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2021-2024 Membership

Committee Members:

Scott Rayder, Alabama Water Institute, University of Alabama, Chair
Sara Graves, Ph.D., University of Alabama in Huntsville
Jason Biggs, Ph.D., University of Guam
Daniel Costa, Ph.D., Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz
Catherine Edwards, Ph.D., Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, University of Georgia
Eoin Howlett, Tetra Tech
Molly McCammon, Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS)
Julio Morell, Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CARICOOS)
Ruth Perry, Ph.D., Shell Exploration & Production Company
Jennifer Read, Ph.D., Univ of Michigan Water Center Graham Sustainability Institute
Daniel Rudnick, Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego
Oscar Schofield, Ph.D., Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership
Jyotika Virmani, Ph.D., Schmidt Ocean Institute
Richard “Dick” West, ADM (ret.), Independent Consultant
Robert “Bob” Winokur, Independent Consultant

Ex-Officio Members:

Carrie Schmaus, U.S. Department of Energy
Jennifer Hailes, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command
Laura Lorenzoni, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Susan Yee, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Josie Quintrell, IOOS Association

Committee Member Bios

Scott Rayder, Alabama Water Institute, University of Alabama, Chair: Mr. Rayder is currently the Director of the Alabama Water Institute located at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Previously, Mr. Rayder was the Vice President and Senior Advisor to the President of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. He has experience with the Geospatial Systems division of ITT Defense and Information Systems, was the NOAA Chief of Staff from 2001-2008, Director of Government Relations at CORE, was on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science. He has recently joined the Wilson Center’s steering committee on Planning and Risk Management for Security-Related Disruptive Water and Weather Events, and was the Honorary Director of the IOOS Association from 2016-2017.

Sara Graves, Ph.D., University of Alabama: Dr. Graves is the current Director of University of Alabama’s Information Technology and Systems Center, and has experience as the Director of the Information Technology Research Center of the National Space Science and Technology Center. She has served on numerous committees, including those for National Academy of Sciences, GCOOS, and NOAA, focusing on data science, open code policy, and geospatial technology, among others. 

Jason Biggs, Ph.D., University of Guam: Dr. Jason Biggs is an Associate Professor of Marine Ecology at the University of Guam with over 25 years of experience in facilitating collaborations across all sectors of coastal communities for the sustainable management of marine resources. He has served as the Scientific Advisor to the Governor of Guam for All Ocean Matters (2011-18), aided in facilitating the creation of the University of Guam Sea Grant Program (2008-12), and continues to serve the Insular Pacific on a variety of federal, local, and indigenous councils. He has been involved in managing ocean observing systems since the creation of the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System in 2008 and has earned multiple recognitions for his dedication to the next generation of ocean stewards.

Daniel Costa, Ph.D., Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz: Daniel Costa is Director of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Distinguished Professor at UCSC. He received a B.A. in Zoology from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Biology from U.C. Santa Cruz, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. His research integrates physiology, behavior, and ecology, providing insight into the factors that shape the life histories of marine mammals and seabirds. He is studying the relationship between animal movements and oceanography, focusing on how climate-driven oceanographic processes affect their foraging behavior and success. He has been a pioneer in the use of animals to collect oceanographic data and has collaborated across multiple disciplines, including physical and biological oceanographers, ocean modelers, and ice dynamics. He co- founded the Tagging of Pacific Predators, a field program of the Census of Marine Life, to study the movement patterns of 23 species of marine vertebrate predators ranging from bluefin tuna, blue whales, white sharks, albatross, and elephant seals and sea turtles. He has published 428 scientific papers and has served on the editorial boards of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, Marine Mammal Science, and Functional Ecology. He has been a guest editor of Deep-Sea Research and Endangered Species Research and is currently an Associate Editor for Animal Biotelemetry, Frontiers of Marine Science, and is an Editor of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. He served as the Chief Scientist for the winter 2001 and 2002 Southern Ocean GLOBEC cruises on the ARSV LM Gould. While a program manager at ONR, he developed ONR’s Marine Mammal Research program. He was responsible for the marine mammal research program for the Acoustic Thermography of the Ocean Climate (ATOC) experiment. He served on the CENCOOS governing council, and the SSC of the U.S. GLOBEC, Southern Ocean GLOBEC, CoML-Census of Marine Life, CLIOTOP, IMBeR, and ICED programs and on the USA Ocean Research Advisory Panel. He was a founding member of the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) as well as the GOOS BioEco Panel. He currently serves on the NASEM Ocean Studies Board and is a USA representative to Scientific Committee on Ocean Research (SCOR).

