of the IARPC (Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee; Brendan Kelly, past CFOS research faculty to talk about Sikuliaq and Allied FISH.
I came home for about 18 hr and then went to Sitka for the 15th Annual WhaleFest, Nov 10-14 (http://www.sitkawhalefest.org/). We had a suite of CFOS and UAF faculty either making presentations or working with the “Scientists in the Schools” program and also talked a lot with the newly formed Sitka Sound Science Center. There could be some really good opportunities for our CFOS faculty to go on mini-sabbaticals to Sitka as part of an NSF program they have funded and please contact me if you might be interested—marine biology, teaching, etc. CFOS faculty Reid Brewer and new MAP research faculty member Bree Witteveen gave spectacular talks along with IAB research staff Julie Hagelin and history professor Terrence Cole. Heather Riley (CFOS Alum) was part of the Scientists in the Schools Program along with Reid Brewer.
Home again for about 1.5 days, then down here to Seattle for the Pacific Marine Expo with development officer Teresa Thompson and recruiter Amy Voigt. We had a busy day at the CFOS booth, met old friends of CFOS and made quite a few new connections. Teresa and I had breakfast this morning with Glosten Marine and she is meeting a potential donor for some large fisheries scholarships tomorrow morning.
I will go up to Vancouver BC this weekend to see my son who is in his third year at Simon Fraser University and then home, finally, late Sunday night for Thanksgiving week. I heard that the heat was out in the O’Neill building for a while today and at -38 outside, I guess quite a few faculty and staff went home to work.
Only two known one day trips to ANC in December, so I am looking forward to being home for a while.
Below is a picture from the Marine Expo today.
Accreditation site visit and Promotion / Tenure
This last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty much dedicated to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accreditation team site visit to UAF. We have been working on this review for the last two years. We met with them and covered everything from how we conducted our academic program reviews to how we integrate our research and graduate programs. The team had access to the large UAF accreditation documents since August http://www.uaf.edu/accreditation/reports/ and presented their preliminary findings to us on Wednesday morning. UAF did really well and they commended us on our work with meeting diverse educational needs across the state. They had recommendations that we more closely align our themes (Educate, Prepare, Discover, Connect and Engage) with each other and to work on out outcomes assessment processes. The text of their preliminary findings is at this link http://www.uaf.edu/accreditation/preliminary-evaluation-te/
I would like to personally thank Associate Dean Rolf Gradinger who has been at the forefront of preparing CFOS for this review for over 18 months. Along with all the directors, senior management, faculty and staff who contributed data, checked endless spreadsheets and documents, I thank you for your dedicated work to this review. The accreditation documents have some very nice summaries of both UAF and CFOS and I urge you to take a look at them for how CFOS fits into the UAF mission.
Next steps include a formal presentation of the entire findings at a January meeting of the accreditation commissioners and then some time for UAF to repair, create, or modify specific issues that were found by the visiting team. In the new accreditation system, we will now begin a cycle of yearly reviews and updates on accreditation instead of the once per five year blitz program we used to follow. So, we get a break for a while, but will being anew in January, but will smaller efforts/ yr.
Just to make sure we had something more to keep us busy this week, Promotion and Tenure files were due at exactly the same time as the accreditation site visit. CFOS had a very large number of files turned in this year (21) for some level of review. Mary Parsons worked our scanning system to the limit as she was responsible for getting these ready to go out this week to begin the review process.
Finally, we are also in the last steps of moving to electronic time sheets at UAF and CFOS has already begun that process with this pay period. That too has kept us busy as we worked our way through the last few days.
I can say that weather here in Fairbanks has been spectacular over the week, so we can still get a few last attempts in at closing down our gardens and yards in the evenings after work and before the snow.
Postdocs, Rotary and Freshmen
Having returned from my DC meetings at NSF as discussed in my last Blog, I turned right around and headed to a National Academies National Research Council Postdoctoral fellowship meeting in California. I am the Chair of the Life Sciences section and was able to review a series of postdoctoral applicants in fields from fisheries to microbiology. I find this program really beneficial to my reviews of our CFOS PhD programs because I am able to see brand new PhD students from around the country as they apply for these competitive NRC fellowships. What you may not know is that our newest CFOS faculty member (Anne Beaudreau, Fisheries) is currently an NRC postdoctoral fellow with NMFS in Seattle and actually passed through my committee’s review last year for her fellowship.
Back in Fairbanks, I talked with the College Rotary on our northern research opportunities and risks. I covered our glider and HF Radar programs as remote tools to study the Arctic and then focused the rest of the lunch-time talk on the Sikuliaq. Put in a few comments about our teaching programs, our role in taking “science” issues into public relations and wrapped up with some outreach thoughts on ocean science. The question of the day that stumped me was : “Why are you making the ship out of metal….why not use plastic?” I talked with Dan Oliver and he said that it was possible (fiberglass), but that it was much more expensive, hard to stabilize a ship that big and metal is much more forgiving it terms of being bumped and scraped and abused at sea. Learn something new every day in this job!
Last night I spoke at the UAF Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity Freshman seminar in Schaible Auditorium about my past work in the Arctic and Antarctic, with a large component of climate change and ocean acidification. I told them how important it was for them to be thinking about climate change and that we needed not only scientists, but also economists, policy specialists, lawyers, artists and a suite of professions to approach solutions to this global issue. It was great fun and always interesting to speak to a suite of students that may or may not know anything about the Polar Regions.
Lots of business meetings this week on UAF operations for the Sikuliaq, options for funding boats for our Seward Line oceanographic cruises, diversity aspects of our hiring programs, meetings with members of the US Marine Mammal Commission, and even interview on how well NSF Fastlane is working for CFOS.
These are our last few days before the UAF visiting accreditation teams show up and I have attended a group of meetings this week with the other Deans, the Provost and UAF programs as we went over last minute details. It will be an important time for us next week and I will write how that went.
PCCRC and more, Juneau
I was in Juneau on Tuesday (August 23) for the annual meeting of the PCCRC Board to work on the request for proposals (RFP) for this coming year. As many of you know, the PCCRC has supported CFOS fisheries research and students for over 10 years and we are expecting to announce one of our largest RFPs in just a few days. We covered many issues at the board meeting from business operations (accounting, UA Foundation processes, our own meeting schedules, etc) to science planning for the RFP. To find out more about the CFOS PCCRC program see: http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/pcc/
For non PCCRC activities, we had a lunch time tour of the crab research laboratories in the CFOS Lena Point facility by Ginny Eckert and I was also able to see first hand the new CFOS fisheries research boat. During the same tour, I had a chance to visit the laboratory space where Anne Beaudreau, one of our newest faculty members will have fish tanks installed. I finished off the quick trip with a late PM meeting with Jan Straley from UAS. Jan and I program the science talks for the annual Sitka WhaleFest in November and we spent time going over our list of potential speakers before I zipped back to the airport.
Expect information about the PCCRC call for proposals very soon.
Dean Denis Wiesenburg April 2010-November 2004
April 2010 Report from the CFOS Dean
As I write this, I am sitting in my room at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage as the early morning light creeps through the window. The Captain Cook has become my home away from home the last six years, either for the Alaska Marine Science Symposium or for numerous meetings in the nearby building our Marine Advisory Program (MAP) occupies along with the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC), the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), and the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB). I represent UAF on the boards of all three organizations and I am here for the NPRB spring meeting during which $3,927,532 was awarded in new projects. CFOS faculty always do well in this annual competition and this year we were awarded 28% of the new funding. I was pleased to see that three of the six CFOS projects funded involved our MAP faculty with those from other CFOS units.
Space in Fairbanks continues to be the major limitation to expanding our research activities. CFOS Administrative Manager Greg Simpson and I met with UAF space czar Deb Horner on April 1 to request additional space in the basement of the O'Neill Building. Our ocean observing efforts are expanding with new gliders and high frequency radar systems and we need additional space to stage them for deployment. We toured the basement with Tom Weingartner, Peter Winsor and Hank Statscewich to illustrate our need for more logistics area. We have an official request in to the Provost.
Each Thursday in April, CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Straub and I meet to review our student recruiting efforts and to track admissions progress. With Katie orchestrating an enhanced recruiting effort on the part of our faculty and staff, the number of fisheries undergraduates has tripled in the last four years with 52 students in the program this year. We have 31 new undergraduate applicants for the fall semester with 15 students already enrolled. These numbers are well ahead of last year and have us on course for an undergraduate population of 100 within five years.
On April 6, Greg Simpson and I met with Alberto Pantoja who heads the U.S. Department of Agriculture office on campus. USDA occupies one of our laboratories on the second floor of O'Neill and we discussed their planned move to Kodiak. If everything proceeds on schedule, they will move in June and this laboratory will be available to us for expanding our teaching and research activities in oceanography and marine biology. I hope it will also help in recruiting a new faculty member next year.
The CFOS Advisory Council meet in Fairbanks April 16-18 to review our activities and to provide advice to the Chancellor on new directions for CFOS. CFOS is privileged to have an outstanding group (http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/people/committees/cfosadvisorycouncil.html) who gives their time to support our programs. During the meeting, the Council reviewed our academic programs, communication plan, development activities, and discussed future research opportunities. Plans and activities of our Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) in Kodiak were given the most attention. FITC Director Murat Balaban gave an overview of activities at FITC and the Council considered plans for new academic and research programs there. The Council recommended to the Chancellor that a task force be established to take a focused look at FITC and determine the best options for implementing the FITC concept. The Council has been a strong support of the Alaska Region Research Vessel, now the R/V Sikuliaq, and were "buoyed by the news of the excellent progress" on the ship. They concluded by noting that they are optimistic that CFOS will continue to maintain and improve its standards of excellence in teaching, research and service. I have enjoyed working with the Council and its chair, Dr. David Policansky from the National Research Council, and know they will continue to provide sage advice to the Chancellorand dean in years ahead.
On April 20, CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson and I met by telephone with Craig Tornga, Vice President for Alaska Operations of Crowley Maritime Corporation. Teresa has been working with Crowley over the last 18 months to familiarize them with our programs and to understand their philanthropic interests. She has visited with them in Jacksonville, Florida, Oakland, California, and Anchorage. As we know development is a process and it takes time to develop the relationships that lead to support for our programs. During our teleconference, Craig advised us that Crowley will provide us four $5,000 scholarships annually. This is the largest gift that Crowley has made in Alaska. Additionally, they are going to provide additional support (amount to be determined) to our Alaska region National Ocean Sciences Bowl, the Tsunami Bowl, that we host each February in Seward.
Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I attended the UAF student Awards Breakfast at the Wood Center in Fairbanks on April 24. The event honors the most outstanding student in each degree program. I gave a brief overview of CFOS state-wide activities at the breakfast and Chancellor Rogers presented the award to our outstanding fisheries undergraduate, Matthew Catterson who is based in Juneau. Matthew was escorted by Assistant Professor Andy Seitz.
Encouraged by our development success with Crowley Maritime, Teresa and I traveled to Seattle April 26-28 to meet with alumni, prospective donors and to thank some of our current donors. Over two days, we met with
- Inge Andreassen and Jan Jacobs, American Seafoods, donors to the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center since 2000
- Bill Hurley, Dirk Kristensen and Peggy Noethlich, The Glosten Associates, donors to the Tsunami Bowl for over ten years
- Bill Shiels, CFOS biological oceanography graduate and owner of Talasaea Consultants in Bellevue, Washington
- Warner Lew, CFOS fisheries graduate who works in the Bristol Bay area for Icicle Seafoods
- Mike Galan, Comptroller for Trident Seafoods, donors to the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center since 2000
- Brian Fadely, CFOS marine biology graduate working at NOAA's National Marine Mammal Laboratoryin Seattle
- Rob Wood, Chief Financial Officer of Glacier Fish Company, donors to the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center since 2000.
Teresa has done a great job working with our donors and helping us reconnect with our alumni. We were pleased that our alums are reading our newsletters and truly care about the continued success of our programs.
On April 28, we learned the Professor Tom Weingartner had won the 2010 Emil Usibelli Award for Research. This is one of the top honors at UAF. Tom was nominated by the CFOS fisheries faculty and by Associate Professor Russ Hopcroft. This was well deserved and we are rightfully proud. You can read about the award on our web site at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/news/story/?ni=315.
Molly McCammon, Executive Director of the Alaska Ocean Observing System, visited with us in Fairbanks on April 29. She met with Tom Weingartner, Peter Winsor, and me to discuss future directions for CFOS. Several of our faculty have expressed concern that AOOS is not doing enough to establish platforms for continuous data collection. We discussed how AOOS could better meet the needs of key stakeholders in Alaska including coastal communities, the oil and gas industry, and commercial fisheries. We stressed the need for a coherent, long-term vision. CFOS currently operates the AOOS Data Management Center, but AOOS has decided to go out for bids for their data management needs. We have purchased replacements for the AOOS servers in case AOOS data management is transferred to another entity. We will continue operating a data center to support our and other research activities and have taken the steps necessary to do so.
I ended the month by attending the UAF Executive Leadership Workshop hosted by Chancellor Rogersat the International Arctic Research Center. Alaska Sea Grant Director David Christie also attended. Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Pat Pitney presented a budget overview for FY10 and FY11 (it is challenging) and discussed budget decision making for FY12 and FY13 (even more challenging). While UAF is better off than universities in 45 of the 50 states (the University of Maine received a 30% cut in 2010), shortfalls in revenues and increased central cost will result in a 4 to 5% reduction in the CFOS budget in FY11. A university-wide committee is being established (volunteers welcome) to establish criteria for budget reductions in administrative, support, academic, and research areas.
As I prepare to move on to new endeavors, and bigger budget problems, at the University of Southern Mississippi, this will be my final monthly report. It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to serve as Dean of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. I thank all of you for your advice and support during my six years at UAF. With an outstanding faculty and a great supporting staff, I share the optimism of the Advisory Council that CFOS will continue to maintain and improve its standards of excellence in teaching, research and service in the years ahead. I look forward to following y'all's successes from down South.
March is the month during which the Alaska Legislature works on the state operating budget, including funding for the University of Alaska. We were especially interested in the process this year as the UA Board of Regents has requested an addition of $614,000 to the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences budget to solidify our Marine Advisory Program (MAP) faculty positions in six coastal communities.
While Governor Sean Parnell did not include these funds in the budget he submitted to the legislature, our supporters from around the state rose up to support the UA request for this new funding. I mentioned last month the more than 50 letters had been sent to the Governor and legislators supporting this funding. Neither these letters nor the multiple calls to, meetings with, and testimony from 27 supporters in front of the House Finance Committee members convinced them to add the funds to the budget. The amendment by Rep. Neal Foster (D-Nome) failed by a 3 - 7 vote.
During the public testimony to the Senate Finance Committee, Associate Sea Grant Director and MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg reported that, "over the 7 hours of public testimony heard by the committee, 33 people called in from 13 sites in support of the budget request for the University of Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. This represented 15 fishermen or fishermens' or coastal community associations, 3 municipal officials, 4 K-12 educators, 2 Alaska Native organizations, 2 tourism companies, 2 university faculty, 1 chamber of commerce director, 1 former harbormaster, 1 environmental monitor volunteer and the chairman of the Alaska Sea Grant statewide advisory committee. Calls came in from Petersburg, Ketchikan, Sitka, Cordova, Juneau, Homer, Unalaska, Kodiak, Anchorage, Dillingham, Nome, Fairbanks and Valdez." What great support! The Senate Finance Committee got the message and added $300,000 to the UA budget for MAP. As March ended, the House and Senate had passed the operating budget and we await the conference committee deliberations to see if we will receive partial funding for our request. Special thanks are due to Paula Cullenberg who has devoted herself almost exclusively to shepherding our efforts to secure the MAP funds and our friends statewide for their support.
CFOS has personnel at 13 locations throughout Alaska and I have now been to 12 of them. On March 1 and 2, I traveled to Nome with Associate Sea Grant Director and Marine Advisory Program Leader (MAP) Paula Cullenberg. Before we even left the Nome airport, we met with Janis Ivanoff, the Vice President and CEO of the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC), Simon Kinneen, Chief Operating Officer, and Charlie Lean, Norton Sound Fisheries Research and Development Director, who were preparing to catch a flight to Little Diomede. Our connections to NSEDC are strong as Simon is a fisheries graduate (1999) and Charlie's daughter, Reba, is a currently a fisheries minor at UAF. NSEDC provided three years of funding for our MAP office in Nome and we were delighted to have Heidi Herter join our faculty three years ago as the Bering Straits MAP agent. As Heidi was moving on to other endeavors, beginning with a vacation in Baja, Paula and I were there to participate in a final assessment of her activities. While there, we discussed our undergraduate fisheries program with UAF Northwest Campus Director Lee Haugen and Student Services Coordinator Kacey Miller. Kacey is our primary point of contact in Nome for our undergraduate fisheries degrees. Heidi and I journeyed to Nome-Beltz Junior-High School to meet with Guidance Counselor Vern Rickett and to visit anatomy and physics classes to describe our undergraduate programs to the students. A highlight of the trip was an opportunity to walk on the sikuliaq (young sea ice) of Norton Sound. Being on the coast also reminded me that we have little wind in Fairbanks and that 35 degrees below with a stiff wind can be bracing.
The Ocean Leadership Public Policy Forum in Washington, DC was the primary purpose of my first trip to DC this year, March 8-13. On March 8, I joined Alaska Sea Grant Director Dave Christie for dinner with CFOS Advisory Council member Jim Balsiger and Vice Chair Heather McCarty. Jim has completed his tour in DC as Acting Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service and returned to Juneau in late March. The next day, Dave Christie and I visited with Frank Herr and Linwood Vincent at the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, VA. It was odd to see piles of snow in the street as we headed to the ONR building, but it has been an unusual weather year in DC to say the least. The U.S. Navy has shown more interest in Arctic research recently, so Dave and I were there to describe the research capabilities of our faculty. Frank is Head of the ONR Ocean Battlespace Sensing Department and we have significant sensing activities in the Arctic including moorings, high frequency radars and soon gliders.
Speakers at the Public Policy Forum at the Capitol Visitors Center on March 10 included our own Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) who mentioned the R/V Sikuliaq and the importance of understanding climate change in the Arctic. The forum has grown in stature over the years and this year included panels on sea-level rise, marine spatial planning, and the Arctic. Every speaker on the Arctic panel mentioned UAF, including the Oceanographer of the Navy RADM David Titley. NSF Arctic Division Director Simon Stephenson showed a diagram of the R/V Sikuliaq, a picture of Assistant Professor Jeremy Mathis collecting a water sample for pH analysis and a pteropod photo by Associate Professor Russ Hopcroft. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) also addressed the forum. Senator Boxer commented on how 3.6 million U.S. jobs are related to the ocean, most from tourism and recreation, and urged us to continue our efforts to protect ocean resources. She noted that, "The people who come after us should be able to see what we see." Senator Boxer noted that we had taught her the difference between weather and climate, unlike another senator who thought the recent snow in DC was evidence that climate change was a hoax – think Oklahoma. It feels good to know we have such strong supporters of ocean issues in the Senate.
On March 11, I represented UAF at the Ocean Leadership members meeting in the morning and visited with NOAA administrators at the Department of Commerce in the afternoon. Dave Christie and I met with Dr. Russell Callender who is the Acting Director of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science(NCCOS). CFOS co-manages the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory with NCCOS and we discussed the development of research programs at the lab. Afterward, we met with David Kennedy who is the Acting Assistant Administrator of the National Ocean Service. David knows UAF well as earlier in his career he was director of the spilled oil research team at the UAF Geophysical Institute. The week in DC ended with a trip to Newseum on Friday afternoon and dinner with Associate Dean Mike Castellini and CFOS Advisory Council Chair David Policansky to plan the April Advisory Council meeting.
After one day in Fairbanks to decompress, I participated in a meeting of the Board of the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) in Anchorage on March 15. Under the leadership of Professor Mark Johnson, CFOS has operated the AOOS data management center since its inception. At the meeting, the AOOS board passed a motion to go out for bid for the data management center rather than continue our management of the center. Over 16,000 visits have been recorded to the AOOS data center web site over the last six months with visitors who go past the first page spending an average of almost 16 minutes on the site. I was not convinced the AOOS board made an evidence-based decision. Since CFOS joined AOOS in 2004, we have committed time, effort, and financial resources to its success and our data management team has provided guidance for setting up other data management systems for the Great Lakes and Caribbean regional associations. Our faculty are considering whether to continue our association with AOOS as CFOS and other UAF entities conduct much more ocean observing than does AOOS.
The Rasmuson family in Alaska has contributed significantly to CFOS programs and I spent time this month in meetings in Anchorage related to their support. A group known as the Rasmuson Fisheries Excellence Committee periodically reviews the activities associated with our $5.0 million undergraduate fisheries grant from the Rasmuson Foundation. The committee, which includes UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers and UAS Chancellor John Pugh, met in Anchorage on March 23. CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra, Internship Coordinator Christie VanLaningham, and I traveled to Anchorage for the meeting in the Rasmuson Foundation board room. CFOS Acting Fisheries Division Director Keith Criddle flew in from Juneau and MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg joined us for the meeting. Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton prepared much of the material for the meeting and participated by phone from Fairbanks. The FEC meeting went well with almost all members supportive and engaged. We have 52 fisheries undergraduates this term compared to 28 students in spring 2008. The 30 applicants we have already for the fall, including 5 UA Scholars, is a strong indicator of the growth prospects for our undergraduate degree programs.
The Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center (RFRC) was founded in 1994 with an endowment from Elmer Rasmuson with the mission to "promote excellence in research related to fisheries, and to develop young fisheries scientists." I attended the RFRC advisory board meeting in Anchorage on March 29. At the meeting, the board heard presentations from Rasmuson Fellows Terril Efird, M.S. Marine Biology (Advisor: Dr. Brenda Konar), Christine Gleason, M.S. Oceanography Candidate (Advisor: Dr. Brenda Norcross) Elena Fernandez, M.S. Oceanography Candidate (Advisors: Dr. Jeremy Mathis and Dr. Lara Dehn) and Laurinda Marcello, M.S. Fisheries Candidate (Advisor: Dr. Franz Mueter).
We also heard a special presentation from UAF Fisheries Graduate and Former Rasmuson Fellow Gregg Rosenkrantz, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (Kodiak), on high-resolution benthic imaging using ADF&G CamSled. From the copious number of questions, I know the advisory board members enjoyed the presentations. Eleven new fellowship proposals were reviewed and results will be announced in April.
I was happy to end the month in Fairbanks knowing that I have no scheduled flights under my Alaska Airlines "My Trips" listing. With temperatures in the 40s at the end of March it will be great to be in Fairbanks for a while, but I still need to get to location 13 - Bethel.
The highlight of February for the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences was definitely the signing ceremony of the shipyard contract for the R/V Sikuliaq, formerly known as the Alaska Region Research Vessel. I traveled to Marinette, Wisconsin with UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Pat Pitney and members of the Sikuliaq management team (Dan Oliver, Terry Whitledge, John Hebard, and others) for what can only be described as a celebration. CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Stephens organized the signing ceremony in Marinette which, beside Chancellor Rogers and MMC CEO Richard McCreary, included two members of Congress (Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Wisconsin and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan), a representative of the Executive Office of the President (Dr. Jerry Miller from the Office of Science and Technology Policy), and the Director of the Ocean Sciences Division at the National Science Foundation (Dr. Julie Morris). Seward Mayor Willard Dunham and Vice Mayor Jean Bardarson were in attendance and were recognized by Chancellor Rogers. We received significant coverage of the event, both on the local television station (WFRV) and in the Marinette newspaper Eagle Herald. The UAF R/V Sikuliaq office has been established at the shipyard with Project Manager Gary Smith overseeing four people. Our on-site personnel will expand as the project moves forward. The quest for an Arctic research vessel was begun by the oceanographic community in 1973 with UAF Professor Emeritus Bob Elsner leading the way. After 36 years, the construction contract has been awarded and the vessel will be completed and turned over to UAF for outfitting in January 2013.
On February 15, the CFOS Academic Programs Office hosted a welcome back pizza party for our returning students in Fairbanks. A good mix of graduate and undergraduate students attended. We have 55 students in our undergraduate fisheries program this semester. Of our current undergraduate students, eight were named to UAF Dean's, Chancellor's, or President's Lists for the Fall 2009 semester (3.5 GPA or higher). And, the program continues to grow. We already have 26 undergraduate applications for Fall 2010 (16 from Alaska, 10 from out of state). Seventeen of the applicants are first-time freshmen (12 of these are Alaska students). Nine applicants are transfer students. Twenty-six applications is well above where we were last year at this time. Of the 12 applications from Alaska-resident first-time freshmen, five are UA Scholars.
The Alaska Legislature was a focus of many activities in February. The University of Alaska Board of Regents budget request this year includes $614,000 to support our Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program faculty in Unalaska, Petersburg, Cordova, Dillingham, Kodiak and Nome. Our community-based faculty members in these locations have been funded on grants that end this year. MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg has worked with our supporters in the fisheries industry throughout Alaska to garner support for this funding. The outpouring of support has been both impressive and heart-warming. You can read over 50 letters of support on the MAP website http://seagrant.uaf.edu/map/admin/fundingrequest/index.html. We are hopeful that these funds will be added to the UA budget, however, in spite of this strong support Governor Parnell did not include these funds in either his initial budget or his amended budget. We continue to provide information to the House and Senate Finance committees to assist with their deliberations.
On February 9, we were asked to address the Alaska legislature's House Finance Subcommittee on Fisheries on February 15 — short notice. The subcommittee chair, Rep. Bill Thomas, Jr. (R – Haines) requested a brief overview on what UAF is doing in the areas of fisheries research, marine mammals, and partnerships with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Dr. Gordon Kruse, UA President's Professor of Fisheries, agreed to make the presentation in Juneau on a Monday night with my introducing him by phone from Fairbanks. Gordon worked diligently to prepare his testimony, which was completed very late at night before the testimony date. He did a tremendous job and we believe that the committee has a much better understanding of CFOS research and academic programs. You can read Gordon's testimony on our website at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/news/story/?ni=307.
Many CFOS faculty attended the 2010 Ocean Sciences meeting in Portland, Oregon, February 22 - 25. I arrived on February 23 to attend the science sessions and meet potential students at the CFOS display, http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/display/. CFOS was well represented at the meeting with presentations by both faculty and students. Assistant Professor Jeremy Mathis chaired a session on "Carbon Biogeochemistry of the Arctic and Subarctic." So many attendees were interested in this session that the crowd overflowed into the corridor and all the standing room was filled. CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra Straub and Carin Stephens staffed our display. The dynamic duo greeted visitors and produced CFOS magnets and luggage tags to promote our programs. Katie and Carin say that the booth at the Ocean Sciences Meeting was the busiest and most successful event either has ever attended, with a record number of interested students learning about the School's academic opportunities. They distributed over 500 CFOS luggage tags - an indication that almost 25% of meeting attendees visited our display.
While in Portland, I traveled to Clackamas, Oregon, on February 23 to meet with the Chief Financial Officer of Pacific Seafood Group. I had an opportunity to learn about PSG operations and to provide information on CFOS academic and research programs that they might be interested in supporting. During my tour of their processing and distribution facility, I learned that they turn over their fresh seafood warehouse every 18 hours. Pacific Seafood provides high quality seafood to grocery stores and directly to restaurants like McCormick & Schmick's. My visit was a follow up to a 2008 visit by CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson and provided me an opportunity to describe the advantages of using the Alaska Educational Tax Credit as part of a philanthropic plan.
While February is a short month anyway, it was even shorter for me as I took a week's vacation in Mississippi to get away from the cold. Since we are having a warmer winter than usual in Fairbanks, the temperature in Mississippi was not much warmer than in Alaska. Next February, I will plan to go either further south or to Hawaii.
What better way to start the new year than in the Big Easy. After spending the Christmas holidays in Mississippi (where it snowed and was 12 degrees at one point) I traveled a short 360 miles to New Orleans to participate in the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Advanced Development for Deans conference on January 7 and 8. CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompsontraveled over 4,000 miles to attend the same conference. We spent two days learning how deans can be significantly engaged in development activities, considering how advisory boards can be used to enhance fundraising activities, and exploring the complexities of developing relationships with potential donors. Teresa and I found the discussions very useful by providing new ideas and reinforcing that our current CFOS development plan has the right goals and approach. While we were in New Orleans, we had the opportunity to meet with former UAF Associate Vice Chancellor for Development Judyth Wier. Judyth returned to Louisiana from Alaska over a year ago and has just accepted the position of President of the University of New Orleans Foundation.
Chancellor Brian Rogers and Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Pat Pitney discussed the UAF budget with the Provost Council members on January 13. The FY10 (current year) budget has been difficult to balance centrally due to salary increases, increased fuel costs and a large number of tuition waivers. UAF receives only about 60% of salary and benefit increases from UA Statewide. The balance must be covered by reducing costs elsewhere. In FY10, CFOS had its budget reduced by 2%, 1% for the performance-based budgeting pool and 1% to help meet central UAF costs. We learned that we will have another 2 to 4% budget reduction in FY11 to help cover under-funded pay raises and increased health care costs. UAF contributions to faculty and staff health insurance have increased from $25 million in FY02 to $58 million in FY09. CFOS unit leaders are working on plans to absorb the anticipated budget reductions without diminishing our ability to deliver our high quality programs.
CFOS Conversations was held on January 14 with participants from most CFOS locations. Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver provided an update on the Alaska Region Research Vesselthat we are constructing for the National Science Foundation. The vessel will be called the R/V 'Sikuliaq,' pronounced [see-KOO-lee-auk.] 'Sikuliaq' is an Inupiaq word meaning "young sea ice." The Chancellor confirmed this month that Seward will be the home port for the Sikuliaq. National Ocean Sciences Bowl Coordinator Phyllis Shoemaker reported that this year's Tsunami Bowl will have 23 or 24 high school teams participating with 12 of the teams from communities off of the road system. We continue to seek private funding to support the Tsunami Bowl.
The first Alaska Marine Gala was held at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage on the evening of January 17. The black-tie affair was hosted by the Alaska SeaLife Center with over 500 people in attendance. I dressed in my tuxedo for only the second time in six years in Alaska. A committee chaired by CFOS Advisory Council member Arliss Sturgulewski gave several awards. Award categories included Lifetime Achievement, Ocean Literacy, Ocean Media, Marine Research, and Stewardship and Sustainability. CFOS sponsored the Ocean Media Award that was won by Elizabeth Arnold of National Public Radio. Former CFOS dean and Professor Emerita Vera Alexander was a winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, along with Sen. Ted Stevens. Professor of Fisheries Gordon Kruse won the Marine Research Award. Professor Tom Weingartner and Associate Professor Russ Hopcroft were also in contention for the research award. It was a great night for our school and UAF. You can see all the award winners at http://www.alaskasealife.org/alaskamarinegala/awards.html.
The Alaska Marine Science Symposium was held in Anchorage January 18-21. An estimated 700-800 people attended the event, which included opening remarks by Alaska Senator Mark Begich, marking the first time in the event's history that a U.S. senator has attended in person. Many CFOS faculty staff and students participated. I was the chair for the Gulf of Alaska plenary session on Monday afternoon. Fully half of the presenters in my session were CFOS faculty or students. As we expected, our graduate students won most of the student awards at the meeting–four out of six of the awards received. Both best poster awards went to our students: Jill Seymour (master's, advisor Dr. Lara Dehn) and Nathan Stewart (Ph.D., advisor Dr. Brenda Konar). Our students also won two of the four presentation awards: Mayumi Arimitsu (master's, advisor Dr. Nicola Hillgruber) and Elizabeth Siddon (Ph.D., advisors Dr. Nicola Hillgruber and Franz Mueter). Several other CFOS students gave fantastic presentations and could have easily won. But, I am sure the committee did not wish to have all the winners from UAF.
The Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) Advisory Board also met in Anchorage January 21-22, the same week as the symposium. The board convened at our Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program offices and heard research reports from CFOS faculty (Atkinson, Castellini, Criddle, Kruse, Mathis, Oliveira, Quinn, Rosenberger, Springer and Winsor) and students (Katie Palof, Sara Miller, and Kray VanKirk) funded by the PCCRC. The companies of the Pollock Conservation Cooperative ( American Seafoods, Arctic Storm, Glacier Fish Company, Starbound, and Trident Seafoods) have donated over $10 million to CFOS over the last ten years. We have used these funds to establish a research endowment to fund the Ted Stevens Distinguished Professor of Marine Policy, to provide student fellowships and to fund over $4.0 million in faculty research. The donations place the Pollock Conservation Cooperative among the largest private contributors to the University of Alaska since its inception in 1917. You can read our press release on their donations at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/news/story/?ni=295.
After a few days in the office, I was back to Anchorage on Wednesday, January 27, to attend the annual CFOS unit directors retreat January 28-29. Each January, CFOS unit leaders gather to review the accomplishments of the last year and plan our activities for the coming year. Because of the anticipated budget reduction, we decided not to initiate any new faculty hiring with CFOS general funds (Fund 1). We also discussed our plan to advocate with the Alaska Legislature for permanent funding for our Marine Advisory Program faculty in soft-money positions. The $614,000 CFOS request in the UA Board of Regents was not included in the budget that Governor Parnell submitted to the legislature. MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg and Cordova MAP faculty member Torie Baker traveled to Juneau January 21-22 and met with 14 different legislators or staff members. On January 21, Paula and Torie also made a presentation to the legislative Fisheries Caucus that is organized by Rep. Alan Austerman from Kodiak. You can listen to the entire session at http://www.ktoo.org/gavel/new/player.cfm?evid=FISH100121A. We have heard that the Governor's office has received a number of letters and phone calls about our funding request. Rep. Austerman asked that I attend the Fisheries Caucus in the near future to discuss the expansion of the undergraduate fisheries degree program. We have strong support from the fishing industry around the state and are confident that our MAP request will be funded.
The spring academic semester is off to a great start. We now have 54 undergraduate fisheries students compared to 51 at the beginning of the fall semester. Word of our undergraduate program is spreading and the advertising campaign coordinated by CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Stephens and Recruiting and Retention Officer Katie Murra Straub is bringing significant attention to our CFOS programs. You will hear even more announcements on Alaska Public Radio in the coming months.
Have a good semester.
November and December 2009
This report covers both November and December 2009 as many activities that started in November concluded in December. In addition, I left Fairbanks for the Christmas holidays on the night of December 15, so it was a short month for me. After five white Christmases in a row in Fairbanks, Jean and I spent the holidays with friends and family in Mississippi where we had our first "green Christmas" in six years.
ARRV Update. In July1973, Robert Elsner (now UAF Professor Emeritus) wrote a proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for "Planning for an Alaskan Research Ship." Thirty-nine years and four months later, events are moving quickly to assure the scientific community will have this much-needed vessel. The Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) shipyard selection panel met in Fairbanks November 2-5 to review shipyard proposals for construction of the ARRV. On November 17, UAF Director of Procurement John Hebard, ARRV Project Manager Dan Oliver and I traveled to DC and met with NSF to present the panel recommendation and seek their consent to award a contract. Dan presented the recommendation and John was nothing but impressive in his description of the contract and in answering follow-up questions. Because of the thoroughness of the selection report, NSF moved up their plan for issuing the consent by almost a week and we received their consent on December 4. On December 18, UAF signed a contract for $123,197,168 with Marinette Marine Corporation, Marinette, Wisconsin, for construction of the 254 ft. ARRV. UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers will participate in a ceremonial signing of the contract to be held in Marinette on February 5, 2010. ARRV Project Director Gary Smith will move to Marinette in January 2010 and assemble a team to oversee the construction. We are on our way. The vessel should be completed in 2013 and ready for science in 2014. For more details, see the updated ARRV web page at www.sfos.uaf.edu/arrv.
November is the month when CFOS students submit their theses to me for final review before transmittal to the UAF Graduate School for December graduation. As I have mentioned before, reading the final product of our students' research is one of the most enjoyable parts of my responsibilities as dean. The breadth of our student research is impressive from harvesting of humpback whitefish in the Chatanika River (Edenfield) to processes that control the distribution of heat and freshwater on the northern Gulf of Alaska shelf (Janout). Our December 2009 graduates were:
Haixue Shen, Ph.D. Fisheries. Major Advisor: Dr. Terrance Quinn
Markus A. Janout, Ph.D. Oceanography. Major Advisor: Dr. Tom Weingartner
Jonathon Gerken, M.S. Fisheries. Major Advisor: Dr. Joseph Margraf
Elizabeth B. Benolkin, M.S. Fisheries. Major Advisor: Dr. Joseph Margraf
Lorena Elaine Edenfield, M.S. Fisheries. Major Advisor: Dr. Trent Sutton
Jenefer Bell, M.S. Marine Biology. Major Advisor: Dr. Russell Hopcroft
Maryann Bozza, M.S. Marine Biology. Major Advisor: Dr. Tuula Hollmen
Caroline M. Jezierski, M.S. Marine Biology. Major Advisor: Dr. Brenda Norcross
Mayumi L. Arimitsu, M.S. Fisheries. Major Advisor: Dr. Nicola Hillgruber
Lorna I. Wilson, M.S. Fisheries. Major Advisor: Dr. William Smoker
You can review the abstracts of their theses on our web page at www.sfos.uaf.edu/theses . Congratulations to these students as they complete this important step in their careers.
The Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society held its annual meeting in Fairbanks November 3-5. CFOS had a great showing at the meeting with 10 faculty attending, 13 students working as volunteers, and 5 poster and 22 oral presentations by faculty, staff and students. Associate Professors Milo Adkison and Trent Sutton chaired symposia during the meeting. Our students represented us well at the meeting, both in the presentations that they gave and their volunteer efforts with meeting logistics and audio-visual support. During the meeting, it was announced that Matt Catterson, one of our undergraduate fisheries students in Juneau, won the Molly O. Ahlgren Scholarship Award that goes annually to a senior fisheries student in Alaska. CFOS Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Suttonhas been elected Alaska Chapter Vice President and fisheries Ph.D. student Sara Miller is the new Student Subunit representative on the chapter's Executive Committee.
CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Straub and I participated in the UAF Natural Resources, Fisheries and Sciences Career Day at the Wood Center in Fairbanks on November 4. The event provides an opportunity for employers to meet with students nearing graduation. CFOS co-hosts this annual event with the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (CNSM) and the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (SNRAS). Thirty-nine federal, state, and private organizations were represented and over 400 students participated. Most of the representatives of the Alaska Department and Fish and Game were CFOS graduates as were several other employer representatives, including our most recent B.S. fisheries graduate - Valli Peterson who works for the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Energy Services.
November 5-6, I attended the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) 8th Annual Research Colloquium and Board of Directors meeting in Seward. I serve as one of the University of Alaska representatives on the ASLC board and UAF Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Pat Pitney holds the other UA seat. The colloquium provided me the opportunity to hear our research faculty at the ASLC (Jo-Ann Mellish, Russ Andrews, Lori Polasek, and Tuula Hollmen) and several students present their 2009 research activities. Much of the board meeting focused on development activities, including the Alaska Marine Gala that will be held January 17, 2010 in Anchorage at the Dena’ina Center. The evening will feature a presentation by marine explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau and an awards ceremony to recognize individuals and organizations from marine education, industry, research, resource management and the media who have contributed to ocean literacy and sustainability. CFOS is sponsoring the media award this year. More information about the gala can be found at http://www.alaskasealife.org/alaskamarinegala/.
The following week marked a whirlwind of travel for me. On November 10, I attended the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) Board of Directors meeting in Anchorage along with Professor Mark Johnson. CFOS is the major recipient of AOOS funding and Mark runs the AOOS Data Center which collects and processes all AOOS data and makes it available over the web to scientists and the public. Check out their activities at http://ak.aoos.org. During the meeting, the board considered a new Memorandum of Agreement under which the organization will operate in the future. I gave a presentation on CFOS activities that will be funded through the Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) that will be directed by Associate Professor Peter Winsor. After 24 hours back in Fairbanks, I flew to Anchorage again to attend the Alaska Sea Grant Advisory Committee meeting which was held at the National Parks Service building. This was Dr. David Christie's first meeting as director of Alaska Sea Grant. My presentation focused on the CFOS relationships with many marine organizations throughout Alaska. The committee discussed how it could advocate effectively for the permanent funding that UA has requested from the legislature for our Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program extension agents in coastal communities from Nome to Cordova.
I spent November 14-18 in Washington, DC attending the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) meeting as the UAF representative to the Board of Oceans and Atmospheres. While there, I participated in the aforementioned November 17 meeting at NSF and spent December 18 on Capitol Hill briefing our Alaska Congressional staff on the ARRV. UA Director of Federal Relations Martha Stewart and I met with Arne Fuglvog in Sen. Murkowski's office, with Jeremy Price (Congressman Young's staff) and John Rayfield (Minority Staff Director, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) at the Ford House Office Building and then with Bob King and Pete Jones in Sen. Begich's office. John was instrumental in supporting the new facilities in our Kasitsna Bay Laboratory and continues to be interested in the success of the lab. We also discussed the need for additional funding for an ocean observing system with our Senate staffers. This was all accomplished by 1:00 p.m. on November 18 so I could catch the evening plane to Seattle for a meeting the next day.
