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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science Appendixes

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science This page in the original is blank.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science Appendix A Earth Science Programs NSF EARTH SCIENCE DIVISION The Earth Science Division (EAR) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) supports research in the solid-Earth sciences—geology, geochemistry, geophysics—and continental hydrology. EAR is part of the Geosciences Directorate of NSF, along with the Ocean Sciences Division (OCE) and the Atmospheric Sciences Division (ATM). EAR supports both long-term core programs and fixed-term special emphasis areas. The core programs provide a mechanism for funding unsolicited proposals from individual investigators or small groups of investigators (two to four principal investigators [PIs]). They include disciplinary research programs (geology and paleontology, geophysics, hydrologic sciences, petrology and geochemistry, and tectonics), multidisciplinary research programs (continental dynamics), education and human resources, and instrumentation and facilities. A brief description of the core programs and their FY 1999 budgets is given in Box A. 1 . Special emphasis areas are chosen periodically, usually in response to national research initiatives identified by NSF or science advisory committees. They are announced separately from the core programs and have defined goals that are evaluated by special criteria in addition to the standard NSF requirements for scientific excellence. The core programs are “taxed” to pay for these special emphasis areas. EAR is currently supporting two special emphasis areas in the solid-Earth sciences (Active Tectonics [AT] and Cooperative Studies of the Earth’s Deep Interior [CSEDI]), along with several other

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science multidivision or NSF-wide programs in research, education, and science and technology centers (see Box A.2 , Table A.1 ). Most of these programs are partially funded by other divisions of NSF or other federal agencies (see “EAR Collaboration with Other Agencies” below). Box A.1. EAR Core Programs Geology and Paleontology ($12.3 million). Supports studies of physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes at or near the Earth’s surface and the landform, sediments, fossils, low-temperature fluids, and sedimentary rocks they produce. Geophysics ($17.2 million). Supports research related to the composition, structure, and processes of the Earth’s interior. Hydrologic Sciences ($6.9 million). Supports research dealing with the Earth’s hydrologic cycle and the role of water on and near the continental surfaces of the Earth. Petrology and Geochemistry ($12.4 million). Supports research on igneous, metamorphic, and hydrothermal processes that occur within the Earth and other planetary bodies and on the minerals, rocks, fluids, and ore deposits resulting from these processes. Tectonics ($8.4 million). Supports research related to understanding the tectonic history of the lithosphere through time. Continental Dynamics ($8.7 million). Supports multidisciplinary research on the origin, structure, composition, and dynamical evolution of the continents and continental building blocks. The program is oriented toward (1) projects that are not easily funded under the above programs, and (2) projects whose scope and complexity require a multiinstitutional approach and multiyear planning and execution. Education and Human Resources ($3.0 million). Coordinates the division’s efforts to improve Earth science education and provides liaison between the Earth science research community and NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources. Instrumentation and Facilities ($26.3 million). Supports the acquisition or upgrade of equipment required for research, the development of new instrumentation and techniques, the operation of multiuser or national facilities, and the funding of research technicians.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science Box A.2. EAR Special Emphasis Areas and Cross-Cutting Programs Active Tectonics. Supports basic research in tectonically active systems of the Earth’s continental crust. Continental Margins Research. Supports research on understanding the interaction of mechanical, chemical, biological, and fluid processes that govern the initiation, evolution, and destruction of continental margins, as well as the accumulation of resources in these regions. Cooperative Studies of the Earth’s Deep Interior. Supports collaborative, interdisciplinary studies of the Earth’s interior, including the character and dynamics of the Earth’s mantle and core, their influence on the evolution of the Earth, and processes operating within the deep interior. Earth System History. Supports research on understanding the natural variability of the Earth system (land, ocean, atmosphere), including the forcing mechanisms, interactions, and feedbacks among its components, with annual to millennial resolution. Environmental Geochemistry and Biogeochemistry. Supports interdisciplinary research on chemical processes that determine the behavior and distribution of inorganic and organic materials in environments near the Earth’s surface. International Continental Drilling Program. Supports drilling, on a global