Catherine Edwards, Ph.D., Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, University of Georgia: Catherine Edwards is a physical oceanographer and Associate Professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and in the Department of Marine Sciences at University of Georgia, based in Savannah, Georgia. A native of New Orleans, Dr. Edwards earned a BS in Physics with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and worked as an ocean modeler at the US Naval Research Laboratory before earning her PhD in Physical Oceanography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Edwards has been working with underwater gliders since 2003, and specializes in their use in energetic environments where traditional sampling may not be possible. Dr. Edwards developed an innovative collaborative model for a regional glider observatory, and established operations for the South East Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) regional glider observatory in 2016. Her expertise in addressing challenging interdisciplinary problems with novel methods has been recognized by invitations to serve as a program reviewer and panelist for multiple programs within the National Science Foundation, and invited participation in national and international workshops designed to advance the field. Dr. Edwards works closely with Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, where she established glider acoustic telemetry and soundscapes programs, and serves in their Science Advisory Group. Dr. Edwards is dedicated to increased visibility of ocean science through community involvement, public relations, and outreach, and has partnered with local schoolteachers in the Savannah Chatham County Public School System, the University of Georgia’s Marine Extension service, the Society of Women Engineers, the PULSE Art+Technology Festival at the Jepson Museum of Art in Savannah, and other local groups to share ocean science with diverse audiences. Dr. Edwards’s work has been featured in local, regional, and national press, including Science Magazine, WIRED, Forbes, and The Weather Channel.

Eoin Howlett, Tetra Tech: Mr. Howlett is currently the VP of Advanced Analytics at Tetra Tech, a global science and engineering company (www.tetratech.com) where he oversees the use of technology across the 38 operating units that serve government and private clients. He is responsible for technology strategy at Tetra Tech in many sectors, including water, oceans and coasts, and international development bank projects. The technology focus areas are geospatial, Big Data, Cloud migration, sensors, and AI/Machine Learning. Previously, Mr. Howlett was the CEO of Applied Science Associates (ASA), a science and technology company founded out of the Graduate School of Oceanography at URI – ASA was acquired by RPS Group in 2011 where he managed the global Ocean Science and Metocean divisions, providing ocean observing, modeling, and data analytics services to international governments and commercial clients. He has over 25 years of experience in software development, GIS, ocean observing, modeling and ocean data integration. He has served as a member of the U.S IOOC DMAC Steering Team, the ORRAP (Ocean Research & Resources Advisory Panel) Ocean Observing Sub-Panel, and NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) Data Archiving and Access Requirements Working Group (DAARWG). In addition, he has served on various IOOS Data Management teams, both for the Program Office and various IOOS regional associations. He currently sits on the technical advisory committee (TAC) for the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current Data Hub (GULFHUB). Mr. Howlett holds a BE (Electronic Engineering, University College Dublin, Ireland), an MBA (University of Rhode Island), and is currently enrolled at MIT for an executive program in Machine Learning.

Molly McCammon: Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS): Molly McCammon is the former founding Executive Director and now Senior Advisor for the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), She serves as co-chair of NOAA Science Advisory Board’s Ecosystem Sciences and Management Working Group and chair of the IOOS Association’s Public Policy Committee. She is a past member of the National Research Council’s Polar Research Board, serving on its Committee on Designing an Arctic Observing Network. She also served on the initial Advisory Group for the National Academy of Science’s Gulf Research Program. Prior to her position at AOOS, she served for 10 years as the Executive Director of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, managing the restoration program following the 1989 oil spill. She has extensive experience in science management and public policy in Alaska, working on natural resources, fisheries, and issues facing Alaskan Native communities with the Alaska Governor's Office, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Alaska Legislature.

Julio Morell, Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CARICOOS): Since 2007, Julio M. Morell has served as Executive Director and Principal Investigator of the Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CARICOOS), a regional component of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System. Prof. Morell’s ocean experience made him aware of coastal information needs faced by diverse societal sectors in the Caribbean. For more than a decade, Prof. Morell has focused on the development of CARICOOS with the goal of providing for these needs. This has required continuous engagement of stakeholder sectors and building strategic partnerships with pertinent research, educational, federal, state and private entities that have made CARICOOS a reality (https://www.caricoos.org/). Professor Morell currently serves on several advisory committees including the Puerto Rico Climate Change Council, the UPR Sea Grant program, the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, The Ocean Foundation, the South Puerto Rico Harbor Safety and Security Committee and the IOOS Association. Mr. Morell holds a B.Sc. in Natural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras and a MS in Chemical Oceanographer at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. A native of Puerto Rico, Mr. Morell has pursued various fields in his oceanography career including plankton metabolism, marine pollution by oil and debris and the study of tropical marine biogeochemical processes and their role in modulating atmospherically active gases.