In Seattle, I attended the Pacific Marine Expo where CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson was meeting with potential donors and staffing the CFOS display. On November 19, Teresa, Heather McCarty, and I met with about 15 crab harvesters and others to discuss the possibility of creating a crab research fund through the University of Alaska Foundation. Heather presented the status of the Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology Program (AKCRRAB) and Teresa described support opportunities that take advantage of the Education Tax Credit. That evening, at the invitation of Alaska Crab Coalition Executive Director Arni Thomson, we attended the United Fishermen of Alaskaseafood reception at the Swedish Cultural Center. Before leaving Seattle on Friday, I had an opportunity to visit Glosten Associates (www.glosten.com), the naval architecture firm that is our partner in the construction of the ARRV. I met with Glosten President William Hurley, Vice President Peggy Noethlich, and naval architect Dirk Kristensen, one of the key designers of the ARRV. Glosten Associates also provides financial support to our Alaska region National Ocean Sciences Bowl and has supported this effort for the past ten years. It was a happy visit as I brought good news from DC.
December 1 began on the 1:05 a.m. flight out of Fairbanks to Seattle and Washington, DC to attend NOAA's Next Generation Strategic Plan (NGSP) National Stakeholder Forum on December 2 at George Washington University, see http://www.ppi.noaa.gov/ngsp.html. Chancellor Rogers had been invited to the forum and asked me to represent UAF at the meeting. NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco kicked off the meeting and all the associate administrators were present to chair working groups. I had a chance to meet with the assistant administrators for National Ocean Service (Jack Dunnigan) and Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (Rick Spinrad) as well as with Dave Kennedy who is Dunnigan's deputy. Dave is very interested in CFOS activities in Alaska, especially our Kasitsna Bay Laboratory, and was employed at the UAF Geophysical Institute earlier in his career. I participated in the Sustainable Fisheries Working Group chaired by Jim Balsiger, head of the National Marine Fisheries Service and a member of the CFOS Advisory Council. CFOS Advisory Council member Doug DeMaster facilitated the discussions. After the meeting, I also had a chance to visit with Ray Highsmith, Director of the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST) at the University of Mississippi and former CFOS faculty member.
On December 3, I flew from DC to San Francisco to attend the 49th annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools meeting that ran through Saturday, December 5. This meeting provided useful information on trends in graduate education and gave me an opportunity to visit with other deans who deal primarily with graduate student issues, including how to improve our student recruiting. UAF Interim Graduate Dean Larry Duffy gave a presentation on the special challenges to community engagement in rural Alaska communities.
My final trip of the year was to Anchorage on December 8 to attend part of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting and observe the 2009 Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit hosted by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program December 7 – 9 at the Anchorage Hilton. This event provides training and networking opportunities for new fishermen entering the business, or more seasoned fishermen wishing to take a leadership role in their industry. The summit, organized by MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg and MAP faculty Sunny Rice (Petersburg) and Torie Baker (Cordova) had about 50 participants and received a nice write-up in seafood.com (http://www.seafoodnews.com/NewsStory.aspx?StoryId=719969).
I traveled only 68,261 miles on CFOS business in 2009, down significantly from my first few years as dean (88,525 miles in 2006) and the third year in a row with fewer air miles. During 2010, I anticipate a few trips to Juneau to support the UA legislative request for MAP funding. I plan to limit my travel in 2010 to conserve budget, however, I do hope to make it to Bethel and Nome, the only two CFOS locations I have not visited.
Happy New Year.
I begin this report with news of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV), although most of the news came at the end of October. Our ARRV team, headed by Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver, IMSDirector Terry Whitledge and Project Director Gary Smith, continue to do an outstanding job and the project is moving ahead exceptionally well. Shipyard cost proposals for the ARRV were received on October 28 from shipyards that passed the earlier technical qualification step. The cost proposal is one of the most important stages in the procurement process as we will soon know whether the funds allocated by the National Science Foundation (NSF) are sufficient to construct the vessel. The ARRV Shipyard Selection Board will meet in Fairbanks the week of November 2 to review the bids and prepare a recommendation to NSF. We hope to provide them some good news when we meet with NSF ARRV program managers in Washington, DC on November 17. Stay tuned.
Our fall CFOS newsletter was mailed this month and I wish to thank everyone who contributed to the newsletter. The CFOS newsletter reaches over 1,000 alumni, employees, students, and others around Alaska. CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Stephens organizes and edits the newsletter and I know she appreciated those who contributed articles. We have received several compliments from well-known graphical artists on the quality and presentation of the CFOS newsletter and I have received other positive reports from alumni and benefactors. If you have not seen the newsletter, please check it out on the web at www.sfos.uaf.edu/newsletter. Additional copies are available in the Dean's Office.
Several meetings were on my agenda this month. I attended the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) advisory board meeting in Anchorage on October 5. COSEE Alaska (http://www.coseealaska.net/) is a partnership between CFOS, the Alaska Ocean Observing System, the Alaska SeaLife Center, the UAF Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, the Anchorage School District, and the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. The NSF-funded program seeks to increase ocean literacy within and outside Alaska. Alaska Department of Education and Early Development Commissioner Larry LeDoux chaired the advisory board meeting. CFOS faculty member Marilyn Sigman, based in Anchorage, has primary responsibility for our COSEE activities.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks and the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence hosted a two-day round-table discussion and lecture on issues of national intelligence on October 14 – 15 in Fairbanks. Professor John Kelley was the primary organizer of the meeting and CFOS provided most of the logistics with Assistant to the Dean Edward Elliott making the arrangements and Fiscal Manager Angela Gies paying the bills. One purpose of the conference was to evaluate UAF as a potential Office of the Director of National Intelligence Center of Academic Excellence.
My first university business trip out of Alaska since June was October 13 – 16, when I was in San Diego to attend a Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) workshop on Major Gift Solicitation. Along with 95 other attendees from around North America and a few from Asia, I learned the process of "making the ask" for large donations. Besides the high quality presentations from experienced major gift officers, the most interesting session was called "What would you do?" in which major gift officers presented conversations they had encountered in which they had to respond quickly and asked you to suggest the best approach. My favorite situation was when the gift officer was told by a potential donor that the dean had been there too long and was out of touch with reality. How would you respond?
The International Arctic Fisheries Symposium was held in Anchorage October 19-21, see http://www.nprb.org/iafs2009/ . The meeting was hosted by the Institute of the North and CFOS was a co-sponsor. Tom Weingartner gave a presentation on the physical oceanography of the Arctic in the session on scientific perspectives on climate change and Arctic fisheries. Other faculty in attendance were Dave Christie, Jennifer Reynolds, Brenda Norcross, Shannon Atkinson, Andy Seitz, Keith Criddle, and me. Alaska Sea Grant Communications Director Kurt Byers also attended and four CFOS Advisory Council members (Doug DeMaster, Heather McCarty, Ian Dutton, and Margaret Williams) participated in the three-day meeting. U.S. Ambassador David Balton, deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, played a large role in the meeting and commented in closing the meeting that additional research is needed before decisions will be made for future fisheries. Many participants stated a need for monitoring the ecosystem before any fisheries begin for both pelagic and benthic fish. Former NOAA scientist and CFOS Ph.D. graduate Jeff Shortemphasized that we did not wish to end up in a situation similar to Prince William Sound in 1989 when little ecosystem data were available to interpret significant anthropogenic changes.
While in Anchorage for the fisheries symposium, I made a brief visit on October 19 to the annual meeting of the Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals (AASSP) to provide some information to the principals about our undergraduate fisheries degrees. The organization is also providing information on the Tsunami Bowl, the Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl, to the principals to encourage participation in the event by additional five-member high school teams. Fourteen teams have signed up to participate in February 2010 in Seward and another six teams have expressed interest. CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson is working to raise additional funds for the Tsunami Bowl so we can support travel and expenses so that more rural Alaska schools can participate in the event.
Back in Fairbanks on October 22 – 24, Teresa Thompson and I attended a workshop entitled Considering a Roadmap Forward: The Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA). UAF hosted the workshop along with the University of the Arctic Institute for Applied Circumpolar Policy (UArctic), and Dartmouth College. Chancellor Brian Rogers welcomed the attendees who worked over three days to develop an implementation roadmap for the seventeen recommendations provided in the AMSA. Dr. Michael Sfraga, associate dean of the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences and director of the University of Alaska Geography Program, and Dr. Lawson Brigham, were the coordinators for the workshop that was held at the Princess Riverside Hotel in Fairbanks.
A scholarship has been named in honor of an undergraduate fisheries student, Blake Nunemann, who died September 30. Blake was the stepson of ARRV Program Coordinator Lori Nunemann. The Blake Nunemann Memorial Scholarship has been set up within CFOS to celebrate Blake's life and his love for fisheries, as well as encourage young scientists to broaden their understanding of the field. Information about the scholarship is available on line at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/news/story/?ni=286.
This October was the first real fall I have experienced in Fairbanks with relatively warm days and cool nights. The temperature did not go below freezing for good until October 24 and we had no snow this month until October 26. A month of fall kept everyone in our office in a good mood and should make the winter a month shorter. The only complaints were from those who were ready for ski season and I am sure they will be delighted with November.
Classes began at UAF on September 2 and the enrollment numbers were finalized at the end of the month. Overall UAF enrollment is up 7.3% in head count and 6.9% in student credit hours, while CFOS was up 8.8% in head count and 8.6% in student credit hours. While we are still the smallest academic unit at UAF, except for the College of Engineering and Mines we had the largest percentage student credit hours growth this year. Much of the reason was the expansion of our fisheries undergraduate degree to include the new B.A. in fisheries that became available in January. We started the Fall 2009 semester with 51 fisheries undergraduates compared to 23 in Fall 2007. Ten fisheries students are Alaska Natives. Our five-year target is to have 100 fisheries undergraduates and we are well on our way. We are able to accomplish this expansion thanks to the hard work of our dedicated faculty and staff with the generous support we received from the Rasmuson Foundation. The Rasmuson family has always been a supporter of fisheries education as they, like we, realize its importance to Alaskans.
To recruit additional fisheries students this year, we have developed partnerships with the coastal campuses of UAF in Bethel, Dillingham, Nome and Kotzebue. At each campus, we will have a point of contact who is very familiar with the opportunities available for fisheries students. They will help us in both recruiting students and in developing an articulation agreement with the campuses to allow students to begin their studies in their community and finish their degrees in Fairbanks or Juneau. To meet the needs of place-bound students, almost all of our undergraduate courses are delivered by video. Our Introduction to Fisheries course (FISH 101) taught by Assistant Professor Amanda Rosenberger has 43 students in seven different locations. Next year we will have an even broader reach as we will offer FISH 101 as an asynchronous web-based course and Professor John Kelley is offering The Oceans (MSL 111) on the web again this term.
The only trip I made outside Fairbanks in September was to Anchorage for the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) meeting September 17-18. I am pleased to announce that Heather McCarty, Vice Chair of the CFOS Advisory Council, was seated as a new voting member of the NPRB. Heather was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to a three-year term. I hold the academic seat on the NPRB, one of the non-voting positions. I had added to the agenda a discussion of the board policy of not funding collections of time series oceanographic data (which they call long-term monitoring). A letter from the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) and the Marine Conservation Alliance (MCA) was sent to the NPRB in which they recommended that the board "actively resist the funding of ongoing agency programs and responsibilities including such things as long term monitoring or the data buoy programs." In the past we have had funding for the Seward Line (see http://www.ims.uaf.edu/gak1/) from the NPRB, but that funding has been exhausted. To keep the Seward Line going in September 2009, I allocated $96,000 from CFOS funds to pay for the ship time and data collection. Perhaps with some irony, Assistant Professor Jeremy Mathis was chief scientist on the cruise aboard the R/V Tiglax ( http://alaskamaritime.fws.gov/tiglax.htm) which was at sea the same week as the NPRB meeting. The CFOS cruise funding was not budgeted, but we are committed to the Seward Line which is the longest oceanographic time series in the Gulf of Alaska. To understand the effects of climate change on fisheries, we need the Seward Line data. The board took no action at this meeting, but I hope the Seward Line will be funded as part of the NPRB Gulf of Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Research Program(GoAIERP) when the decision is made in January. If not, we may have a requiem for the Seward Line rather than a cruise in May 2010. Paradoxically, one of the other recommendations of the UFA and MCA was to "Provide a specific category in the RFP for Climate Effects on Fisheries." One can only wonder where they think the data are going to come from for those studies without time series like the Seward Line.
While in Anchorage for the NPRB meeting, I slipped away on the afternoon of September 17 to participate in a meeting of the Rasmuson Fisheries Excellence Committee. This high-level committee meets twice a year to provide advice on how to improve our fisheries degree programs and includes UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers, UAS Chancellor John Pugh along with representatives of government agencies and the fishing industry ( http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/fisheries/committee/). One of our fisheries graduates, Nathan Soboleff (M.S., 2006), attended the meeting and discussed what it was like to be a fisheries student in Juneau. He was very complimentary of the education he received from our fisheries faculty. His advisor was Professor Gordon Kruse. We presented our undergraduate enrollment data to the committee along with our recruiting plans and performance measures for the coming year. At the end of the meeting, we were told that the Rasmuson Foundation was "encouraged" by the progress we were making in revitalizing our undergraduate program. If our program continues to develop as we anticipate, I hope that they will be delighted next fall.
The university is developing a new campus master plan to determine space needs. The Master Plan Committee has contracted with a consultant, Perkins and Will from Seattle, to update the UAF Master Plan this year and I attended a meeting with the consultants on September 29. The initial data from the consultant, depending on interpretation, is that UAF has a space deficit of more than 200,000 square feet of assignable space and 400,000 square feet of total space, compared to other universities with our level of research funding. The idea is to produce a cogent argument for new space that can be presented to the Board of Regents and the Alaska Legislature. It is unlikely that CFOS will be considered for new space as the current priority is for a Life Sciences Building that will primarily accommodate biology faculty. This is about the fourth attempt for this type of building, so the arguments to the legislature need to be compelling.
Our Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program faculty held their annual retreat in Bethel the last week in September. I participated by teleconference on the morning of September 30. The topics I discussed were the CFOS budget (Sea Grant and MAP receive 19.3% of the CFOS Fund 1 budget), fisheries student recruiting, potential restructuring of CFOS, the planned Board of Regents request to the legislature to add $614,000 to the CFOS budget for MAP, and the fact that UAF faculty do not receive annual leave – they have "paid days off" – during the academic year when class is not in session. This is confusing to most faculty and I have suggested it be a topic for reconsideration when the next United Academic union contract is negotiated. Because of my interest in this and other union-related topics, Provost Henrichs has appointed me chair to a sub-committee of the Provost's Council to recommend changes to the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Chancellor Rogers is requiring all supervisors to take mandatory supervisor training and I finished the last of the six required core courses (Recruiting and Hiring) on September 2. The edict noted that if all the core courses were not completed by September 30, the supervisor would be judged to be unsatisfactory regardless of performance. Since I was hoping to win the Nobel Prize this year, I wanted to make sure I completed the courses. During the week of the final offering of Recruiting and Hiring, one of our staff was ill and not at work. But, on the afternoon of September 2 they were dutifully in the classroom for the final opportunity to complete the mandatory course. We have a very dedicated staff in CFOS, but all have been advised to stay home if they have flu-like symptoms and we hope to avoid spreading the H1N1 virus if it hits our offices.*
The end of August is always a time of excitement on campus as our continuing students return and new students join our degree programs in fisheries, marine biology and oceanography. In the planner I use to organize my schedule, there is a quote on the top of each page and the quote for August 31 is fitting,
"The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.
- William A. Ward."
As we have increased our emphasis on quality teaching within the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, I am sure we are inspiring our students. And, as our new faculty* have expanded their research activities, the number of graduate students in our program has grown. Overall student enrollment is up at UAF and a report on the Alaska Public Radio Network's Alaska News Nightly specifically pointed out that enrollment in the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences was up 46% this fall compared to fall 2008. (Listen here...) CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra Straub and our faculty are to be congratulated for their outstanding recruiting efforts.
We also had a major public relations success in August. CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Stephens issued a press release* on August 11 describing some of the recent work of Jeremy Mathis, an Assistant Professor of Oceanography who joined CFOS in September 2007. Jeremy measured carbon dioxide system parameters on Seward Line* stations this year and learned that the pH was much lower than he anticipated. This news release has provided us more visibility for our research than perhaps any other information we have provided to the media. I believe part of the reason was the strong linkage between ocean acidification and fisheries and because the release had the right balance. By August 26, the story has been carried in 146 newspapers or newscasts, from the L.A. Times, to the Detroit Free Press, to the Washington Post and the Hindu News in India. After the initial surge from the Associated Press coverage, Reuters picked up the story from a different angle and the story went around the globe again. It was an important story, but I agree with the CFOS Advisory Council member who wished Carin and Jeremy could have reported more positive news about the ocean.
The University of Alaska hosted a Higher Education Partner Conference in Fairbanks August 7-9 in which I participated as the CFOS representative. The meeting brought together 31 participants from Alaska and 24 from China to discuss potential education and research collaborations. Representatives were there from several of the universities I visited during my December 2008 trip to China including I-Shou University (Taiwan), Northeastern University, Dalian University of Technology and the Ocean University of China. During the closing banquet at UA President Mark Hamilton's home, the representative from the China Education Association for International Exchange announced that the government of China would provide scholarships for ten students to attend UAF next year. CFOS was invited to participate in a student exchange program with the Ocean University of China and their vice president invited us for a return visit to discuss an agreement for OUC students to pursue graduate degrees at UAF. If funding is available from UA Vice President Dan Julius, we may arrange a trip to Qingdao later in the fall.
CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson and I traveled to Juneau on August 12 to meet with program supporters. The Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) Advisory Boardmet at our Lena Point Fisheries Building in Juneau on August 14 and CFOS Advisory Board co-chair Heather McCarty hosted a dinner for the board and our Juneau faculty on the evening of August 13. At the meeting, the PCCRC decided to fund one single salmon research initiative in 2010 and 2011. Our faculty and others are reviewing the concept and suggesting ways to focus the effort within the $600,000 two-year budget. The request for a single proposal will be distributed to CFOS faculty in September.
The National Science Foundation conducted a preliminary Business Systems Review (BSR) of UAF August 17-19 as part of our $199.5 million collaborative agreement for the construction and operation of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). The NSF team included ARRV Program Manager Matt Hawkins, Florence Rabanal ( MREFC Office) and Magdelena Van Dusen (Contractor). In Fairbanks, UAF Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Pat Pitney gave an overview of UAF business operations along with Stuart Roberts (Financial Services), Karl Kowalski (OIT), Maggie Griscavage (Award Management), Maren Boyack (Financial Reporting), John Hebard (Procurement) and Kris Racina(Human Resources). I gave an overview of CFOS, CFOS Financial Manager Angela Gies described how CFOS manages its finances and grants accounting and IMS Director Terry Whitledge talked about specifics of the ARRV. After the Fairbanks visit, the NSF team traveled to Seward to meet with Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver and SMC Manager Nici Murawsky among others. The visit to Fairbanks and Seward went very well and by all accounts the NSF team was happy with the information they received and the interactions with our team. Thanks to all who put in long hours of preparation to assure we showed them how we were working as a team on this important project. Special thanks to the ARRV Program Coordinator Lori Nunemann for her logistical support and the long weekend she spent preparing the final briefing material for the review.
Immediately after my part of the ARRV review on August 17, Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I flew to Homer to catch the 7:00 a.m. water taxi to our Kasitsna Bay Laboratory across Kachemak Bay. We spent August 18 and the morning of August 19 meeting with our fisheries faculty who were holding a retreat at the lab. Fisheries Division Interim Director Shannon Atkinson organized the retreat to provide an opportunity for exchange of ideas in an informal setting and K-Bay was the perfect place. It was a great opportunity to discuss the plans and expectations for our fisheries program. In the past three years, we have hired eight new fisheries faculty (4 women and 4 men) all of whom were in attendance at the retreat. Since you have to prepare your own meals at K-Bay, I learned we have some excellent cooks among our faculty. Having freshly caught Kachemak Bay halibut helped us enjoy our visit even more.
After the retreat, I flew to Anchorage on August 19 to meet Chancellor Brian Rogers and VCAS Pat Pitney for a two-day trip to Kodiak. We had breakfast on August 20 with Representative Alan Austerman and Legislative Aide Erin Harrington. During the day, we met with FITC Director Murat Balaban and the FITC faculty and staff, the Kodiak Fisheries Advisory Committee, Kodiak College Director Barbara Bolson and the Fisheries and Oceanic Research Board which is chaired by Kodiak Island Borough Mayor Jerome Shelby. Chancellor Rogers also was the guest speaker at the noon Kodiak Chamber of Commerce meeting. It was a fast trip, but we were able to meet with many community leaders, discuss our plans for FITC and the ARRV, and tour a dock location at Womens Bay where Kodiak leaders would like us to homeport the ARRV. I stayed over on August 21 to meet individually with FITC faculty and staff and to enjoy the cuisine at the Old Powerhouse Restaurant one more time.
Orientation for new UAF faculty was conducted on August 24-25 and we also hosted an informal CFOS orientation for our new faculty on the afternoon of August 24 in the Vera Alexander Learning Center. I gave an CFOS overview, Mike Castellini described the promotion and tenure process, CFOS Proposal Coordinator Gretchen Hundertmark explained how we support grant submissions, Angela Giesdescribed our financial and grants management, and CFOS Academic Manager Christina Neumanncovered academic programs and class scheduling. Christina won for the largest amount of material provided: a 3 inch thick binder. At the new faculty luncheon August 25 on the top floor of the Syun-Ichi Akasofu Building (formerly IARC), I introduced Sarah Mincks Hardy, Assistant Professor of Marine Biology (Fairbanks); Sam VanLaningham, Assistant Professor of Oceanography (Fairbanks); Izetta Chambers, Assistant Professor Marine Advisory Program (Dillingham); and Marilyn Sigman, Term Assistant Professor Marine Advisory Program (Anchorage) as our new faculty. Assistant Professor of Fisheries Andy Seitz and Megan McPhee were out of town. We are delighted to have these six new faculty join our program next fall. We are also pleased that chemical oceanographer Ana Aguilar-Islashas accepted our offer to join CFOS as an Assistant Professor of Oceanography. Ana is finishing a post-doc with IARC and will join us in the spring of 2010.
Each month I receive a report on the proposals by UAF faculty that are submitted and awarded. In August, CFOS faculty received 12 of the 22 proposals awarded at UAF, including two from the National Science Foundation. The total awarded for CFOS research was $2,118,900. I was pleased to see that four of the awards were to our new faculty. One of the anonymous reviews stated, "Funding for this project will further strengthen a growing coalition of early and mid-career researchers at the University of Alaska, a program that is currently undergoing very impressive re-building." It is good to know that our efforts in hiring faculty who can attract high-level funding are noticed and appreciated by our colleagues.
Have a good semester.
On July 1, 2009, I began my fifth year as Dean of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. I remember well the day that Jean and I, with daughter Vanessa in tow, arrived in Fairbanks to find it smokier than it had been during our previous visit. As I write this today, fires burn in several areas around Fairbanks and the sky is again cloudy with smoke. Also on July 1, Edward Elliott returned as the Assistant to the Dean after almost a year in Phoenix. Tara Delana, who received degrees in both business and accounting at UAF's May commencement ceremony, will be heading to New York City to begin her career in accounting. While I am sad to see Tara leave, it is great to know that Edward will do the same capable job as he did before.
I am pleased to report that CFOS finished the fiscal year that ended June 30 with a positive budget balance. This is the fifth year in a row we have ended in the year in the black. UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers expects all units to end the year with a positive account balance and not to have the total be more than 2% of the total budget. We ended the year with $145,198 in the bank, while 2% of our budget is $209,000. These carry forward funds will be invested in startup packages for our new faculty. CFOS Financial Manager Angela Gies returned to CFOS a year ago and has done a great job managing our finances. She and our unit directors are to be commended for their efforts to track our finances and manage our operations to assure financial stability for the school.
During the last fiscal year, our faculty submitted a total of $42,265,182 in new proposals to various state and federal agencies and private corporations and our proposal success rate was about 21% based on number of proposals. Our total research expenditures for the year were $14,490,308 which is about the same as the previous year. In September, we will have a task force examine our research activities to determine why our research levels have decreased from over $16,000,000 during FY2003 to FY2007 to about $14,500,000 during the last two fiscal years.
Six students submitted their theses or dissertations to me for review for August graduation. As I have mentioned before, reading the final product of our students' research is one of the joys of my job. The thesis I read in order of submission were:
Rebekka Federer, M.S. Marine Biology, Quantifying diet to tissue isotopic ( d 13C and d 15N) fractionation factors in captive spectacled eiders (Somateria fischeri): implications for nutrient allocation and foraging studies. Advisor: Dr. Tuula Hollmén
Tyler H. Dann, M.S. Fisheries, Outbreeding depression and inheritance in three generations of geographically distinct Southeast Alaska Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) populations. Advisor: Dr. A. J. Gharrett
I continue to be delighted with the quality of the research conducted by our students and amazed by the variety of topics, from blasting bridges to isotopic fractionation. Congratulations to our graduates as they complete this important stage of their careers.
The UA Internal Audit Department conducted a routine audit of our travel expenses during the week of July 6. The informal report from the audit showed we did well, but we need to be more cognizant of some of the procedures for reconciling our travel cards. The only finding in which finances were involved was one instance in which a traveler was reimbursed for a breakfast that was provided at a conference. Our estimate of the questioned reimbursement was $11.00, which was not bad considering the amount of travel we do to meet our teaching and research mission.
The Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) Governance Committee met in Anchorage on July 9 and I attended by teleconference. AOOS is still trying to determine how to best organize itself in a manner in which federal program, state agencies, and other organizations can participate. The committee received a report of the ongoing Prince William Sound Field Experiment. CFOS project participants include Mark Johnson who is in charge of the high frequency radar system and AOOS data management and Marilyn Sigman who handled the education and outreach component. Torie Baker, our faculty member in Cordova, also helped with the outreach and Rob Cermak, Steve Sweet, Hank Statscewich and Rachel Potter from the AOOS data center were the on the ground and sometimes in the air personnel. The experiment ran July 19 - August 3.
On July 23-24, I traveled to Seward with Chancellor Brian Rogers and Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Pat Pitney. This was my only business trip in July. The purpose of the trip was to allow the Chancellor to learn about our operations at the Seward Marine Center and to discuss with city leaders plans for docking the Alaska Regions Research Vessel. SMC Director Dan Oliver was our host in Seward. We met with Vice Mayor Willard Dunham and City Manager Phillip Oates to discuss docking options and a plan for the City of Seward to support the dock and UAF to find the funds for the needed uplands development for the vessel. We had a chance to tour the Alaska SeaLife Center with ASLC President Ian Dutton and to meet with our faculty who work there. On the evening of July 23, UAF hosted a community dinner at the Alaska SeaLife Center during which Chancellor Rogers spoke the importance of our Seward operations to the university. The next day, I attended the Board of Directors meeting of the Alaska SeaLife Center as one of the two University of Alaska appointees to the board, while Chancellor Rogers and VCAS Pitney toured the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward and examined the railroad dock as a potential location for the ARRV. CFOS is partnering with the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery on an Alaska Sea Grant project (Code Name: AKCRRAB) to enhance king crab production around Kodiak and the Pribilof Islands.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this report, July was my first month in Alaska. While it was hot when we arrived in July 2004, July 2009 was my warmest month in Alaska. Indeed, this July set a record for the hottest July on record with an average high temperature of 78.6 degrees and it tied with June 1969 for the warmest of any month ever recorded in Fairbanks. July in Fairbanks is a mystery to me as each of the five has been different. In July 2008 (when my friends from Mississippi were visiting), we had 4.12 inches of rain, the sixth wettest July on record. This July, we had just 0.06 inches of rain, the driest summer July and summer month since the National Weather Service began recording data here in 1904. Luckily for me, I spent two weeks this month out of Fairbanks visiting friends in Mississippi, where it was cooler, and making a pilgrimage to Graceland to see the home and last resting place of Elvis. Thank you, thank you very much.
During the last academic year, our faculty devoted considerable time and energy toward faculty recruiting with great success. Of the seven searches that began in the fall, five were completed successfully and two are in the final stages. We are proud of the new faculty we have hired to advance our academic and research programs this year.
Dr. Sarah Mincks will start on July 1 as an Assistant Professor of Marine Biology. Dr. Mincks received her Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in biological oceanography and was the recipient of one of the University of Alaska International Polar Year (IPY) post-doctoral fellowships working with Drs. Bodil Bluhm and Katrin Iken. Dr. Mincks will be based in Fairbanks.
Dr. Andrew Seitz will also begin on July 1 as an Assistant Professor of Fisheries. Dr. Seitz received his Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in fisheries oceanography and has worked previously as a fishery biologist by the U.S. Geological Survey. He has been employed by CFOS during the last year as an instructor in our undergraduate fisheries program. Dr. Seitz will be based in Fairbanks.
Dr. Sam VanLaningham has accepted our offer to become an Assistant Professor of Oceanography. Dr. VanLaningham received his Ph.D. from Oregon State University, College of Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, in 2007. He is originally from Ellensburg, Washington, and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Dr. VanLaningham will join our Fairbanks faculty on August 15.
Ms. Izetta Chambers will join CFOS on August 23 as an Assistant Professor in our Marine Advisory Program. Ms. Chambers has a B.A. degree in business management from the University of Arizona and Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona. She is from Naknek, Alaska, where her family operates Naknek Family Fisheries, LLC. Ms. Chambers will be based in Dillingham.
Dr. Megan McPhee joins our Juneau faculty on January 1, 2010, as an Assistant Professor of Fisheries. Dr. McPhee received her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico and has a B.S. in fisheries from the University of Washington. She is currently a research assistant professor at the Flathead Lake Biological Station of the University of Montana.
Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I attended the annual Ph.D. reception in Fairbanks on May 7. This evening event recognizes UAF Ph.D. graduates and there was a record 37 this year. At commencement in Fairbanks on May 10, CFOS was well represented with one B.S. degree (Valli Peterson from Dillingham), 13 M.S. degrees and 4 Ph.D. degree recipients. We were pleased that Professor Emeritus Don Button returned to Fairbanks from his home in Wisconsin to place the Ph.D. hood on the shoulders of his student Elizabeth Gustafson.
On May 9, I attended the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) banquet in Fairbanks. The banquet celebrates the anticipated graduation of Alaska Native students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Our CFOS fisheries program formed a partnership with ANSEP in 2008 and one of our students, Olin Twitchell, was honored at the banquet.
We hosted the first ever CFOS staff retreat in Fairbanks May 14-15. CFOS Administrative Manager Greg Simpson organized the meeting along with Fiscal Manager Angela Gies and with help from many others in the dean's office. The festivities started on May 13 with a potluck dinner in the Vera Alexander Learning Center. The potluck was organized by CFOS Proposal Coordinator Gretchen Hundertmark with food provided by dean's office staff. The retreat included workshops on understanding and dealing with change led by Keli Hite-McGee and on team building and motivation by Charlie Dexter. UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers and Provost Susan Henrichs joined us for lunch to have a dialog with the participants. The feedback that I have received from CFOS staff at many locations was that this was one of the best professional development activities in which they had participated at UAF. Congratulations to Greg, Angela, and all those who organized this successful retreat.
The Seward Marine Center hosted the University of Virginia's 33rd Center for Oceans Law and Policy Conference May 20-22.* The theme was Changes in the Arctic Environment and the Law of the Sea. I represented CFOS at the meeting and other UAF attendees were Bernie Coakley from geology and Mike Sfraga from geology. Bernie and Larry Mayer from the University of New Hampshire were responsible for convincing the conference organizers to bring this international meeting to Seward. Previous meetings have been held in Singapore, Heidelberg, and Dublin. Our Seward Marine Center staff, especially Phyllis Shoemaker, Linda Lasota and Jennifer Elhard, did a fantastic job with conference logistics. Many attendees, even the U.S. and Canada participants feuding over the right of passage through the Northwest Passage, told me how much they enjoyed the venue.
I traveled to Washington, DC on May 26 to visit the National Science Foundation (May 27), attend the Consortium for Ocean Leadership members meeting (May 28) and meet with program managers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offices in Silver Spring (May 29). The mood in DC is decidedly positive among science program managers as the Obama administration is indeed restoring "science to its rightful place." The current focus is in three areas: energy, climate, and health. I learned that there is a plan to double the NSF budget by 2016 with a 7% increase proposed for FY10 and that the Office of Naval Research will fund the construction of two Ocean Class research vessels for the academic fleet, with construction of the first vessel to begin in FY11. The budget for NOAA, other than for NOAA Fisheries (21% increase) does not look as good since NOAA is having to devote much of its new funding to fixing its weather satellite (National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System, NPOESS) problems.
My meetings with program managers at NSF included Bill Wiseman, Arctic Natural Sciences Program Manager in the Office of Polar Programs, and Matt Hawkins, Ship Program Manager in the Division of Ocean Sciences. I also had a brief, unscheduled meeting with Rodey Batiza who is the program manager responsible for the U.S. Science Support Program Associated with the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (USSSP-IODP). I was at NSF the same day they awarded UAF the funds for the construction of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). The entire 7th floor at NSF was abuzz with excitement as all of the $199.5 million in project funds are now available. At NOAA, I met with National Sea Grant Office Director Leon Cammen, with Assistant Director James Murray, and Terry Smith who is the program officer responsible for Alaska Sea Grant. I also met with NOAA Assistant Administrator Jack Dunnigan (National Ocean Service) to discuss plans for the Kasitsna Bay Laboratorythat is co-managed by NOAA and CFOS. Before heading for the 5:40 p.m. plane, I managed to squeeze in an afternoon meeting with Suzanne Skelley, Chief of Staff, NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), to discuss expanding the UAF role in the Alaska Ocean Observing System(AOOS). When I arrived at the airport, I found that the inbound plane from Seattle that was the 5:40 p.m. return flight had been diverted to Pittsburgh due to bad weather. The 8:00 p.m. departure of the 5:40 p.m. flight caused me to miss my connection in Seattle to Fairbanks. A reroute through Anchorage on the red-eye combi allowed me to arrive in Fairbanks at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Most days in DC are long, but this was the record.
Now that the CFOS Strategic Plan has been completed, the unit directors are working on an implementation plan to bring our Strategic Plan to life. By early July, each unit will produce a brief document with goals, objectives, strategies and specific plans for the next fiscal year. I encourage you to work with your unit directors in this continued planning effort.
As we move forward, I believe we need to examine the overall structure of CFOS to determine whether removing some barriers will increase our overall productivity in teaching, research and service. CFOS was organized in 1987 by combining multiple independent organizations, such as the Institute of Marine Science, Juneau fisheries faculty, Marine Advisory Program, etc. Since that time, these units have operated almost independently under the CFOS umbrella. When I arrived five years ago, I described CFOS as a mosaic picture with different shapes and colors of glass representing the different units. My comment then was that when put together with CFOS as the glue, you have a pretty picture. As we have moved forward under this administrative model, I do not believe we have grown as much as we could have. In fact, our research funding has decreased from over $16 million in 2004 to less than $14 million in the current fiscal year. An organizational structure with fewer obstacles between units will allow us to work more collaboratively and increase the overall productivity of our faculty and staff. When the new semester begins, I plan to assemble a working group to look at our structure, compare it with other units at UAF and at other universities, and suggest a revised structure if appropriate. If you are interested in participating in this effort, please let me know.
Summer arrived in Fairbanks the last week of April with a record high temperature of 76 F. It was also warm (62 F) earlier in the week in Juneau when we dedicated the Lena Point Fisheries Building on April 28 under clear sunny skies. The weather could not have been better and spirits were high as Governor Sarah Palin, Representative Beth Kerttula, UA President Mark Hamilton, UAF Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers and others spoke at the dedication. More information on the building can be found on our website at www.sfos.uaf.edu/lenapoint and on the Governor's website at http://gov.state.ak.us/photos.php. Both Governor Palin and Representative Kerttula described Alaska's fisheries management practices as among the best in the world and noted that the new building would educate the leaders who would continue that tradition. President Hamilton correctly observed that we would long remember this day as the one when it was hot enough in Juneau to pop the helium-filled balloons at the ceremony. Others will remember it as the end of a long struggle to provide adequate facilities for our faculty and students in Juneau. The effort to obtain this new facility started in the 1980s and its completion is a commitment from the university to the importance of our fisheries degree programs. During the decades-long struggle to fund the building, 37 different members of the Board of Regents were involved in the effort. Provost Emeritus Paul Reichardt wrote to me that, "I do count as one of my contributions to UAF the things I did to keep the project alive when it seemed like it was going down the tubes for all the wrong reasons." Tony Gharrett, Bill Smoker, and the other fisheries faculty are to be commended for their perseverance in seeing this effort through to completion.
The dedication itself was quite an event with 150 attendees who were feted with a luncheon, a cake shaped like the building, the aforementioned blue and gold balloons, souvenir paperweights and more. CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson organized the event along with a committee consisting of Debi Rathbone and Bill Smoker from Juneau, Ann Ringstad from the Chancellor's office, CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Stephens and Linda Zanazzo from the UAF Department of Design and Construction. They did a great job and I hope you will thank them for the incredible visibility they helped provide UAF and CFOS at this event. The only thing missing was a UAF logo for the podium, but CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra came to the rescue using the Fisheries Division poster printer minutes before the speeches to provide a 2 ft. x 2 ft. UAF logo. It looks great on the Governor's webpage at http://gov.state.ak.us/large_photo.php?id=284. Both Interim Chancellor Rogers and Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Pat Pitney told me how impressed they were with this event. Our dedicated staff made this a proud day for CFOS.
On April 27, the day before the Fisheries Building dedication, Juneau fisheries students Katie Palof and Lisa Kamin (Advisor: Tony Gharrett) organized the 13th Student Symposium of the American Fisheries Society Juneau Student Sub-Unit of the Alaska Chapter. Thirteen students presented their thesis research, including several who traveled from Fairbanks for the symposium. After the symposium, the students and faculty reconvened at The Hangar in downtown Juneau for a reception. A highlight for the students the next day was having a group picture taken with Governor Palin at the dedication. This group of students played a major role in the dedication by providing guided tours of the building and showing off their research to the many ceremony attendees.
If that was not enough for the week, I attended the North Pacific Research Board meeting on April 29 and 30 in Anchorage. The board met to consider the 85 proposals that were submitted in response to the 2008 request for proposals. The NPRB awarded $3,446,235 for new grants and CFOS faculty received $1,016,590 or 29% of the total awards with 10 of our 18 proposals receiving funds. This high percentage of competitive funds from the NPRB is testament to the high quality of scientific research conducted by CFOS faculty.
The first half of April was spent preparing for the CFOS Advisory Council meeting that was held in Juneau April 9-10. Dr. David Policansky from the National Research Council chairs the council and he welcomed new members Margaret Williams, Bering Sea Field Office Director of the World Wildlife Fund, and Ian Dutton, President and CEO of the Alaska SeaLife Center. I presented an Overview of CFOS Activities and Accomplishments. The council also considered our strategic plan, development plan, academic issues, communication plan, finances and facilities issues. Rather than having student presentations this year, we had outstanding presentations from three new faculty members: Courtney Carothers, Assistant Professor of Fisheries; Peter Winsor, Associate Professor of Oceanography; Ginny Eckert, Associate Professor of Fisheries, and one not new faculty member: Russell Hopcroft, Associate Professor of Oceanography. Another highlight of the meeting was a delightful dinner hosted by Vice Chair Heather McCarty at her home overlooking Juneau. The CFOS Advisory Council reports to the UAF Chancellor and provides guidance on goals and objectives and evaluates opportunities and priorities for program development.
On April 23, I traveled to Anchorage to make a presentation to the Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies (COPAS). My presentation covered CFOS activities and research our faculty conduct that is of interest to the oil industry. Many CFOS faculty provided me slides and information for the presentation including Tom Weingartner, Seth Danielson, Sathy Naidu, Arny Blanchard, Brenda Norcross, Brenda Konar, Stephen Okkonen, Tuula Hollmen, Mat Wooller, Mike Stekoll, and emeriti faculty Don Button and Peter McRoy. I was impressed at the quantity and quality of environmental research our faculty have produced over the years from Port Valdez to the North Slope. The UAF Admissions Office also supplied overview slides for the university. Two highlights of the presentation were the movie showing the Alaska Region Research Vessel and the moving Bering Sea surface drifters set to music provided by Seth Danielson. Since I was speaking to accountants, I reminded them that we could help with their taxes if they would take advantage of the Alaska Education Tax Credit by donating to CFOS. While no one rushed up with a check, all of the tax credit brochures with Teresa Thompson's card attached were gathered up by the 90 members present.