scale, to advance knowledge of the composition, structure, and processes of the Earth’s crust Life in Extreme Environments. Supports research on microbial life forms and the extreme environments in which they exist, with the goal of detecting and understanding the life forms that may exist beyond Earth. National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. Supports research on earthquake processes as the foundation for applying earthquake hazard reduction measures. Water and Energy: Atmospheric, Vegetative and Earth Interactions. Supports research on the Earth’s hydrologic and energy cycles with the goal of assessing the potential impact of human activities on these cycles and the climate system in general. Water and Watersheds. Supports systems-oriented research at the watershed scale in a multidisciplinary framework, including physical or engineering, biological, and social sciences.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science TABLE A.1 . EAR Special Emphasis Areas Program Title FY 1999 EAR Portion (million dollars) Source of Funds Research Programs AT 1.0 EAR/tectonics CSEDI 1.0 EAR/geophysics ESH 6.1 EAR/geology and paleontology, EAR/continental dynamics, EAR/instrumentation and facilities, ATM, OCE, OPP, NOAA EGB 2.3 EAR/hydrologic sciences, ATM, OCE ICDP 0.7 EAR/continental dynamics, USGS LExEn 0.3 EAR/geology and paleontology, BIO, ENG, ATM, DMS, OPP, NASA MARGINS 0.3 EAR/continental dynamics, OCE, ODP NEHRP 11.3 EAR/continental dynamics, EAR/instrumentation and facilities, EAR/geophysics, ENG, USGS, NIST, FEMA RUI not avail. Individual EAR programs Water and Watersheds 0.3 EAR/hydrology, EPA, USDA WEAVE 2.5 EAR/hydrologic sciences, EAR/instrumentation and facilities, ATM, BIO Science and Technology Centers CHiPR 1.8 EAR/instrumentation and facilities, OIA SCEC 2.5 EAR/geophysics, OIA Education Programs CAREER 0.2 Individual EAR programs, NSF-wide Postdoctoral Research Fellowships 0.7 EAR/education and human resources, NSF-wide REU sites 0.6 EAR/education and human resources, NSF-wide RPG 0.2 EAR/education and human resources, NSF-wide Other educational activities 0.6 EAR/education and human resources NOTE: BIO = Biological Sciences Directorate (NSF); CAREER = Faculty Early Career Development; CHiPR = Center for High Pressure Research; DMS = Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate (NSF); EGB = Environmental Geochemistry and Biogeochemistry; ENG = Directorate for Engineering (NSF); EPA = Environmental Protection Agency; ESH = Earth System History; FEMA = Federal Emergency Management Agency; ICDP = International Continental Drilling Program; LExEn = Life in Extreme Environments; MARGINS = Continental Margins Research; NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration; NEHRP = National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program; NIST = National Institute of Standards and Technology; NOAA = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; ODP = Ocean Drilling Program; OIA = Office of Integrative Activities (NSF); OPP = Office of Polar Programs (NSF); REU = Research Experience for Undergraduates; RPG = Research Planning Grants and career advancement; RUI = Research in Undergraduate Institutions; SCEC = Southern California Earthquake Center; USDA = U.S. Department of Agriculture; USGS = U.S. Geological Survey; WEAVE = Water and Energy: Atmospheric, Vegetative and Earth Interactions.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science Figures A.1 and A.2 show the evolution of the EAR budget over the past 24 years. Since 1982, the number of programs within EAR has increased, a trend that accelerated in the 1990s. The budget for basic research has remained level but has been reprogrammed to accommodate two additional core programs (continental dynamics and hydrologic sciences) and 11 research-related special emphasis programs (see Table A.1 ). As a result, funding for the discipline core programs—the traditional heart of EAR—is at its lowest level in 20 years. Another significant change in the EAR budget occurred in the early 1990s, when funding priorities were shifted toward new facilities (e.g., Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology [IRIS] and University NAVSTAR Consortium [UNAVCO]) and Science and Technology Centers (STCs). (These programs also have a significant research component.) The creation of these facilities and centers was in response to growing recognition in the 1980s of the creeping obsolescence of academic research facilities in the Earth sciences. 1 , 2 , 3 Most of these programs have been highly successful, and some have generated new money for EAR. For example, in 1997, the Department of Defense transferred funding for deployment of the Global Seismic Network (GSN) to EAR, and the Geosciences Division increased EAR funding for IRIS. More than 7.5 Terabytes of seismic data from the network and field experiments are now available through the IRIS data management system. 1   Opportunities for Research in the Geological Sciences, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 95 pp., 1983. 2   Research Briefings 1983, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 99 pp., 1983. 3   Earth Materials Research: Report of a Workshop on Physics and Chemistry of Earth Materials, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 132 pp., 1987.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science FIGURE A.1 . EAR budget history from 1975 to 1999. SOURCE: EAR.