Professor Morell also participated in interdisciplinary research efforts towards identifying the influence of major river plumes (Orinoco and Amazon) and mesoscale processes, such as eddies and internal waves, on the optical, physical and biogeochemical character of Eastern Caribbean waters. More recent research targets include the diverse expressions of climate and ocean acidification in our oceanic and coastal surroundings and ocean observing applied science. 

Ruth Perry, Ph.D., Shell Exploration & Production Co.: Dr. Perry has worked as a marine scientist and regulatory policy specialist for Shell, centered in Houston Texas. Her work focuses on stakeholder engagement in resource, policy, and environmental issues. Since coming to Shell in 2014 she has been on several projects, including a partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi that used gliders to improve forecasting. The projects are diverse, and also include the use of ROVs and an ocean acidification study. Before her current job at Shell Dr. Perry was a research scientist at the Houston NOAA office working for GCOOS, where her responsibilities included stakeholder and public engagement after the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Jennifer Read, Ph.D., University of Michigan: Dr. Read is the current Director of the Water Center housed at University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute. Her focus lies in restoration programs within the Great Lakes, particularly within planning and feasibility studies and projects with diverse stakeholders. Dr. Read is on the Advisory Board for the Great Lakes Blue Accounting program and NOAA’s Ecosystem Services Working Group, and has past experience as the Assistant Director and acting Director of Michigan Sea Grant. 

Daniel Rudnick, Ph.D., University of California San Diego: Dr. Daniel L. Rudnick is a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he formerly held positions as Deputy Director of Education, and Director of the Climate Ocean Atmosphere Program. Dr. Rudnick earned his Ph.D. in oceanography in 1987 from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and his B.A. in physics in 1981 at the University of California, San Diego.  Dr. Rudnick is an observational oceanographer whose research focuses on processes in the upper ocean. His particular interests include fronts and eddies, air-sea interaction, the stirring and mixing of physical and biological tracers, the effect of oceanic structure on acoustic propagation, boundary currents, and coastal circulation. He is keenly interested in observational instrumentation, having been involved in the development and/or operations of moorings, towed and underway profilers, autonomous underwater gliders, and profiling floats. Dr. Rudnick has sailed on over 25 oceanographic cruises, over half as chief scientist. He has authored over 120 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Rudnick served as a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Rudnick is Chair of the Executive Steering Committee of the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS). Dr. Rudnick is involved with OceanGliders, an emerging network in the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), where he serves as a member of the steering team and leads the task team on a Boundary Ocean Observing Network (BOON).

Oscar Schofield, Ph.D., Rutgers University: Dr. Schofield is the Chair for the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University, and has experience as the co-founder and co-Director of the Center of Ocean Observing Leadership. Dr. Schofield focuses include oceanic primary productivity and climate change, hydrological optics, and global geochemistry. He has extensive mentoring and teaching experience at the university level, and has participated in several educational podcasts and documentary films. He has helped coordinate the Gliderpalooza efforts than span the United States and Canada, and participated in numerous K-12 STEM outreach efforts. 

Jyotika Virmani, Ph.D., Schmidt Ocean Institute: Dr. Virmani is the Executive Director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute.  Dr. Virmani is the former director of Prize Operations and the Planet & Environment domain at XPRIZE as well as a producer at Runic Films. Dr. Virmani has prior ocean observing experience as the Associate Director of Florida Institute of Oceanography and the Executive Director of the FLCOOS Consortium. She is the lead author in several publications concerning innovative marine technology, has a significant media presence, and has served on the SECOORA Board of Directors.

Dick West, ADM (ret.), Independent Consultant: Mr. West served as a surface warfare officer on several ships and commanded three ships in a 38 year US Navy career.  He retired as Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy.  He served as President/CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Research and Education [CORE] a DC based non-profit representing the academic and private ocean research and education community.  He has served on several federal advisory committees including four with NOAA.

Bob Winokur, Independent Consultant: Mr. Winokur retired from federal service in 2013 after 52 years in various ocean and marine centered positions, and is currently a consultant for ocean and satellite-based remote sensing programs and management projects, including NESDIS and the Independent Review team that assesses NOAA’s oceanographic ship fleet. Mr. Winokur has experience in several high-level positions at Naval Operations, the National Weather Service, and the Navy. He also currently sits on several committees, including the NASA Joint Polar Satellite System Standing Review Board, NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB), and the National Academies Ocean Studies Board.


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