The following day, April 24, I attended the quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors of the Alaska SeaLife Center where I am one of the two University of Alaska representatives along with Douglas Causey, UAA Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies. The board heard a presentation from John Maniscalco on the information on natality rates in Steller sea lions based on observations from theChiswell Island camera system.
The UAF Student Awards Program was held at the Wood Center on April 25 to honor the outstanding undergraduates in each academic program. Our outstanding fisheries student was Shelley Woods from Dillingham. She was accompanied to the awards breakfast by her advisor, Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton. We are proud of all Shelley has accomplished at UAF and look forward to her graduation in the fall. The outstanding graduating senior woman was Alice Orlich from geography and a close friend of CFOS Academic Program Assistant Madeline Scholl who also attended the ceremony.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of being dean is reading the theses of our students prior to graduation. It is a real joy to review the finished product of our graduate students' research. I read five theses or dissertations during April:
• Erin Steiner, M.S. Fisheries, Major Advisor: Keith Criddle
• Abigail Ellsworth, M.S. Marine Biology, Major Advisors: Tuula Hollmen and Shannon Atkinson
• Brian Cohn, M.S. Geological Oceanography, Major Advisors: Bruce Finney and Patricia Heiser
• William Bechtol, Ph.D. Fisheries, Major Advisor: Gordon Kruse
• Matthew Myers, Ph.D. Marine Biology, Major Advisor: Shannon Atkinson
These students will receive their degrees at graduation on May 10. Matt Myers died in a diving accident in September 2007 and his degree will be awarded posthumously. Over the past year, Matt's advisory committee completed his dissertation, much of which had already been published.
My report for March is coming out later than normal. I thought it would be prudent to spend the time preparing my income tax before I took the time to chronicle the events of March. I hope that all of you have completed your taxes by the time you read this.
In preparation for the CFOS Advisory Council to be held in April, UAF Interim Chancellor Brian Rogersappointed two new members to the council, Margaret Williams and Ian Dutton. Ms. Williams is the Director of the Bering Sea Field Office of the World Wildlife Fund and Dr. Dutton is the President and CEO of the Alaska SeaLife Center. Their appointment recognizes the marine conservation mission of CFOS and will help strengthen our relationship with the Alaska SeaLife Center. Dr. Dutton also has credentials in the environmental community, having worked for the Nature Conservancy from 2001 to 2008. Both Ms. Williams and Dr. Dutton are from Anchorage. Jay Stinson also joined the Advisory Council this year. Mr. Stinson is the Chair of the Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) Policy Board and serves in that capacity as an ex-officio member of the council. Mr. Stinson owns Pelagic Resources, Inc. in Kodiak.
The North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) met in Anchorage March 2-3 and I attended as I hold the Academic Seat, appointed by Governor Palin. This was the first meeting attended by Dr. Ian Dutton, President and CEO of the Alaska SeaLife Center. Dr. Dutton is one of the five voting members of the board. The NPRB considered the pre-proposals for the Gulf of Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Research Program and picked five for full proposals. The good news from this meeting was that the NPRB will select one of these upper trophic level proposals for funding before asking for proposals for the lower trophic level components. I made the motion to do this and I believe it is only the second motion that I have proposed with success in my four years on the NPRB. In discussing the motion, Dr. Dutton described it as "brilliant" and I was pleased that the board took this action that will provide some order to this RFP process. His description about my NPRB motion had nothing to do with the Chancellor asking him to serve on the CFOS Advisory Council.
I returned to Fairbanks on the afternoon of March 3 in order to catch the red-eye flight to Washington, D.C., at 1:25 a.m. on March 4. I spent March 4-6 there to participate in the Ocean Leadership Public Policy Forum on March 5 which was held in the new Capitol Hill Visitor's Center. The morning of the forum, Senator Mark Begich was holding a constituent meeting just down the hall. I had an opportunity to speak to a few of his staff and to personally thank Senator Begich for his support for the economic stimulus bill that included the final funding for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). At the forum we heard from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representative Brian Baird (D-WA), both of whom are strong supporters of ocean issues. A feeling of optimism about the future of science funding was obvious throughout the halls of Congress and I believe that there is truly an opportunity to "return science to its rightful place" as President Obama stated in his inaugural address. Representative Baird talked about how this session was going to be successful by stating that the four sweetest words were not, "I love you honey," but, "We have the votes." We are already seeing the effect of the changes in leadership in Washington and voting. On March 25, Molly McCammon, Executive Director of the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), reported, "Legislation formally authorizing the Integrated Ocean Observing System (of which AOOS is a part) passed the House today as part of the Public Lands Omnibus Bill, and is on its way to President Obama for signature. We started this effort 8 years ago!" My guess is that the number 8 is a significant number for many reasons.
While in D.C. on the morning of March 6, I had breakfast with Heather McCarty, Vice Chair of the CFOS Advisory Council, a later meeting with David Policansky, Chair of the CFOS Advisory Council, to discuss the agenda for our April meeting and also had the opportunity meet staff members from the Alaska delegation. UA Federal Affairs Director Martha Stewart and I spent an hour with Bob King, Senator Begich's staff member on commerce issues, Arne Fuglvog, Senator Murkowski's staff member on fisheries issues, and Jeremy Price, Congressman Young's staff member on ocean and fisheries issues. We provided them an update on the ARRV and discussed issues related to our NOAA National Undersea Research Center (NURP) and funding problems within NOAA for the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory that CFOS co-manages with the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Sciences (NCCOS). The Kasitsna Bay Laboratory is the only NCCOS laboratory not on the U.S. East Coast and its funding is in jeopardy. In the afternoon, Nina Young, Deputy Director for Policy and External Affairs for Ocean Leadership, and I visited with Julia Hathaway, Legislative Staff for Oceans and Wildlife for the House Committee on Natural Resources. I gave her an update on the ARRV and found that she was interested in illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fisheries and marine mammals as indicators of ocean health. It was a typical day for a D.C. visit.
The Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center Advisory Board met in Anchorage on the morning of March 18. The Center was started in 1994 with a generous gift from Elmer Rasmuson and provides graduate fellowships for CFOS students. I serve as the director and Ed Rasmuson is Chairman of the Advisory Board. The board heard presentations from graduate students Jennifer Marsh (M.S., Fisheries), Terril Efird (M.S., Marine Biology), Patrick Lane (M.S., Marine Biology), Megan Murphy (M.S., Oceanography), and Ashwin Sreenivasan (Ph.D., Fisheries). After five excellent presentations, the students and the board enjoyed a lunch outside the Wells Fargo Board room. That afternoon, the Rasmuson Fisheries Excellence Committee met to review the progress on the UAF CFOS $5.0 million grant from the Rasmuson Foundation, "Charting a new course for fisheries undergraduates in Alaska." The committee was co-appointed by UA President Mark Hamilton and Ed Rasmuson, Chairman of the Board of the Rasmuson Foundation. The committee, which includes UAF Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers and UAS Chancellor John Pugh, received a status report from CFOS undergraduate fisheries coordinator Trent Sutton. I provided an update on student recruiting and retention activities. We now have 41 undergraduate fisheries students, compared to 17 a few years ago, including 10 Alaska Natives. With 22 new applicants for the 2009-2010 academic year, we anticipate having over 50 students in the program in the fall.
Our efforts to construct the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) for the ocean science community accelerated this month. The final funds for the vessel were included in the economic stimulus funding approved by Congress. In Alaska, for the university to accept federal funds, the legislature must provide the university with "receipt authority." Thus the House and Senate finance committees considered the university budget including the ARRV receipt authority this month. On March 23 and 24, I participated by teleconference in the finance committee meetings along with Michelle Rizk, UA Associate Vice President for Budget. We were questioned about whether the funds were an earmark (they are not), whether the ARRV will meet the same discharge requirements as the cruise industry must in Alaska (it will), and whether the state would be obligated to pay the operating cost of the vessel (no). One of the concerns expressed by the Governor is about strings attached to the stimulus funding. The string attached to the ARRV funding is that if we accept the funds we have to build a ship - something we are looking forward to doing. On March 19, UAF procurement issued the request for proposals for construction of the ARRV with shipyard proposals due on May 14.
The other ARRV news this month was the announcement on March 31 that the National Science Board(NSB) had approved the final design review and given NSF the green light to move forward. This action was anticipated at their May meeting, but the NSB accelerated the schedule and gave final approval during a special meeting by teleconference. The statement "The Board authorized the NSF Director, at his discretion, to make awards to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks for the construction of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV)" generated an e-mail titled "Whoo-Hoo!" from lead ARRV PI Terry Whitledge. Our ARRV team headed by Seward Marine Center director Dan Oliver has done a fantastic job moving the ARRV forward. One comment from the NSB was that this was the best presentation of a project they had seen in a long time. It was a proud day for UAF.
Great News! On Friday, February 13, the House of Representatives and Senate approved the conference report for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (commonly known as the economic stimulus plan) that included funding for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). President Obama signed the legislation on February 17. Included in the stimulus package is $400 million for the National Science Foundation for its Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) account from which the ARRV will be funded. While final funding from the stimulus legislation is dependent upon Office of Management and Budget and congressional approval, it is safe to say that the ARRV is adequately funded in this fiscal year at a level that will allow UAF to proceed with the project and initiate the shipyard selection process. On February 23, UAF released a Request for Interest (RFI) letter to U.S. marine construction shipyards. The RFI and associated project documents are posted on the UAF Procurement website at: http://www.uaf.edu/purch/solicitations_info/0917jh.html. The RFI states, "It is anticipated that the RFP will be issued in March, 2009, with final award of a shipyard contract occurring early in the fall of 2009." The request for proposals (RFP) should go out in March with shipyard responses due six weeks later. We are now well on the way to providing the 242-foot ice-strengthened research vessel that ocean scientists need to study the changing environment in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and Arctic Ocean. Congratulations to Project Director Dan Oliver, Principal Investigator Terry Whitledge, and Construction Manager Gary Smith for the great job in working with the National Science Foundation to make the ARRV a "welder ready" project.
The University of Alaska hosted a reception on February 6 in Anchorage to announce a $100,000 gift from Princess Tours. CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson organized the reception that was held at our Marine Advisory Program offices. UA President Mark Hamilton and UAF Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers thanked Bruce Bustamante, Vice President of Community and Public Affairs for Princess Tours, for this generous gift that will support our Marine Advisory Program faculty. I represented CFOS at the reception and Terry Johnson represented MAP while CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Stephenscaptured photos of the event.
The 2009 Tsunami Bowl was hosted by the Seward Marine Center February 6-8. This regional National Ocean Sciences Bowl contest tests high school students' knowledge of marine science. Fifteen teams competed this year, but the outcome was the same as last year -- the Juneau-Douglas High School Naughty Nautilli team won again. These outstanding students will join winners from 24 other regions in competing in the national finals at the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, in late April. The first and second place teams were awarded $2,000 scholarships to their choice of either UAF or UAS. CFOS NOSB Regional Coordinator Phyllis Shoemaker, the Seward Marine Center staff, and almost 100 volunteers did an outstanding job in making this a special event for the students.
The CFOS Executive Council held their annual retreat February 12-13 at the Lee Gorsuch Commons on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. The unit leaders reviewed the faculty survey we conducted in the fall, considered how to modify the next CFOS budget, modified the strategic planning document based on Advisory Council comments, and discussed how our faculty could work collaboratively on initiatives important to the state. One decision from the meeting was to return part of the indirect cost recovery we receive from grants to the principal investigators. The formula to do this is under development and will include a factor related to the number of graduate students funded by the principal investigator.
Dr. Ian Dutton, President and CEO of the Alaska SeaLife Center, and I traveled together to Juneau on February 16. Dr. Dutton joined the SeaLife Center in December and the trip provided him an opportunity to see our new Lena Point Fisheries Building and meet with our Juneau faculty. During this day trip, we had an opportunity to meet with Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd (in the airport departure lounge) and with Doug DeMaster, Director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. Both Denby and Doug are members of the CFOS Advisory Council and we had an opportunity to discuss issues important to CFOS. At a luncheon with the CFOS fisheries faculty, I was presented with two photographs of the new Lena Point Fisheries Building which I plan to display in the Dean's office.
CFOS Conversations was held on Thursday February 19. Only a few faculty called in to ask questions and hear the latest news. Carin Stephens reported that the news article on the Census of Marine Lifehad received coverage in over 400 sources on the web and in newspapers. The article featured comments and spectacular plankton photographs by Associate Professor Russ Hopcroft and was carried on the front page of the Anchorage Daily News. It was great to have this positive news coverage of the outstanding research conducted by our faculty.CFOS Associate Professor Katrin Iken, Research Assistant Professor Bodil Bluhm, Associate Professor Brenda Konar and Associate Professor Rolf Gradinger, among others, are key players in the Census of Marine Life program funded by the Sloan Foundation.
We received significant support for CFOS activities from the UA and UAF administration during February. On February 11, I met with Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers to review the success of our undergraduate fisheries degree expansion. We have 40 undergraduates in the program now, compared to 17 a few years ago. Our goal is to have 100 undergraduate fisheries students within five years with 20 graduates per year. On February 20, I met with Provost Henrichs to review some of our activities and with President Hamilton the same afternoon. I am personally pleased with the strong support CFOS receives at all levels of the administration. Their support was instrumental in our receiving a significant budget increase last fiscal year and will help in FY11 as we seek additional faculty funding.
February was a short month for me as I spent the last week of the month on vacation in Las Vegas. My planned revenue-generating system in Las Vegas was not very effective. Thus, I returned to work in Fairbanks on February 28 to prepare for meetings the following week in Anchorage and Washington.
Good news. We learned this month that the ARRV is included in the ARRP. Without the acronyms, that means funding for the Alaska Region Research Vessel is included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, or economic stimulus bill, which is under consideration by Congress. H.R. 1 included $400 million for the National Science Foundation to accelerate the construction and development of major research facilities that provide unique capabilities at the cutting edge of science. ARRV funding is included in the $400 million that passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 244-188 on January 28. Our Congressman, like every other Republican, voted against the bill. The Senate version of the stimulus is now under consideration and has $150 million for the NSF MREFC account. We are optimistic that the ARRV, which the oceanographic community has been seeking since 1973, will finally become a reality in 2009. We should know if the funds are approved by the end of February and I hope to start off my February report with "Great News!"
On January 6, Katie Murra, Gary Newman, John Kelley, Andy Seitz and I participated in a teleconference on Podcasting on Campus. We learned how to make podcasts and use them effectively in course casting, student recruiting, and information dissemination to faculty and students. Podcasting is being widely used at other universities and we are exploring how we can use podcasts to reach a broader audience. This semester, Andy Seitz is podcasting his Marine and Freshwater Fishes of Alaska course (FISH 288) as a pilot experiment to gauge the effort required and to determine the effectiveness in reinforcing student learning.
Later that same day, Princess Tours Vice President for Community and Public Affairs Bruce Bustamante and Public Affairs Specialist Anita Nelson came to Fairbanks and met with CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson and me to discuss the plan to publicize their gift to the Marine Advisory Program. A reception will be held in Anchorage on February 6 and a press release will be distributed statewide. Teresa is also working on a donor appreciation display for the dean's office to recognize the support CFOS receives from individuals and companies.
Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I had an opportunity on January 7 to welcome (by phone) the new President and CEO of the Alaska SeaLife Center, Dr. Ian Dutton. We discussed the need to renew the strong partnership between the ASLC and CFOS and his plan for creating a chief scientist position. Dr. Dutton lives in Chugiak and came to the ASLC from The Nature Conservancy where he was Deputy Director of the Asia Pacific Region. His science background (geography and applied ecology) and fundraising experience should serve him well in this position.
Many CFOS faculty and students participated in the 2009 Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage, January 19-22. During the Wednesday luncheon, the 600+ participants were treated to a National Ocean Sciences Bowl demonstration. Two teams from South Anchorage High School competed, one with help from MAP faculty member Reid Brewer, followed by a contest between university professors and NOAA scientists. Assistant Professors Jeremy Mathis and Franz Mueter represented UAF. The faculty defeated the NOAA scientists in what can only be described as a drubbing. In the final contest between the high school students and the faculty, the South Anchorage team bested the faculty to the delight of the audience. CFOS Tsunami Bowl Coordinator Phyllis Shoemaker organized the contest.
One of the scientific highlights of the meeting was the presentation by Seth Danielson (Weingartner, Reeve, Danielson, and Jones) of their satellite-tracked drifters in the Bering Sea. The moving buoys set to fiddle music had the crowd clapping and could be available on YouTube soon. CFOS students won both of the best poster awards at the meeting. Ph.D. student Nathan Stewart (Brenda Konar, advisor) won the best student poster award for "Patterns in sea otter resource selection in Kachemak Bay, AK" and M.S. student Mayumi Arimitsu (Nicola Hillgruber, advisor) won for her poster, "The influence of glacial features on oceanographic gradients in Kenai Fjords, AK: A closer look at Kittlilz's murrelets." Ph.D. student Markus Janout (Tom Weingartner, advisor) won one of the two best student presentation awards for "Temperature controlling processes and the recent cooling in the northern Gulf of Alaska." Congratulations to all of our faculty and students for another great showing at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium. The speakers and abstracts are on the web at http://www.alaskamarinescience.org.
January 22 and 23, I chaired the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) Advisory Board meeting in Anchorage. Several CFOS faculty members and students presented reports on PCCRC-funded research that is underway or has been completed. The PCCRC funded six of the eleven proposals submitted this year, awarding a total of $434,246 for research in 2009 and continued funding for Keith Criddle, the Ted Stevens Professor of Marine Policy. For the first time this year, the PCCRC awarded two graduate fellowships that include tuition, fees, health insurance, and $3,000 in supplies and travel funds. The fellowship recipients were Ph.D. students Sara Miller (Milo Adkison, advisor) and Kray Van Kirk (Terry Quinn, advisor). Since its inception in 2000, the pollock companies of the At-sea Processors Association have donated more than $9 million to CFOS for research, the marine policy faculty chair and other purposes.
I traveled again to Anchorage on January 29 to attend the Board of Directors meeting of the Alaska SeaLife Center. After arriving on the 6:05 a.m. flight, I had a breakfast meeting with Molly McCammon, Executive Director of the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), to discuss funding opportunities and future plans for AOOS. After the board meeting, I met with Lewis Madden, Owner's Representative for the MV Susitna, the ferry that will be owned and operated in Cook Inlet by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The $84 million ice-capable ferry is being built by the Navy in Ketchikan and should be operational in 2011. We discussed collecting the environmental data from the ferry and making it available through the AOOS data center that is operated by CFOS under the direction of Professor Mark Johnson.
An International Arctic Fisheries Symposium is being planned for October 19-21, 2009, in Anchorage and I am a member of the Steering Committee. The meeting is being organized to initiate discussions for conserving and managing future fisheries in the Arctic Ocean including managing migratory, transboundary and straddling fish stocks. Organizers of the meeting include the U.S. Department of State, NOAA, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Oceana, and the Institute of the North. The Steering Committee met twice this month to discuss the draft agenda and potential speakers from the U.S., Canada, and Russia.
Speaking of Arctic weather, for the first eleven days of 2009, the highest temperature recorded in Fairbanks was 38 below zero or lower on eight of the first eleven days. The lowest recorded temperature during this period was 47 below zero and then the climate warmed to a record 52 degrees above zero on January 16. Many CFOS faculty were out of Alaska during this period and missed the longest Fairbanks cold spell in ten years, including four days in a row with high temperatures of 40 below or lower. They also missed four consecutive days of highs above 40 degrees, a rare treat for January in Fairbanks.
Happy New Year from the Dean's office! I look forward to 2009 as a significant year for UAF and the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. The new B.A. degree in fisheries is officially available with the beginning of the new semester and our efforts to construct the Alaska Region Research Vessel are moving forward expeditiously at the National Science Foundation. My hope for the new year is that our faculty, staff, and students will be even more productive in 2009 than they were last year.
In December 2008, five graduate students turned in their theses and dissertations for December graduation. The newest CFOS graduates are:
- Molly McCall Boughan, M.S. Oceanography, Advisor: Dr. Bruce Finney
- Michael R. Garvin, M.S. Fisheries, Advisor: Dr. Anthony Gharrett
- Tracie E. Merrill, M.S. Marine Biology, Advisor: Dr. Brenda Konar
- Jeremy M. Mull, M.S. Oceanography, Advisors: Drs. Tom Weingartner and Mark Johnson
- Sean Charles Rooney, M.S. Fisheries, Advisors: Drs. Brenda Norcross and Jennifer Reynolds
Congratulations to these graduates as they move forward in their science careers.
On December 5, UAF Vice Chancellor Pat Pitney and Linda Zanazzo, Director of the Department of Design and Construction, met with Angela Gies, Greg Simpson and me to discuss the operations of our Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) in Kodiak. The decision from the meeting was to transfer the operation of our FITC buildings from CFOS to UAF Facilities Services. UAF Facilities Services will operate and maintain the FITC buildings and allow FITC Director Murat Balaban to better focus his efforts on academic, research, and service activities of FITC. Facilities Services is also operating the new Lena Point Fisheries Facility in Juneau. Since we are better at teaching students and conducting research than we are at running facilities, this change will enable us to direct more energy into what we do best.
December 6-14, I made my first trip outside of the U.S. as dean. With Paul Layer from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, I traveled to the People's Republic of China and to Taiwan as part of the University of Alaska China initiative. The trip was arranged and paid for by UA Vice President Affairs Dan Julius who met us in Beijing along with UA President Mark Hamilton. We met with nine universities in five days, traveling from Beijing to Dalian, Qingdao, Kaohsiung, Taipei and Keelung. The universities with which we signed agreements to cooperate were the Dalian University of Technology, Northeastern University (Shenyang), Dalian Maritime University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin Engineering University, Ocean University of China (Qingdao), I-Shou University, National Kaohsiung Normal University, and National Taiwan Ocean University. Further discussions will be held to determine the value in student, faculty, and administrator exchanges with these universities and a follow-up meeting in Fairbanks is being organized by VPAA Julius. I will provide a more detailed report on the UA China initiative separately. At the National Taiwan Ocean University, we had a chance to tour both their facilities and their oceanographic research vessel, Ocean Researcher No. 2. The scientists were about to depart on a cruise to recover some bottom pressure sensors and one of them knew Tom Weingartner. With this trip to Asia, I have now traveled to six of the seven continents and I hope to make it to Antarctica in the next few years.
After the trip to China, I spent one day in the office before traveling to San Francisco for the Fall 2008 meeting of the American Geophysical Union December 16-19. Along with the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and the International Arctic Research Center, CFOS hosted a town hall meeting on Arctic Research: Goals, Updates and Opportunities. About 150 people attended the Thursday evening event and I gave a presentation on the status of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). The ARRV project is moving ahead very well since the successful Final Design Review at the National Science Foundation in October. Even before my presentation, Jim Swift from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Dale Chayes from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (Columbia University) and others in the audience congratulated us on the outstanding FDR. NSF plans to ask Congress for the final funds needed to construct the vessel and authorized us to report, "NSF is recommending an increase to our total project contingency to raise confidence levels from 75% to 90% and cover the risks associated with current global market volatility." We anticipate that the National Science Board will approve the FDR at their May meeting and we hope to have a bid package out to shipyards in the summer.
I met with Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Community Engagement Jake Poole and Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers on December 23 to discuss CFOS development activities and our expectations for the FY10 UA budget. Like most other managed funds, UA Foundation investments had significant losses in 2008 and everyone is concerned about the effects of the current financial crisis on funds available for the University. Several of our endowments are below their initial gift level and will not be able to make payouts in the next fiscal year. Our budget discussion centered on our request to fully fund our Marine Advisory Program faculty in Cordova, Petersburg, Unalaska, Dillingham, and Nome. We hope to move these positions to the fixed university budget and have put forward this request for the FY11 budget.
The lousy weather in Seattle during Christmas week derailed the air travel plans of many of our faculty, staff, and students. Some could not leave and others who had left could not get back. One of our faculty reported that he and his family had planned to go to Costa Rica for some sunshine during the holidays, but ended up at Alyeska instead. Associate Dean Mike Castellini and his family spent four days waiting to head south to California for Christmas and finally made it out on Christmas Eve arriving in California on Christmas morning. He returned on January 3 with the temperature at 45 below zero to find his car at the airport. He told me that he got it started after battling with frozen locks and having to crawl into the car from the rear hatch, and only then realized that it had three flat tires! While we are having a serious winter in Fairbanks, I take solace in the fact that the days are now getting longer.
Happy New Year,
November was a month of significant change. On the national level, the country decisively decided to change direction with the election of Barack Obama. His anticipated appointment of Governor Bill Richardson as Secretary of Commerce could have a significant impact on the budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The re-election of Congressman Don Young and the election of Mark Begich as the junior senator from Alaska will certainly change the Alaska dynamic in Congress. With Alaska having over half of the U.S. coastline and one of the largest fisheries in the world, Senator Stevens was a strong supporter of ocean and fisheries issues. I hope we can convince Senator-elect Begich to assume a similar role in the new Congress. It was encouraging that Senator-elect Begich took time from his schedule on November 21 to visit with the Alaska Sea Grant Advisory Committee meeting in Anchorage. Advisory Committee Chair Jeff Stephan arranged for the visit at which Senator-elect Begich made some comments which showed both his interest in and knowledge of Alaska Sea Grant activities. Look for the photo soon on the CFOS webpage.
I attended the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) meeting in Chicago November 9-12 as the UAF representative to the Board of Oceans and Atmospheres (BOA). The theme of the meeting was Navigating in a Climate of Change and there was much discussion of both climate change and changes that will occur under the new administration. The consensus is that energy and global climate change will be two important foci of the Obama administration and that the Environmental Protection Agency is emerging as a major player in climate change. BOA held a session on carbon trading where representatives of the 400+ member Chicago Climate Exchange discussed carbon trading as a market-based solution to global warming. The new co-chairs of BOA are Steve Lohrenz from the University of Southern Mississippi and Len Pietrafesa from North Carolina State University. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. gave one of the keynote addresses at the meeting and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley also gave a not too brief presentation. The sessions on graduate students and the use of technology in active learning were very useful and have encouraged me to initiate a faculty discussion on podcasting our undergraduate fisheries courses.
High school guidance counselors from interior Alaska visited the UAF campus November 6 and 7. The visit was organized by the UAF Admissions Office and CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra arranged for them to visit CFOS to learn about our undergraduate fisheries programs. I attended a dinner with the counselors on November 6 and encouraged them to send teams from their schools to the Tsunami Bowl in Seward next February. Katie also organized the CFOS participation in the Natural Resources, Fisheries, and Sciences Career Day held at the Wood Center in Fairbanks on November 13. During the day, Katie and Instructor Andy Seitz had an opportunity to visit with students interested in careers in science. An CFOS fisheries graduate, Debbie Hart (M.S., 1996) staffed the Alaska Department of Fish and Game booth and current fisheries student Valli Peterson was recruiting employees for ASRC Energy Services. The event was hosted by UAF Career Services.
Efforts to increase gifts to CFOS are a priority this year, especially with the decline in state revenues. To improve our capabilities in this area, CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson attended a Development for Deans (and Development Officers) conference put on by the Council for Advancement and Support for Education (CASE) November 5-7 in Phoenix. On November 14, Teresa also met with Tom Crowley, Chairman and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corporation to discuss a potential partnership between CFOS and Crowley. This should be a natural partnership since Crowley Maritime makes its living on the ocean and CFOS studies the ocean and trains the next generation of marine science leaders in understanding, managing, and utilizing ocean resources. Bill Hurley, President and CEO of The Glosten Associates, the naval architectural firm designing the ARRV, set up the meeting as he was also interested in meeting with Crowley.
Alaska Sea Grant held its Advisory Committee meeting in Anchorage November 20-21, and I attended to provide an update on CFOS activities. Jeff Stephan, manager of the United Fishermen's Marketing Association from Kodiak chaired the meeting, and Jim Murray, Deputy Director, National Sea Grant, represented the national office and presented an overview of plans for Sea Grant. Much of the focus of the meeting was on positioning Alaska Sea Grant to meet the changing needs of those who make their living from the ocean. UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers also participated in the meeting to discuss his three themes for UAF: putting people first, engaging communities, and taking action. He explained the barriers this year to increasing the CFOS budget and shared a plan for seeking funds for additional Marine Advisory Program faculty in the FY11 budget request to the legislature. A highlight of the meeting for me was the presentation by MAP faculty Sunny Rice and Torie Baker on the Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit, a two-day leadership symposium designed for young and new Alaska fishermen. The first two summits have been tremendous successes. If you have not heard about them, I suggest you check it out on the MAP website at http://seagrant.uaf.edu/map/workshops/2007/ayfs/index.html
Several visitors made their way to Fairbanks in November. Marine ecologist Michelle Ridgeway visited with me on November 6. Michelle participated in the 2007 submarine expedition that produced the first underwater video footage from the depths of the Zhemchug and Pribilof canyons in the Bering Sea. She is working on a movie from the expedition. Jennifer Crews, Senior Geologist, and John Cologgi, Principal Facilities Development Engineer, both from ConocoPhillips Alaska, visited CFOS on November 24. They discussed the possibility of using geochemistry to determine the age of iceberg gouges in Alaska's coastal sediments with Emeritus Professor Sathy Naidu and graduate student Doug Dasher.
One of the most long-awaited changes in CFOS occurred this month in Juneau as our fisheries division faculty moved into the brand new, 30,000 square foot Lena Point Fisheries Facility. The new building is located about five miles north of the Juneau Center's previous facility at Auke Bay. The three-story facility houses nine laboratories, three classrooms, a teaching lab and large saltwater tanks for studying live sea creatures. As noted in our press release, the Lena Point Fisheries Facility is co-located with the NOAA Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute, continuing a long tradition of collaboration between NOAA Fisheries and the Juneau Center. Congratulations to all who have worked over the years to make this move possible. Our faculty will begin teaching classes in the new facility in January and we are planning a dedication ceremony for the last week in April 2009.
One of the most significant events in the construction and operation of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) took place during the week of October 20 at the National Science Foundation. The ARRV team led by Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver and Institute of Marine Science Director Terry Whitledge participated in the ARRV Final Design Review. NSF assembled a panel of fifteen arctic scientists, ship operators, naval architects and others to review the UAF plans for the construction and operation of the ARRV. The purpose of the review was to "formally examine the ARRV project scope, budget, schedule and Project Execution Plan (PEP), with the goal of providing an expert assessment of construction readiness". The panel reported to NSF (verbally) that in the opinion of the panel "the program is ready to proceed." The panel will provide their written report to NSF in late November and we should receive the report from NSF with a "guidance memo" shortly afterward.
As I reported to the Provost after the meeting, the ARRV team hit a home run at this review. The chair of the panel mentioned on several days that they were impressed with the level of detail provided by the ARRV team. For example, the bottom up cost estimate for the ARRV ran over 1,500 pages and the thirty-page outfitting list included the number of tie wraps and quantities for two different kinds of duct tape. One panel member from Norway asked that we not allow the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research to see the level of detail we provided as they are not now required to provide this much information in justifying new projects. I have sent the Provost a commendation memorandum recognizing the tremendous effort that Dan Oliver, Terry Whitledge, and Ship Construction Manager Gary Smith made to produce this successful review. They produced a sound construction and operation plan in partnership with The Glosten Associates in Seattle, especially Dirk Kristensen, and Marc Willis from Oregon State University. Many others have contributed over the years to move this project where we are nearing the reality of having a first rate research vessel for arctic studies. With National Science Board approval of the Final Design Review at their May 2009 meeting, NSF will be in a position to request the balance of the construction money from Congress next year. If the schedule holds, the ARRV will be delivered to UAF in 2013.
During the trip to DC for the ARRV review, I took the opportunity to meet with UA Federal Relations Director Martha Stewart on October 23 to provide an update on CFOS activities as well as the ARRV status. I also met with John Farrell, Executive Director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC), to provide an update on the ARRV and to discuss plans for an Arctic Open House that we are hosting with the USARC on December 18 during the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco. After completing the final design review at NSF, Dan Oliver, Terry Whitledge, and I had dinner with Jim Balsiger, NOAA Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries and a member of the CFOS Advisory Council, at Terry's favorite Mexican restaurant. It was a lively celebration with several rounds of margaritas consumed.
The ARRV was also a topic of discussion at the UNOLS Council and Annual Meeting at NSF October 2 and 3. I attended as the UAF UNOLS representative and provided an update on the vessel. This will be the last meeting I will attend as the UAF UNOLS representative. I have asked IMS Director Terry Whitledge to take over as the UAF representative to UNOLS.
Marine Advisory Program (MAP) Leader Paula Cullenberg and I received some other good news when we visited Princess Tours in Anchorage on October 13. At the meeting, Bruce Bustamante, Princess Tours Vice President for Community and Public Affairs, advised us that Princess will be providing CFOS a gift of $100,000 over the next three years to support our Marine Advisory Program. CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Stephens and Development Officer Teresa Thompson will work with Anita Nelson from Princess on a roll out announcement of the gift in January.
The Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) Policy Council met in Anchorage on October 8 to review FITC activities. This was the first Policy Council meeting hosted by FITC Director Murat Balaban who welcomed Greg Peters of Alyeska Seafoods in Dutch Harbor as a new member. Murat presented the FITC Position, Vision, and Strategic Plan to the council. The plan showed the importance of value-added processing of Alaska seafood and how FITC could become a larger part of that effort.
CFOS Conversations was held this month on October 30. The small group discussed the ARRV, new faculty hiring, development activities, support of Alaska Public Radio, and my planned trip to China in December (paid for by the UA Vice President for Academic Affairs). CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson missed CFOS Conversations as she spent most of the week of October 27 in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon visiting with seafood company executives and CFOS alumni. Teresa presented an overview of our activities and showed several ways in which industry could support our faculty and students.
I ended the month in Fairbanks at the University of Alaska Scholars reception on the evening of October 31 at the Wood Center. UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers and UA President Mark Hamilton honored the UA Scholars, students who have graduated in the upper 10% of their high school class in Alaska. Each student's name was announced as they walked across the stage to have their picture taken with President Hamilton. Afterward, several students visited with Assistant Professor of Fisheries Andres Lopez and CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra. I was impressed that Katie remembered the names of the students when they came to speak with us.
October was a great month for our school. The quality of our work was certainly recognized by the National Science Foundation at the ARRV Final Design Review. That was a proud week for CFOS and for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. We showed them that UAF could put together an outstanding team of scientists, naval architects, engineers, and project managers to successfully manage the construction and operation of what will be the premier oceanographic research vessel operated by any academic institution in the U.S. Congratulations to all involved.
When I began these monthly reports almost four years ago, my objective was to let you know my activities as dean so you would know that I was working for you during my travels around the state and nation. A few of you have suggested that you would prefer these reports were less like travel logs and more about addressing "how issues are resolved." I am happy to do that. As I sit in my hotel room tonight in Arlington, Virginia, where I am attending the annual University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) meeting, I will present how one issue is being resolved.
CFOS faculty in the Graduate Program in Marine Science and Limnology (GPMSL) are debating the hiring of new faculty. In deciding which new faculty to hire, I view the decision-making process as a multi-variable equation with several factors and weighting functions. Faculty input in one of the most important variables, but the input must be based upon the broader goals of the program and not personal preferences alone. The purpose of tenure track faculty is primarily to deliver our academic programs. Research is a very important component of science-based graduate degree programs, but not the only factor. Student demand is obviously an important factor along with graduate employment opportunities. Also to be considered is whether the current faculty in a discipline are working up to the full potential of their position. If we have faculty who have no students and are teaching little, it makes it more difficult to argue that we need new faculty to have students and teach classes. It can be a complex equation. My job as dean is to assess the information provided by the faculty, make sure the correct weighting factors are applied, and make a recommendation to the provost based upon faculty recommendations and needs of the program. The process is designed to assure that we receive broad input from the faculty and make an informed decision in the context of how best to move our program forward. If a decision is not one with which you agree, you will at least have had the opportunity to make your case to your colleagues to influence the process. In CFOS, this is how we resolve the faculty hiring issue. It would seem less erratic if I just unilaterally made the decision on who to hire, but the more complicated equation allow us to work together to assure all ideas are considered and the best decision is made. I hope this helps you understand the complicated decision-making behind our faculty hiring process.
Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers and I met on September 4 to discuss CFOS issues, especially those related to our new B.A. degree in Fisheries. He will attend our faculty meeting on October 11 to discuss his vision for UAF and how CFOS fits into the plan. One thing he would like us to do is to create a fisheries module for the Alaska Summer Research Academy (ASRA), a two week UAF summer science program for students entering grades 8-12.
On Saturday September 6, I attended a UAF retreat to discuss how to improve the UAF Honors Program. Dr. Channon Price has taken over as the director of the UAF program and many deans, directors, and faculty spent the day sharing ideas to improve the program. Dr. Gregory Lanier, Associate Dean of Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies, University of West Florida facilitated the discussion. His assessment of the resources devoted to the UAF honors program was that it was "shameful." Fortunately, UA Statewide has now added some funding for the program. Interim Chancellor Rogers has a son in the honors program - at UAA. I would guess that he has a vested interest in resolving the issues with the UAF honors program.
I spent September 15-18 in Anchorage resolving issues at the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB), the Rasmuson Foundation Fisheries Excellence Committee meeting, and addressing the University of Alaska Board of Regents. The NPRB decided to issue a request for pre-proposals for a Gulf of Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Research Program. The focus of the planned study is "How do environmental and anthropogenic processes, including climate change, affect various trophic levels and dynamic linkages among trophic levels, with particular emphasis on fish and fisheries, marine mammals and seabirds within the Gulf of Alaska?" With help from several of the other members, we managed to convince the board to include ship time in the funding for this new program. The original plan for this program included no funds for ship time.
On September 17, Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton, Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker, Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers, and I joined the other members of the Rasmuson Fisheries Excellence Committee in reviewing the status of the expansion of our undergraduate fisheries program. Our five year target for fisheries undergraduates is to have 100 total students with 25 students entering each year. After the first year, we have 33 total students with 13 new students entering this year. We are one third of the way to the total student goal and half way to the new student number after only one year. Congratulations to CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra and all who have been responsible for the significant improvement in student numbers in the fisheries degree program. On September 29, we received notification from Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities that the new Bachelor of Arts in Fisheries had been approved and could be offered effective spring semester 2009.
My last meeting in Anchorage was with the UA Board of Regents. I was asked by Regent Patricia Jacobson of Kodiak to present an update on the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). We are in phase 1 of this project and have received $4.7 million to refresh the ship design and move the project through to approval by the National Science Board in May 2009. The ARRV construction team, led by Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver, will undergo a Final Design Review (FDR) at the National Science Foundation the week of October 20. A major issue presented to the board is the need for an all-weather dock for the ARRV in Seward.
We continue to work with the City of Seward to find the funds for this needed facility. This expanded dock and support facility is important as NSF has stated clearly, "no dock, no ship." The following week, the National Science Board met in Fairbanks and I also provided them an ARRV update. I informed that the current cost estimate for the ARRV is $175,853,214. We all hope that several of the digits in this number are significant.
On September 24, we were delighted to host Dr. Richard Feely from NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) who presented two seminars. Dr. Feely is one of the leading experts on ocean acidification and was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)who along with Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change." Another IPCC member, Dr. Michael Schlesinger - a climate change expert from the University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana - also visited CFOS and presented a seminar on "Climate Change 101" on September 30. Thanks to hosts Jeremy Mathis and Sue Hazlett for making the talks by these distinguished speakers available for our faculty and students.
The issue of improving our abilities in distance education was on my agenda on September 29. GPMSL Program Head Katrin Iken and I attended a presentation at the UAF Center for Distance Education (CDE) in which John Kelley's MSL 111 (The Oceans) internet-based class was demonstrated. John is teaching the class to 23 students around Alaska using Blackboard and electronic communications. The CDE would like to work with CFOS faculty to move additional classes to the web and we will consider this issue at our faculty meeting in October.
