David Fluharty, a University of Washington marine affairs expert, has been named to chair the science advisory board of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency that manages and conducts research about the nation’s ocean and atmospheric resources. NOAA’s $3.4 billion budget pays for such things as weather and climate prediction, fisheries management and coastal area protection and restoration.
“I look forward to Dr. Fluharty’s leadership to continue to provide the best information and guidance of scientific issues critical to NOAA’s missions,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad Lautenbacher, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, who was in Seattle Wednesday.
The board is the only committee advising Lautenbacher on long- and short-term strategies for NOAA’s ecosystem research and science enterprise.
Fluharty, who was appointed to the science advisory board in 2005, already shepherded a team considering how NOAA can implement an ecosystem approach to management over the next several decades. The team’s recommendations have been approved by the board, and are being submitted to NOAA.
“The move toward using an ecosystem approach to management was a major NOAA initiative that followed recommendations from the Ocean Policy Commission,” says Tom Leschine, director of the UW School of Marine Affairs. “Part of the rationale behind naming Dave as chairman is to ensure continuity in implementing the recommendations of the panel he led.”
The board’s other recent efforts include an assessment of hurricane intensity and climate change, and indepth reviews of NOAA’s cooperative efforts with other institutions. Just completed, for example, is a review of the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Oceans, a NOAA-UW collaboration based at the UW.
The 15-member board is composed of eminent scientists, engineers, resource managers and educators, according to NOAA. Members are appointed by Lautenbacher to serve a three-year term with the possibility of reappointment.
Fluharty holds the Wakefield Professor of Ocean and Fisheries Science at the UW, where he has been an associate professor since 1998. He began his career at the university as a post-doctoral student in 1976, and served as a research associate and research associate professor. His teaching and research interests focus on natural-resource policy and management at national and international levels, fisheries, marine protected areas, regional effects of climate change and implementation of ecosystem approaches to management.
He served nine years on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which managed federal fisheries off Alaska.