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science FIGURE A.2 . EAR budget history from 1975 to 1999 in terms of constant 1998 buying power. SOURCE: EAR.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science The FY 1999 budget of EAR is $95 million, with 62% devoted to research, 3% to education, and 35% to instruments, facilities, and science and technology centers. Although the budget has been increasing by an average of 4% per year ( Figure A.1 ), the growth in the budget has not kept pace with the growth of the Earth science research community that relies on the NSF for funding. Between 1990 and 1998, the number of PIs applying for EAR funding rose by 17% (from 1949 to 2288), but the number of PIs funded fell by 10%. The success rate of a proposal to EAR is now 31%, down from 39% in 1990. Moreover, partly to support as many well-reviewed proposals as possible, EAR has not increased the size of its awards (on average $55,000 per award for research grants) for the last several years. Consequently, the buying power of EAR grants has decreased with time. EAR Education Programs EAR devotes most of its $1.8 million education budget to postdoctoral research fellowships and the NSF-wide Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. The latter both supplements individual investigator research grants and supports REU sites (see Table A.2 ), which bring students together in a common project. The REU program has been successful in getting students involved with cutting-edge research and pursuing careers in the Earth sciences. Many of the STCs host REU sites, and similar sites could be built into EarthScope or the natural laboratory program proposed in this report. Two other NSF-wide programs in which EAR participates have been less successful—Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) and Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI). The goal of the CAREER program is to reward young scientists who want to add a strong educational component to their research program. However, the proposal process places unrealistic expectations on junior faculty in terms of the required scope, and the proposals are judged against research proposals and therefore rarely succeed. The RUI program seeks to direct more research money to smaller schools which commonly have a greater emphasis on education than research universities. The proposals are given special consideration by the review panels and, if successful, will be funded from the relevant core program. Like other research proposals, RUI proposals are not required to have an explicit educational component and therefore do not further EAR goals in this area.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science TABLE A.2 . REU Sites Funded by EAR Location Task University of Alaska Field work in geology and geophysics in Alaska University of Tennessee Collaborations among students in social and physical sciences on environmental problems, science, and public policy Georgia State University Geologic and geochemical investigations through the Atlanta Consortium for Research in the Earth Sciences University of Minnesota Participation of women in research on the origin and history of glacial deposits San Diego State University/Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Summer of Applied Geophysical Experience—Applied geophysics in the Rio Grande Rift State University of New York, Stony Brook Laboratory studies in high-pressure geophysics and mineral physics Furman University Interdisciplinary research on watersheds Carleton College Minority participation in the Keck Geology Consortium field program University of Nevada, Reno Geologic mapping in the field with mentors from the state geologic surveys Carnegie Institution of Washington Laboratory research in mineral physics and chemistry National Museum of Natural History Museum research training program RELATED FEDERAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS Several federal agencies support basic research in the Earth sciences. The research programs of the agencies with the largest Earth science programs—the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)— and their collaborations with EAR are described below and in Table A.3 . U.S. Geological Survey The USGS is the nation’s primary provider of Earth science information on geologic hazards and resources and the nation’s geologic framework. The FY 1999 USGS budget was $1.1 billion, including appropriated funds and

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science TABLE A.3 . Major Multiagency Collaborative Projects (FY 1999) Project EAR Contribution per Year Partner Contribution per Year APS synchrotron facility Facility support ($1.4 million) DOE: beamline construction, instrumentation support, Facility operations ($90 million), and beamline support ($0.7 million) Continental drilling Facility and research support ($1.2 million) USGS: site characterization and research ($0.5 million) Equipment a Equipment purchase ($1.4 million) NASA: equipment purchase ($2.4 million) GSN Network installation, operation and maintenance ($3.3 million) USGS: network installation and service and data archive ($3.8 million) NEHRP Research and facilities ($10.9 million) USGS: network installation, hazard assessment, and research ($50 million) SAR data purchase Data purchase and research support ($0.1 million) NASA: data purchase and SAR consortium support ($0.1 million) USGS: data purchase ($0.05 million) SCIGN array Instrumentation and operations ($ 1.5 million) USGS: instrumentation, personnel, and research support ($0.5 million) NASA: installation of 200 sites ($6 million), data processing ($0.1 million), and research support ($0.3 million) UNAVCO GPS equipment, engineering and technical support, data management system ($1.7 million) NASA: research and support of GPS tracking stations ($1.2 million) and instrument development ($0.2 million) aIncludes ion microprobes, scanning electron microscopes, and thermal ionization and ion mass spectrometers. NOTE: APS = Advanced Photon Source; SAR = synthetic aperture radar; SCIGN = Southern California Integrated GPS Array.