August is the beginning of the new school year at UAF and it was the beginning for seven new CFOS faculty members as well as 13 Fisheries undergraduates and 29 graduate students in Oceanography, Marine Biology and Fisheries. The new faculty are
- Peter Winsor - Oceanography - Fairbanks
- Harper Simmons - Oceanography - Fairbanks
- Courtney Carothers - Fisheries - Fairbanks
- Ginny Eckert - Fisheries - Juneau
- Franz Mueter - Fisheries - Juneau
- Andres Lopez - Fisheries and University of Alaska Museum - Fairbanks
- Lara Dehn - Marine Biology - Fairbanks
Also new this year is Gary Freitag who joined our Marine Advisory Program (MAP) in Ketchikan in January. Thus, we start the 2008-2009 academic year with eight more faculty than last year. Andres Lopez has a joint appointment with the University Alaska Museum of the North as the Curator of Fish. Please welcome these new faculty members to CFOS when you meet them.
MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg and I traveled to Whittier on August 4 as part of an environmental tour hosted by the Alaska Cruise Association. We spent the morning touring the Island Princess operated by Princess Cruises with Bruce Bustamante, Vice President, Community and Public Affairs, as the host. Bruce is also a member of the CFOS Advisory Council. We had a great time watching the crew sort garbage as part of the recycling processing and then touring the sewage treatment plant before having lunch aboard the ship.
CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra and I traveled to Anchorage August 7 and 8 to participate in a Recruiting and Retention Roundtable hosted by the Rasmuson Foundation and facilitated by Michael Walsh of The Foraker Group. Twenty-two people from UAF, UAA, UAS, Alaska Native groups, Community Development Quota groups, and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council spent the morning of August 8 developing new ideas for recruiting students to our new B. A. degree in Fisheries. UAF Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers participated by telephone. The ideas from this meeting, along with those from our July 15 meeting on the same topic, are being evaluated and incorporated into the CFOS Enrollment Management Plan. While in Anchorage, Paula Cullenberg and I had the opportunity to meet with Dorothy Childers, Fisheries Program Director, and Kelly Harrell, Friends of Bristol Bay Project Director, of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. We discussed the university's role in engaging Alaskans in productive discussions of environmental issues. Katie spent August 7 at UAA visiting with students from the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP).
Senator Lisa Murkowski hosted the Eight Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region August 11-14 in Fairbanks. Institute of Marine Science Director Terry Whitledge and I represented CFOS at the meetings. Meeting themes were human health in the Arctic region, adaption to climate change, and energy resources in the Arctic. Several of the participants, especially those from Iceland, were keenly interested in how fisheries are managed in Alaska. Margaret Hayes from the Department of State reported that the U.S. is committed to ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and there was much discussion of territorial claims under the Arctic Ocean. 157 nations have ratified the treaty, but the U.S. has not. We are thus unable to make a territorial claim beyond our 200 mile exclusive economic zone as can Russia, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and other Arctic nations.
CFOS hosted a meeting of the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center Advisory Board in the Vera Alexander Learning Center on August 14. I am the center director and Keith Criddle and Vera Alexander serve on the board. Seven pollock companies donate over $1.0 million each year to CFOS. These funds are used to support an endowed chair in marine policy and faculty research. This year, the board has also decided to fund two graduate fellowships along with $350,000 in faculty research. The PCCRC request for proposals has been distributed with proposals due October 17. At the meeting, we learned that the seven companies will soon be five as two of the companies have purchased two of the others. We are uncertain how this will effect their annual contributions.
Orientation for new UAF faculty was held in Fairbanks August 18 and 19. On the afternoon of August 18, we held a separate session for our new faculty to tell them about "the CFOS way." I presented an overview of CFOS, Proposal Coordinator Gretchen Hundertmark described how the CFOS proposal office supports our faculty and Financial Manager Angela Gies gave a spectacular PowerPoint presentation on "Grants Management - Grants the CFOS Way." Associate Dean Mike Castellini discussed the promotion and tenure process and Academic Manager Christina Neumann provided a wealth of information, as well as a three-inch binder, on our academic process. Gary Newman also provided a brief overview of our IT support. The focus of the orientation was to remind the new faculty that the dean's office is there to support their work and help them get off to a great start at UAF. Presentations from the orientation will be posted soon on a faculty orientation web site.
Our success in constructing the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) depends on a successful Final Design Review (FDR) that will be held by the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA the week of October 20. To prepare for that review, ARRV PI Terry Whitledge, Project Director Dan Oliver, Construction Manager Gary Smith, and I traveled to Seattle for a preparatory meeting at The Glosten Associates with representatives from NSF. UAF Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Ro Bailey and John Hebard, Director of UAF Procurement and Contract Services, also participated in the review. Glosten Associates is our partner the construction of the ARRV. The meeting provided everyone an opportunity to understand the project status and their part in the FDR. Dan Oliver and Gary Smith have done an outstanding job moving the project forward professionally to this important juncture.
I returned to Seattle the following week (August 25-28) to serve as one of seven science reviewers of NOAA's Pacific Environmental Marine Laboratory (PMEL). Our charge was to assess the quality, relevance, and performance of PMEL research activities. My specific area of responsibility was their work on Alaska marine ecosystems. PMEL physical oceanographer Phyllis Stabeno gave an excellent presentation on their Ecosystems & Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Initiative (EcoFOCI) which is a partnership between PMEL and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. UAF was mentioned several times during the presentations and Terry Whitledge has been a long-time collaborator with this effort.
Since I started the month on a cruise ship, I decided to end it the same way on August 29. Except, the ship was the Riverboat Discovery III on the Chena River in Fairbanks. This was a more pleasant experience than some of the oceanographic cruises I have done in the past.
As I began to write this report, I looked back with amusement to my June report where I wrote Summer arrived in Fairbanks in June with warm days and cool evenings. Summer ended in Fairbanks on July 4 after the temperature rose to 85 F. Then came the rain and July ended as the sixth wettest July recorded in Fairbanks with 20 days of light rain, 2 days of heavy rain, and 4 days of thunderstorms resulting in an average temperature for the month of 60.6 F. It has been much the same at other CFOS locations. Someone from Seward told me he had lived in Alaska for 34 winters and 30 summers. Now I know what he means.
June 30 was the end of the UAF fiscal year, FY08. Again this year the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences finished the year with a positive budget balance. In January, we had predicted a budget deficit and the CFOS unit directors made some difficult decisions in reducing our budget by 5% mid-year. Without that mid-course correction, we would not have ended the year in the black. Because of the choices they made, we have an FY08 surplus of $208,830 some of which will be applied to start up funds for the new faculty who arrive in August. These funds will help assure that our new CFOS faculty get off to a great start.
Two new staff members joined the Dean's Office in July. On July 7, Angela Gies returned to CFOS as our Financial Manager. Angela worked for CFOS as a grant technician for two years before spending the last two years as the fiscal officer with the School of Education. As Greg Simpson correctly noted upon Angela's return to CFOS, We are fortunate to have a manager familiar with many of the diverse, interesting and complex issues, programs, and projects that make up the tapestry of the school and who is familiar with many of the personnel at CFOS. Entirely new to CFOS is Tara Delana who joined us on July 28 as Assistant to the Dean. Tara, a graduate of West Valley High School in Fairbanks, will receive her BBA in Business Administration and Accounting (double major) in December from UAF. She has worked at the university previously as the general manager and production director of KSUA 91.5FM Radio & TV, the student run station. Tara has also worked at UAF Purchasing and Procurement as a Procurement Card Systems Intern and Office Assistant. I am pleased that we were able to find two excellent people have our office fully staffed as we begin the new academic year.
On July 2, Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers and I had an opportunity to address the U.S. Arctic Research Commission during their summer meeting in Fairbanks. It was interesting to see the effect when science and politics interact during the state's presentation on the listing of polar bears as an endangered species. The State of Alaska has now sued the federal government over the listing. Chancellor Rogers reinforced the idea that UAF is America's Arctic University and described to the commission our commitment to Arctic research. I provided a status report on the NSF-funded Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) and brought to their attention the difficulty of having the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) fund a collection of scientifically based time series. The commission chair, Mead Treadwell, noted that when the NPRB was set up one of the intentions was for it to fund collection of long term data.
I met with Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers on July 8 to provide him an overview of CFOS activities and issues. Provost Susan Henrichs also participated in the hour-long discussion. We discussed the complexity of managing a school with so many remote locations and how he could help us with our development activities with various foundations and private donors. Our space issues dominated part of the meeting. I asked Chancellor Rogers to join me as I make site visits to our major locations around the state during the next few months. He suggested we start with a late October visit to Seward.
CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra and I hosted a Fisheries Recruiting Roundtable in Anchorage on July 15. UAF Marine Advisory Program faculty and recruiters from UAF, UAA, and UAS joined participants from NOAA, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) in formulating new ideas for recruiting undergraduates into our fisheries degrees. The meeting produced 18 new ideas that will be further reviewed for inclusion in our Enrollment Management Plan.
On July 18, I attended the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) Board of Directors meeting in Seward. ASLC Executive Director Tylan Schrock was recognized at the meeting as he is leaving after seven years to pursue other interests. A search is underway for a new director and an announcement could be made in August. While in Seward, I had the opportunity to meet with several of our faculty to discuss issues unique to their operations in Seward. On the way the Seward, I stopped in Anchorage to attend the farewell luncheon at Simon and Seafort's for MAP faculty member and now Professor Emeritus Don Kramer. Don is retiring after a long and distinguished career with UAF and will be moving to British Columbia.
CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson and I traveled to Seattle July 20-23 to meet with fishing industry representatives who support our school. We also met with several people who might be interested in supporting our work in the future. Teresa set an aggressive schedule for us with the first meeting in the SeaTac airport right after we claimed our luggage. During the three days, we met with Lori Swanson, Groundfish Forum; Inge Andreassen and Jan Jacobs, American Seafoods Company; John Bundy, Glacier Fish Company; Bill Hurley and Peggy Noethlich, The Glosten Associates; Doug Christensen, Arctic Storm Management Group; Dave Benson and Joe Plesha, Trident Seafoods Corporation; Terry Shaff and Pete Maloney, Unisea, Inc.; Charlie Ball, Princess Tours; Craig Cross and Barry Ohai, Starbound/Aleutian Spray Fisheries; and Arni Thomson and Edward Poulsen, Alaska Crab Coalition. During our visit to Glosten, we also had an opportunity to meet with Gary Smith who is the UAF Construction Manager for the ARRV. Gary has been working at Glosten refreshing the ship design in preparation for the ARRV Final Design Review scheduled for the week of October 20 at the National Science Foundation. Teresa's eyes glazed over during the exciting discussion of berthing arrangements, deck loading, and winch locations. She was much more excited later when we visited with Arthur Nowell, Dean of the College of Ocean and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington, and his development officer, Cara Mathison. UW has just completed a $2.5 billion capital campaign.
My quickest trip to Washington, DC since becoming Dean occurred July 30-31. I traveled to the Minerals Management Service (MMS) offices in Herndon, Virginia, to support the efforts of John Kelley, Sathy Naidu, Arny Blanchard and Doug Dasher (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation) to secure funding for their project: Chukchi Sea Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA): Chemical and Benthos (CAB). The team made an outstanding presentation to MMS who seemed receptive to the both the proposed work and the qualifications of our faculty. I was proud to have been asked to accompany the proposal team in spite of having to make a 47 hour round trip across the country.
Six CFOS students turned in their theses (1 Ph.D. and 5 M.S) for final review in July. The students, their degree program and advisors are listed below.
- Elizabeth Gustafson, Ph.D. Oceanography, Dr. Don Button
- Theresa Lynn Tanner, M.S., Fisheries, Dr. Joe Margraf
- Katy B. Howard, M.S. Fisheries, Dr. Milo Adkison
- Beate Litz, M.S. Marine Biology, Dr. Shannon Atkinson
- Michael J. Malick, M.S. Fisheries, Dr. Milo Adkison
- Sarah Story Manes, M.S. Oceanography, Dr. Rolf Gradinger
Congratulations to these students as they move forward to the next stage in their careers.
Happy New Year. July 1 marks the beginning of fiscal year 2009 (FY09) for UAF and it also represents the beginning of my fifth year as Dean of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. I arrived in Fairbanks on July 1, 2004 after driving 5,300 miles from Mississippi. We have seen many changes in CFOS and UAF in the last four years and I hope you will agree that most of the changes have been positive. Today is also the first official day in office for Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers. Check out his greeting on the web at http://www.uaf.edu/chancellor/.
Summer arrived in Fairbanks in June with warm days and cool evenings and visitors from around the world. Peter Winsor from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution made a return visit with his family June 1-4 and enjoyed delightful weather. Peter will join our faculty as an Associate Professor of Marine Science (physical oceanography) in August. Nicholas Kamenos from Glasgow, Scotland, also made a return visit the week of June 16 to see what Fairbanks looks like without snow on the ground. On June 7, I met with a group from planning Canada's High Arctic Research Station including Danielle Labonte and Eddy Carmack. Eddy is also the current Sydney Chapman Chair in Physical Sciences at UAF. The group is developing a plan to establish a new research station on the Arctic Ocean.
On June 3, I flew to Anchorage for the day for a meeting at the Rasmuson Foundation with Ed Rasmuson, Chairman of the Board, and Diane Kaplan, President. We discussed the new B.A. degree in Fisheries with a focus on how to recruit students to the program. Based on those discussions, we will hold a Rasmuson Recruiting Roundtable in Anchorage on July 15 to explore student recruiting ideas.
CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson and I attended a Center for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) online seminar on Organizing Stewardship on June 5. The seminar focused on how to improve relationship building, message delivery, and building trust with your supporters. We have set an ambitions fundraising goal this fiscal year and this was one step in learning how to conduct our development effort more effectively.
UAF Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers has appointed several transition teams to help him focus on UAF needs over the next two years. I was appointed to the Philanthropy Transition Team which has a goal of providing advice on UAF development activities. We held our first meeting on June 12. UAF Associate Vice Chancellor for Development Judyth Wier participated in the meeting and noted that we have a lot of potential for fundraising over the next two years. Sharice Walker, Technical Editor for the CFOS Coastal Marine Institute, was also appointed to the Student Transition Team. Information about the teams and minutes of their meetings can be found on the web at www.uaf.edu/transition.
June 15 was a sad day as Jennifer Harris left as the CFOS Financial Manager to become the Executive Officer of the UAF Tanana Valley Campus. Jennifer provided great leadership as our financial manager and managed to submit our FY09 budget just before she departed. CFOS had a balanced budget every year while Jennifer was here. I am pleased to announce that our new Financial Manager will be Angela Gies. Angela worked for CFOS as a Grant Coordinator from 2004-2006 before becoming the Fiscal Officer of the UAF School of Education. I am delighted that Angela will be rejoining the CFOS family on July 7.
The University of Alaska Board of Regents (BOR) approved our new Bachelor of Arts in Fisheries and our Minor in Fisheries at their meeting in Anchorage June 18-19. Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker represented us at the meeting. On June 18, the BOR Academic and Student Affairs Committee voted yes unanimously to recommend approval by full board and had only a few questions for Bill. The final approval was received on June 19 and CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Stephens immediately issued a press release with the announcement and it was carried on the Associated Press wire, even showing up in the Fort Mill Times in South Carolina. Approval of this new degree culminates two years of hard work by the CFOS fisheries faculty, especially Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton. Trent prepared the detailed curriculum and successfully shepherded it through the UAF review process. Congratulations to all who gave so much time to develop this new program. The June issue of Alaska Magazine had a half-page report on the new degree, University Offers B.A in Fisheries (page 12). Alaska magazine has a circulation of over 200,000.
The Copper River Nouveau in Cordova is held each June as a fundraiser for the Prince William Sound Science Center. After receiving my fifth invitation, I finally found time to attend June 19-21 this year. Sen. Lisa Murkowski hosted the event at the Orca Adventure Lodge and she was part of the evening entertainment. Either Sen. Murkowski has a special talent, or tap dancing is a necessary skill for a U.S. Senator. While in Cordova, I took the opportunity to go by Cordova High School and the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC). PWSAC provides office space to Torie Baker, our Marine Advisory Program agent in Cordova, and I went by to thank them for their support.
In addition to the faculty searches we have just completed, we made the decision this month to begin the process to fill our Marine Advisory Program faculty position in Dillingham. President Hamilton visited Dillingham in April and assured the community that the position would be filled and we were reminded of this by a well-known Dillingham resident on June 5. The search committee for the position includes both local residents and university faculty members with Cordova MAP faculty member Torie Baker chairing the committee.
John Farrell, Executive Director of the US Arctic Research Commission visited with me on June 26. The commission is holding its summer meeting in Fairbanks this week. John and I discussed how the commission could help in securing the final funds for the Alaska Region Research Vessel. UAF is represented on the commission by Susan Sugai, a former CFOSer and now Associate Director, Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research (CIFAR). Former Institute of Marine Science faculty member Tom Royer is also a member of the commission.
The 26th edition of the Fairbanks Midnight Sun Run was held on Saturday evening June 21 with over 3,000 participants. In addition to serious runners, the evening run features "wild and wacky costumes." It was reported that both George Bush and Al Gore were there. CFOS was well represented in the wild and wacky department as we had an entire kelp forest in the race to include Katie Murra, Steve Jewett, Heloise Chenelot, Nathan Stewart and Teril Efird, an incoming graduate student. You can contact Public Information Officer Carin Stephens for incriminating pictures.
Best wishes to all faculty, staff, and students for a productive new year.
As the spring semester came to an end in May, most of the searches for new faculty concluded although two negotiations are still underway. Many thanks to all CFOS faculty, staff, and students who contributed both time and energy to make our searches successful. One candidate will make a second visit to Fairbanks in June and another in July. New faculty who have accepted offers and will start in the fall are
- Dr. Franz Mueter, Assistant Professor of Fisheries (biometrician)
- Dr. Lara Dehn, Assistant Professor of Marine Biology (marine mammals)
- Dr. Andres Lopez, Assistant Professor of Fisheries & Fisheries Curator (joint with UA Museum)
- Dr. Courtney Carothers, Assistant Professor of Fisheries (human dimensions)
- Dr. Ginny Eckert, Associate Professor of Fisheries (shellfish biology)
- Dr. Peter Winsor, Associate Professor of Marine Science (physical oceanography)
On May 1, Marine Advisory Program Leader Paula Cullenberg and I met in Anchorage with Margaret Williams and Alfred (Bubba) Cook from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The WWF had expressed some concerns about the energy-fisheries meeting that Alaska Sea Grant hosted in March and we spent some time discussing their concerns. They reported that the WWF highly values the work of Alaska Sea Grant and the contributions that Brian Allee made to the program.
My first out of state trip of the year took me to Washington, DC, May 5-9 to meet with program managers, Congressional staffers, and to attend the Ocean Leadership members meeting where I am the UAF member representative. University of Alaska Director of Federal Relations Martha Stewart and I met on May 6 in Senator Lisa Murkowski's office with Arne Fuglvog, Legislative Assistant to Sen. Murkowski, John Rayfield, Minority Staff Director, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Jeremy Price, Legislative Assistant to Rep. Don Young. We discussed the status of the UAF effort to construct the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) and the potential for the National Science Foundation receiving the level of funding in the FY10 federal budget necessary to go out for construction bids. We also discussed the plans for obtaining a dock in Seward for the ARRV.
I spent the morning of May 7 in Silver Spring, Maryland, meeting with NOAA program managers. In the morning I met with National Sea Grant Director Leon Cammen, Deputy Director Jim Murray and Associate Director Nicola Garber. We discussed the plans for revamping the national Sea Grant program and how the Alaska Sea Grant strategic plan must fit with the national plan. I also described to them our plans for searching for a new Alaska Sea Grant Director to replace Brian Allee who retired on May 30. We also had a discussion about the appropriate role of Sea Grant advisory agents in providing information to the public.
Later in the morning, I had a brief meeting with Karen Kohanowich, Acting Director of the NOAA's National Undersea Research Program (NURP) where we discussed future funding of NURP and the anticipated outcome of the merger of NURP and Ocean Exploration within NOAA. Afterward, I met with Dr. Gary Matlock, Director of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Sciences (NCCOS) to discuss the operation of our Kasitsna Bay Laboratory.
After the meetings in Silver Spring, Martha Stewart and I returned to Capitol Hill on the afternoon of May 7 to meet with Mark Robbins, Legislative Assistant to Sen. Ted Stevens and Mimi Braniff, Republican Deputy Chief Counsel, Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. We discussed the plans for the Final Design Review (FDR) for the ARRV to be conducted by the National Science Foundation in October 2008. We also discussed the difficulty in finding funds to construct a suitable dock for the ARRV in Seward.
On May 8, I represented UAF at the Ocean Leadership members meeting in Washington, DC. Ocean Leadership is a non-profit organization of 95 universities and private ocean research institutions with the goal of advancing education and research in the ocean sciences. The members discussed the federal budget for ocean science and future directions of the organization. Martha Stewart and I attended the Ocean Leadership reception on Capitol Hill that evening in the Rayburn House Office Building to provide information on our programs to Congressional staffers who attended.
UAF Commencement was held at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks on May 11. Four undergraduates received Fisheries degrees: Christine Gleason, Jessica Johnson, Jonathan Richar and Carl Alexander Roberts. Seven students received M.S. degrees and Olav Ormseth received his Ph.D. in Oceanography. In the 2007-2008 academic year, CFOS graduates included 6 B.S. students, 22 M.S. students and 5 Ph.D. students. Congratulations to our graduates as they move forward in their careers.
May 12-19 I actually took a vacation to visit my family in Mississippi. On the way from the New Orleans airport Jean and I had what may have been the best shrimp po'boy sandwiches of our lives at Jocko's in Slidell, Louisiana. Not wanting to stay away from work for too long, I visited the University of Southern Mississippi Department of Marine Science at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi on May 16. The po'boys in the government-run cafeteria were not quite the same as at Jocko's.
CFOS Financial Manager Jennifer Harris announced on May 20 that she was leaving CFOS in June to become the Executive Officer of the UAF Tanana Valley Campus in Fairbanks. Jennifer has done an outstanding job over the last four and a half years in restructuring the CFOS fiscal office and seeing us through the repayment of the debt that burdened us before her arrival. In Jennifer's new position, she will have responsibility for about 3,200 students which will be a change from the under 200 in CFOS. We all owe Jennifer heartfelt thanks for her dedication in putting CFOS on a sound financial footing and I wish her well as she moves upward at UAF. I anticipate she will be our Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services one day.
On May 23, Governor Sarah Palin signed the state operating budget (HB 310). The University of Alaska budget included the $1,000,000 matching funds for 'fisheries.' On May 28, the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences received its operating budget from the university showing that the matching funds had been added to the base budget of the school as "Fisheries Undergrad Prog" $1,000,000 (UAF budget page 144 of 268). These continuing funds will meet the required match for FY09 and the following years of the grant. This was obviously great news.
Our new distance learning classroom, room 201 in the O'Neill building in Fairbanks, was renamed the Vera Alexander Learning Center during a dedication ceremony held on Wednesday, May 28. The UA Board of Regents approved the naming to honor Vera Alexander, the first woman to receive a Ph.D. at the University of Alaska and our dean for the first 17 years of CFOS. Chancellor Steve Jones hosted the dedication and Vera's son from Anchorage and daughter from Seattle joined us for the dedication that was a surprise to Vera who described the dedication as "magical." I was personally pleased that we were able to honor Vera for her dedicated service to CFOS, UAF and the international scientific community.
Alaska Sea Grant Director Brian Allee retired on May 30. During his five years with CFOS, Brian did an outstanding job in shepherding Alaska Sea Grant to among the best in the nation. He established an outstanding Advisory Committee and used their advice to craft new and better programs for Alaska. The last NOAA Program Assessment Team (PAT) review gave Alaska Sea Grant almost perfect scores and announced that the communications staff was the best nationally. While many contributed to this effort, the strong leadership that Brian provided was exemplary and we will miss his guidance and cheerfulness. I wish him well in retirement and know that Angela will be pleased to have him home in Oregon.
Several staff members from the dean's office spent the last weekend of May walking or running for good causes. CFOS Proposal Coordinator Tara Borland and her son, Bobby, participated in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life described as a fun-filled overnight experience designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer. In the 24-hour event, they raised over $1,000 for the American Cancer Society. Further south in San Diego, Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra ran the 11th annual Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego along with 21,000 of her close friends. This race is a fund raising event for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and features a live band every mile along the route. Katie finished in 4:10:01 as number 3480 of 16373 finishers and was the number 1014 woman of 8425 finishers. It is great to work with people who have such dedication and endurance.
April 2008 was a hallmark month for the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Several major initiatives came to fruition.
One event that was truly tremendous, fabulous and spectacular was bringing the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) finals to Alaska. Many CFOS faculty and staff worked for over two years to bring the NOSB finals to Seward. From April 25 to 27 we hosted 125 student NOSB regional winners, their teachers, sponsors, regional coordinators, and parents in Anchorage and Seward. Phyllis Shoemaker was the event coordinator and with strong support from Linda Lasota, Nici Murawsky, Jennifer Elhard, and Dan Oliver from the Seward Marine Center hosted a weekend that could only be described as spectacular. Many CFOS personnel participated, including a large contingent from Fairbanks. The City of Seward really turned out to help. Over 110 people total served as volunteers. UA Regent Pat Jacobson from Kodiak was a judge as was CFOS Advisory Council member Doug DeMaster. At the NOSB office at Ocean Leadership in Washington, DC, accolades are pouring in and the Ocean Leadership staff members who attended the finals are telling everyone of our success. One comment from the Student Activities Coordinator of the IEEE stated, "In many ways the Seward NOSB was the best yet. It certainly was a great experience for the students and particularly those from states that rarely see snow. The cruise on Resurrection Bay was an eye-opener for many and the snow fall on Saturday night was an added thrill." Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School from Sudbury, Massachusetts, was the winner.
The NOSB finals in Seward was successful because of the partnership established among UAF, the City of Seward, and the financial sponsors who made it possible for us to host the national finals in Alaska. In total we raised $209,000 for the event. Those who assisted us financially are listed on our web site at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/nosb/donors.html. The North Pacific Research Board provided an initial large contribution that allowed us to successfully compete for the finals and the university matched their contribution. Tom Tougas of Renown Tours donated the Resurrection Bay cruise for the students without even being asked. Princess Tours, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean provided the busses and the Atwood Foundation in Anchorage funded the train ride which made it only to Portage because of an avalanche further south. For the students, this was just another part of their Alaska adventure. Thanks to all who helped make the NOSB finals an event these students will always remember fondly.
Another major accomplishment in April was the approval of the B.A. degree in Fisheries and Minor in Fisheries by the UAF Faculty Senate on April 7. Trent Sutton and our fisheries faculty deserve our accolades for their perseverance in this endeavor. During the process that started in October, we were surprised at how much more faculty in physics, geography, English and other programs knew about what courses were needed for a fisheries degree than did our own faculty. Approval of this degree by the UA Board of Regents during this academic year is one of the requirements of our $5.0 million Rasmuson Foundation grant and the B.A. degree is on the Board of Regents June agenda.
The Rasmuson Grant also requires a one-to-one match. I am pleased to report that the Alaska Legislature included the $1,000,000 "fisheries" match in the University of Alaska FY09 budget that passed on April 12. Our friends in fishing communities around the state contacted their legislators to support our request. Letters or e-mails were sent from people in Petersburg, Sitka, Juneau, Cordova, Anchorage, and Kodiak. Coastal Villages Region Fund, a CDQ group, sent a strong letter and the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) passed a resolution and hand delivered it to key legislators. The support we received from the UFA, other fisheries organizations, and individuals throughout the fishing community was truly heartwarming. The strong support from the fishing industry statewide for the funding was mentioned in Laine Welch's column in the Anchorage Daily News on April 6. The UA budget is awaiting signature by the Governor who has until May 24 to sign the state operating budget, HB 310.
While all this was going on, the CFOS Advisory Council met in Fairbanks April 11-12. The meeting, chaired by Dr. David Policansky from the National Research Council, reviewed our strategic directions, academic programs, development plan, and our goals for next year. We welcomed new member Eric Olson, Chair of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Another new member, Bruce Bustamante from Princess Tours, was unable to attend. Three graduate students (David Caroffino, Jeremy Kasper, and Jason Waite) presented their thesis research to the council. These student presentations are always a highlight of the meeting as they give the council members a chance to see the results of our work.
During the meeting Terry Whitledge reported the status of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) construction funded by the National Science Foundation. The update of the 2004 design is proceeding on schedule and the NSF oversight committee has been providing useful suggestions. NSF is requiring a final design review (FDR) before requesting additional construction funds from Congress. With $48 million appropriated to date, we are well short of the $123 million needed to construct the vessel. NSF has delayed the FDR until the week of October 20 with potential approval by the National Science Board in March 2009. This schedule may make receipt of construction funding in the FY10 federal budget problematic.
April at UAF is also a month for celebrations as the academic year moves toward an end. On April 19 I attended the UAF Awards Banquet where fisheries undergraduate Christine Gleason was recognized as our outstanding student. Christine will receive her B.S. degree in May and will continue her education as an CFOS graduate student. The UAF Rasmuson Library hosted the 2008 Authors Reception on April 23 and CFOS was well represented through our publications from Alaska Sea Grant. CFOS faculty recognized at the event were Tony Gharrett, Glenn Haight, Reid Brewer, Paula Cullenberg, and Don Kramer. You can see their smiling faces and their publications at http://library.uaf.edu/blogs/uafauthors2007/category/sea-grant/.
I ended the month at the spring meeting of the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) in Anchorage April 30 and May 1. Several new CFOS projects were funded by NPRB this year. In the three years I have served on the NPRB, the percentage of proposals recommended by the NPRB Science Panel but not approved by the NPRB Board has increased. This trend is not good for the NPRB or science in Alaska and I continue to work with other scientists on the board to try to reverse this trend.
April was a monumental month for our faculty, staff and students. Many thanks to all of you who contributed to our successes that made April one of the best months in the 20 year history of CFOS.
March began with a trip to Anchorage for two meetings on March 3. The Rasmuson Foundation Fisheries Research Center advisory board met in the Wells Fargo Board Room in the morning. The board heard presentations from Jennifer Marsh, M.S. Marine Biology Candidate, Megan Murphy, M.S. Marine Biology Candidate, Katy Howard, M.S. Fisheries Candidate, Sean Rooney, M.S. Fisheries Candidate, and Ashwin Sreenivasan, Ph.D. Fisheries Candidate. After the presentations, the board continued the fellowships of Marsh, Murphy, and Sreenivasen, and awarded fellowships to two incoming students: Patrick Lane and Terril Efird, both new students of Brenda Konar. With the funding available next year, I anticipate the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center will be able to fund five or six new fellowships.
The afternoon of March 3 was devoted to a meeting of the Rasmuson Fisheries Excellence Committee. This group of university, state and fishing organization representatives provides advice to us on the development of our new B.A. degree in Fisheries that is partially funded by the Rasmuson Foundation. CFOS attendees at the meeting were Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker, Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton, and Internship Coordinator Amanda Rosenberger. Two UAF undergraduate fisheries students, Jessica Johnson and Shelley Woods, presented their views of our fisheries degree at the meeting. The FEC heard a presentation by Trent Sutton on the final version of the B.A. curriculum and Amanda Rosenberger described the experiential learning program for undergraduates. By the end of the meeting, the committee agreed we were ready to move forward and meet again in a year to see what progress had been made. We are now awaiting final approval of the B.A. curriculum by UAF Faculty Senate.
Faculty candidate interviews continued to dominate the month with fisheries and oceanography candidates on campus for 15 of the 21 working days in March (5 days were spring break). I have been impressed with the stamina of our faculty and staff during the interview process. Usually we test not our stamina but that of the candidate. The committee chairs, logistical coordinator Sharice Walker, and Madeline Scholl in our academic office have done a tremendous job with the scheduling. The daily event reports that Madeline provides have made it possible for us to plan our days while assuring we have time to interact with the candidates. I think CFOS has set the "rep allowance" record for UAF this semester and thanks to Edward Elliott for keeping the reimbursements flowing.
UAF and Alaska Sea Grant hosted the North Aleutian Basin Energy/Fisheries Workshop in Anchorage on March 18-19 with Sea Grant Director Brian Allee as the host. The purpose of the workshop was "To create a forum for open dialogue based on mutual respect between fisheries stakeholders of the North Aleutian Basin and the energy industry, through which all can gain a shared understanding of the issues and concerns of the region, and participate in the region's long-term conservation and wise use." I gave a brief introduction and UA President Mark Hamilton gave the keynote address. His experience negotiating the end of a 12 year civil war in El Salvador made him the ideal person to kick off this meeting. Those who chose to participated engaged in a constructive dialogue and almost everyone thought that Sea Grant did an excellent job organizing and conducting the meeting.
A mini version of the NAB Energy/Fisheries Workshop was held in Kodiak during the 2008 ComFish event March 20-22. The CFOS display at ComFish was staffed by Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) faculty and staff and Alaska Sea Grant was also a major participant. FITC hosted a reception on Friday evening to provide an opportunity for the Alaska fishing community to meet Dr. Murat Balaban, the new FITC Director who started in January.
CFOS Conversations was held on March 20 during which we discussed the new CFOS web page, the FY09 university budget, and the outcome of the NAB Energy/Fisheries Workshop. Fifteen or more faculty and staff participated in the teleconference from many CFOS locations.
The Senate Finance Committee of the Alaska Legislature added the $1.0 million for UAF Fisheries back into the state operating budget in mid-March and the full Senate approved the budget on March 24. The messages of support sent by members of the fishing industry around the state to Senators Stedman, Hoffman, Elton and others were instrumental in having these funds for our undergraduate fisheries expansion added to the UA budget. Senator Joe Thomas from Fairbanks was a major supporter of the success of the UA budget in the Senate Finance Committee. While the funding must survive the conference with the House, we would not be in this position without the tremendous support we have received from our friends in the fishing industry from Ketchikan to Nome and Unalaska to Cordova. We have some confidence that the funding will survive conference as the total UA budget is at the same level the Governor requested. Senator Stedman wrote to me on March 18, "I'll be excited to see the program implemented this fall."
Several CFOS faculty participated in a visit from Shell Oil Company scientists on March 24. The purpose of the visit was for Shell Oil representatives to become more familiar with UAF's mission, with specific emphasis on research. Sue Moore, Alaska Operations Manager, led the Shell group. CFOS participants in the discussion were Denis Wiesenburg, Mike Castellini, Bodil Bluhm, Katrin Iken, John Kelley, Tom Weingartner, Dave Christie, and Jeremy Mathis. The meeting was the subject of a front page article in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner on March 25.
On March 28, I was guest speaker at Sunrisers Rotary Club in Fairbanks where I gave an overview of CFOS and discussed the new expansion of our faculty and undergraduate fisheries degree programs. CFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson introduced me and coincidently, my wife � Jean � was running the meeting that morning. My son, Heath, was also an invited guest that day so it was a real family affair. From the questions I received after the presentation, there appeared to be a lot of interest in our CFOS programs around the state.
I am the administration representative on the UAF Faculty Senate Faculty Affairs Committee. Unless you have served on such a committee, you cannot know what a special pleasure it is to serve on a committee like this. The committee is assigned to review issues of importance to the faculty and to make recommendations on issues brought forth by individual faculty members. Part of our discussions at the March 26 meeting was on whether or not adjunct faculty members are being "abused" at UAF and what to do about it. Although the committee has not reviewed any information to indicate that this is happening, one Senator commented that "We should resolve issues whether they exist or not." This is an exact quote and not an April Fool's Day joke.
February began with near record cold weather in Fairbanks and the first week included other events that made me shiver. On the morning of February 4, I participated in the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Alaska SeaLife Center by teleconference. At the beginning of the meeting, Executive Director Tylan Schrock announced that he was stepping down this year after seven years at the helm. Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I have been working with Tylan over the last year to transform the relationship between ASLC and CFOS to provide more independence for their science operations. A new Memorandum of Agreement was under discussion. This might be delayed as the ASLC searches for a new director. In the interim, Dr. Ned Smith has agreed to serve as Interim Executive Director beginning April 1.
That same afternoon, we learned from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that construction funds for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) had not been included in the President's fiscal year 2009 (FY09) budget that was released on February 4. The ARRV is being funded from the NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) account that must be independently funded by Congress each year. The good news was that the $42M appropriated in FY08 is still available. The bad news is that this is not enough to allow us to go out for shipyard bids this summer. If Congress appropriates the remaining construction funds in FY10, this will delay ship construction by about 18 months. Two other MREFC projects were also not funded and their FY07 and FY08 funds were rescinded! I suppose the news could have been worse. However, the end result is that the oceanographic community will have to continue to wait for the vessel needed to study the rapid changes occurring in the Arctic Ocean.
The Tsunami Bowl, the Alaska regional National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), was held in Seward on February 9-10. The NOSB is a national competition that tests high school students on their knowledge of the world's oceans. Founded in 1998, the NOSB is dedicated to increasing public knowledge of the ocean and its resources. I participated as the science judge on the Fairbanks Fish Heads judging team along with Gretchen Hundertmark, Lori Nunemann, Katie Murra and Tara Borland. The 2008 Tsunami Bowl was the largest ever with 15 teams and 70 student participants. UA Regent Patricia Jacobson from Kodiak also served as one of the judges and presented UAF scholarships to the winning team Juneau Douglas High School. Tsunami Bowl Coordinator Phyllis Shoemaker and the staff of the Seward Marine Center did a super job with the contest, the eleventh we have held in Seward. Since the national finals will be in Seward April 25-27, Maureen Crane and Christine Hodgdon from Ocean Leadership in Washington, DC joined us in Seward to plan the logistics for the April finals.
I traveled to Juneau on March 10-11 to make a presentation on our fisheries undergraduate programs to the Alaska Workforce Investment Board (AWIB). The purpose of the AWIB is to build connections that put Alaskans into good jobs. I participated on a seafood industry panel with Kris Norosz (Icicle Seafoods), John Garner (Trident Seafoods), and Jon Black (Ocean Beauty). My travels in February totaled three trips, two to Anchorage and one to Juneau. None of the trips were paid for from our Fund 1 budget as we continue to seek cost savings this fiscal year.
While I was not traveling much, CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra spent a lot of time in the air and on the road recruiting students for our CFOS academic programs. In February alone, she visited North Pole High School, King Career Center (Anchorage), Soldotna High School, North Pole Christian School, Eagle River Christian Academy, Chugiak High School, Wasilla High School, Mat-Su Career and Technical High School (Wasilla), Palmer High School, Skyview High School (Soldotna), Kenai Central High School, Eagle River High School, South High School, West High School, Service High School, East High School and Dimond High School all in Anchorage. Katie is doing a great job informing high schools throughout the state about the expansion of our undergraduate fisheries degrees.
The Alaska Legislature began consideration of the University of Alaska budget in February. The $1,000,000 matching funds for our Rasmuson Foundation grant was included in the Board of Regent’s request, but was not supported by the Governor who reduced the BOR request by over $7 million. The House finance subcommittee removed another $3 million from the Governor’s request. The full House Finance Committee met on February 27 to consider amendments to the budget (HB-310). Representative Harry Crawford (D Anchorage) proposed an amendment to the university budget that he called the “hopes and dreams amendment.” It included all of the university items in the BOR request that the Governor had not included in her request including the $1,000,000 for fisheries that he mentioned was matching for the grant from the Rasmuson Foundation. Committee chair Mike Chenault (R Kenai) did not support the amendment and specifically mentioned fisheries by saying he wanted students to receive “degrees they could use.” The amendment failed by 3 yeas and 7 nays and the university budget passed the full House intact. Now, our best hope is with the Senate Finance Committee. I am extremely pleased with the support that we have received from the Alaska fishing community for the fisheries matching funds. On February 22, the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) Board of Directors passed a strong resolution supporting the additional university funding for our fisheries program. UFA, which represents 37 commercial fishing organizations from fisheries throughout Alaska and its offshore waters, had the resolution hand delivered to the co-chairs of the Senate Finance Committee on February 28. The Senate will decide upon the funding before the end of March.
Much of the energy of our faculty, staff, and students this month has been devoted to candidate campus interviews for the nine new faculty positions. Marine biology and fisheries candidates traveled to Juneau and Fairbanks in February with the oceanography candidates scheduled for March. The large attendance at the candidate seminars shows the importance of the hiring process to our school and the major reward for participation is a meal with the candidates. From the meal receipts, the favorite faculty restaurants in Juneau are the Hanger on the Wharf (5 visits) and Zen (seven visits). Fairbanks favorites are Lavelle’s for dinner (where the crème brûlée is the desert pick followed by death by chocolate), Lemon Grass for lunch, and Sam’s Sourdough Café for breakfast with the Cookie Jar a close second. The variety of places included the Pump House, Zack’s, Pike’s Landing, Wolf Run Restaurant and my favorite, Harley’s Diner in North Pole, where one candidate from the UK had the chili burger. We are definitely showing our faculty candidates the highlights of Alaska.
