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Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth’s Surface APPENDIX B Community Input Because of the highly interdisciplinary nature of Earth surface processes research, the committee sought input from a broad cross section of the research community (Table B.1). Solicited input was obtained in one of two ways: (1) presentations from and discussion with external panelists representing disciplines in Earth surface process research; and (2) responses to a nationally and internationally distributed questionnaire containing three questions developed by the committee (Box B.1). Unsolicited input was also accepted from individuals or groups of researchers who were aware of the study and chose to submit written comments or documents for the committee’s consideration. The committee also used input from white papers that were to be drafted after various National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored workshops conducted during 2007-2008 in areas specifically oriented toward Earth surface process research. A list of speakers who presented at the committee’s meetings and the committee’s questionnaire are included at the end of this appendix. The questionnaire was forwarded and published in 25 Earth science-oriented listservs, websites, newsletters, journals, and professional societies (Section B.1); 8 boards, study committees, and sections within the National Academies; and 9 offices or programs within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). As of August 1, 2008, there were a total of 83 responses to the questionnaire. Of these, 55 self-identified their sector as “university faculty,” 14 as “public sector,” 8 as “private sector,” 2 as “other,” 2 as “graduate student,” and 2 as “NGO” (nongovernmental organization). Responses came from at least 25 states and 4 foreign countries (note that not all respondents provided their name and affiliation). Responses to each question covered a broad range, but a few themes emerged repeatedly. The broadest area of agreement among respondents was the significance of new remote-sensing technologies for the field. Dating techniques, modeling, computing technology, and
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Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth’s Surface data access were also highlighted by many comments. Conceptual advances in our understanding of climate change and the role and significance of human factors, as well as partnerships between different fields were called out as important steps by many respondents as well. The two most common challenges listed by respondents were funding issues and barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration. TABLE B.1 Organizations and Their Associated Publications or Listservs to Which the Questionnaire Announcement Was Sent Organization, Publication, or Listserv Association of American Geographers (AAG) Newsletter and selected specialty groups American Geological Institute (AGI) GeoSpectrum, Government Affairs Monthly Review American Geophysical Union (AGU) Eos American Society of Limnology and Oceanography listserv America Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) listserv Association for Women Geoscientists listserv Canadian Geomorphology Research Group listserv Clay Minerals Society listserv European Science Foundation Friends of Mineralogy listserv GSA Connection Gilbert Club listserv Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies listserv International Association of Geomorphologists listserv International Association of Hydrogeologists listserv Mineralogical Society of America listserv National Speleological Society listserv Paleontological Society listserv Seismological Society of America listserv Society for Sedimentary Geology listserv Society of Economic Geologists listserv Society of Exploration Geophysicists listserv Society of Vertebrate Paleontology listserv Soil Science Society of America listserv U.S. Permafrost Association listserv
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Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth’s Surface BOX B.1 Committee Questionnaire At the request of the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council is conducting a study that will assess (1) the state of the art of the multidisciplinary field of Earth surface processes, (2) the fundamental research questions in the future for the field, and (3) the challenges and opportunities facing the research community and the nation in answering these questions. The committee is addressing the task by considering research on the dynamic biological, chemical, physical, and human processes, interactions, and feedback mechanisms that affect the shape of Earth’s surface across a range of spatial and temporal scales, from continental interiors to the oceans, and from polar to equatorial regions. The committee is dedicated to generating a report that will be used by a wide audience including policy makers, agency managers, scientists from many disciplines, and society. The report will have the greatest impact on future research if it has strong input from a broad spectrum of the interested community. During its few scheduled study meetings, the committee cannot hear from all of the many interested individuals who have important input to this topic, so the committee seeks your help in the form of written contributions to the following set of questions: What have been the four most significant conceptual and/or technological advances in Earth surface processes in the last 15 years? What are two emergent and fundamental questions that Earth surface processes research can address? What challenges (organizational, administrative, conceptual, philosophical, etc.) exist in conducting the research needed to answer the fundamental questions identified in Question 2? B.2 LIST OF SPEAKERS AT COMMITTEE MEETINGS Teofilo Abrajano, NSF Rafael L. Bras, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Oliver Chadwick, University of California, Santa Barbara Terry Chapin, University of Alaska Michael Church, University of British Columbia Louis Derry, Cornell University Martin Doyle, University of North Carolina Tom Drake, Office of Naval Research Michael Ellis, NSF Jon Foley, University of Wisconsin Christian France-Lanord, CNRS-Nancy, France
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Landscapes on the Edge: New Horizons for Research on Earth’s Surface Joseph Galewsky, University of New Mexico Arthur Goldstein, University of New England Neal Iverson, Iowa State University Matthew Larsen, USGS Randy McBride, George Mason University Gregory Okin, University of California, Los Angeles Denise Reed, University of New Orleans Robert Stallard, USGS Brad Werner, Scripps Institution of Oceanography James Whitcomb, NSF