After a six month search, I am delighted to announce that Teresa Thompson has joined CFOS as our Development Officer effective January 7. Teresa, a UAF graduate, has experience working with United Way and most recently with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Teresa will coordinate the development plan for our school and work to raise funds immediately for the 2008 National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals to be held in Seward in April 2008. She will also work with me to raise the matching funds for the $5 million Rasmuson Foundation grant. Please share your development ideas with Teresa. I look forward to working with her to increase the resources available to our faculty and staff.
With Teresa's help, we are making great progress in raising the $200,000 we need to host the finals of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Seward in April. This month we received NOSB support commitments from the Alaska Ocean Observing System, NOAA Alaska Region and Icicle Seafoods. We are about $50,000 away from having the funds needed to make this a truly spectacular event and I am confident we will raise the balance in the next three months.
The new CFOS classroom in the O'Neill Building was completed this month with the installation of the video conferencing equipment and the ceiling tiles. Information on the new 1,300 sq. ft. classroom can be found at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/fisheries/facilities/. After 17 years as a school, we finally have our own room for classes, seminars, and thesis defenses. We will have a dedication of the room during February or March. UAF provided $500,000 to construct this high-tech learning center as part of the matching funds for our Rasmuson Foundation fisheries grant.
Much effort was put forward this month by Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton and the fisheries faculty to shepherd the new B.A. in fisheries curriculum through the Faculty Senate Curriculum Review Committee. Associate Professor Nicola Hillgruber represents us on the committee and did an excellent job defending the faculty decisions concerning this new program. The committee refused to accept that we could offer both a B.A. and B.S. in fisheries (as do many other departments) claiming we had to rename one of the degrees. The committee chair suggested we name the new degree "Something like 'fisheries management' to convey the sense that this degree is actually mostly about management and less about fish." Since the new degree is exactly about fish, our faculty declined. I enjoyed reading the comments from our fisheries faculty about this and note that in describing the efforts of the Curriculum Review Committee that the word "ridiculous" was used three times as often as the word "silly." In the end, we will rename our B.S. in Fisheries to a B.S. in Fisheries Science in order to appease the members of the Curriculum Review Committee.
The CFOS Executive Council (unit and academic leaders) held its annual retreat in Fairbanks on January 14 and 15. Topics the group considered was the strategic planning process, faculty and staff hiring, the memorandum of agreement with the Alaska SeaLife Center, workload guidelines, facility issues and budget. Our new director of the Fishery Industrial Technology Center in Kodiak, Murat Balaban, was part of the meeting. After arriving in Kodiak from Gainesville, Florida, on January 6, he had the pleasure of traveling to Fairbanks a week later to experience 44 degrees below zero on January 14. During his visit, Dr. Balaban met with CFOS faculty and staff and UAF administrators including the Chancellor and Provost. I am personally delighted that Dr. Balaban has joined the CFOS team.
During the Executive Council budget discussion, we concluded that the return of research overhead we receive from the university (indirect cost recovery or ICR) may be as much as $400,000 below the projections we used to prepare our budget last May. Both our research revenues and ICR are below our projections and the level of the last four years. Because of the project shortfall in revenue, we decided to reduce the FY08 budget of each CFOS unit by 5% immediately. These cuts will require some belt tightening for each unit to assure we end the fiscal year successfully on June 30.
CFOS Conversations was held on January 17 with participants from Kodiak, Seward, Fairbanks and Juneau. We discussed the ongoing faculty searches, how to improve student theses (have a fellow student read it first) and how to improve faculty teaching among other topics. Some time was spent discussing research initiatives and the intricacies of the funding process of the North Pacific Research Board.
Work on the design refresh and construction management plan of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) picked up speed this month under the leadership of Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver and Principal Investigator Terry Whitledge. The updated design is ready for review by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the ARRV Oversight Committee. The weekly planning meetings are being used to prepare for a major design and program review to be held at NSF at the end of February. This review is a major milestone in the effort to construct the arctic research vessel the science community has requested for over 30 years.
On January 18, I attended a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) by teleconference. At the beginning of the meeting, ASLC Executive Director Tylan Schrock announced that he would be stepping down as executive director. The board appointed Dr. Ned Smith as the Interim Director to work with Tylan over the next few months while a search is begun for a new executive director. This change will be significant for CFOS as we have five Institute of Marine Science (IMS) research faculty and a number of graduate students working at the ASLC. IMS Director Terry Whitledge and I met with the ASLC faculty in Anchorage on January 21 to discuss the way forward.
The 2008 Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage from January 20-23 attracted over 600 scientists and I had the pleasure of hearing many of our faculty and students present their research. One symposium attendee from the US east coast told me he thought the best three presentations of the meeting were those of IMS Professor Tom Weingartner, NOAA scientist Jim Overland and IMS Assistant Professor Jeremy Mathis. Details of CFOS participation in the meeting can be found at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/news/story/?ni=216. Of the symposium student awards for presentations and posters, four of the six award winners were CFOS graduate students studying fisheries in Juneau. Congratulations to these future fisheries scientists who represented our school well at the meeting.
After the marine science symposium, I spent an additional two days in Anchorage chairing the meeting of the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) Advisory Board, January 24-25. The PCCRC Advisory Board heard reports of ongoing and completed projects and considered new proposals for 2008 funding. Fifteen proposals were submitted to the PCCRC this year requesting over $1.3 million in new funding. The advisory board recommended funding for seven new and one continuing proposal for $509,981. The PCCRC has also decided to fund two graduate assistantships each year and the details of the call for proposals are being discussed. Stay tuned.
On January 31, I was pleased to learn that the Dutch Harbor Fisherman newspaper carried a front page article on the expansion of our undergraduate fisheries program funded by the Rasmuson Foundation. Trent Sutton had some great quotes in the article and the author spoke to people in the fishing industry and at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. You can read the story (pages 1 and 8) at http://thedutchharborfisherman.com/news/story/1308. The same story ran in the Bristol Bay Times (Dillingham), the Arctic Sounder (Kotzebue), Cordova Times and the Tundra Drums (Bethel).
Through our participation in the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, because of the quality of our students, and from the visibility our programs are receiving in the media throughout the state, the outstanding products of our research, teaching and service are gaining the recognition they deserve. Thanks to all of you who helped get 2008 off to a great start.
Happy New Year from the Dean's office! I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday break and is looking forward to a dynamic new year at America's Arctic University.
As we begin 2008, three new members will join the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences community in three different locations. Dr. Murat O. Balaban will begin his tenure as Director of the Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC or Fish Tech as we call it) in Kodiak on January 7. The same day, Mr. Gary Freitag will join our faculty as an Associate Professor in our Marine Advisory Program in Ketchikan. Both were selected following national searches. In Fairbanks, Mr. Greg Simpson will return to CFOS as our Administrative Manager in the Dean's office. Greg worked previously in the CFOS dean's office from 1999 to 2005 serving as proposal coordinator and lead proposal coordinator. Please welcome these new members of the CFOS family when you meet them.
The great news every December is that many of our students complete their graduate degrees. In December 2007, eight graduate students (2 Ph.D. and 6 M.S.) turned in their theses to the Graduate School. The newest CFOS graduates are:
- Jacqueline Loretta Mitchell, M.S., Fisheries, Advisor: Dr. Sherry Tamone
- Dave Gregovich, M.S., Fisheries, Advisor: Dr. Mark Wipfli
- Natalie Marie Monacci, M.S, Oceanography, Advisor: Dr. Matthew Wooller
- Peter-John F. Hulson, M.S., Fisheries, Advisor: Dr. Terry Quinn
- Renee Alaine Raudonis, M.S., Marine Biology, Advisor: Dr. Gerald Plumley
- Olav Aleksander Ormseth, Ph.D., Oceanography, Advisor: Dr. Brenda Norcross
- Nicole Misarti, Ph.D., Interdisciplinary, Advisor: Dr. Bruce Finney
- Seanbob R. Kelly, M.S., Oceanography, Advisor: Dr. Brenda Norcross
Congratulations and best wishes for extraordinarily successful futures.
On December 1, I was the discussion leader at the UAF Academic Leadership Institute organized by Provost Emeritus Paul Reichardt to provide an opportunity for a small group of faculty, staff, and/or administrators to explore the topic of leadership in an academic context. Dr. David Christie, director of the CFOS Global Undersea Research Unit (GURU) is participating in the institute this year. I led the discussion of Donald Kennedy's book "Academic Duty" which we give to every new CFOS faculty member.
CFOS Conversations was held on December 6 with faculty and staff from Fairbanks, Juneau, Anchorage, Seward, and Homer participating. We discussed the plans for a new CFOS Strategic Plan with GURU Director David Christie taking the lead role, reorganization of the CFOS proposal office, status of new faculty hiring, and the university budget. The next conversation will be on January 17 at 1:00 p.m.
I traveled to Anchorage on December 10 to meet with representatives of Princess Tours. The meeting with Bruce Bustamante, Vice President of Community and Public Affairs, and Anita Nelson, Public Affairs Specialist, took place in their Anchorage Office. We discussed the potential for Princess Tours to become involved in CFOS conservation activities and I provided them ten opportunities to consider. On December 10, Bustamante and Nelson traveled to Fairbanks to meet with CFOS Associate Dean Mike Castellini, Public Information Officer Carin Bailey Stephens and UAF Associate Vice Chancellor for Development Judyth Wier to continue the discussion.
The Marine Advisory Program hosted the Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit II in Anchorage December 11-12. The leadership building workshop was organized by MAP faculty members Sunny Rice and Torie Baker. The workshop was attended by 70 fishermen from 26 communities in Alaska and was a tremendous success in bringing together industry leaders with promising young fishermen from throughout the state. I attended the pre-meeting reception with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on Monday evening and part of the workshop on Wednesday afternoon. Several of the panel participants from industry and government are so impressed with this workshop that they have volunteered to help support the funding of the next one. Congratulations to Sunny and Torie for leading this great event.
On December 12, I participated in the University of Alaska President's Cabinet in Anchorage. This meeting brings together UA President Hamilton with his statewide vice presidents and chancellors Steve Jones (UAF), Fran Ulmer (UAA) and John Pugh (UAS). I gave a presentation on the development of the new B.A. degree in fisheries that is being supported by a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation. We are looking for additional ways for all three UA campuses to become involved in the undergraduate fisheries degrees.
Planning for the 2008 National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals in Seward moved forward at rapid pace in December. Phyllis Shoemaker is coordinating the event in Seward with assistance from Dean Stockwell in Fairbanks. Please consider volunteering to help with the Tsunami Bowl this year and the national finals as we will need a large number of volunteers for both events. We are pleased with the many sponsors who have stepped forward to help fund the national finals. On December 12, we received a $16,000 donation from the Atwood Foundation in Anchorage to cover the cost of chartering the Alaska Railroad to take the students, coaches, and volunteers from Anchorage to Seward for the finals. Information on the 2008 NOSB national finals and our sponsors can be found at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/nosb/index.html.
On December 18, I returned to Anchorage for a meeting of the North Pacific Research Board. I learned on December 10 that Governor Sarah Palin had appointed me to another three year term to the NPRB seat representing academia. The NPRB considered final funding for the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP). While in Anchorage, I took the opportunity to meet with Ed Rasmuson (Chairman of the Board) and Diane Kaplan (President) of the Rasmuson Foundation. We discussed restructuring some of the Rasmuson Foundation-funded activities associated with the new undergraduate fisheries degree.
During December, I made only three trips-- all to Anchorage-- for a total of 2,226 air miles. However, these trips put me at 100 total plane flights for 2007 for a total of 94,963 miles. I hope these 100 flights contributed to a successful year for CFOS with the $5 million Rasmuson Foundation grant in hand and work underway on the $123 million effort to construct the Alaska Region Research Vessel funded by the National Science Foundation. I am looking forward to an equally successful 2008. Happy New Year.
During the last three years, we have put significant effort into recruiting additional students into our academic programs. On November 1 and 2, Marine Advisory Program (MAP) Leader Paula Cullenberg and Deborah Hart from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game hosted a workshop on "Creating Pathways to Careers in Fisheries and Marine Science" in Fairbanks. Deborah is a 1996 CFOS fisheries graduate. Heidi Herter, our Nome MAP faculty member, assisted with the workshop. About 30 people from around the state and from as far away as Washington, DC, attended. I welcomed the group to Fairbanks and told them of our plans for expanding our fisheries degree programs with funding from the Rasmuson Foundation. Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton gave a complete presentation on our new B.A. degree and Assistant Professor Amanda Rosenberger and Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra also participated. The pathways workshop was the first event held in our new CFOS classroom
The UAF Vision Task Force (http://www.uaf.edu/vision2017/) presented its recommendations to Chancellor Jones on November 1 and I attended the presentation. Each of the six working groups presented recommendations on how UAF can position itself to become one of the world's premier arctic research and teaching universities by 2017. CFOS Advisory Council member Douglas DeMaster, Director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, served on the Research and Scholarship working group.
On November 6, the University of Alaska Board of Regents approved the FY09 budget request that will go forward to the Alaska legislature. The UA budget request includes $1,000,000 for ‘fisheries’ which is the match for the Rasmuson Foundation grant. The $1,000,000 would be added to the base budget for CFOS to provide continuing support for the fisheries expansion. During the month of November, we worked to have the Governor include the fisheries funding in her budget request by asking our supporters in the fishing industry to write or send an e-mail to the Governor supporting funding of the $1,000,000 in matching funds. I contacted 25 individuals throughout the state seeking their support. By the end of November, seven letters or e-mails had been sent to the Governor. Most of the senders received a response from Ms. Karen J. Rehfeld, Director, Office of Management and Budget. The Governor is now developing the FY09 operating and capital budgets that will be released to the public sometime in December.
I traveled to Anchorage on the evening of November 6 to attend the Alaska Sea Grant Advisory Committee meeting in Anchorage on November 7. Jeff Stephan from Kodiak is committee chair. Alaska Sea Grant participants were Brian Allee, Kurt Byers, Sherri Pristash and Gayle Hutson. UAF Professor of Ecology Terry Chapin spoke on "Resilience and Adaptation" during lunch and I gave an after dinner overview of CFOS activities throughout the state.
Natural Resources, Fisheries, and Sciences Career Day was held at the Reichardt Building in Fairbanks on November 8. CFOS Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra spent the day meeting with students throughout the day. I gave an introduction to student opportunities within CFOS before the Employer Panel. The event was hosted by UAF Career Services.
On November 12-14, I attended the meeting of the Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society meeting held at the Cape Fox Lodge in Ketchikan. I was invited to be one of the plenary session speakers and gave a presentation on "The Need for a Comprehensive Alaska Fisheries Research and Education Plan." Trent Sutton presented the CFOS plans for our undergraduate fisheries programs, "Charting a New Course for Fisheries Undergraduates in Alaska." Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker, several other CFOS faculty, and many of our students also attended. Over 150 people attended the meeting including a large number of CFOS graduates.
Chancellor Steve Jones and Provost Susan Henrichs met with the assembled CFOS faculty on November 20. All five major CFOS locations (Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kodiak and Seward) were connected. The Chancellor described his philosophy of how the purpose of his administration is to help the faculty. Questions ranged from how can you help us be more competitive in research to where should CFOS be in five or ten years.
On November 21 at 2:00 p.m. (the afternoon before Thanksgiving) I attended a meeting with the Marc Wohlford at UAF Department of Design and Construction to discuss plans for the docking the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) in Seward. Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver participated by phone. Dennis Nottingham of PND Engineers, Inc. presented several options for docking the ARRV in Seward. We are still pursuing the $3.0M in the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) that was designated for the Seward Marine Center. Stay tuned.
Fundraising efforts to support the April 2008 National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals in Seward continued this month. We received contributions from the Marine Conservation Alliance and British Petroleum. We were notified on November 26 that the members of the Alaska Cruise Association have agreed to provide all the buses needed to move the students to and from the competition. All of the 2008 NOSB sponsors are listed on our web page at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/nosb/index.html.
Pamela Day, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Representative Don Young (R-AK) visited with me and Institute of Marine Science Director Terry Whitledge on November 30. We discussed our $123 million National Science Foundation cooperative agreement for the construction and operation of the ARRV. We also discussed the alternate options for docking the ARRV in Kodiak or Juneau, pending congressional approval, if a suitable dock facility could not be constructed in Seward.
I am pleased to announce that on November 13 Dr. Franz Mueter accepted our offer to join our fisheries faculty as an Assistant Professor. Franz has been teaching a statistics class for CFOS in Fairbanks for the past two years, and his faculty position will start in Juneau in summer 2008. Franz received his Ph.D. in fisheries oceanography at UAF in 1999 after receiving an M.S. in biological oceanography (1992) and statistics (1998). After a post doc at Simon Fraser University, Franz worked from 2002 to 2005 at the University of Washington Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO). Please welcome Franz when you see him.
During November, I made only two trips within Alaska for a total of 2,416 air miles. I have reduced my travel significantly in order to conserve our tenuous FY08 CFOS budget.
Two new faculty members accepted positions with CFOS during the month of October. Dr. Murat O. Balaban will join our Fishery Industrial Technology Center in Kodiak on January 7, 2008, as Director and Professor of Seafood Science. Dr. Balaban comes to CFOS from the University of Florida where he is a Professor of Food Processing and Engineering. Dr. Balaban has had a distinguished career and was selected after a national search. We will also have a new Marine Advisory Program (MAP) faculty member in Ketchikan starting in January. Gary Freitag accepted our offer to become an Associate Professor. He is currently the Research and Evaluation Manager/Planning Director for the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA). Gary is also the President of the Board ofOceans Alaska (formerly Tongass Coast Aquarium, Inc.).
An important arrival for me this month was Edward Elliott, who started as Assistant to the Dean on October 5. Edward is a 2003 UAF graduate (political science) who was working most recently at Northern Schools Federal Credit Union. His first full week of work was interrupted when his wife Jessica gave birth to their first child, Alexander. I am sure that Alexander’s arrival was more important to Edward than his arrival at CFOS.
Another important event in October was the CFOS Faculty Meeting on Saturday October 20. The meeting was held by teleconference and PictureTalk to avoid the travel costs of a face-to-face meeting. The meeting was webcast from Fairbanks by the UAF Office of Information Technology so that faculty throughout the state could see the meeting presenters. Plans for the new B.A. in Fisheries were presented by Amanda Rosenberger and Trent Sutton. A good portion of time during the meeting was spent discussing faculty recruiting, hiring and mentoring. Katrin Iken, Rolf Gradinger and Bill Smokeralso discussed several academic issues and I gave a presentation on “What is a master’s thesis.”
Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker and I started October in San Francisco where we traveled with Diane Kaplan, President of the Rasmuson Foundation to meet with Dr. Michael Webster of the Moore Foundation. Diane Kaplan requested this meeting to discuss the potential for the Moore Foundation to partner with the Rasmuson Foundation to help support the fisheries education initiative of the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. We had a good discussion with Mr. Webster and invited him to Alaska to learn more about our progress and plans.
October 9-12, I represented UAF at the annual meeting of the University-National Ocean Laboratory System (UNOLS). UNOLS is the advisory body to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for academic ship operations. NSF Director Arden Bement was the keynote speaker. Institute of Marine Science Director Terry Whitledge gave a presentation on the plans for the management of the construction and operation of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). During the meeting, we had a change to visit with ARRV Program Manager Dolly Dieter about the status of the work.
A meeting of the Rasmuson Fisheries Excellence Committee was held on October 15 by teleconference to review the final changes to the Fisheries undergraduate programs. The committee did a final review of the new B.A. in Fisheries and the Minor in Fisheries. All the committee members were pleased with the final document that Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton and the Fisheries faculty had prepared. I know that all involved were happy to reach this stage in our effort to reinvigorate our undergraduate fisheries program. I received the following e-mail on October 16, “The BA, BS and minor in Fisheries paperwork is on its way to Faculty Senate!!!!! Whoo hoo!!”
Alaska Sea Grant hosted an Energy and Fisheries Steering Committee in Anchorage on October 19. I made a one day trip to the meeting to help plan the workshop to be held next March. If the plans are successful, UAF and Bodø University of Norway will host a collaborative effort to continue dialogue among key local, regional, and global stakeholders to improve communications, share common interests and concerns, and fill data gaps on issues surrounding the potential for offshore coexistence between the fishing and oil and gas industries. Sea Grant Director Brian Allee chaired the meeting with assistance from Sue Keller, Sherri Pristash and Doug Schneider.
On October 26, I was back in Anchorage to attend the Alaska Sea Life Center Board of Directors meeting. The board recognized Dr. Shannon Atkinson for her dedicated leadership of the research program at the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) during her tenure as Science Director. Shannon returned to the faculty in August and the ASLC has hired Dr. Robert Spies as their Interim Science Director.
While in Anchorage on October 26, I visited with Bruce Bustamante, Vice President of Community and Public Affairs with Princess Tours. Mr. Bustamante had contacted me on October 17 about the potential for Princess Tours to become involved in some CFOS activities. We are putting some ideas together for him and he will visit us in Fairbanks on December 12.
As you will see in my last paragraph, finding additional resources for CFOS will become more important in our future. So, I spent the morning of October 31 attending a Planned Giving Primer for Deans, Directors, and University Staff sponsored by the University of Alaska Foundation. Many different types of planned giving were discussed and I learned some concepts that will be useful as we expand our fundraising activities. We hope to complete the search for the CFOS Development Officer during November.
Budget stability continues to be a primary concern for our school. The CFOS unit leaders and I are reviewing our budgets to determine potential cost savings this year. The UAF budget is under pressure for two reasons. First, the Alaska legislature did not provide sufficient funding in the current fiscal year to meet even our recurring costs. Second, the overhead rate on research grants has been renegotiated to a lower rate than last year. The lower overhead rate will cost the university over $2.0 million this year. In turn, the CFOS indirect cost recovery that makes up 20% of our budget is down by over $130,000 compared to this time last year. We may receive a budget cut soon and, because of these budget concerns, only one trip in September and one in October was paid from the CFOS Fund 1 budget. It is good to be home for a while.
I am pleased to report that Dr. Jeremy Mathis from the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, joined our faculty as an Assistant Professor on September 2. Jeremy received his Ph.D. in chemical oceanography at the University of Miami and was part of the Western Arctic Shelf-Basin Interactions (SBI) Program while working for his advisor, Dr. Dennis Hansell, studying dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Jeremy has just completed a post doctoral position in the laboratory of Dr. Frank Millero at the University of Miami. Please welcome Jeremy when you meet him.
September ended for me in the same place it started -- in San Francisco. From September 1-5, I attended the American Fisheries Society 137th Annual Meeting. Faculty in attendance were Bill Smoker, Trent Sutton, Amanda Rosenberger, and Joe Margraf. Joe was one of the meeting organizers. CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Bailey developed a new display for the meeting that was clearly the best display of any of the exhibitors. You can see our display at www.sfos.uaf.edu/display. Carin and Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra staffed the display. During the meeting, we had an opportunity to tell many students about our degree programs and the word spread quickly that we were hiring nine new faculty (4 Fisheries, 3 Oceanography and 2 Marine Biology) this year. Before I left San Francisco, I had a chance to visit with Anne Hector of Hodge/Niederer/Cariani, the search firm UAF is using to find candidates for the Dean of the School of Management. I am chairing the search committee for the new dean.
On the way back from San Francisco, I stopped in Seattle on September 6 for a meeting of the Alaska Region Research Vessel planning team. Institute of Marine Science Director Terry Whitledge and Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver, who are spending 75% of their time on the ARRV project, ran the meeting that was held at the Glosten Associates. UAF Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Ro Bailey was there along with UAF Senior Contracting Officer John Hebard. Gary Smith, who has 28 years experience in ship design, ship building, and project management, has been hired by CFOS as the construction manager. Glosten Associates is our partner for the ARRV and were represented by Dirk Kristensen, Tsukina Blessing and Glosten President Bill Hurley. The team spent two days conducting a project review, developing an acquisition strategy and a risk management plan, and working on the Project Execution Plan (PEP) that is due in November. We have put together a great team to manage what I believe is the largest project UAF has ever undertaken.
After a day in the office, I flew to Washington, DC on September 8 for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl Regional Coordinators Meeting. We are hosting the 2008 NOSB finals in Seward April 26-28, 2008 and Phyllis Shoemaker, our NOSB Coordinator, gave a great presentation to the group on our plans for making the first finals in Alaska spectacular. Before leaving DC, I had a brief meeting with CFOS Advisory Council Chair David Policansky to provide him an update on CFOS activities.
In what has to be my shortest turn around between trips, I returned from DC at 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday morning September 12 (so I could attend Provost Council that day) and departed at 5:14 p.m. to attend a meeting in Juneau the next day. On September 13, I met at NOAA with Marine Advisory Program (MAP) Leader Paula Cullenberg and Bernice Joseph (UAF Vice Chancellor for Rural, Community and Native Education). We are working with NOAA to help them formulate a plan to respond to a section (109) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to establish a pilot program for regionally-based marine education and training programs for Alaska Natives. Besides the UAF contingent, the meeting included representatives from NOAA Fisheries, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (Debbie Hart, an CFOS graduate), the University of Alaska Anchorage, and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
The ten-member Rasmuson Foundation Fisheries Excellence Committee met in Anchorage on September 17 where UAF Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton and I represented CFOS. Ed Rasmuson, Chairman of the Board of the Rasmuson Foundation, ran the meeting. Bill Smoker participated by teleconference from Juneau and Rasmuson Foundation President Diane Kaplan called in from Skagway. Trent presented our plans for the new B.A. degree in Fisheries and the Minor in Fisheries and received comments from the committee. Details of the expansion of our undergraduate fisheries degree can be found on the web at www.sfos.uaf.edu/fisheries.
The second CFOS Conversations was held on September 20. Our new Information Technology Manager, John Haverlack, introduced himself to the faculty and staff and we briefly discussed the Tsunami Bowl to be held in February and the deadlines for the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center proposals -- October 30. What can be described as the lively discussion of the faculty electronic activity reports (EAR) proved that these conversations can be useful. Based on the discussions we decided to allow faculty to submit the standard MS Word version of the activity reports by the October deadline and complete the EAR by the end of the semester.
On September 25 we received the sad news that Matthew Myers, one of our graduate students in Seward, died during a dive in Resurrection Bay. Matt was doing a scientific training dive as part of his work for the Alaska SeaLife Center. A student at UAF since 2000, Matt will be dearly missed by all. Matt was well-known and well-regarded as both a student and a scientist. He was studying for his Ph.D. in marine biology and successfully defended his dissertation this spring. At the time of his death, he was working on the final edits of his dissertation on contaminants in Steller sea lions. Shannon Atkinson was the chair of Matt's dissertation committee and members included Mike Castellini, Jo-Ann Mellish, Alexander Burdin, Lorrie Rea from ADF&G and Margaret Krahn from NOAA. I attended the memorial service for Matt in Anchorage to transmit condolences from all of CFOS to Matt's mother and his wife, Michelle.
On September 30, I flew back to San Francisco for a meeting the next day at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. I spent the last night of September in a hotel just one block from where I spent the first night of September. And, this was the year that I planned to spend less time traveling.
Finally! After 30 years of planning and development, the University of Alaska Fairbanks has been awarded the first phase of funding for the construction of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV), a 236-foot, $123-million ice-breaking vessel capable of venturing deep into arctic waters. Terry Whitledge, leader of the UAF proposal team and principal investigator, received official notification from the National Science Foundation on August 7. The initial $2.5-million award will fund the first of four phases of construction of the research vessel. The ARRV will be owned by NSF and operated by UAF on behalf of the entire ocean sciences community, through the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS).
News of the ARRV funding arrived while I was in Anchorage. I had been in Kodiak August 6-7 to meet with faculty and to interview one of the candidates for the Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) director position. From Anchorage, I traveled to Unalaska/Dutch Harbor to accompany Chancellor Steve Jones in his visits with several seafood processors. Marine Advisory Program faculty member Reid Brewer arranged our visit. We had dinner on August 8 with City of Unalaska Mayor Shirley Marquardt and City Manager Chris Hladick among others and breakfast on August 9 with John Conwell (Superintendent of Schools), Teri LaGrand (Unalaska High School Counselor) and Zoya Johnson, director of the Museum of the Aleutians. Most of the morning of August 9 was spent with Unisea, Inc. plant manager Don Graves along with Pete Maloney, Rocky Caldero, and Eric Graham. After lunch with Dr. Greg Peters of Alyeska Seafoods, Reid had to leave the group to butcher a sea lion at Camp Qungaayux, the culture and science camp that UAF co-presents with the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska. Our trip back from Unalaska was extended to include spending the night in the Anchorage airport. Steve and Judy Jones were great company for the evening.
Ten CFOS students turned in their theses (1 Ph.D. and 9 M.S) for final review this August. The students, their degree program and advisors are listed below.
- Charles F. Adams, Ph.D. Oceanography, Dr. John Kelley and Dr. Ken Coyle
- John H. Brewer, M.S. Marine Biology, Dr. Loren Buck
- Sean E. Burril, M.S. Fisheries, Dr. Nicola Hillgruber
- Jiaqi Huang, MS Seafood Science and Nutrition, Dr. Subramaniam Sathivel
- Matt A. Jones, M.S. Fisheries, Dr. Mark Wipfli and Dr. Nathan Bickford
- Mary Beth Loewen, M.S. Fisheries, Dr. Robert Foy
- Aaron E. Martin, M.S. Fisheries, Dr. Mark Wipfli
- Amit Morey, M.S., Seafood Science and Nutrition, Dr. Brian Himelbloom and Dr. Alexandra Oliveira (Co-chairs)
- Stan P. Triebenbach, M.S. Fisheries, Dr. William Smoker
- Xian Wang, M.S. Marine Biology, Dr. Robert Foy
Congratulations to these students as they move forward to the next stage in their careers.
On August 15, I was interviewed by Laine Welch who produces Fish Radio that airs on 22 commercial and public radio stations in nearly every region of Alaska. We discussed the benefits of the Alaska Educational Tax Credit to the fishing industry in Alaska. The tax credit allows companies paying taxes to the state of Alaska to receive a tax credit by donating funds to the University of Alaska.
The first of our CFOS Conversations, a monthly teleconference for faculty and staff to discuss current CFOS issues, was conducted on August 16. Groups from nine different locations dialed in. Topics discussed included the program head for the Graduate Program in Marine Science and Limnology (GPMSL), reorganization of the CFOS Curriculum Committee, the new classroom in the O'Neill Building, and plans for faculty hiring. The next conversation will be held September 20.
I spent August 18-22 in Juneau where I chaired the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) meeting on August 20. The PCCRC board approved their annual request for proposals with $350,000 available for research in 2008. See the RFP at www.sfos.uaf.edu/pcc for the research thrust areas. Proposals are due October 30.
On August 21, I represented CFOS at the dedication of NOAA's $51M Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute (TSMRI) at Lena Point. The UAF Fisheries facility is under construction next door. TSMRI Director Phil Mundy and Alaska Fisheries Science Director Doug DeMaster both spoke of the strong partnership between NOAA and UAF in Juneau. My five-minute speech during the dedication ceremony also focused on the CFOS-NOAA partnership. Sen. Stevens spoke of his strong support for fisheries management and of his determination to get the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) ratified by the U.S. Senate. Before leaving Juneau, I participated in the beginning of the Alaska King Crab Research and Rehabilitation Workshop hosted at TSMRI by Alaska Sea Grant Director Brian Allee.
A group of congressional staffers visited our Kasitsna Bay Laboratory on August 23 and I accompanied them along with co-directors Kris Holderied (NOAA) and David Christie (UAF). CFOS faculty member Geoff Wheat was at the laboratory to demonstrate some of the mini-ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) that he has been developing with NOAA funds. The purpose of the congressional visit was to see the $12.5 million in renovations and new construction completed since 2000, including the Raymond C. Highsmith Laboratory. Ray, a former UAF faculty member and Kasitsna Bay Laboratory director, was instrumental in the expansion of the laboratory. The visitors from DC included Eric Webster and Lauren Lugo from NOAA, Kristine Lynch (Senate Commerce), David Whaley (House Resources), William Todd (Senator Thad Cochran's office), Megan Maassen (House Resources), and Thomas Michels (Senator Mary Landrieu's office). After the boat trip back from the lab, the group held the traditional debriefing at the Salty Dawg Saloon on the Homer Spit.
During August, two CFOS faculty announced they were leaving. MAP faculty member Liz Brown announced on August 3 that she was leaving her position in Dillingham this month and IMS Professor Bruce Finney advised me that he would be leaving at the end of the semester to take a position at Idaho State University in Pocatello. We wish Liz and Bruce every success in their new endeavors. Other faculty changes are in progress. By the end of August we received approval from the Provost to hire nine (9) new CFOS faculty – four in fisheries, three in oceanography, and two in marine biology. If we invite three candidates to interview for each of these positions, we can look forward to 27 seminars and some serious meals with candidates during the next semester. It is good to know that our program is moving forward with these planned hires.
June 30 was the end of the UAF fiscal year, FY07. Unlike the previous three years, the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences did not end the year with a budget surplus. The FY07 CFOS budget deficit was $133,078. Several factors resulted in an CFOS budget deficit for FY07 and I wish to explain how this happened and the actions we are taking to assure a brighter financial end to FY08. Each year the CFOS unit directors develop budgets that project expected expenses. As a group, we also prepare a revenue budget that includes the UAF funds to the school along with estimates of tuition receipts and indirect cost recovery (ICR) from our research overhead. The most important factor in our budget deficit in FY07 was an overestimation of ICR. Our FY07 budget was based upon receiving $1,865,000 in ICR, a reasonable estimate based upon the FY06 recovery. The actual FY07 ICR was $1,726,916, a difference of $138,084. Revenue shortfall was not the only problem as six of our eight units exceeded their budget estimates in FY07. These overruns are attributable to both increased personnel costs and higher costs for operating our facilities in Seward and Kodiak. Operation costs in those two locations alone have increased over $200,000 in the last two years.
The budget shortfall in FY07 has to be recovered during the current fiscal year. As a start, we have cancelled the planned all-faculty meeting in Anchorage which should save about $50,000. We will hold this meeting electronically. I have also asked each unit director to examine their budgets for potential cost savings. Since most of our expenditures are in salaries, finding additional external funding (Fund 2) for both faculty and staff salaries is the most cost effective measure we can take. The funds available from the Dean’s office for program enhancements or to cover unexpected expenses will not be available this year and I will limit my travel primarily to trips that are not paid from Fund 1. Working together we can reduce our expenditures to assure a balanced budget this fiscal year.
The financial future is not totally bleak as we have reserved funds in the FY08 budget to hire five new faculty members. Replacing departed faculty should allow us to generate additional research funding that will in turn increase our revenues. I am pleased to announce that Dr. Jeremy Mathis, a chemical oceanographer from the University of Miami, is the first new hire and will join us as an Assistant Professor of Marine Science next month.
The search for a director for our Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) took me to Anchorage on July 13 where Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I had dinner with one of the candidates. While in Anchorage, I also met with Diane Kaplan, President of the Rasmuson Foundation, to discuss our expansion of the CFOS fisheries degree programs. At the meeting, I was able to show her the new web site that PIO Carin Bailey and Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton have prepared. It can be found on our web page at www.sfos.uaf.edu/fisheries .
The CFOS Executive Council met by teleconference on July 17. We received a presentation from David Veazey of UA Statewide on the electronic faculty activity reporting system we will use this fall. CFOS is the UAF beta test site for this new method of reporting faculty productivity. We also received a research funding report on the outcome of the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP). Unfortunately, our faculty captured only about 6% of the $14,000,000 BSIERP funding. CFOS faculty members are typically awarded from 20 to 30% of NPRB funding each year. We are fortunate that several of our NSF Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST) proposals were successful: PIs Weingartner, Gradinger, and Whitledge.
July 19 and 20 was spent in Seward where Seward Marine Center (SMC) Director Dan Oliver and I toured the facility and discussed his plans for the center. We also met with Phyllis Shoemaker, Nici Murawsky and Linda Lasota to discuss plans for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl national finals we are hosting in Seward in April 2008. I represented UAF at the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) Board of Directors meeting on July 20. Much of the meeting considered the relationship between the ASLC and the university. The ASLC board and the University have agreed that the ASLC will hire a Science Director who will report directly to the ASLC Executive Director.
It is with some sadness that I report that the R/V Alpha Helix was sold in July to Stabbert Maritime of Seattle and departed Seward on July 25. SMC Director Dan Oliver reported that the departure created a “wee bit of excitement yesterday for the new owners when they experienced a CPP casualty while trying to depart the fuel pier. They put a slight dent in a neighboring fishing boat when a linkage on the CPP system failed and the CPP was stuck in full reverse. The problem turned out to be a failed linkage pin and was fine after replacing it.” Former SMC director Tom Smith has provided a history of the vessel that can be viewed on the web at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/smc/about/history.html. The R/V Alpha Helix provided venerable service to UAF faculty and arctic researchers throughout the nation since it arrived in Alaska in 1980. May she serve others as well in her new life.
June began where May ended in Washington, DC at a joint meeting of the Consortium of Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) and the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc. (JOI) on June 1. By the end of the meeting, these two organizations were merged into a new corporation named the Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL). The purpose of the merger is to enable the oceanographic community to speak with one voice in DC on issues important to the academic community. COL hopes to chart the course for ocean science in the next decade and work to convince Congress to fund the needed efforts. I was appointed by Chancellor Jones as the UAF member representative to COL and Associate Dean Mike Castellini is the alternate.
On Monday June 4 (still in DC), I had a breakfast meeting in Arlington with Julie Morris, Director of the Ocean Sciences Division at the National Science Foundation, to discuss plans for the cooperative agreement between NSF and UAF for construction and operation of the Alaska Region Research Vessel. From Arlington, I traveled quickly to Silver Spring, Maryland, to meet with Gary Matlock, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Sciences (NCCOS) where UA Federal Affairs Director Martha Stewart, our UAF NURP Director Dave Christie, and Kris Holderied from NOAA were meeting to discuss the UAF-NOAA partnership for operation of the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory (K Bay). Dave is the UAF director for K Bay and Kris Holderied is now the NOAA Science Director for K Bay.
As the hot, humid day continued in DC, Martha, Dave and I met with:
- John C. Rayfield, Staff Director, Coast Guard Subcommittee, House Committee on Natural Resources
- Bonnie B. Bruce, Legislative Staff for Marine Mammal and Ocean Policy, House Committee on Natural Resources
- Arne J. Fuglvog, Legislative Assistant for Fisheries, Transportation, and Natural Resources to Sen. Lisa Murkowski
- Todd R. Bertoson, Legislative Staff for the Senate Commerce Committee
- Mark K. Robbins, Legislative Assistant for Fisheries to Sen. Ted Stevens
At the end of the day, Dave Christie and I were fortunate that the Dubliner Pub was attached to our hotel.
June 5-7 Dave Christie and I attended Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) sponsored by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The three day meeting focused attention on current ocean issues including underwater sound, hydrography, and the current ocean legislative agenda. Speakers included the NOAA Administrator, retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, and Hon. Leon Panetta, chair of the Pew Oceans Commission. The NURP directors played a prominent role in the meeting and former IMS faculty member Ray Highsmith, now at the University of Mississippi, was part of that group.
I flew home from DC on Thursday evening in order to spend Friday in the office and mow the grass at home, then flew back to DC on Sunday evening June 10 (actually Monday 1:00 a.m. flight) to attend a meeting at the National Science Foundation on Tuesday to discuss our ARRV proposal. The UAF-Glosten Associates proposal team included IMS Director Terry Whitledge (PI), UAF Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Ro Bailey, UAF Procurement Director Mike Grahek, CFOS Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver, Gary Smith from Juneau who will be hired as the UAF ship construction manager, Glosten Associates President Bill Hurley and Dirk Kristensen, Naval Architect. We met the entire day on June 12 with eight (8) NSF program managers and contract officers to work on the final arrangements for the ARRV collaborative agreement. The meeting went well and I hope there will be breaking news about the ARRV before my next report.
That evening, I left NSF to catch a plane to Las Vegas that would get me to Seattle in the middle of the night to catch the 6:40 a.m. flight to Juneau so that I could attend a meeting of the Rasmuson Fisheries Excellence Committee beginning at 9:30 a.m. As luck would have it, the flight from DC to Las Vegas was delayed and I did not arrive in Vegas until 3:00 a.m., missing the Seattle connection by four hours. With free wireless internet in the Las Vegas airport, I caught up on e-mail until the 7:00 a.m. Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle. Arriving in Seattle at 8:30 a.m. Alaska time allowed me to find a hotel room near the airport where I spent the next six hours on a teleconference with the meeting participants in Juneau. Thanks to Robbie Hamilton for finding me a room while I paced at the airport and to Bill Smoker, Trent Sutton, Paula Cullenberg, and Keith Criddle for their contributions to the success of the Rasmuson meeting. Returning to Fairbanks on Thursday morning at 1:00 a.m. June 14, I realized I had left home on Sunday and returned on Thursday while sleeping on multiple airplanes and in only one bed. This was the most unusual trip I have made since becoming Dean three years ago and I hope not to even attempt a trip like this again.
Although it took me some time to recover from my trips in early June, I did meet with several faculty job applicants during the remainder of the month. Dwayne Buxton, Director of the Pacific West Area, and Eric Rosenquist, National Program Leader Tropical Commodities, from the USDA Agricultural Research Service visited CFOS on June 19 to discuss our seafood waste byproducts study that is underway at FITC in Kodiak. We discussed how to find additional support for this UAF-ARS collaborative program. Peter Bechtel in Fairbanks has the leadership role for ARS on this project.
During the last week of June, I went on vacation. My son, Heath, and I toured Denali National Park and the Kenai Peninsula where we spent some pleasant days in Homer and Seward before taking the ferry from Whittier to Valdez. It was a wonderful time with great weather and just what I needed after my June travels. For those who wondered, I only lost $20.00 in the Las Vegas airport.
Events during May seemed to be focused on festivities and facilities. The festivities were associated with the graduation of ten CFOS students in Fairbanks, Juneau, and even Nome. Efforts to develop CFOS facilities in Juneau, Fairbanks, and Seward all moved forward this month, as did planning for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV).
On May 4, I had the opportunity to meet with Alaska Lt. Governor Sean Parnell in Fairbanks during a special meeting of the State Committee on Research (SCoR) that he co-chairs with UA Vice President Craig Dorman. Governor Palin has identified energy, telecommunications and fisheries as three research priority areas for the state. At the meeting, I presented Lt. Gov. Parnell and VP Dorman with a Fisheries Research Planning document prepared with input from our faculty throughout the state. Our plan must have been on target as the following day VP Dorman provided CFOS $50,000 to "advance the research and development planning for fisheries research."
University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) commencement was conducted May 6 in Juneau and I was again invited to award the UAF fisheries degrees. Dr. Wongyu Park, a student of CFOS emeritus faculty member Tom Shirley, was hooded by Gordon Kruse during the ceremony. The trip to Juneau also provided me an opportunity to observe the foundation construction at our Lena Point Fisheries Facility. It was great to see real progress on this long anticipated project.
IMS Director Terry Whitledge and I spent much of May 9 in meetings concerning the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) and its required dock in Seward. We met with Vice Chancellor for Research Buck Sharpton and the university research institute directors to discuss how they could help support our proposal. Later that day, we met with Vice Chancellor for Administration Ro Bailey and many of the UAF Department of Design and Construction (DDC) group (Kathleen Schedler, Linda Zanazzo, Marc Wohlford) along with VP Craig Dorman to plan the dock design and allocate funding. At the end of the meeting, CFOS had committed $225,000 to initiate the dock design pending approval from UA President Mark Hamilton. Total design cost is $1,500,000. President Hamilton met with UAF Chancellor Steve Jones and Terry, me and the UAF DDC group on May 16 and confirmed his commitment to constructing the dock and upland facilities in Seward to support the ARRV. At that meeting the decision was made to move forward with the dock design using funds available within UAF. On May 23, UAF issued a request for proposals (RFP No. 1362007) for the design and engineering of the "Seward Marine Center ARRV Dock." Proposals in response to this RFP are due on June 13, 2007. The plans for the ARRV dock are finally moving forward.
Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I attended a Graduate School reception honoring the 2006-2007 Ph.D. degree recipients on May 9 in Fairbanks. Drs. Juan Horillo, Andrew Seitz, and Pieter DeHart were there from CFOS. This was the last Graduate School reception for Dean Susan Henrichs who will become the UAF Provost on July 1. At the UAF graduation ceremony on May 13, the following CFOS students crossed the stage:
- Justin T. Priest, B.S. Fisheries
- Jiraporn Chantarachoti, M.S. Seafood Science and Nutrition, Dr. Alexandra de Oliveira
- Mette R. Nielson, M.S. Marine Biology, Dr. Rolf Gradinger
- Pieter deHart, Ph.D. Marine Biology, Dr. Matthew Wooller
- Hui Liu, Ph.D. Biological Oceanography, Dr. Russell Hopcroft
- Matthew Myers, Ph.D. Marine Biology, Dr. Shannon Atkinson
- Andrew C. Seitz, Ph.D. Fisheries Oceanography, Dr. Brenda Norcross
On the morning of May 21, I met with President Hamilton and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner, Larry Hartig, in President Hamilton's office to discuss expanding the research collaborations between the university and DEC. We have a memorandum of understanding with DEC to collaborate on the Alaska Monitoring Assessment Program (AKMAP) being conducted by Doug Dasher from DEC and John Kelley and Steve Jewett from CFOS. We explored ideas for expanding this effort and creating additional partnerships. Mr. Hartig was pleased to hear that UAF was the repository of the data from the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS).
The UA Board of Regents (BOR) conducted a meeting on the afternoon of May 21 to discuss facilities. I participated from Fairbanks along with President Hamilton and several board members. UAF Lena Point project manager Mike Ruckhaus traveled to Sitka to be in the room with Regent Mike Snowden who is chair of the BOR facilities committee. We need about $2,000,000 more to complete our Juneau fisheries building as designed and this meeting went through the details of our request in preparation for a decision at the June BOR meeting in Fairbanks.
I traveled to Palmer, Alaska, on May 22 where I visited the NOAA West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center. Bill Knight, a graduate student of Zygmunt Kowalik, gave the tour and I had an opportunity to meet with center director Paul Whitmore who is also an Aggie. He received his Ph.D. in geophysics about the same time I was at Texas A&M. I suggested to them that it would be great if one or both of the Palmer high schools participated next year in the Tsunami Bowl in Seward. They are contacting the schools about this. From Palmer, I continued on to Seward (May 22-24) to spend some time with Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver who began his UAF duties on May 21. In Seward, Dan and I along with Tom Smith had an opportunity to meet with Seward Mayor Vanta Shafer and City Manager Phillip Oates to discuss design and construction of the ARRV dock. I also met with CFOS faculty and students at the Alaska SeaLife Center. We are in the process of negotiating a new memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Alaska SeaLife Center and needed their input on the content. During my visit, I had a chance to visit with Dr. Peter Armato, Director, Oceans Alaska Science and Learning Center at Kenai Fjords National Park and an CFOS affiliate faculty member and Dr. John French, who is on the Board of Directors of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council (PWSRCAC) and serves as chair of the PWSRCAC Oil Spill Prevention and Response committee.
The last half of May was dominated by work on the ARRV proposal by Terry Whitledge and the proposal team he has assembled. Naval architect and marine engineer Gary Smith spent three days in Fairbanks (May 16-19) working with Terry on the proposal. When the ARRV is funded, Gary will become the project director for ARRV construction. UAF Marine Superintendent Dan Oliver worked on the proposal from Seward and our partners at Glosten Associates provided input from Seattle. Terry also pulled in expert IT help from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and marine technical support from Oregon State University. Sixteen minutes and 38 seconds into June, Terry submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) the 232-page response to the ARRV Panel Review summary. Terry, Dan, Gary, and I, along with UAF Vice Chancellor for Administration Ro Bailey and Director of Procurement Mike Grahek, are traveling to NSF for a June 12 meeting to discuss our responses. When you see Terry, please congratulate him for his dedication to this endeavor that will eventually benefit the entire Alaska and arctic science community.
The May festivities for CFOS student Heidi Herter were in Nome where she received her M.S. in fisheries as part of the graduation ceremony at the UAF Northwest Campus. Her advisor was Dr. Ginny Eckert. One other student received a master's degree during the ceremony and numerous other degrees were awarded down to the certificate level. Heidi's degree was probably the first fisheries advanced degree awarded in Nome. Congratulations to Heidi who joined the CFOS faculty last month as our Marine Advisory Program (MAP) agent in Nome.
I promise the June report will be shorter as I am taking a week of vacation near the end of June.
Understanding benthic habitat is essential to successful fisheries management. To help pave the way for new technologies to efficiently map benthic habitat, Alaska Sea Grant conducted a Marine Habitat Mapping Technology Workshop for Alaska in Anchorage April 2-4. The meeting was funded by the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) and organized by Assistant Professor Jennifer Reynolds and Sea Grant Director Brian Allee. I attended the first day of the workshop that considered (1) the need to define and characterize marine habitats over areas large enough to be useful for management or predictive modeling purposes with (2) the capabilities and cost of the technologies available to accomplish this at adequate resolution. The top national and international scientists in seafloor mapping came to share their ideas. As usual, meeting coordinator Sherri Pristash and the Sea Grant team organized an outstanding event.
Glenn Haight joined the CFOS faculty on April 4 as a Research Assistant Professor in the Marine Advisory Program (MAP). He is working in Juneau as the Fisheries Business Specialist. His efforts will be focused on assisting marine related businesses statewide. Glenn was most recently a fishery development specialist with the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. When you are in Juneau, please welcome Glenn to the CFOS family.
Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I traveled to Anchorage for the day on April 9 to meet with the Executive Committee of the Alaska SeaLife Center Board of Directors. We discussed needed modification to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between UAF and the ASLC that determines how our faculty and students work together there. The quick day trip turned into a much longer day when the 8:25 p.m. flight was cancelled and the 11:55 p.m. flight was delayed as usual. As we were too tired to work any more, we spent four fun hours entertaining ourselves with sea and ice stories. Mike’s tale of flying out of Antarctica topped my Algerian missile boat story by a long shot.
I spent April 12 and 13 at the Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) in Kodiak and Associate Dean Mike Castellini followed me on April 16 and 17. We spent our time at FITC meeting with faculty, staff and students discussing future directions for our programs in Kodiak. I also had the opportunity to meet with former state representative Dan Ogg, Kodiak Island Borough Mayor Jerome Selby, City of Kodiak Mayor Carolyn Floyd, Matthew Moir, General Manger of North Pacific Seafoods, and Al Burch, Executive Director of the Alaska Draggers Association among others.
CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Bailey gave a presentation to the University of Alaska (UA) Board of Regents during their April board meeting in Homer. Carin described CFOS activities on the Kenai Peninsula including our MAP activities in Homer directed by Terry Johnson, the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory, and our Seward Marine Center. She also gave an update on construction of our Lena Point fisheries building in Juneau. One result of the presentation was that UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer and BOR Chair Mary K. Hughes are planning to return to Homer in June and have requested a tour of the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory.
On April 18, UAF Chancellor Steve Jones, Provost Paul Reichardt and Vice Provost Susan Henrichs toured the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory during their visit to Homer for the UA Board of Regents meeting. The Kasitsna Bay Laboratory is owned by NOAA and operated in cooperation with CFOS. The lab is located across Kachemak Bay from Homer and is the staging point for UAF's Scientific Diving Program. The NOAA Kasitsna Bay Laboratory director, Kris Holderied, and CFOS graduate student, Joel Markis, guided the UAF administrators through the laboratory facilities. Carin Bailey, CFOS public information officer, also attended the tour.
The CFOS Advisory Council chaired by Dr. David Policansky of the National Research Council met at the MAP offices in Anchorage April 20-21 (yes it was over the weekend). I presented an overview of CFOS activities and accomplishment for the last year, the most significant of which is that we have paid off our debt completely. The council also discussed the role of faculty in providing information to policy makers with UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer leading the discussion and the planned revision of the Memorandum of Agreement with the Alaska SeaLife Center. The plan for hiring fourteen (14) new faculty over the next two years was also discussed. The CFOS Advisory Council reports to the Chancellor Steve Jones and will be sending him a report in the coming months. Members of the council and a picture of the happy group can be found at <http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/people/committees/cfosadvisorycouncil.html>.
The North Pacific Research Board met in Anchorage April 25 and 26 to consider funding recommendations from the Science Panel. Vera Alexander and Shannon Atkinson from CFOS are members of the NPRB Science panel and devote significant time to providing sound scientific advice to the board. The NPRB funded $3,889,381 in new grants, most based on the Science Panel’s recommendations. The awards included another year of funding for the Seward Line of oceanographic stations conducted by IMS faculty members Russ Hopcroft, Tom Weingartner and IMS Director Terry Whitledge.
After the NPRB meeting, I flew from Anchorage to New York with PIO Carin Bailey and Dr. Dean Stockwell where we attend the 2007 National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals competition. Sherri Pristash from Alaska Sea Grant and Alaska Tsunami Ocean Sciences Bowl Coordinator Phyllis Shoemaker and Linda Lasota from the Seward Marine Center joined us a Stony Brook University to observe the finals. Twenty-five teams competed in the 2007 finals. Juneau-Douglas High School represented Alaska well, but Contoocook Valley Regional High School from Peterborough, New Hampshire won the championship. Next April 26-27, we will host the 2008 National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Seward and this trip helped us understand what lies ahead.
April may be the cruelest month, but last month was almost the coldest March ever recorded in Fairbanks. The average temperature of 6.5 degrees below zero was only 0.1 degree above the old record of minus 6.6 degrees set in 1959.
Fortunately, I began the month in Washington, DC where I briefly attended a Successful Proposal Development Workshop sponsored by the Grant Resources Center of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities on March 1. The same day I met with Dr. Donald R. Cotton, Executive Director, Research and Sponsored Programs Administration, Lamar University, to discuss common research interests. While rushing between meetings, I ran across RADM Richard West, President of the Consortium of Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE), on the platform at Metro Center and gave him a brief update on the status of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) panel review. Before returning to Fairbanks on March 2, I had a discussion with Bill Wiseman of the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) about the NSF-funded Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST) partnership with the North Pacific Research Board.
On March 6, I made a presentation to the research and scholarship working group of the UAF Vision Task Force (VTF). The VTF has been assembled by Chancellor Steve Jones to present recommendations on how UAF can position itself to become one of the world's premier arctic research and teaching universities by 2017. CFOS Advisory Council member Doug DeMaster is a member of the VTF.
Throughout the month, several conversations were held with program managers at NSF concerning the UAF proposal to construct and operate the ARRV. Our proposal was the only one received by NSF and Terry Whitledge is working with the UAF proposal team to answer questions from the NSF ARRV Review Panel.
I spent March 13-16 in Kodiak at ComFish Alaska and visiting with Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) faculty and staff. Sea Grant Director Brian Allee gave an overview presentation called "Enriching Alaska's king crab stocks." MAP faculty member Ray RaLonde's interactive presentation on "Alaska Oysters: learn and slurp" was a highlight of the meeting, especially the slurping of the freshly-shucked oysters. CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra staffed the CFOS display to spread the word of the exciting activities happening in our school and to recruit students to our academic programs. On the evening of March 15, Brian Allee and Jeff Stephan, Chair of the Alaska Sea Grant Advisory Committee, spoke to the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly (carried locally on National Public Radio) to thank them for their support of the king crab enhancement workshop.
The Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) Governance Committee met in Anchorage on March 20. Mark Johnson and Rob Cermak, AOOS Data Manager, and I attended the meeting for CFOS. We received an update on national and international ocean observing activities and helped formulate the plan for capturing new NOAA funding for AOOS.
On March 23, CAPT Daniel Oliver accepted our offer to become the Director of the Seward Marine Center and Marine Superintendent. In the Coast Guard, Dan served as engineering officer on the icebreaker Polar Sea and as executive officer and commanding officer of the icebreaker Healy. He is a graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy and has a master's degree from University of Michigan in naval architecture, marine engineering, and mechanical engineering. Dan is retiring from the Coast Guard this month and will arrive in Seward on May 21.
CFOS Academic Manager Christina Neumann and I traveled to Anchorage on March 26 to participate in the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center Advisory Board meeting chaired by Ed Rasmuson. The Rasmuson Fisheries endowment has grown to $6,616,000 and the interest is used for student fellowships. Six CFOS students presented their thesis research to the board. The board awarded five continuing and two new Rasmuson Fellowships. Congratulations to new Rasmuson Fellows Jennifer Marsh and Megan Murphy.
I spent the next day in Anchorage working at our Marine Advisory Program offices and meeting with faculty. On the morning of March 28, I had the opportunity to attend the President's Cabinet that was held at the University of Alaska Anchorage. During the meeting, I gave an update on our Rasmuson Foundation grant to upgrade our fisheries and ocean sciences programs to President Hamilton, UAF Chancellor Steve Jones, UAS Chancellor John Pugh, UA Foundation President Mary Rutherford, and UA Vice Presidents Craig Dorman and Wendy Redman.
Chancellor Steve Jones hosted an evening reception for the Pollock Conservation Collaborative (PCC) companies in Anchorage on March 28. Many PCC company CEOs attended along with members of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Advisory Panel, and Science and Statistical Committee who were meeting at the Anchorage Hilton Hotel. UAF Associate Vice Chancellor for Development Judyth Wier organized the reception and UA President Mark Hamilton joined us for the evening. Steve Jones and I thanked the PCC companies for their support of CFOS research and for their endowment of the Ted Stevens Distinguished Professorship in Marine Policy. PCC contributions have now exceeded $7,400,000.
Victory was ours on the croquet court (ice) in March. Our CFOS team led by Matt Wooller was victorious over IAB/Biology and Wildlife in this year's "Fish, Foliage, Feather & Fur Spring Croquet Match." I am told that Dr. Mark Shapley, a post-doc from Bruce Finney's lab used his skills effectively to assure the victory. The trophy, which closely resembles a fruit bowl, is on view in the Dean's office area.
The Coastal Marine Institute (CMI) annual research review was held in Fairbanks on February 6 and 7. Several of our faculty reported project results to CMI Director Vera Alexander and Minerals Management Service (MMS) program manager Cleve Cowles. We are in the process of negotiating a new memorandum of agreement (MOA) with MMS to continue the CMI for another five years. Associate Dean Michael Castellini will take the leadership role for CMI under the new agreement.
I attended the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative (AYKSSI) meeting in Anchorage on February 7 and 8. The meeting brought together fisheries experts from the northwest U.S., Canada, and Alaska to consider what is needed to protect and enhance the salmon runs in the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers. Former Governor Tony Knowles kicked off the Thursday morning session. Juneau fisheries faculty members Milo Adkison and Nicola Hillgruber presented their research and CFOS Advisory Council Chair David Policansky gave the wrap up talk on Thursday.
While I was in Anchorage, the $5,000,000 award letter from the Rasmuson Foundation arrived in the UAF Chancellor’s office on February 8. These funds will be used to support four fisheries and three oceanography faculty over the next five years.
February 9 and 10 I was in Seward observing the Alaska region of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), the Tsunami Bowl. This was the 10th year that Phyllis Shoemaker and her colleagues have organized the event in Seward. Nine teams participated with Juneau-Douglas High School winning the top three spots. The student participants had a chance to tour the Alaska SeaLife Center and Research Assistant Professor Russ Andrews gave the keynote lecture on Friday. NOSB national director, Susan Haynes, traveled from DC to Seward to observe our Alaska regional competition. She commented that “It was great to see your NOSB event first hand! Phyllis and all the staff and volunteers there do a tremendous job.” I concur. Congratulations to Phyllis Shoemaker, Linda Lasota, and others at the Seward Marine Center for organizing an outstanding event. Several CFOS faculty, staff, and students participated in the judging including David Christie and Dean Stockwell from Fairbanks and Carin Bailey, Ben Daly and Joel Markis from Homer. After the Tsunami Bowl next year, UAF will host the national finals in Seward April 25-27, 2008. We will need over 100 volunteers to work the national finals and I hope many of you will consider participating.
Much of February was spent planning. Several meetings were held with Mike Ruckhaus of UAF Design and Construction to plan the new 1,140 sq. ft. classroom to be constructed in the space vacated by Alaska Sea Grant in the O’Neill Building. This classroom will have a state-of-the-art video conferencing (VCON) system and should be large enough for our Fairbanks seminars and thesis defenses. Several planning meetings were conducted to find a way to improve our teaching through VCON and to plan the new VCON classrooms in the Lena Point Fisheries Facility.
IMS Director Terry Whitledge and I participated in several meetings to finalize the plans for the NPRB Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP) proposal. Oceanography and marine biology faculty conducted several meetings to plan for new faculty hiring. The CFOS Executive Committee continued planning the CFOS Advisory Council meeting that will be held in Anchorage on April 21 and 22 and started planning for the CFOS All-Faculty Meeting that will be held in or near Anchorage on October 20 and 21. You will hear more about the results of these plans in future reports.
Terry Whitledge and I spent the final week of February in Washington, DC, where we were summoned on short notice by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide answers to questions about the $98,000,000 UAF proposal for the construction and operation of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). The team that went to DC included Dick Pittenger from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Dirk Kristensen from Glosten Associates in Seattle. We were supported by Tom Smith in Seward, Bill Hurley in Seattle and Gary Smith in Singapore. NSF delivered to us a list of 35 questions about 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27, and gave us until 10:30 a.m. the next morning to provide the answers. Terry and the proposal team worked through most of the night to craft the responses with only Terry and Dirk allowed entry to the NSF panel meeting to provide the answers on Wednesday. The panel seemed receptive to most of our responses. NSF will provide the panel comments in about a week and we will have an opportunity to respond to the questions more fully in writing. If our proposal is recommended by the panel, NSF should submit it for approval by the National Science Board in May. We are closer than ever to having a new Arctic research vessel.
The UAF $98,000,000 proposal for the construction and operation of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) was received by the National Science Foundation at 3:52 PM AST on January 26. The 221 page proposal is the product of over two years of effort from a proposal team that was directed by Terry Whitledge, Director of the Institute of Marine Science. Terry's leadership in this effort was instrumental in producing an outstanding proposal of which we are all proud. The proposal team included:
- Terry Whitledge, UAF
- Tom Smith, UAF
- Dick Pittenger, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
- Duane Laible, Glosten Associates
- Dirk Kristensen, Glosten Associates
- Bill Hurley, Glosten Associates
- John Dickinson, UA Statewide
- Mike Grahek, UAF
- Denis Wiesenburg, UAF
Carin Bailey, CFOS Public Information Officer, went above and beyond the call of duty in undertaking the final editing and converting the final document to PDF format for submission. Lori Nunemann in the CFOS Proposal office did an outstanding job with the budget, finalizing the proposal, and NSF submission.
Craig Dorman provided funds to support the ARRV proposal preparation and this support was crucial to producing an outstanding proposal. In addition to supporting consultants and travel, we were able to have the draft proposal reviewed in early January by four senior reviewers who provided and important critique of our draft. The final 15 days before submission were spent improving the proposal based on their comments and in finalizing the budget. The support we received from the UAF and UA administration in this effort was both needed and appreciated.
Considering how much effort during January went into the ARRV proposal, there should be little else to report, but somehow I managed to fly 8,584 miles in January – only to be outdone by Associate Dean Mike Castellini who flew 10,507 miles.
The CFOS Executive Council met in Anchorage January 11 and 12 to review CFOS faculty, staff, and student accomplishments for 2006 and plan CFOS activities and budgets for 2007. A major outcome of the meeting was the decision to begin the process of hiring enough faculty to bring the school back to full strength. During 2006, three new faculty joined our ranks (Dave Christie, Keith Criddle, and Amanda Rosenberger). A fourth faculty member, Trent Sutton – Associate Professor and Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator, will arrive in Fairbanks in June. Faculty hiring in progress includes a Marine Advisory Program faculty member in Nome (search is complete) and two oceanography faculty in Fairbanks (these searches are almost to interview stage). We will re-advertise for the Juneau fisheries faculty position (Biometrician) from the unsuccessful search last year. Additional faculty hires will include:
- Marine Advisory Program – Ketchikan
- Fisheries – Juneau
- Fisheries – Fairbanks (3 positions)
- Marine Biology – Fairbanks
- Oceanography (3 positions – 2 in Fairbanks and 1 in Seward, probably)
We are also at the interview stage of hiring a new director for the Seward Marine Center and about to start the search for a new director of the Fishery Industrial Technology Center in Kodiak. The three new oceanography faculty positions and two of the additional fisheries positions will be supported using funds from the Rasmuson Foundation, when they arrive. The Rasmuson Foundation award letter had still not arrived by the end of January but we anticipate it will arrive in early February.
January 15-18, I traveled to Miami, Florida, to participate in meetings of the boards of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) and the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc. (JOI). JOI and CORE are in the process of merging and the boards voted (four times – there was a lawyer in the room) to undertake the merger. The new body (name to be determined – suggestions welcome) hopes “to create a new, more effective organization that will build on the capabilities and activities of CORE and JOI and expand awareness and support for ocean research and education.” The idea is to have a high level organization that speaks with one voice for the oceanographic community in D.C. and manages major research projects like the ocean drilling project and the ocean observatories initiative.
After two days in the office (Friday and Saturday), I joined CFOS faculty and students at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage January 21-24. As CFOS was a meeting sponsor, I was the emcee for the first morning and had an opportunity to welcome the over 400 participants. Many CFOS faculty and students gave oral or poster presentations and Public Information Officer Carin Bailey staffed the CFOS display. Graduate student Kelly Newman’s presentation on orca research in the Pribilof Islands was the subject of a news article distributed by the Associated Press.
On Wednesday, January 24, UAF Chancellor Steve Jones joined me in Anchorage. We visited in the morning with CFOS Advisory Council member and former state Senator Arliss Sturgulewski and with Candice Cheshire, Human Resources Director, and Morgen Crow, Executive Director of the Coastal Villages Region Fund, an Alaskan not-for-profit company with 20 member fishing communities who represent 8,000+ residents in the Community Development Quota (CDQ) program. In both meetings we discussed CFOS programs and potential collaborative activities. That afternoon, Chancellor Jones and I addressed a meeting of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission to describe UAF's role as “ America’s Arctic University” and CFOS plans for the International Polar Year (IPY).
During the next two days (January 25 and 26) the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) held its January meeting at the MAP offices in Anchorage. Vera Alexander chaired the PCCRC meeting. Gordon Kruse, Bob Foy, Tony Gharrett, Shannon Atkinson, Paula Cullenberg and Joel Markis (for Brenda Konar) presented their results from PCCRC-funded projects and Keith Criddle, Ted Stevens Professor of Marine Policy, presented a report of his first six months of activities. The PCCRC agreed to fund $302,036 in new proposals beginning in April 2007. The second day of the PCCRC meeting focused on new directions for PCCRC funding and coincided with a meeting of the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) Board of Directors in the adjacent North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) conference room. I was torn between attending the PCCRC meeting where money was being given away and the ASLC meeting where the relationship between the ASLC and CFOS was being discussed – we are considering revising the current MOA. UA President Mark Hamilton was also attending the ASLC meeting and spent a few minutes speaking with the PCC industry representatives at the PCCRC Board meeting.
Somehow during the same two days, I managed to attend part of the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit organized by MAP agents Sunny Rice and Torie Baker among others. The workshop was “designed for young and new Alaska fishermen who are taking the helm of the future of the Alaska fishing industry.” Over 70 fishermen from all over the state, from many fisheries and gear types, attended this leadership training. Many were sponsored by their fishing association. The redoubtable Clem Tillion, former state senate president, fisheries coordinator to Gov. Hickel and past North Pacific Fishery Management Council chair, gave the opening address followed by Arne Fuglvog, Sen. Murkowski's fisheries aide, former North Pacific Fishery Management Council member and commercial fisherman from Petersburg. The summit made the front page of the Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks newspapers. While I missed most of the other presentations, I did manage to attend the evening reception at the Captain Cook.
Many of you know that Assistant Professor Gordon Haas suffered a serious head injury due to a fall at his home on December 9. Gordon had two surgeries in the days following and the second surgery was successful in saving his life. At the end of the month, I am pleased to report that Gordon is physically out of the woods. During the last week of December, Gordon is recovering slowly. He has spent more time out of bed while his parents are with him and has learned his way around some of Providence Hospital's corridors. Our prayers go out to Gordon for a speedy recovery and to his wife (Molly) and son (Abe) who are with him in Anchorage.
I had hoped to begin this report by announcing that we had finally received the $5,000,000 award document from the Rasmuson Foundation to enhance our fisheries and ocean science programs. The Rasmuson Foundation Board approved our proposal in November, but, alas, the final award document has not yet arrived at UAF. I can only hope my January report will announce finally the good news. Once the funding is received, we will begin the process of hiring several new fisheries and oceanography faculty to boost our academic offerings and expand our research capabilities.
The great news in December was that thirteen graduate students (3 Ph.D. and 10 M.S.) turned in their theses to the Graduate School. The newest CFOS graduates are
- Alexei I. Pinchuk, Ph.D. Oceanography, Advisor: Dr. Russell Hopcroft
- Andrew C. Seitz, Ph.D. Fisheries Oceanography, Advisor: Dr. Brenda Norcross
- Hui Liu, Ph.D. Oceanography, Advisor: Dr. Russell Hopcroft
- Brian Knoth, M.S. Fisheries, Advisor: Dr. Robert Foy
- Shannon Hanna, M.S. Marine Biology, Advisor: Dr. Loren Buck
- Sonya Y. El Mejjati, M.S. Marine Biology, Advisor: Dr. Loren Buck
- Cassie Mellon, M.S. Fisheries, Advisor: Dr. Mark Wipfli
- Angela M. Dubois, M.S. Marine Biology, Advisor: Dr. Katrin Iken
- Mette R. Nielson, M.S. Marine Biology, Advisor: Dr. Rolf Gradinger
- Nicole M. Koehler, M.S. Marine Biology, Advisor: Dr. Brenda Norcross
- Lisa S. Baraff, M.S. Marine Biology, Advisor: Dr. Robert Foy and Kate Wynne
- Danielle P. Underwood, M.S. Fisheries, Advisor: Dr. Thomas C. Shirley
- Joshua Benjamin Robins, M.S. Fisheries, Advisor: Dr. Milo Adkison
Congratulations and best wishes for extraordinarily successful futures.
On December 5, I attended a brief meeting of the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) in Anchorage. The NPRB selected two groups to submit full proposals for their Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP). Our CFOS team that includes a partnership with NOAA’s Pacific Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) was selected to submit a full proposal. IMS Director Terry Whitledge is leading the CFOS proposal team.
While in Anchorage, I attended the opening day of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting on December 6. Representatives of much of the Alaska fishing community attend these meetings and I had a chance to visit briefly with people from Kodiak, Seattle, Juneau, Petersburg, and Nome. After 2.5 years in Alaska, I felt at home at this meeting. One of the first speakers was Andy Smoker, brother of CFOS Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker. The following presentation was given by Jessie Gharrett, a NOAA employee who is also the wife of our own Professor Tony Gharrett. Most surprisingly, I was able to introduce MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg to people that I knew that she didn’t. The last two years, she has been introducing me to fisheries leaders around the state and I enjoyed being able to return the favor.
IMS Director Terry Whitledge and I attended an Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) proposal team meeting in Seattle on December 11 and 12. We were accompanied by UAF Director of Procurement Mike Grahek, Senior Contracting Officer Debbie Moore, and John Dickinson from UA System Finance Operations. During the two-day meeting at Glosten Associates, the ARRV proposal team hammered out the final issues with the $98M proposal to the National Science Foundation to construct and operate the ARRV. If everything goes well, we will have a new ice-capable ship in Alaska in March 2010. The exact date depends on what Congress does with the FY07 federal budget in January more than anything else.
I failed in my 2006 goal to not exceed the 86,978 miles I traveled on Alaska Airlines for CFOS business (95 segments) in 2005. During 2006, I traveled 88,525 miles for CFOS business (94 segments) breaking last year’s record by 1,547 miles. I doubt that things will slow down in 2007, so I am petitioning Alaska Airlines for special recognition for double MVP Gold members.
Happy New Year!
November 1st found me at the downtown Marriott Hotel in Anchorage where I attended the first morning of the three-day Minerals Management Service (MMS) Workshop on Chukchi Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA). Associate Professor Tom Weingartner gave one of the keynote presentations on Chukchi Physical Oceanography while Professor Emeritus Sathy Naidu spoke about Chukchi Sea Metals/Sediment Chemistry. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a plan for a $6.0M multi-year, multi-disciplinary research initiative to be undertaken in 2008-2011.
Later that day, I met in Anchorage with Todd Vanhove, Area Planner for Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) along with Tom Smith and Nici Murawsky (UAF Seward Marine Center), Willard Dunham from the Seward City Council, and Kristin Erchinger, Seward Finance Director. Gregory Kaplan from Congressman Young’s Anchorage office also attended. We discussed the plan for building the dock for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) with Mr. Vanhove, as DOT is managing the design and engineering funds ($2.5M) for the dock in Seward. At the end of the month, we are still waiting to hear back from DOT concerning the dock funds.
CFOS participated in the UAF Natural Resources/Natural Sciences Career Day on November 8. Katie Murra, Recruiting and Retention Coordinator, organized our career information booth to provide students information about job opportunities in fisheries and marine science. I made a brief presentation to the students and the panel of potential employers at the evening festivities. Earlier that day at Provost Council, we learned that UAF carry forward funds in the amount of $37,200 will be provided to CFOS to support graduate students this year. Bill Smoker and Tom Weingartner are deciding how to allocate the funds.
I spent November 9-15 in Texas. My activities included visiting with research scientists and faculty at Texas A&M University (College Station) who are involved in ocean observing. The Texas A&M Department of Oceanography has developed a master’s level certificate program in ocean observing. I also attended the National Association of State University and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) annual meeting in Houston where I participated in the Board of Oceans and Atmospheres meeting. UAF Chancellor Steve Jones and Vice Chancellor for Research Buck Sharpton also attended the meeting. I must admit that while the meeting was interesting and I enjoyed discussing issues important to state universities, the highlight of the trip was the Texas A&M - Nebraska football game that I attended along with 83,000 rabid fans. Nebraska won 28-27 by scoring a touchdown in the last 21 seconds.
The work on the proposal to capture the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) accelerated this month as Terry Whitledge and the proposal team ramped up their efforts to complete the proposal before the end of December. Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Ro Bailey has been a big help in moving the construction management part of the proposal forward. Gen. Bailey was involved in contracting during her career in the U.S. Air Force and brings significant insight to the effort. Please remember that UAF is preparing a competitive proposal for this vessel. The National Science Foundation (NSF) will award the vessel construction and operation based upon this open competition. To help assure our success, our proposal writing effort started almost two years ago, and we are working diligently to assure our proposal will be the best received by NSF.
As the month of November ended, CFOS had three active faculty job searches. We are seeking a Marine Advisory Program faculty member (term) for a new position in Nome that is funded by the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation. Our chemical and geological oceanography positions (Fairbanks) have yielded 30 applicants and the search committee should begin the review process in December. We anticipate bringing candidates to Alaska during January or February to make sure they can handle the Fairbanks winter.
The last day of October proved to be the most exciting as the National Science Foundation (NSF) issued the long-awaited "Program Solicitation for Construction of an Alaska Region Research Vessel and Operator Selection" on October 31. The oceanographic community has been working for over 30 years to obtain an ice-capable research vessel and we are closer than ever. Led by IMS Director Terry Whitledge, a team from UAF, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Glosten Associates in Seattle has been preparing a proposal for the ARRV for the last 18 months. Our $98M proposal is about 85% complete and we will be busy refining the proposal over the next two months. Proposals are due at NSF on January 29, 2007.
I started out the month of October in Juneau where I attended the annual Marine Advisory Program (MAP) retreat. The meeting of all our MAP faculty from around the state gave me an opportunity to learn more about their projects and to provide updates on CFOS activities, especially our planned B.A. degree in Fisheries and the faculty that will be hired to help deliver the new program. CFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator, Katie Murra, gave a presentation on how MAP faculty can help with student recruiting. CFOS Fiscal Manager Jennifer Harris, Proposal Coordinator Gretchen Hundertmark and Grants Technician Debbie Carlson were also in Juneau to meet MAP faculty and work with our Fisheries Division faculty and staff. As always, the highlight of the MAP retreat was the evening feast with its extraordinary food prepared by Chuck Crapo, Quentin Fong, et al.
From Juneau, I flew to Washington, DC to attend the UNOLS Council Meeting on October 6. Former White Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, Chair of the Pew Oceans Commission, was the keynote speaker. At the meeting, UAF announced the retirement of the R/V Alpha Helix after 40 years of service to the oceanographic community. I presented the "Ancient Albatross Award"for the oldest ship in the UNOLS fleet to Bob Knox from Scripps Institution of Oceanography for the R/V Melville. The award included a framed certificate and a can of Rust-Oleum paint.
The day before the UNOLS meeting, UA Federal Affairs Representative Martha Stewart and I visited some federal agencies and traveled to Capital Hill to provide information on our CFOS programs to staff member of the Alaska delegation. We visited with
- John Farrell, Executive Director, U.S. Arctic Research Commission
- Arne Fuglvog, Senator Lisa Murkowski's office
- Mark Robbins, Senator Ted Stevens's office
- Todd Bertoson and Steve Wackowski, Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee
Arne Fuglvog and Mark Robbins represent our senators on fisheries issues. Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker and I also met with Arne in Petersburg, Alaska, just before he moved to DC.
On October 9, the City of Seward was in a state of emergency as heavy rains caused the Resurrection River to overflow its banks. The Lowell Creek tunnel was "spewing boulders" according to Seward Marine Center Manager Nici Murawsky. With the Lowell Point Bridge covered with rock and debris, water from the diversion flowed down Railroad Avenue into the Seward Marine Center (SMC). The adjacent aquaculture facility was filled with water and gravel. Fortunately, our facilities suffered only minor damage thanks to the efforts of our SMC staff who moved equipment to higher ground and managed to contain the damage. I was impressed with the positive attitude of everyone involved. Thanks for your great work.
MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg and I had an opportunity to address the United Fishermen of Alaska at their annual meeting in Anchorage on October 11. Our presentations followed Gov. Frank Murkowski's address. Paula described MAP activities and asked for their support for the Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit that MAP is hosting in January. I reported on our plans for enhance our undergraduate degree program in fisheries and asked for their ideas on how we can better serve the Alaska fishing industry. They seemed especially interested in the plans for the Alaska Region Research Vessel.
I was back in Anchorage on Friday, October 13, to attend the Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) Policy Council meeting and to meet with Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) Executive Director Herb Schroeder. On Monday, October 16, Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I went to Kodiak to meet with FITC faculty and staff. Several changes will occur at FITC over the next few months as FITC Director Scott Smiley has announced he is stepping down as FITC Director and Administrative Assistant Cathy Magnuson is retiring in December. Mike and I spent time at FITC planning for a smooth transition.
The week of October 23, I was back in Washington, DC for board meetings of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) and the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI). The main topic for both meetings was a planned merger of CORE and JOI. While in DC, I met with Dr. David Policanksy, Chair of the CFOS Advisory Council to discuss recent CFOS activities and to begin the planning for the 2007 CFOS Advisory Council meeting that may be held in Anchorage.
October 27 found me back in Anchorage for a meeting of the Alaska SeaLife Center Board of Directors. UA President Mark Hamilton also attended. After the meeting, I had an opportunity to meet with Rasmuson Foundation President Diane Kaplan and Program Assistant Ricardo Lopez (a UAF alum) to answer some additional questions about the $5M proposal that we have submitted to the Rasmuson Foundation. Our proposal will be considered by the Rasmuson Foundation Board during their meeting the week after Thanksgiving. I hope the outcome of that meeting will be the highlight of my November report.
The academic year began to settle down somewhat in September with our new students getting settled in apartments or cabins and many wondering what their first winter in Alaska will be like. Snow in Fairbanks on September 29 and 30 gave them a hint of what is ahead.
Like the rest of the university, the number of graduate students in our degree programs is down slightly. In September 2005 we had 155 graduate students enrolled. This September the total is 130, with 56 in Fisheries, 51 in Marine Biology, 16 in Oceanography and 7 Interdisciplinary students. 38 students are seeking their Ph.D. and 92 are M.S. students. The low number of Oceanography students can be attributed to the number of faculty who have retired and not been replaced in the last few years. In October, we are planning to advertise for two new oceanography faculty: a chemical oceanographer and a geological oceanographer.
Nine new undergraduate Fisheries students joined 17 returning students this semester bringing our total undergraduate enrollment to 26. As twelve of the undergraduates are seniors, we should have a large graduating class this year.
I am pleased to announce that our search for new Fisheries faculty was a great success. Two candidates accepted our offer to join the Fairbanks faculty. Dr. Trent Sutton will join us in June as an Associate Professor of Fisheries. Trent is currently an Associate Professor at Purdue University and will become our Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator. Dr. Amanda Rosenberger will arrive in Fairbanks on November 10 as an Assistant Professor of Fisheries. Amanda is completing a U.S. Forest Service post-doctoral fellowship at Rocky Mountain Research Station, Boise, ID. Both Trent and Amanda received their Ph.D.s from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).
Academic Manager Christina Neumann and Katie Murra arranged a graduate student orientation in Fairbanks and Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker hosted a similar orientation in Juneau followed by a social hour. It seemed like the rest of the month was spent welcoming the new students. Christina and Katie hosted a pizza party for the new graduate students on September 5. Assistant Professor Mat Wooller and Diane O'Brien hosted a potluck social at his Fairbanks home for the new Institute of Marine Science students, staff, and faculty on the evening of September 16. In Juneau, Assistant Professor Nicola Hillgruber hosted a potluck beach bash on September 22. Yet another welcoming function was organized by Christina and Katie, a social gathering for our undergraduate fisheries students on the evening of September 26. In addition to the current Fairbanks Fisheries faculty, Trent Sutton and Amanda Rosenberger (both in town looking for housing) were able to join us. Most of our 26 undergraduates attended along with some other students taking Fisheries courses.
The big non-student news was that the five-member national Performance Assessment Team (PAT) evaluating the Alaska Sea Grant program was impressed with their activities and gave them one of their highest ratings. Sea Grant Director Brian Allee was obviously delighted and noted, "As I reflect on the activities from the Sunday field panel traveling on Stan Stephens boat in Prince William Sound to the exit interview on Thursday afternoon I am struck by the awesome capability of the integrated Alaska Sea Grant staff and MAP faculty and staff." One of the comments they made in the exit interview was that the seabird deterrent extension work with small boat longliners was judged a "best management practice". I was pleased to meet with the PAT and to participate in the exit interview where they declared the Alaska Sea Grant communications effort (publications, videos, etc.) to be "the best in the nation." Congratulations to Brian and all of the team that contributed to this success.
From September 20-22 I attended the North Pacific Research Board Meeting in Anchorage. The NPRB approved a request for proposals for 2007 for $3.895 million which will fund research projects in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. A second RFP for $12-14 million was approved for the NPRB's Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP). It will request proposals a 6-year comprehensive program from 2007 through 2012-2013, run by a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary team, and may include a partnership with the National Science Foundation. Several CFOS units are preparing a BSIERP proposal in partnership with NOAA. The NPRB also approved an CFOS request to provide $50,000 to support our effort to host the 2008 National Ocean Science Bowl in Seward.
The last week of September was filled with visitors. Trent Sutton arrived over the weekend and Amanda Rosenberger arrived on Monday, September 25. Dr. James Ray of Oceanic Environmental Solutions, LLC in Spring, Texas, arrived on the same flight as Amanda. He is under contract with Shell Oil to explore the research capabilities of UAF faculty who might be able to address Shell Oil research needs in the Beaufort and Chuckchi seas. He spent the week meeting with IMS faculty and also met with Department of Geology faculty and with UA Vice President for Research Craig Dorman. Mr. Craig Keshishian from Indicator Systems, Inc. (ISI) arrived on September 26. He spent September 27 in Fairbanks discussing a new invention by his company and then traveled to Kodiak to meet with FITC faculty on September 28. A joint proposal from ISI and FITC may result from his visit.
We ended the month with the CFOS 2006 Fall Convocation. This meeting was held by teleconference and using PictureTalk software to display visual information via the Internet. Besides groups gathered in Anchorage, Juneau, Kodiak, Fairbanks and Seward, we had faculty and staff participate from Australia (Russ Hopcroft) Homer (Terry Johnson and Carin Bailey), Cordova (Torie Baker), Petersburg (Sunny Rice) and Moss Landing, California (Geoff Wheat). Emeritus Faculty member Ole Mathisen also called in. Mike Castellini participated from California while I transmitted the material out via PictureTalk from an undisclosed location.
August seems to be the month when people visit Alaska, which is surprising as hotel rooms are more affordable in January. We had many visitors to all CFOS units during August including:
- Dr. James Huesmann, UAF Dean of Libraries (Seward Marine Center)
- Dr. John Hoenig, Professor, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (Juneau Center)
- Dr. Alan Shiller, University of Southern Mississippi (Fairbanks)
- Dr. Bill Wiseman, Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation (Fairbanks)
- Dr. Shobha Sriharan, Project Director, USDA Collaborative Grant on Remote Sensing, Virginia State University (Fairbanks and Seward Marine Center)
- Dr. Changsheng Chen, University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth (Fairbanks)
Many of these visitors had an opportunity to experience the record number of days of rain in August in Fairbanks. We received the good news on August 1 that UAF is going to ask the Alaska Legislature to increase the CFOS budget by $1,000,000 next year to support an expansion of our Fisheries degree program. This increase in our budget would provide the funds to match our $1,000,000 per year request to the Rasmuson Foundation. We submitted the latest version of our proposal to the Rasmuson Foundation on August 28 and their grants committee will consider our proposal on September 29.
On August 10, I attended the Pollock Conservative Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) Board meeting in Juneau. Dr. Vera Alexander is co-chair of the PCCRC Board along with Mr. Jan Jacobs from American Seafoods. The PCCRC Board approved the 2007 request proposals and allocated $285,000 for 2007 awards. Proposals are due October 12. While in Juneau, Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker and I met with University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Chancellor John Pugh on August 11 to discuss our plans for expanding the Fisheries undergraduate program.
My only trip to Anchorage was on August 17. I attended a meeting of some of the members of the Governance Committee of the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) with Jack Dunnigan, NOAA Assistant Administrator for NOAA’s Ocean Service (NOS) and Dave Zilkowski, director of NOAA’s Office of National Geodetic Survey and head of NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) team. We discussed the plan for building an ocean observing system in Alaska and the potential for NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center to expand their operations in Seward. Mr. Dunnigan visited the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory on August 16 and was accompanied by CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Bailey.
During my day in Anchorage, Marine Advisory Program (MAP) Leader Paula Cullenberg and I met with CFOS Advisory Council member Eugene Asicksik to discuss the search for the MAP agent in Nome. I had an enjoyable lunch Arliss Sturgulewski (also CFOS Advisory Council member) during which we discussed ongoing CFOS projects and our plan for bringing the National Ocean Science Bowl to Alaska in 2008. Paula Cullenberg also met with Dr. Herb Schroeder, University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Associate Dean and Professor of Engineering and Executive Director of the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP). We are hoping to partner with ANSEP in recruiting more Alaska Natives into our Fisheries degree programs. After the meeting, Dr. Schroeder gave me a tour of the ANSEP building under construction on the UAA campus.
Bill Smoker and I traveled to Petersburg on August 22 where MAP faculty member Sunny Rice organized a series of meetings for us. We had dinner with Arne and Cindy Fuglvog. Arne is heading to DC in September to replace Bill Woolf as fisheries advisor to Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Julianne Curry of the Petersburg Vessels Owners’ Association also joined us for dinner. The next day, Bill, Sunny and I: met with Gerry Merrigan of Prowler Fisheries and toured the Petersburg harbor with him, met with Kris Norosz, Government Affairs representative for Icicle Seafoods, toured the Icicle plant with Plant Manger Patrick Wilson, hiked upstream in Hobo Creek with U.S. Forest Service project leader Mason (Buck) Bryant and Tongass National Forest Fish Program Technical Specialist Dick Aho to view their stream research program, and discussed our undergraduate programs with Petersburg High School Principal David Morris, Guidance Counselor Joyce Burke-Biggs and Biology Teacher Jack Eddy.
Bill Smoker and I flew to Ketchikan that evening where we spent August 24 and 25 with MAP faculty member Dolly Garza as our host. We were impressed that Dolly knew all the back roads to take to avoid the 7,000+ cruise ship passengers walking Ketchikan streets on Thursday during our visit. In Ketchikan, we met with Lisa Lang at the Ketchikan Indian Community to discuss our academic programs and internships and spent some time at the shellfish hatchery operated by Kurtis Morin of Alaska Shellfish Nursery LLC. Kurtis has started a geoduck aquaculture operation in Ketchikan.
Chancellor Steve Jones arrived around noon and we spent the afternoon discussing potential collaborations with Dr. Kate Sullivan, Director of the UAS Ketchikan Fisheries Technology program. On the morning of August 25, UAF Chancellor Jones, UAS Chancellor John Pugh, Bill, Dolly, and I attended a meeting of the Board of Directors of OceanAlaska (formerly the Tongass Coast Aquarium). The board President, Gary Frietag, was a classmate of mine at Old Dominion University and I had not seen him in 32 years. The board is interested in having CFOS and MAP involved in their plans. Later that morning Chancellors Pugh and Jones signed a “Joint Declaration” to work together to improve our Fisheries degree program.
Before we headed to the airport, we had the pleasure of spending some time visiting with world renowned Tlingit artist and wood carver Nathan P. Jackson. He was working on three totem poles in his shop and the smell of the wood was delightful. Our MAP faculty throughout Alaska make it possible for me to gain an in-depth knowledge of the people in our communities and to begin to understand the issues important to them. Thanks to Sunny and Dolly for taking the time to make this trip both special and productive.
Exhausted from this trip, I returned to Fairbanks at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday August 26 where I spent the day revising the Rasmuson Foundation proposal with the help of Sharice Walker in Fairbanks and Carin Bailey who was working from Homer. Carin and I finished work on the proposal at 10:01 p.m. and Carin submitted it electronically at 10:36 p.m. That left me less than two hours to pack and head for the airport to catch the 1:05 p.m. flight to Seattle and Denver where I began the drive back to Fairbanks with my son, Heath. We drove through South Dakota (to see the Corn Palace in Mitchell) and then were off to Canada to drive the Alaska Highway to Fairbanks. Unlike my drive in 2004 when the smoke from the fires obscured the view, we were able to enjoy the beauty of British Columbia and the Yukon before arriving in Fairbanks on September 2. It has taken me two weeks to recover and write this report.
The July issue of “Fisheries” from the American Fisheries Society has an update on actions by Congress to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Management and Marine Live Enhancement Act (H.R. 5018). The article ends by commenting that H.R. 5018 “is modeled after the management framework of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which is widely cited as the best in the nation.” The Science and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Council is chaired by Gordon Kruse. Terry Quinn is also a member. As of July 1, we have three members of the SSC as Keith Criddle joins the CFOS faculty as the Ted Stevens Distinguished Professor of Marine Policy.
Keith returns to UAF after eight years at Utah State University where he chaired the Department of Economics. He will work from the CFOS Juneau Center where he will teach and conduct research on the management of fisheries in the North Pacific Ocean. His position is supported from an endowment set up by the Pollock Conservation Cooperative (PCC) companies: Alaska Ocean Seafoods, American Seafoods Company, LLC, Arctic Storm, Inc., Glacier Fish Company, Highland Light Seafoods, Starbound, LLC, and Trident Seafoods Corporation.
On July 2, CFOS hosted a community dinner in Seward to build support for our programs there. Over 100 people attended, many to wish Tom Smith well on his retirement from the UAF Seward Marine Center (still known as IMS in Seward). Tom spent 20 minutes “roasting” his former colleagues. CFOS presented Tom a framed poster with pictures of the SMC, the Alpha Helix and other vessels. Mike Castellini and I attended from Fairbanks. Thanks to Nici Murawsky, Linda Lasota, and Jennifer Elhard for arranging a spectacular evening.
Chancellor Steve Jones and Vice Chancellor Buck Sharpton joined us in Anchorage on July 6 for a meeting with the Ed Rasmuson (Board Chair) and Diane Kaplan (President) of the Rasmuson Foundation to discuss our request for CFOS support. Bill Smoker, Gordon Kruse and I represented CFOS and School of Management Associate Dean Mark Herrmann also participated. We spent the afternoon discussing our plan to increase participation in our undergraduate fisheries program and how to create a B.A. in fisheries to meet additional state educational needs. Paula Cullenberg, Bill and I will spend the next few months finalizing a proposal to the foundation.
On July 8, I attended a memorial service for John Doyle in Anchorage. As the Marine Advisory Program (MAP) Leader from the mid-60s through 1987, John hired the first marine extension agents in Alaska. He passed away April 8th after a long illness. John kept in touch with many MAP agents after his retirement and often came to my office to tell me what I should be doing as Dean. Several years ago, he established the Kathryn (K) E. Doyle Scholarship in his wife’s honor for female students studying science at UAF.
While July may be a slow month in some places, it seems to be reporting time at UAF. In the middle two weeks of July we submitted the annual Performance Based Budgeting (PBB) report, the CFOS Enrollment Management Plan (EMP), the FY08 Budget Request, and the CFOS Compact Plan (CP) Executive Summary. Many thanks to Mike Castellini (PBB), Katie Murra (EMP), and Sharice Walker (CP) for their efforts to complete these reports on schedule. We received the following message about our FY08 request for new funding: “Coming out of Cabinet yesterday, the group decided to bump the CFOS request to $1M rather than just the $500K and move it up on the priority list to number 3.” This was great news. It means that UAF will request $1.0M in new funding for CFOS from the Alaska Legislature when they meet in January 2007. Let’s hope the legislature is good to the university next year.
I spent the week of July 16-23 in Seattle, Anchorage, and Seward. On July 17 and 18, I attended a meeting of the Bering Sea Interagency Working Group at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) in Seattle. IMS Director Terry Whitledge also attended along with Assistant Professor Rolf Gradinger. The purpose of the meeting was to understand how the current and planned research efforts in the Bering Sea can be coordinated. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding the Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST) and the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) is about to fund their Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Program (BSIERP). While CFOS did not receive funding from the first BEST proposal submissions, we plan to play a major role in the BSIERP. NSF BEST Program Manager Bill Wiseman will visit Fairbanks on August 21.
While in Seattle on July 19, I visited with representatives of the fishing industry including some of the PCC companies that support our research. My visits included:
- Lori Swanson, Groundfish Forum
- Kevin C. Duffy, Executive Director, At-Sea Processors Association
- Doug Christensen, President, Arctic Storm Management Group, LLC
- Joe Bundrant, Vice President for Sales and Marketing, Trident Seafoods Corporation
- Craig Cross, Starbound, LLC
In Anchorage on July 20, I met with Clarence Pautzke, Executive Director of the North Pacific Research Board and Molly McCammon, Executive Director of the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS). We discussed plans by UAF to bring the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals to Alaska in April 2008. Twenty-five regional teams would compete for the national title in Seward if our proposal is successful. I asked both NRPB and AOOS to help provide part of the $250,000 that will be needed to host the national competition.
The final leg of the trip took me to Seward (July 20-21) for the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC). This visit gave me the opportunity to meet with Shannon Atkinson and our UAF research faculty in Seward to discuss how to improve our support of their research and teaching activities.
In between these trips, I met with the four candidates for our new fisheries faculty position. The new faculty member will also serve as the Coordinator of our undergraduate fisheries program. Mike Castellini (Chair) and the search committee have done a great job and I hope to be able to announce a successful conclusion to this search in my next report.
Several staff changes took place in the CFOS central office during June. Angela Gies, one of our top notch grant technicians, has moved up to become the fiscal officer for the School of Education. This move was a tremendous promotional opportunity for Angela and we wish her every success. Sharice Walker became the full-time, permanent (hopefully) Assistant to the Dean on June 26. Sharice is a graduate of the UAF journalism program who has worked for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and as anchor and news director of CBS Channel 13 in Fairbanks. Sharice is my third assistant in two years and I hope she will be here (can put up with me?) for a while.
The CFOS budget for fiscal year 2008 (FY08) was finalized by the unit directors on June 12. We established an $8.59M budget for the school with $6.27M provided from UAF general funds. $88,000 will be allocated to debt reduction as the third of five payments on our FY03 budget deficit, further reducing our operating revenues. We did receive an additional $75,000 to partially pay for a new fisheries faculty position. All units received budgets that will require careful planning to meet their mission goals within the established financial constraints.
Mark Johnson and I attended the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) meeting in Anchorage on June 14. We discussed the redistribution of AOOS funding for next year along with plans for implementing an ocean observing system in Alaska. NOAA has awarded AOOS $1.7M for this year and Mark’s Data Management and Analysis Group (DMAG) is funded to develop numerical models and to implement a Live-Access-Server (LAS) system to distribute real-time data streams.
MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg arranged for me to spend June 26 and 27 in Dillingham to meet with people involved in the fishing industry. We met with Bristol Bay Native Association CEO Ralph Andersen and Molly Chythlook to discuss CFOS plans for improving our undergraduate fisheries program. They have a summer internship program that would be ideally suited for our students. Their program is being run this summer by Valli Peterson, one of our UAF fisheries majors who will be a senior in the fall. Our meeting with Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation members Bryce Edgmon (Chief Operating Officer), Kyle Belleque (Education Director), and Andy Ruby (Regional Fisheries Coordinator) inspired some research ideas. We discussed opportunities for student field work in Bristol Bay and learned about the two-week Salmon Camp they sponsor each year for middle school and high school students.
Paula and I also visited with Tim Sands, the Area Management Biologist for Bristol Bay Westside. Tim received his undergraduate degree in fisheries at UAF and is finishing his M.S. degree. He is the ADF&G employee who decides when to open and close the fishery in Dillingham. We met with Norman Van Vactor at Peter Pan Seafoods, Inc. to discuss potential student internships. The Peter Pan cannery was my first visit to a salmon processing plant. Our visit with Deborah McLean-Nelson (Director of the UAF Bristol Bay Campus) and Todd Radenbaugh (Associate Professor, Environmental Science) provided me the opportunity to learn more about how UAF's rural campuses operate. We also discussed how we could recruit more rural Alaskans to our undergraduate fisheries degree program.
June 30 marked the end of my second year as dean of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Having survived two winters in Fairbanks, I no longer qualify as the “new dean” but am probably not yet eligible for "sourdough" status either. After all, I was in balmy Anchorage in January (at one degree below zero) when it was 51 below in Fairbanks. It is hard to remember winter with the beautiful weather we are having in Fairbanks this summer more rain and less smoke that the past two summers.
May began with the announcement on May 1 that Dr. A. J. (Tony) Gharrett, professor of fisheries, was the recipient of the 2006 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Research Award. Tony is an internationally recognized leader in his field of genetics. During his 30-year career at UAF, Tony’s research has focused on Alaska fish, primarily salmon and rockfish, and genetic markers within their populations. He and his colleagues recently discovered that the rougheye rockfish, which is commonly caught in commercial fisheries, includes two genetically distinct species. Please congratulate Tony on this award, the highest award for research given by UAF.
The Board of Directors of the Coastal Villages Region Fund visited CFOS on May 2. This Community Development Quota (CDQ) group represents twenty coastal villages from Platinum up to Scammon Bay and three Kuskokwim river villages. President and CEO Morgen Crow brought the board to Fairbanks to discuss how we might work together to assure the sustainability of fisheries in Alaska waters. Chancellor Steve Jones joined in the discussion.
A meeting of the Contractor Selection Committee for the Lena Point Fisheries Facility was held in Juneau on May 3. Four contractors presented their plan to undertake the project as a “construction manager at risk,” the contracting method being used by UAF to build Lena Point. Mike Ruckhaus and David Miller represented UAF Design and Construction on the project and I served as the CFOS representative. Kiewit Building Group was selected for the project and development of the construction drawings is underway. Tony Gharrett is the faculty representative for the final design and construction phase of the project.
As if one meeting in Juneau was not enough for the week, I traveled back to Juneau on May 6 to participate in the May 7 commencement ceremony at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). Graduation was held on campus for the first time in the new UAS Joint Use Facility. John Joseph Piccolo received his Ph.D. at the ceremony (advisor: Nick Hughes) and Nathan Soboleff and Naoki Tojo, both advised by Gordon Kruse, received their M.S. degrees. It was impressive that the entire Fisheries faculty attended the graduation.
Research Professor Geoff Wheat was the host for the NSF-funded International Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 301 post-cruise meeting in Fairbanks May 9-11. About twenty researchers spent three days discussing their efforts to evaluate the basement alteration, microbiology, solid and fluid chemistry, and crustal hydrogeologic properties from cores taken in the Juan de Fuca Ridge area. I welcomed the participants to Fairbanks and presented an overview of CFOS activities.
The IODP meeting that began at 8:30 a.m. was actually my second meeting on May 9. I began the day with a 4:00 a.m. teleconference meeting of the CORE-JOI Ocean Council, the group working to devise a plan to merge CORE and JOI. I would have to refer to the minutes of the meeting to remember what transpired during the six-hour phone call.
Commencement in Fairbanks was held on May 14. CFOS Ph.D. graduates were Arny L. Blanchard (advisors: Howard Feder and Sue Hills), Sang Heon Lee (advisor: Terry Whitledge), and Amy Childers (advisor: Terry Whitledge). Two students (Lisa Linnel and Andy Padilla) received B.S. degrees in Fisheries. Including the May graduation, 19 CFOS students received their M.S. degrees this academic year.
The highlight of April was definitely the groundbreaking ceremony for the UAF Lena Point Fisheries Facility in Juneau on April 20. The Alaska Legislature has appropriated $21.5M that will allow us to construct a 28,000 sq. ft. fisheries teaching and research building adjacent to NOAA’s Ted Stevens Marine Science Research Institute at Lena Point. The CFOS Advisory Council and the FITC Policy Council held back-to-back meetings in Juneau so their members could participate in a day many thought would never come. We celebrated the groundbreaking with shovels in the morning and a reception at The Hangar in the evening.
Speakers in the morning at the building site were University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton, Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman, former University of Alaska Regent Elsa Demeksa, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Director Doug DeMaster, CFOS Advisory Council Chair David Policansky, University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Steve Jones, and UAF CFOS Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker. Details about and photos of the groundbreaking can be found on our website at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/lenapoint/index.html. Many thanks to CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Bailey for arranging this spectacular event, especially for the tent and heaters that kept us dry and relatively warm during the ceremony.
Chancellor Jones met with the CFOS Executive Council on April 6 to discuss issues important to our school. We discussed the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) and the plan for the new dock at the Seward Marine Center along with facility needs in Fairbanks. Several directors expressed concern that seven CFOS faculty have departed in the last two years and only one has been replaced.
On April 7, I met with the Rasmuson Fisheries Excellence Committee in Anchorage to discuss our request for funding from the Rasmuson Foundation. This committee, chaired by Ed Rasmuson, includes a representative from NOAA (Doug Mecum), the Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner (McKie Campbell), a representative from the fishing industry (Kris Norosz, Icicle Seafoods), a liaison for the Community Development Quota (CDQ) groups (Morgen Crow, Coastal Villages Region Fund), and the Executive Director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Chris Oliver). Wayne Marr, Dean of the UAF School of Management, and Bill Smoker represent UAF on the committee. Chancellor Jones is an ex-officio member. The committee is charged with providing insight into the current and future needs of developing a well-prepared work force to strengthen the fisheries industry in Alaska.
Before the Rasmuson meeting on April 7, MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg and I met with UAA Professor of Engineering Herb Schroeder, Director of the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP). We discussed a plan for CFOS to partner with ANSEP to recruit more Alaska Natives and rural Alaskans into our Fisheries degree programs.
The FITC Policy Council met in Juneau on April 19 to review the status of FITC activities. The Council discussed how FITC could find the resources to grow. FITC Director Scott Smiley described the rapid evolution of the seafood industry in China. The CFOS Advisory Council met in Juneau April 20 and 21. Both President Hamilton and Chancellor Jones had a chance to address the Council. To highlight the products of our work, four students presented their research results to the Council: Katie Palof (Fisheries, Juneau), Matthew Myers (Marine Biology, Seward), Jill (Jiaporn) Chantarachoti (Seafood Science, Kodiak), and Juan Horrillo (Oceanography, Fairbanks). Their presentations were well received by the Council who suggested student presentations should be included in all future meetings. The Advisory Council heard presentations on the CFOS budget from Financial Manager Jennifer Harris, an academic program overview from Associate Dean Mike Castellini, a preview of the CFOS Communication Plan from Carin Bailey, and about facility concerns in most CFOS locations from the unit directors. Thanks to Jennifer Vetsch who handled travel and logistics for the meeting.
While in Juneau on April 19, I met with Heather Brandon, the Governor’s Ocean Policy Advisor, to describe CFOS activities throughout the state of Alaska. We discussed the Governor’s research priorities, 16 of which deal with oceans and coastal issues. I also visited Pat Eberhardt of Coastwise Corporation. Mr. Eberhardt is a naval architect who was interested in learning about the plans to design, build and operate the ARRV. The same day, I met with Kent Dawson, the City of Seward lobbyist in Juneau, to discuss the plans for the dock facility needed in Seward for the ARRV. The City of Seward is taking the lead on providing the dock facility for the new vessel.
I traveled to Seattle April 23 to 25. On April 24, Seward Marine Center Director Tom Smith, Institute of Marine Science Director Terry Whitledge, and I were given a morning tour of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY (WAGB-20) by Commanding Officer Dan Oliver. The HEALY is “the United States' newest and most technologically advanced polar icebreaker.” We spent the afternoon working with naval architects Duane Laible and Dirk Kristensen of The Glosten Associates on our planned NSF proposal for the ARRV. Amazingly, Terry Whitledge made the round trip from Fairbanks in one day. Tom Smith and I attended the UNOLS Research Vessel Operators Committee (RVOC) meeting the next day at the University of Washington where Tom presented the status of the ARRV design and announced his plan to retire on July 1. To justify spending two days in Seattle, after the RVOC meeting I made a courtesy call on Penny Dalton, Washington Sea Grant Director. We discussed how to increase support for national Sea Grant funding.
At the end of April, I have not yet made Alaska Airlines MVP Gold. With only two trips to Juneau scheduled for May, I hope to keep under 40,000 air miles until at least July.
For all the years before I moved to Alaska, March has been the month that spring and warm weather arrived. When March started with a low of minus 37 F in Fairbanks, I knew that I would have to head to the Lower 48 to find spring. Thus, I traveled to Washington, DC on March 7 to attend the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) Public Policy Forum. At this meeting, Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I heard presentations from federal agency heads and others about the state of the federal budget for science. Presenters included:
Admiral James D. Watkins USN (Ret.), Chair of the U.S. Oceans Commission
Rear Admiral William E. Landay, USN, Chief of Naval Research
Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., Director, National Science Foundation
Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher USN (Ret.), NOAA Administrator
Rear Admiral Fred Byus, USN, Oceanographer of the Navy
Congressmen Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Jim Saxon (R-NJ), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) and Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Several speakers mentioned the President's American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) and the plan to double funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the next ten years. NSF Director Bement stated how pleased he was that funding for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) was included in the FY07 NSF budget request. Admiral Watkins gave the Congress and the President a failing grade on the results of the federal Ocean Action Plan. He commented that we have "too many plans and not enough results."
While in DC on March 9, UA Director of Federal Relations Martha Stewart and I visited with Bill Woolfe in Sen. Murkowski's office, Todd Bertoson in Sen. Stevens' office, and John Rayfield, Staff Director of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. We discussed funding for the ARRV and the need for increased funding for the UAF component of NOAA's Undersea Research Program (NURP). Our NURP funding was reduced from over $2M in FY05 to under $1M in the FY06 federal budget. In between, we managed to work in a lunch with Julie Packard, founder of the Monterey Bay Aquarium where we discussed potential UAF-MBA collaborations.
Before heading to DC, on March 6 UAF Chancellor Steve Jones, UA President Mark Hamilton and I met with Ed Rasmuson and Diane Kaplan, President of the Rasmuson Foundation, to discuss a UAF-Rasmuson Foundation partnership to move CFOS to the "next level." We are working with them on a plan to broaden the CFOS faculty to enhance opportunities for undergraduate students and to expand our faculty efforts in ocean observing to support the new paradigm of fisheries science - ecosystem based management. The Rasmuson Foundation has established a "Fisheries Excellence Committee" chaired by Ed Rasmuson. Over the next four months the committee will review our expansion plans. The committee includes state and federal fisheries managers and fishing industry representatives whose organizations hire UAF fisheries and marine science graduates.
For the first time this year, both CFOS and Alaska Sea Grant had displays at ComFish in Kodiak. CFOS Public Information Officer Carin Bailey took the new CFOS display to Kodiak for the March 16-18 conference. Many fisheries industry representatives came by our display which was a big hit with the students attending the conference. Visitors to the CFOS display were curious about the School and its various campuses around Alaska. Many were surprised to learn that CFOS students study not just in Fairbanks, but in diverse locations throughout the state. Students, faculty, and research staff from FITC helped staff the booth and answer questions from conference participants. Carin also actively recruited prospective students by giving out over five pounds of chocolate and hard candy. During ComFish, Alaska Sea Grant hosted the Alaska Crab Enhancement and Rehabilitation Workshop which attracted participants from as close as Kodiak and as far away as Norway and Chile.
I spent the last week of March in Anchorage where the high temperature was in the +40s F all week. On March 27, CFOS Academic Coordinator Christina Neumann and I participated in the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center Board meeting. Ten CFOS students presented their thesis research to the Board. Chancellor Steve Jones attended the presentations. The Board awarded seven continuing and three new Rasmuson Fellowships. Congratulations to new Rasmuson Fellows: Sean Rooney, Katy Howard and Ashwin Sreenivasen. On Tuesday, Lorali Carter and I met with new CFOS Advisory Council member Eugene Asicksik, President and CEO of the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, to discuss the upcoming meeting, and Ragnar Alstrom, Executive Director of Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association, to discuss his interest in CFOS programs. The rest of the week was occupied by the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) meeting where I am one of the three Alaska representatives appointed by the Governor. At this meeting, the NPRB awarded $6.1M in research funding for the next year with over $1.0M going to CFOS faculty. Overall, it was a good month.
Because of some significant developments in early February, this report will cover activities in January and the first half of February and is longer that usual. On February 6, we learned that the FY07 federal budget submitted by the President to Congress included a request to fund the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) budget. While Congress must still fund the $97M vessel, we have cleared a significant hurdle in obtaining this major asset for the oceanographic community. The design specifications for the 236 ft. ARRV that were delivered to NSF in December 2004 can be found at www.sfos.uaf.edu/arrv. As the first effort to provide a new Arctic research vessel began in 1976 with the first design completed in 1980, many have long awaited this announcement. Congratulations to Vera Alexander, Terry Whitledge, Bob Elsner, Tom Smith, Tom Weingartner and our colleagues at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who have labored (some for decades) to get us to this point. I will be traveling to Washington, DC in early March to meet with program managers and Congressional staff to encourage funding of the vessel this year.
My first trip of 2006 was to Washington, DC from January 8-11 where I participated in a meeting of the Ocean Council. The Ocean Council has ten elected members, five from CORE and five from the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI), whose goal is to develop a plan for merging CORE and JOI into a new organization that will advocate for the ocean community with one voice. Some progress was made and the plan will be presented to the CORE Board of Governors in March.
While in DC, I was able to have dinner CFOS Advisory Council (AC) members Jim Balsiger and Heather McCarty. Jim is in DC on assignment as the Deputy Director of NOAA Fisheries. I also met with AC Chair David Policansky on January 11 to plan the AC meeting that will be held in Juneau April 20-21. A trip to DC never seems complete without visiting NOAA in Silver Spring. I met with Gary Matlock, Director of NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), to discuss the UAF-NOAA partnership under which we operate the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory.July 7, 2006Undersea Research Program (NURP) to discuss funding for the CFOS West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center. To assure my time was fully utilized during this trip, Heather McCarty arranged for a meeting with Jim Gilmore, Public Affairs Director of the At-Sea Processors Association (APA). The APA companies also make up the Pollock Conservation Cooperative (PCC) that donates more that $1.0M per year to CFOS. The PCC has been nominated for a NOAA Sustainable Fisheries Leadership Award and we are supporting their nomination.
Shortly after I returned from DC, I received news that Dr. David Christie had accepted our offer to be the Director of our NURP center. Dave is currently a Professor of Marine Geology and Geophysics at Oregon State University. His research interests include the geochemistry of oceanic volcanoes and interactions of mid-ocean ridge petrology, morphology and tectonics. He has been involved in numerous Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) cruises and was involved with the RIDGE program. Dave and his wife, Anne, will be joining us in Fairbanks on June 1.
CFOS was well represented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage January 22 to 25. I enjoyed hearing presentations by CFOS faculty members Mark Johnson, Russ Hopcroft, Stephen Okkonen, Alexander Burdin, Dave Musgrave and Bodil Bluhm. Recent CFOS graduate Shiway Wang presented her thesis research and many former students made presentations to the over 400 in attendance. Shannon Atkinson was the emcee for one of the sessions and AC member Heather McCarty for another. To make sure I stayed in Anchorage, the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC), chaired by Vera Alexander, met in Anchorage on January 26 to hear reports and evaluate proposals for funding. The PCCRC allocated almost $300,000 to fund CFOS faculty proposals this year. Congratulations to Brenda Konar, Gordon Kruse, Tony Gharrett, and Paula Cullenberg on the success of your PCCRC proposals. I finished the week in Anchorage attending the Alaska SeaLife Center Board of Directors meeting on January 27.
The next week (January 30 – February 1) I was off to Unalaska to meet with the seafood processors there and to visit with community leaders about CFOS activities. MAP faculty member Reid Brewer was my host. Since he arrived in March 2004, I believe Reid has gotten to know every person in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor. I was impressed with his total involvement in the community. When I suggested to City of Unalaska Mayor Shirley Marquart that Reid might run for mayor, she quickly replied that he did not have the required masochistic nature to be mayor. Don Graves from UniSea, Inc. provided us with a complete (two hour) tour of the UniSea processing facilities for pollock and crab. We also had useful meetings Greg Peters of Alyeska Seafoods and Dave Boisseau of Westward Seafoods. Some of you may remember Dave from his days working for the Institute of Marine Science (IMS). I also had a chance to meet Jerah Chadwick from the UAF College of Rural and Community Development and Sharon Svarny-Livingston, Co-administrator of the Qawalangin Tribe. My public lecture on Tuesday evening described CFOS research activities and the plans for the ARRV. The 20 or so people attending the presentation were especially interested in the ARRV, as it will be going in and out of Dutch Harbor on the way to the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. Thanks again to Reid for arranging my trip, keeping the flights on schedule and showing me every eating establishment in Unalaska.
I was in San Diego on February 6 when I learned the news that the ARRV had been included in the FY07 federal budget. San Diego was the first stop on a week-long trip that included Seattle and was supposed to include Seward, location of the Tsunami Bowl, the Alaska version of the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB). In San Diego (February 6-8) I attended a Development for Dean’s conference sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) where I learned about the “development cycle” and how to make the “artful ask.” Private support of CFOS activities is important to provide the margin of excellence for our programs and we are working to improve our development activities as noted next.
Chancellor Steve Jones hosted a reception for the Pollock Conservation Collaborative (PCC) companies in Seattle on February 9. Many PCC company CEOs attended along with members of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Advisory Panel, and Science and Statistics Committee who were meeting at the SeaTac Doubletree Hotel. At the reception, President’s Professor of Fisheries Gordon Kruse described the research he has been able to accomplish with PCC funding. Steve Jones and I thanked the PCC companies for their support of both CFOS research and for their endowment of the Ted Stevens Distinguished Professorship in Marine Policy. We anticipate announcing the Ted Stevens Professor within the next week and he was able to attend the reception in Seattle.
You may have heard that the Tsunami Bowl had some weather related difficulties. Avalanches on the Seward Highway kept most of the teams from reaching Seward on the first day of the contest (Friday, February 10). The research paper presentations were conducted using the University of Alaska video teleconferencing system with teams in Seward, Anchorage, and Kenai. I attended the presentations of the Unalaska Raiders and Cordova Flatfish teams in Anchorage. The next day, some of the teams made it to Seward, but others were turned back at Girdwood as a series of avalanches closed the road again. Only five of the ten teams were able to complete the entire competition with the Seward Shrimp Hawks winning by 0.3 points (out of 100) over the Juneau Zissou team.
You can always count on something (erupting volcanoes, avalanches, etc.) to make travel in Alaska more challenging than anywhere else.
CFOS had a significant departure and arrival in December. Greg Simpson, our lead proposal coordinator, left CFOS to take a position at the UAF Geophysical Institute. During the six years that Greg directed our proposal office, CFOS was awarded over $80,000,000 in research funding. Gretchen Hundertmark is flying solo in our proposals office while we search for a replacement for Greg. The arrival was really a transition as Carin Bailey was the successful applicant to become the CFOS Public Information Officer. Carin worked previously for Vera Alexander and as our half-time web coordinator. Carin brings significant talents in writing, graphics, and web development to our program. She is working on an CFOS Communication Plan so you may receive a request for information from her before long.
I attended part of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage on December 7-9. Much of the meeting addressed the issue of rescinding the halibut charter individual fishing quota (IFQ) which the Council did by a vote of 8-3. During the meeting, I had a chance to discuss CFOS activities with Alan Austermann, the Governor’s Fishery Policy Advisor and Willard Dunham from Seward. I also met briefly with Ron Rainey, Board Chair of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association, Thorn Smith, Executive Director of the North Pacific Longline Association, Mark Vinsel, Executive Director of United Fishermen of Alaska and Charlie Lean and Simon Kinneen from the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation. If that was not enough, CFOS Advisory Council Vice Chair Heather McCarty and I had a luncheon meeting with Glenn Reed, President of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, John Gauvin of Gauvin and Associates, and Dave Benton, Executive Director of the Marine Conservation Alliance to discuss the potential for these organization to work more closely with CFOS faculty on research needed by the fishing industry in Alaska.
On December 9 in Anchorage, I also attended a meeting on Increasing the Number of Alaska Natives and Rural Alaskans in Fisheries and Marine Sciences. The meeting was organized by Marine Advisory Program (MAP) Leader Paula Cullenberg. Representatives of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, NOAA Fisheries (Doug Mecum), UAF College of Rural and Community Development (Bernice Joseph), and the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative (John White) among others spent the afternoon discussing methods of increasing participation on our UAF undergraduate degree programs and the potential for other directed training activities. CFOS was represented by Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker and MAP faculty member Dolly Garza.
My last trip of the year was to Seattle on December 11-12 where I attended a meeting of the UNOLS Arctic Icebreaker Coordinating Committee (AICC). The AICC discussed the design of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) and I presented a status report on the design various options provided by the ARRV Design Committee for measuring sea ice thickness. While in Seattle, I also attended a meeting with NSF Ship Operations Program managers Mike Reeve and Dolly Dieter and Duane Liable and Dirk Kristensen from Glosten Associates, designer of the ARRV. We discussed the method by which the ARRV would be constructed. NSF has asked for a new cost estimate for ARRV construction which Glosten Associates has provided - $97,351,930. You can decide how many of the digits are significant.
During 2005, I traveled 86,978 miles on Alaska Airlines for CFOS business (95 segments). One of my goals for 2006 is to not exceed this level of air travel.
Happy New Year!
In my webpage greeting as Dean, I note that “The UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences is a community of scholars that provides opportunities for students and faculty to learn and conduct research in one of the most beautiful locations in the world.” Our focus is rightfully on our students and I am pleased to report that in November nine (9) of our graduate students turned in their theses for graduation. They were
Amy Ruehs Childers – Ph.D. in Oceanography
Sang Heon Lee – Ph.D. in Oceanography
John J. Piccolo – Ph.D. in Fisheries
Mikhail A. Blikshteyn – M.S. in Fisheries
Casey William Jones Debenham – M.S. in Marine Biology
Carrie L. Hoover – M.S. in Fisheries
Julie Kristine Nielsen – M.S. in Fisheries
Jamie David Thomton – M.S. in Marine Biology
Shiway W. Wang – M.S. in Marine Biology
Congratulations to these students and best wishes for continued success in your careers.
On November 1, I met with Provost Reichardt to discuss CFOS activities during FY05. Some of the highlights he noted in our discussion were progress on revamping of the B.S. in Fisheries, solidifying a leadership role for UAF in the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), and obtaining funds to complete our Fisheries building at Lena Point. Our efforts in all these areas will be ongoing during the next year, with the Lena Point groundbreaking in Juneau scheduled for April 20 during the CFOS Advisory Council meeting.
A group from CFOS (Tom Smith, Nici Murawsky, Ruth Post and Denis Wiesenburg) met with UAF Grants and Contracts personnel (Maggie Griscavage, Leah Hines, and Thomas Gleason) on November 3 for “Ship 101.” The group spent a full day discussing methods for managing the ship operating funds for the R/V Alpha Helix and the planned Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). A good time was had by all.
I participated in the Alaska Sea Grant (ASG) Advisory Committee in Anchorage on November 9 and 10. Sea Grant Director Brian Allee has assembled twenty-seven distinguished individuals to provide advice on ASG activities. The meeting examined the ASG Strategic Plan and made plans for the September 2006 Performance Assessment Team (PAT) visit. A highlight of the meeting was the luncheon keynote presentation by the eloquent former Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer on “Partnering and Collaboration.” My task for the meeting was to give the after dinner speech the same evening on the same topic. Thanks Brian.
On November 10, I met in Anchorage with Diane Kaplan, Executive Director, and Ricardo Lopez, Program Assistant, from the Rasmuson Foundation. The meeting was to prepare for a visit by Dr. Andy Rosenberg for the University of New Hampshire, a consultant to the Rasmuson Foundation. Dr. Rosenberg and Mr. Lopez (a UAF biology graduate) visited with us on November 13. Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker came to Fairbanks for the meeting. We presented an outline of the request we have put forward to the Rasmuson Foundation to provide funding to enhance our CFOS academic and research programs and discussed opportunities to improve our programs. Their visit included a meeting with UA President Hamilton and Vice President Craig Dorman.
The Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) Governing Board met in Anchorage on November 21 and 22. Mark Johnson, Rob Cermak, and I attended for CFOS. Mark and Rob presented their efforts in running the AOOS Modeling and Analysis Group (MAG) and the Data Management and Communication (DMAC) efforts. CFOS received $1.3M in funding from AOOS in FY05 and anticipates over $800,000 in funding next year.
Many CFOS faculty spent the month of November working on proposals for three major research initiatives. Proposals in response to the $3.5M Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative (AYKSSI), the National Science Foundation Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST) and the $5.1M North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) announcement are all due in early December.
The traditional CFOS Thanksgiving Feast was held in 501 IARC on November 23. The outside air was brisk with an overnight temperature of -20 F, but the inside atmosphere was warm as faculty, staff, students and their families joined in this annual meal. Everyone brought food and the faculty were responsible for the turkeys, room set up and organization. They managed to pull this off by bringing in Emeritus Professor Jim Reynolds to help prepare the turkeys. The food was fabulous (especially the desserts) and a truly good time was had by all (seriously, this time).
I began preparing monthly reports to you in November 2004. Reviewing that first report, I realize that this October was similar to the last in many ways and significantly different in others. Instead of traveling to Washington, DC once like last year, I made two trips to DC this October. I was in DC October 2-5 to represent UAF at the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) Board of Governor’s meeting. The CORE meeting focused on NOAA issues (including a presentation by VADM Conrad Lautenbacher) and the CORE legislative agenda. CORE is working toward passage of a NOAA Organic Act and legislation establishing funding for an ocean observing system.
Before the CORE meeting, I had a chance to visit with CFOS Advisory Council Chair David Policansky to bring him up to date on CFOS activities. The part of the discussion we enjoyed the most was setting the date for the ground breaking ceremony for our Fisheries Building to be constructed at Lena Point in Juneau April 20, 2006. The Advisory Council will meet next April in Juneau to participate in the ceremony. While in DC, I also stopped by the National Science Foundation (NSF) where I had a chance to meet with Dr. William Wiseman and Dr. Neil Swanberg from the Office of Polar Programs. We discussed the upcoming NSF Bering Sea Study (BEST) and the plan by the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) for a Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP). Calls for proposals for both initiatives are on the street now.
Dr. David Christie, Professor of Marine Geology and Geophysics at Oregon State University, visited Fairbanks October 8-11 to interview for the position of Director of the West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center. Dr. Christie presented seminars to both the Institute of Marine Science faculty and students and to the Department of Geology.
October 12-14, I was back in DC again to attend my final UNOLS Council meeting. I have served for six years on the UNOLS Council and have been able to follow the planning and design of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). I gave a presentation to the UNOLS Annual Meeting on the ARRV on October 14.
The next week took me to Kodiak (October 18 and 19) to attend the Marine Advisory Program (MAP) annual retreat and to Anchorage (October 21) for a meeting of the Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) Advisory Board. The MAP retreat provided me an opportunity to better understand the issues facing MAP agents around Alaska and to enjoy a wonderful meal prepared by Quentin Fong. I can see why everyone looks forward to this annual event.
To make sure I did not miss traveling during any week in October, I attended the Alaska SeaLife Center Board meeting in Anchorage on October 28 in the same building as our MAP offices. The trip gave me an opportunity to discuss development opportunities at breakfast with Lorali Carter, UA Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager, and to have a luncheon meeting with MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg.
On October 31 (appropriately Halloween), I gave an overview of CFOS research activities to a group of Majority Members of the Alaska State House of Representatives who were visiting Fairbanks. President Mark Hamilton and Chancellor Steve Jones arranged their visit so they could learn more about applied research in Alaska.
I am pleased to report that Dr. Gordon Kruse, President’s Professor of Fisheries, was elected to a three-year term as chair of the Fishery Science Committee of the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) during their 14th annual meeting held in Vladivostok, Russia, during September 29 October 9, 2005. More information about his election is available on the CFOS web page.
The College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS) was well represented at the 135th meeting of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) in Anchorage, September 11-15. Over 2200 scientists attended what was the largest AFS meeting ever and the largest convention of any type held in Anchorage this year. Most CFOS Fisheries faculty and many Institute of Marine Science faculty attended along with several students. Alaska Sea Grant had a large display at the meeting. Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker and Academic Program Assistant Beth Olson staffed the CFOS exhibit in the display area. At the Tuesday evening student social, many prospective students visited with our Fisheries faculty. The meeting gave me an opportunity to learn more about fisheries in general and to hear presentations from many of our faculty.
The 23rd Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium was held as part of the AFS meeting to consider the “Biology, Assessment and Management of North Pacific Rockfishes.” This annual symposium is organized by Alaska Sea Grant and partially funded through an endowment from the Wakefield family. Brian Allee and his staff (esp. Sherri Pristash and Adie Callahan) did an excellent job in organizing the symposium. The opening presentation, a report of the American Sebastes Society (ASS) by Milton Love, University of California, Santa Barbara, made the entire meeting worthwhile. Sea Grant Communications Designer Dave Partee was everywhere taking documentary pictures during the meeting and Kurt Byers collected some distinctive candid shots.
Alaska Sea Grant and Marine Advisory Program (MAP) hosted a reception for AFS meeting attendees and others on Monday September 12 at the MAP offices in Anchorage. The crowd enjoyed many seafood delicacies including oysters and fresh Dungeness crab. This event was followed by a Sea Grant dinner at the Captain Cook Hotel where members of the Sea Grant Advisory Board had a chance to visit with and hear an after dinner speech from Dr. Ron Baird, Director of the National Sea Grant Office in Washington, DC.
Dr. Jackie Alder, candidate for the Ted Stevens Distinguished Professorship in Marine Policy, visited Fairbanks on September 6 and 7. She also interviewed with Fisheries faculty in Juneau on September 8 and with MAP faculty in Anchorage on September 9.
Chancellor Steve Jones and I traveled to Kodiak on September 7 and 8 to meet with Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) faculty and students. Scott Smiley and Bob Foy provided a tour of the FITC facilities for the Chancellor. On the evening of September 7, we hosted a reception and dinner for about thirty Kodiak community leaders at Power House Restaurant. State Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux and Sen. Gary Stevens attended the dinner and we met with them individually in their offices the next morning. The mayor and Kodiak Island Borough Manager also were in attendance along with Jeff Stephan, chair of the Alaska Sea Grant Advisory Board.
I attended the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) meeting in Anchorage September 22 and 23. The Board refined the request for proposals that will be issued on October 7. NPRB will fund $5.15M in new proposals next year and $1.40M in continuing work, including $400,000 to support continuation of the CFOS Seward Line. Last year, CFOS captured 30% of the NPRB funding.
Chancellor Steve Jones addressed the university in the 2005 Fall Convocation. He focused his remarks on taking UAF “To the Top” and mentioned his recent trip to Kodiak and FITC during his remarks. The Chancellor's vision for UAF is that we are Alaska's Research University and America's Arctic University. He noted that the next six months will be critical to our future as the Alaska Legislature considers the University of Alaska request for $47M in new funding, of which $35M will go just to meet fixed costs for raises, retirement funding and health benefit increases. He stated that he will be asking the deans to take a bigger role in student recruitment and in development activities (fundraising). I already spend much of my time and energy in those two activities, so we may be ahead of the other UAF colleges and schools in these areas.
Finally, I am sad to report the untimely death of Dr. Albert Tyler, former CFOS Associate Dean, who passed away peacefully at his home in British Columbia on September 6. His death was unexpected and he will be missed for both the dedication and humor that he brought to all activities. I knew him only briefly, but I respected the work he did in conducting the UAF Fisheries program when he was the Associate Dean. He provided me significant advice with the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center activities during my first year as Dean. Al was a champion of our undergraduate Fisheries degree program. We are planning to establish an undergraduate scholarship in his honor.
It may seem odd that my monthly report for August 2005 is coming out in mid-September, but August ended in an unusual manner with Hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast at the end of the month. Thanks to all of you who have expressed your concern about my family living in south Mississippi. I am happy to report that all of our family members are safe and that we have managed to find that all of our friends survived. We received information just this week on some friends who lived near the beach in our previous home in Long Beach. One of my sisters lost her home in Pascagoula and is living with friends. Our son, Heath, evacuated his apartment near the beach in Gulfport before the storm. He returned a week later to find that most of his apartment complex had been destroyed and his apartment had been filled with water. At the moment, he is homeless (living with friends) and jobless (building damage), although his employer is paying him for the next three months. He will visit us in Fairbanks soon.
Twenty (20) new graduate students joined CFOS when the semester began this month, evenly split between Fairbanks and Juneau. Two students will eventually reside in Kodiak. Total graduate student enrollment is now 155, with 104 seeking M.S. degrees and 51 Ph.D. candidates. Academic Coordinator Christina Neumann arranged a student orientation in Fairbanks on August 31 and Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker hosted a similar orientation in Juneau the same week. Eight new undergraduate Fisheries students joined the program this semester bringing our total undergraduate enrollment to 24.
Associate Dean Mike Castellini and I spent August 15 in Anchorage promoting CFOS activities. We met with Ben Ellis, Managing Director of the Institute of the North, and with Kent Crandall and Krystal Nelson of Rise Alaska to discuss potential development opportunities. The same day we had brief visit with Governor Wally Hickel who described how the legislation was crafted that created the State of Alaska. Gov. Hickel gave us a signed copy of his book “Crisis in the Commons: the Alaska Solution.”
One highlight of the month was the visit on August 16 and 17 of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Director, Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr. and Associate Director for Geosciences, Dr. Margaret Leinen, to Seward and Fairbanks. We are encouraged that the NSF Director chose to visit the place where the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) will be stationed. In Seward, they toured the Seward Marine Center (SMC) and the Alaska SeaLife Center to see where we plan to dock the ARRV. SMC Director Tom Smith gave a presentation on our plans for the new CFOS facility. At a luncheon following the tour, the Mayor of Seward, a representative from the Governor’s Office (DED Commissioner Bill Noll), and other city leaders told Dr. Bement of their support for the new facility that will host the ARRV. Dr. Karl Erb, Office of Polar Programs Director, joined the group in Fairbanks the next day. Mike Castellini organized a set of presentations in which Drs. Bement, Leinen and Erb heard presentations on Arctic research from CFOS faculty Bodil Bluhm, Rolf Gradinger, Russ Hopcroft and Tom Weingartner. Chancellor Steve Jones also hosted a dinner for the NSF contingent in Fairbanks.
The Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) met in Juneau on August 17 to consider research topics for funding next year. CFOS Advisory Council member Heather McCarty chaired the day-long meeting along with former Dean Vera Alexander. The PCCRC anticipates having a total of $325,000 available for projects in 2006. The PCCRC has also endowed the Ted Stevens Distinguished Professorship in Marine Policy. The search for this position is ongoing.
The CFOS Faculty Meeting held in Fairbanks on August 22 and 23 was a resounding success. Thanks to the 48 faculty who participated and to Jennifer Vetsch and Carin Bailey for organizing the meeting. I was delighted that UAF Chancellor Steve Jones was able to attend to welcome the faculty and that Provost Paul Reichardt spent some time with us describing his plan for “Assuring Academic Quality at UAF.” His comments on the importance of the unit peer review in the tenure process were especially timely as we begin the tenure and promotion review process next month. The Faculty of the Future (FOF) Committee chaired by Kate Wynne stimulated an informative discussion of how to move the school forward. The presentation by Graduate Dean Susan Henrichs helped us focus our attention on the needs of our graduate students. The energetic participation of faculty in the discussions of how to improve our degree programs and how to improve student mentoring provides strong evidence of the commitment of CFOS faculty to our academic programs. Faculty evaluation of the meeting will be posted on our web site before the end of the month. I believe everyone found the evening at the Alaska Salmon Bake the most enjoyable part of the meeting.
July was a month of intense field work for many CFOS faculty. The largest concentration of CFOS researchers was the group who participated in the NOAA Ocean Exploration cruise in the Arctic aboard the USCGC Healy. UAF researchers who took part in the expedition include Drs. Rolf Gradinger, Bodil Bluhm, Russ Hopcroft, Terry Whitledge, Dean Stockwell, and Katrin Iken. UAF graduate students participating were Elisabeth Calvert, Shawn Harper, and Mette Nielson. UAF research technicians include Brenda Holiday and Sarah Thornton. The discoveries resulting from their work were described in a July 31 front page article in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and are highlighted on the CFOS web site.
A NOAA review team headed by Dr. John Calder, Director of the NOAA Arctic Research Office, examined our West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center July 12-14. The team received an introduction to CFOS from me and a detailed presentation of center research activities from Jennifer Reynolds, Interim Director, Brenda Konar and Geoff Wheat. Although their final report has not been received, they commented during the exit meeting that the center staff "should be commended" for their excellent work.
Another highlight of the month was the recognition of some of our faculty for their excellence in research. University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton hosted a reception at his home in Fairbanks on June 21 for the Board of Regents and some outstanding faculty. Ray RaLonde (MAP) and Tom Weingartner (IMS) were honored along with Tony Gharrett (Fisheries Division) who made it only as far as Anchorage thanks to Alaska Airlines.
On the national scene, the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc. (JOI) and the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) have agreed to merge into one organization to develop a more coherent and unified approach in supporting the oceans community. I was elected as one of the four CORE representatives to the Ocean Council that will plan the evolution to a single corporation. My reward for this was having to fly to Denver for a July 7 one-day meeting in the airport and repeating the feat in September.
Other travels in July took me to Anchorage on July 21 continuing on to Seward for a July 22 meeting of the Alaska SeaLife Center Board of Directors. In Seward, I had a chance to tour Resurrection Bay aboard the catamaran M/V Keet to see areas where CFOS research faculty conduct their studies. Seward Marine Center Director Tom Smith and I also had a chance to discuss the dock plans for the long-anticipated Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV).
The highlight of my month was a 2.5 day trip to Cordova where MAP agent Torie Baker planned a visit to give me a flavor of the fishing industry in Prince William Sound and to test my stamina. After arriving at 6:00 p.m., we went "out the road" to the Million Dollar Bridge and to see the Childs Glacier. Then we went "up the river" with Bruce Cain of the Native Village of Eyak through the Abercrombie Rapids to see their Baird Canyon salmon research camp on the Copper River. I was impressed with both the Copper River and the salmon tagging operation they are undertaking. Returning after midnight, we continued the next morning with a breakfast with local fishermen and then we were off to the ADF&G office to tour their otolith laboratory. Other highlights of the trip were the visit to the Nelson Bay proposed hatchery site with Jim Kallander, presentations by Nancy Bird, Executive Director, and researchers at the Prince William Sound Science Center, and a float plane trip across Prince William Sound to visit the Main Bay salmon hatchery lead by David Reggiani, General Manager of the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation. We also found time to visit with Cordova Mayor Tim Joyce and dine with R.J. Kopchak, Director of Copper River Ecosystem Program of Ecotrust. I can now safely say that I have seen more salmon than I have eaten.
It took me a little over one year as CFOS Dean to be mentioned in an Alaska front page newspaper article, with a story appearing in the Anchorage Daily News (ADN) on July 22. The article was repeated in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on July 22 and followed up with an ADN editorial on July 25. While the public learned little about me in these articles, I learned a lot about the Anchorage Daily News. I will be better prepared next time.
June was the month we finalized the CFOS state-funded (Fund 1) budget for the next fiscal year (FY06) and I thought I would spend a few moments describing the process and outcome. A generous projection of our revenue for FY06 is $8,124,883. This total includes $5,813,739 from the UAF General Fund, $1,876,218 in Indirect Cost Recovery (ICR) or returned overhead, and $424,926 in Student Tuition and Fees. Unit operating budgets were prepared by all directors and their staff based upon faculty and staff salaries and benefits and other needs (supplies, rents, fuel oil, other services, etc.). This first step produced a set of projected expenditures totaling about $8,912,000, almost $800,000 above projected revenues. Thus during the month of June, the unit directors and I had to cut planned spending by about $800,000 to produce the balanced budget that was submitted to UAF on June 23, 2005. Our FY06 budget is actually $466 less, yes less, than last fiscal year, yet it still provides funds for faculty and staff raises. UAF provided only 80% of the cost of the raises which means that most of the unit operating budgets were reduced from last year. We can keep hoping that the Alaska Legislature will be more generous to the university next year.
I am pleased to report that Governor Murkowski signed the Capital Budget on June 28 and $10,000,000 for completion of the Fisheries Division building at Lena Point was included. If things go according to plan, we should have the final design approved by the UA Board of Regents in September. We hope to execute a construction contract in November and conduct a ground breaking ceremony in Juneau next March. Actual construction should begin in July 2006.
Another highlight of the month was the recognition of some of our faculty for their excellence in research. University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton hosted a reception at his home in Fairbanks on June 21 for the Board of Regents and some outstanding faculty. Ray RaLonde (MAP) and Tom Weingartner (IMS) were honored along with Tony Gharrett (Fisheries Division) who made it only as far as Anchorage thanks to Alaska Airlines.
On June 10, I had my first opportunity to present CFOS faculty accomplishments to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission which met in Anchorage. I described our graduate programs and research activities, highlighting the work of the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC), the West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center, Coastal Marine Institute, Cold Water Diving Program, and Census of Marine Life (CoML) studies in which CFOS faculty have a leadership role. Terry Whitledge provided the Commission with an update on the status of design and funding for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV). As you might expect, the Commission is very supportive of efforts by the National Science Foundation to fund this vessel.
I spent three days in Seattle this month (June 13-15) meeting with NOAA scientists and administrators at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and thanking representatives of the At-Sea Processor companies for their financial support of the PCCRC. In a whirlwind tour of the city, I met with (in order):
- Dr. Gary Stauffer, ASLC, Director of the Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering Division
- Dr. Phyllis Stabeno, PMEL, Research Oceanographer
- Dr. John Bengston, ASLC, Director of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory
- Dr. Tom Gelatt, ASLS, Leader of the Alaska Ecosystem Program
- Mr. Craig Cross and Ms. Svanhild Swasand Castner, President, Starbound LLC
- Mr. John Bundy, President, Glacier Fish Company
- Mr. Duane Liable, Dirk Kristensen, William L. Hurley Jr., and Justin Morgan, Glosten Associates
- Mr. Kevin Duffy, Executive Director, At-Sea Processor Association
- Dr. Arthur Nowell, Dean, UW College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences
- Mr. Bruce Lehman, Executive Director, International Pacific Halibut Commission
- Mr. Jan Jacobs and Mr. Inge Andreassen, President, American Seafoods Company LLC
- Dr. John Bullister, PMEL, Research Oceanographer
Visitors to the Dean's office this month included former IMS faculty member Dr. Tom Royer, whose wife Susan is teaching in Fairbanks this summer, and Dr. Leonard Johnson who was here for a meeting on climate change. Dr. Peter Santschi, a friend from Texas A&M University, was here to present an IMS seminar on the "Role of Exopolymeric Substances in the Ocean."
We also interviewed the second candidate for the Ted Stevens Distinguished Chair in Marine Policy. Dr. Seth Macinko, Assistant Professor of Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island, visited campus on June 30 and presented a seminar on "Thinking Differently, New Possibilities for Communities, Quotas, and Fisheries Management."
Congratulations to our staff and students who participated in the 10K Midnight Sun Run. Graduate student Alison Banks had the best CFOS time, our HR person Rose Froese finished next and student worker Elizabeth Balster finished just 2.8 seconds ahead of Executive Officer Ruth Post. My participation in the race was limited to handing out cups of waters to the runners at the 8 km point, which did earn me a MSR T-Shirt.
Finally, I am pleased to report that the CFOS Student Assistance Fund that we set up with the University of Alaska Foundation has exceeded $1,000. This fund was established "to provide financial assistance to CFOS graduate students or CFOS employees who work with graduate students who have experienced a personal emergency." Thanks to all who have contributed. Once the account surpasses $2,000, we should be in position to provide assistance to students in need. You may contribute to this fund through the UA Foundation or by contacting the Dean's office.
I hope you and your family have a great Fourth of July!
During the month of May, the CFOS Executive Council spent a considerable amount of time working on the CFOS budget for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1. All unit directors are participating in the budget process and we have been holding teleconferences almost weekly to push the process forward. We anticipate having the FY06 budget in place by mid June. For the current fiscal year, we are still in the black, thanks to the effort everyone has made to contain costs and seek new sources of research funding. The CFOS Fiscal Office has also made significant progress in cleaning up old grant accounts. I appreciate the cooperation of all Principal Investigators in this process.
In early May, we interviewed our first candidate for the Ted Stevens Distinguished Chair in Marine Policy, Dr. Ralph Townsend. Dr. Townsend met with faculty and staff in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau and presented a seminar on "Non-economic benefits of rights-based management and fisheries self governance." Several other candidates will be interviewed during the summer. Dr. Vera Alexander is Chair of the search committee.
A meeting was held in Juneau on May 11 to discuss the collaborative building plans for NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the CFOS Fisheries Division at Lena Point in Juneau. Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker, Professor Tony Gharrett and I attended with Mike Ruckhaus of UAF Design and Construction on the phone. Our new facility in Juneau will be built on the NOAA property where they are building the $51M Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute. We spent the morning discussing sewerage systems and arguing about the lease for our operation. Of course, most of the argument was about money. NOAA has redesigned their building to assure our faculty and students will have access to their library and other facilities.
I am pleased to report that on May 25 the Alaska Legislature passed SB 46, the capital appropriations budget. SB 46 includes $10,000,000 for "UAF - Ocean Sciences Facility at Lena Point." In the next few weeks, SB 46 will go to the Governor for signature. Several of our CFOS Advisory Council members contributed to this successful legislation, especially Arliss Sturgulewski and Heather McCarty. CFOS supporters from Seward, Anchorage, Kodiak and Juneau called legislators on our behalf. Although the Governor does have line item veto authority, we believe the Lena Point funding will be approved as it was high on the Board of Regents list of priorities. I have the champagne cold and ready when the Governor signs. The $10M along with the $11M in hand will allow us to build a Fisheries facility that will meet our needs and of which we will be proud.
The national Sea Grant office asked me to participate as part of a Program Assessment Team (PAT) to review the Oregon Sea Grant College Program. I spent the week of May 15 in Oregon with a five person team staying in five different hotels in five nights. Oregon has an outstanding Sea Grant program. I hope some of the things I learned in Corvallis and Newport will be of benefit to the Director Brian Allee and the Alaska Sea Grant team as they prepare for their PAT in 2006.
On May 28, FITC Director Scott Smiley and I represented CFOS at the commissioning ceremony of the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson (R224) in Kodiak. This 206 ft., acoustically quiet fisheries vessel will be used to monitor Alaskan pollock and other fisheries in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Sen. Ted Stevens and the host was NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher. I was able to tell Sen. Stevens that the legislature had funded our Lena Point building to be built next to the center named for him. The ceremony took place at the same time as Kodiak Crab Fest providing both food and entertainment. The 45 F, rainy weather in Kodiak made me glad to be back in Fairbanks for sunny Memorial Day.
At its May 25-26, 2005 Meeting, the NSF National Science Board approved a new priority order for new start Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) projects. The highest priority was the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) followed by the National Ecological Observatory Network, Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), and Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). This is good news and means that the ARRV will be first in the list of new major projects that NSF submits to Congress for funding in FY07. Arctic scientists have been waiting 30 years for this vessel. Let's hope next year is the year.
April 2005 has been my most interesting month since joining CFOS. I made my first venture to Juneau during the legislative session to meet with Alaska state legislators about the facility needs of the school. Some of you may have heard me joke that Mississippi and Alaska actually have the same state legislature; it just meets in two places at once. I still hold that opinion.
On Wednesday April 6, Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker and I hosted a tour for several legislators who visited the UAS Anderson Building and toured the UAF Lena Point construction site. We are going to build a $20M laboratory and office complex at Lena Point for the Fisheries Division. Attendees on the tour were Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch (R – Juneau), Rep. Jim Holm (R- Fairbanks) and Sen. Kim Elton (D-Juneau) made the tour along with one of Elton's staff, Jesse Kiehl. The legislative tour was set up by Ann Ringstad, Associate Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Community Engagement, and the legislative visits were arranged by Heather McCarty of McCarty and Associates, a member of the CFOS Advisory Council.
Over a two day period, Bill and I visited the following legislators and others to inform them of CFOS facility needs, especially at Lena Point.
- Rep. John Harris (Speaker, R – Valdez)
- Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch (R – Juneau)
- Rep. John Coghill (Majority Leader, R – North Pole)
- Sen. Kim Elton (D – Juneau)
- Sen. Gene Therriault (R – North Pole)
- Mr. Pete Eckland in Rep. Kevin Meyer (R - Anchorage) office
- Mr. McKie Campbell (Commissioner, Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
- Mayor Bruce Botelho (Mayor of City and Borough of Juneau)
- Sen. Gary Wilken (R – Fairbanks)
We will know if we did any good when the legislature wraps up its session this month.
From Juneau, I went directly to Seattle to participate in a North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) meeting concerning a Bering Sea initiative. Mark Johnson attended as the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) representative. Other participants include scientist from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) which is, oddly, based in Seattle. The purpose of the meeting was to plan a Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research project that NPRB will fund over the next five to ten years. This program could be a significant research opportunity for several CFOS units. The team writing the white paper that will turn into a request for proposals includes IMS faculty Terry Whitledge and Mark Johnson. While at the NOAA center in Seattle, I ran into Vera Alexander who was there to chair a PICES meeting in the same building.
Back in Fairbanks the Provost Council was cancelled this month and that left time to attend several other meeting of interest. The Enrollment Management Committee is trying to determine how we will educate more students at UAF with less state funding in the future. The IT Council is trying to determine how it will deliver a higher level of computer and communications services at UAF with less state funding in the future. The Vice Chancellor for Research and Development (VCRED) search committee is trying to determine whether it can find the right person to find the money to solve the issues of the first two committees. The VCRED search has changed and Chancellor Jones is now seeking a Director of Research, a three year position for which an internal search has been initiated.
Molly McCammon, Executive Director of the Alaska Ocean Observing System visited CFOS on April 25 with Dr. Carl Schoch, Science Director of the Oil Spill Recovery Institute in Cordova. They met with various CFOS and UAF groups interested in the ocean observing initiative being undertaken in Alaska waters. CFOS faculty, led by Mark Johnson, were awarded $1.3M in NOAA funds for ocean observing this year. Molly asked me to serve as the Chair of the AOOS Data Management and Communications (DMAC) committee. From my perspective, this is not the most exciting AOOS committee, but one vitally important to its success. I attended an AOOS DMAC committee meeting in Mississippi several years ago. I am only here today because there were no sharp objects available to me during the second day of that meeting. I declined the chance to be the AOOS DMAC Chair.
I spent the last work day of April in Anchorage attending the Alaska SeaLife Center Board Meeting. UA President Mark Hamilton also attended as the other UA representative. The meeting was held on the top floor of the Denali Tower in a sun-filled conference room with large windows overlooking the mountains around Anchorage. Life is good now that spring is here.
This report is coming out a few days late due to my March travel schedule which has now extended into the first week of April. I write this from Juneau on April 6 where Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker and I have been pounding the pavement to drum up support for state funds to construct our Fisheries Building at Lena Point. Many thanks to Heather McCarty for setting up the legislative appointments for us. Tomorrow, I am off to Seattle to meet with representatives from NOAA and the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) about a
long term study in the Bering Sea to be funded by= NPRB. Mark Johnson will also attend for CFOS. Beginning Monday, April 11, I will be in the office for th next month (except for a couple of one day trips to Anchorage).
The CORE Board of Governors meeting in early March provided me an opportunity to discuss the current federal budget with several congressional staffers and to
talk about the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) with NSF program managers. Although the ARRV was not part of the President’s FY06 budget, NSF Director
Arden Bement stated that NSF strongly supported construction of the vessel during his address to the CORE Public Policy Forum on Capitol Hill. I thanked
him for this support. I also delivered a copy of the final design of the vessel to Lisa Sutherland, Chief of Staff for the Senate Commerce Committee and former
aid to Sen. Stevens. UAF Chancellor Steve Jones and I will be discussing a strategy soon to help assure ARRV funding in FY07.
During the CORE meeting, CORE Education Director Sue Cook mentioned that they would like to see the National Ocean Science Bowl finals come to Alaska in the future. Our Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences, the Tsunami Bowl, Bowl is somewhat different from other regional competitions in that a research project is used in part to determine the winning team, and our event also includes the Ocean Connection Juried Art Show. Our unique blend of a quiz bowl, research paper, and art show has been recognized by the national ocean science bowl organizers and Phyllis Shoemaker and Susan Sugai are investigating what would be required to host the national event in Seward in 2007 or 2008.
Much effort was made by many to make the March 12-13 CFOS Advisory Council meeting in Fairbanks a marked success this year. Kathy Carter and Poppy Hochstetler did an excellent job with the arrangements, the unit directors gave interesting – if not brief – presentations and the faculty research presentations by Zygmunt Kowalik, Bodil Bluhm, and Katrin Iken generated considerable interest. We appreciate the advice the council provided on our
academic programs, facility needs, and fiscal situation. The council heard that our debt is down and number of graduates is up. In the last year we graduated 5 BS Fisheries, 13 MS Fisheries, 3 Ph.D. Fisheries, 8 MS GPMS, and 5 Ph.D.GPMSL students.
At the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) meeting in Anchorage in March, eight of the 33 successful proposals had an CFOS faculty member as principal investigator. The funding for these proposals totaled $1.8M or 30% of the total NPRB funding this year.
The Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) Policy Board met in Kodiak on March 15 concurrent with ComFish Alaska, the annual spring trade show for fish harvesters, processors, community leaders, and goods and services providers. The Policy Board heard reports on several research projects and discussed how to improve the visibility of the FITC research that supports seafood products industry. To aid in this effort, CFOS will soon advertise for a Public Information Officer who will have responsibility for developing and implementing a school-wide communication plan.
There was no good news at the UNOLS Council meeting in Washington, DC. The NSF budget for FY05 was cut by $110M and this has translated to significant cuts in Ocean Sciences research and ship operations funding. NSF will have to cut 900 ship days next year to meet the $7 to $10M cut in the $83M ship operations budget. The worse news is that I was appointed to the three-person ad hoc committee to “develop a plan for ship retirements or lay-ups that will fit the budget realities and minimize the impact on funded science programs.” Wish me luck.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center provided continuing funding to six students and awarded new fellowships to four CFOS students at its meeting on March 22. Some of you may have seen former Associate Dean Al Tyler who was in town for the meeting. Recipients of new fellowships this year were William Bechtol (Advisor: Gordon Kruse), Carrie Belben (Katrin Iken), Shannon Hanna (Loren Buck), and Cindy Tribuzio (Gordon Kruse). I hope you will find an opportunity to congratulate these outstanding students.
A quick review of the News section of the CFOS web site reveals the vitality of our programs around the state this past month. I was pleased to be able to announce this week that sixteen (16) of our support staff have received university informal recognition awards for their efforts in the past year. Our outstanding staff members contribute significantly to the success of our teaching, research and outreach efforts. The list of those recognized can be found at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/news/story/?ni=122. The Sea Grant staff asked that rather than being considered for awards, any award money they might be eligible to receive be directed to student support.
The National Ocean Science Bowl (aka the Tsunami Bowl) was a tremendous success again this year. Juneau-Douglas High School (Team Stellar) took home the top prize, but in a way every participant is a winner as their awareness of the ocean and its resources increased. Susan Sugai, Phyllis Shoemaker, Carol Kaynor and all faculty and staff who helped make the Tsunami Bowl successful are to be congratulated for making the Tsunami Bowl one of the best in the nation. Information on the participants and winners can be found at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/news/story/?ni=117.
I continue to work on several major CFOS issues including reducing our deficit with financial help from the Provost, obtaining funding for our Fisheries Division building at Lena Point in Juneau, seeking federal funding for the Alaska part of the ocean observing system, improving our academic programs, and developing the proposal to build and operate (when funded) the Alaska Region Research Vessel.
During the past month, I traveled to Seattle on February 9 and 10 to attend a reception that UAF Chancellor Steve Jones hosted for members of the Pollock Conservation Cooperative. The PCC provides support to our PCC Research Center and has endowed our Ted Stevens Chair in Marine Policy. The search committee is now reviewing applicants for that position.
I don’t recommend the 2:00 a.m. flight from Fairbanks if you intend to work in Seattle that day. I only pretended to be awake that morning when Gordon Kruse chaired the Scientific and Statistical Committee meeting of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. Sit in the back of the room if you take the 2:00 a.m. flight.
While in Seattle, I had an opportunity to meet with CFOS Advisory Council members Knut Aagaard and Chris Mitchell and to visit SeaBird Electronics in Bellevue, Washington, to discuss new instrumentation for ocean observing. One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity for Chancellor Jones and me to visit with Dr. Arthur Nowell, Dean of the School of Ocean and Fisheries Science at UW. We had an opportunity to tour their facilities, including the 100,000 sq. ft. Fisheries and Aquatic Science Building. I told the Chancellor we needed one like that in Juneau and another in Fairbanks.
On February 16-18, I was in Juneau to meet with UAS Chancellor John Pugh and UAF Chancellor Steve Jones to discuss our requirement for the new facility at Lena Point. When both Chancellors got stuck in the elevator of the Anderson Building everyone gained a higher appreciation of the need for a new facility. We are working with our legislators on this. Chancellor Jones held a reception at the Hangar in Juneau for state legislators and other supports of the Fisheries Division on February 17. Turnout was great and included three Fairbanks legislators. Many thanks to Bill Smoker and his staff for hosting this event.
We learned in February that funding for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) had been moved to the FY07 NSF budget. Apparently NSF requested the funding for next year (FY06), but the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) moved it to FY07. I am off to Washington, DC next week to meet with NSF program managers and some of our Congressional staffers to discuss the prospects for funding the ARRV, among other issues. I return just in time for the CFOS Advisory Council which meets in Fairbanks March 12 and 13 (yes we are working on the weekend).
Other trips I will make in March include the North Pacific Research Board meeting in Anchorage March 15-17 and the Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) Policy Board meeting in Kodiak on March 18. The following week I will be in Anchorage again (March 22) for the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center Board meeting before heading to Washington, DC again March 28-31 for the UNOLS Council meeting. If you would like me to visit one of your program managers at NSF or another federal agency during my late March trip, please let me know.
Catch me if you can!
This report will be the first of what I hope will be monthly messages from the Office of the Dean to the faculty, staff, and supporters of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. One always wonders how much communication is enough to keep everyone informed. When asked how much communication is necessary, UA President Mark Hamilton states that it is always “just a little more.” With that premise in mind, I plan to communicate with you more often in the year ahead.
The grounding on December 8, 2004 of the Malaysian freighter Selendang Ayu on the coast of Unalaska occurred when CFOS personnel were in Dutch Harbor to undertake some filming for the National Ocean Science Bowl. MAP agent Reid Brewer along with Dr. Susan Sugai from Alaska Sea Grant and Deborah Mercy, MAP instructional media specialist from our Anchorage office, were immediately pressed into service. They worked with the Coast Guard to manage the response effort, with Susan providing useful input from her experience with the Exxon Valdez oil spill and Deborah chartering a helicopter to produce a video map of the oil hitting the shore. Their responses were documented in articles in the Anchorage Daily News and the Fairbanks Daily New-Miner. See the News section of the CFOS web site for the stories. Susan moved from CFOS in January to become the Associate Director of the Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research (CIFAR) and we wish here every success in this new position.
Dr. Ray Highsmith will also be leaving CFOS in February. Ray came to UAF in 1983 and has been a mainstay of our undersea research. In addition to his role as a valued faculty member, he has served as Director of the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory, Director of the NOAA-NURP West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center and as Director of the CFOS Global Undersea Research Unit (GURU). Ray will become the Director of the National Institute for Undersea Technology (NIUST) at the University of Mississippi. A national search will be conducted to replace Ray. In the interim, Dr. Brenda Konar is handling operations for the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory and Dr. Jennifer Reynolds will serve as Interim Director of the West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center.
The search for the Ted Stevens Chair in Marine Policy is underway and the search committee is now evaluating applications. This endowed faculty chair is sponsored by the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center, an CFOS center funded by contributions from a fishing cooperative of companies that operate catcher/processors in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands pollock fishery. The companies include: Alaska Ocean Seafood, LP, American Seafoods Company, LLC, Arctic Storm, Inc., Glacier Fish Company, LLC, Highland Light Seafoods, LLC, Starbound, LLC, and Trident Seafoods Corporation. We hope to have this position filled by the fall semester.
CFOS Unit Directors and I gathered in Anchorage January 17 and 18 for a retreat held at the new MAP offices on Third Avenue. The retreat provided an opportunity for us to share ideas about how to better manage CFOS operations and to discuss new opportunities for our teaching, research and service programs. Topics discussed ranged from revitalizing the undergraduate program in Fisheries to how to pick the CFOS faculty of the future. I hope the retreat has provided a foundation for us to work together better.
The CFOS Advisory Council will meet in Fairbanks on March 12-13, 2005 (yes these are a Saturday and Sunday). Some of the topics discussed at the Directors’ retreat will be on the agenda for that meeting in IARC. I encourage you to attend if you can.
I traveled to Juneau on January 13-14 to discuss the planned construction of new Fisheries Division at Lena Point with our faculty and with the University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor, John Pugh. I will be off to Juneau again February 16-18 when the UA Board of Regents meets. We will again meet concerning the Lena Point facility and Chancellor Steve Jones will hold a reception for supporters of the CFOS Fisheries Division on the evening of February 17.
February 9 and 10, I travel to Seattle for the meeting of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. While there, Chancellor Jones and I will meet with the Dean of the University of Washington College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences and tour their new Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences Building. Chancellor Jones will also host a reception for the members of the Pollock Conservation Cooperative on the evening of February 9.
With the National Ocean Science Bowl in Seward February 18-20 and the other activities planned by our faculty, February is going to be a busy month, and hopefully warmer. I already notice and enjoy the additional 6 minutes of daylight each day.
Many of you realize that I have been traveling much of the last few weeks and I will be away three days during the next two weeks. After only four months on the job, I have made Alaska Airlines MVP Gold status. I would rather have taken a year to accomplish this frequent flyer level. I thought I should report on those trips so you will know that I am not just trying to escape the snow outside.
October 11-15, I was in Washington, DC to attend the UNOLS Council meeting. During that week, in addition to attending the UNOLS Council and Annual Meeting, I had meetings with:
- Dr. Richard (Rick) Spinrad – NOAA Assistant Administrator & NOS Director
- Dr. Gary Matlock – NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) Director
- Mike Hemsley – Ocean.US Deputy Director for Coastal Operations
- Dr. David Policansky – National Research Council and Chair, CFOS Advisory Council
- John Rayfield – Staff Director Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
- Stephen Peranich – Legislative Director for Congressmen Gene Taylor (D – Mississippi)
- Barbara Moore – NOAA National Undersea Research Program (NURP) Director
- Dolly Dieter and Mike Reeve – National Science Foundation Ship Operation Program Managers
October 22, I was in Anchorage, AK to attend the Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) Policy Board meeting that was held at our MAP offices.
October 26-27, I was in Seward, AK to attend the Alaska SeaLife Center Board of Directors meeting and to attend the opening of the ASLC 3rd Annual Research Colloquium.
This week I will be traveling to Girdwood, AK on Wednesday (Nov. 3) to attend the Marine Advisory Program (MAP) retreat and will be in Anchorage on Thursday (Nov. 4) evening for the Sea Grant Dinner with their Advisory Board. On Friday (Nov. 5), I will accompany UAF Chancellor Steve Jones to Seward, AK to visit with CFOS faculty and staff, meet with Seward city leaders and tour the CFOS Seward Marine Center and the Alaska SeaLife Center. We will host a dinner with Chancellor and a select group of 53 from the city of Seward on Friday night. I will report the results of that trip to you next week.
November 11 and 12, I will be in Seattle, WA to visit with Glosten Associates (designer of the ARRV), several people at NOAA PMEL, the International Pacific Halibut Commission, SeaBird Electronics, and some friends of CFOS. From Seattle I fly to San Diego, CA to attend the National Association of Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) meeting where I have been appointed by Chancellor Jones to the Board of Oceans and Atmospheres.
After this trip to San Diego, I hope to be in the office for one continuous month – if I am lucky.