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science reimbursable contracts. Of this amount, $228 million was devoted to directed research, equipment and facilities in the Earth sciences. Major topics of research within the Geologic Division include geologic hazards, landscapes and coasts, and Earth resources: Earthquake Hazards Program supports research on earthquake characteristics, disseminates information to the public on the likelihood and potential effects of moderate to large earthquakes in high-risk regions, and assesses the risks of aftershocks and related ground motion following an earthquake. Major program elements include the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and the Global Seismic Network, a worldwide network of 107 seismographic stations. Volcano Hazards Program supports research on volcanic processes, assesses and monitors potential volcanic hazards, and provides warning information on volcanic activity. The program also supports four volcano observatories. Landslide Hazards Program supports research on landslide hazards in the urban environment, and landslides that occur in association with other natural disasters such as earthquakes. Applied research focuses on developing and deploying instrumentation to monitor potential landslides and forecast the onset of catastrophic movement. Geomagnetism supports research on understanding geomagnetic processes and their effects on our physical and social environment. The program also supports a network of 13 magnetic observatories, and a center to disseminate information on the Earth’s changing magnetic field to the public. Earth Surface Dynamics supports research on surficial cycles and processes, rates of surface modifications, and the factors that control these rates of change, with an emphasis on natural and anthropogenic climate variability. National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program supports geologic mapping studies and provides digital geologic maps to the public. Coastal and Marine Geology Program supports research on environmental quality and preservation of coastal and marine areas, and provides information on coastal erosion, storm effects, and offshore landslide, earthquake, and tsunami hazard potential to the public. The program also supports reconnaissance surveys and map production of the U.S. coast and Exclusive Economic Zone. Mineral Resources Program provides scientific information for resource assessments, including mineral potential, production, consumption, and impact of extraction and production on the environment.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science Energy Resources Program supports assessments of the quantity, quality, and geographic locations of natural gas, oil, and coal, and estimates of energy resource availability and recoverability. Relevant programs within the Biological Resources Division include the National Biological Information Infrastructure as well as the following: Biomonitoring of Environmental Status and Trends Program supports research to identify and understand the effects of environmental contaminants on biological resources. Land-Use History of North America Program supports research on past and present changes in land cover and land use to better understand the planet’s surface environment. Key programs in the Water Resources Division include the following: National Water-Quality Assessment describes the status and trends in the quality of the nation’s ground- and surface-water resources in order to provide a sound understanding of the natural and human factors that affect the quality of these resources. Toxic Substances Hydrology Program supports research on the contamination of surface water, groundwater, soil, sediment, and the atmosphere by toxic substances. National Research Program supports investigations on ground- and surface-water chemistry, ground- and surface-water hydrology, geomorphology, sediment transport, and ecology as they affect water resources. EAR collaborations with USGS tend to focus on Earth science research, continental drilling, and arrays of geophysical instruments. Cooperation between the two agencies has been increasing in recent years, and the USGS sees future collaborative work on programs such as EarthScope and monitoring the physical properties of the Earth, including seismic, Global Positioning System (GPS), gravity, geomagnetic field networks, and observatories. Department of Energy The mission of DOE is to maintain the safety, security, and reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, without underground nuclear testing. DOE’s FY 2000 budget is $17.8 billion, of which $165 million is devoted to basic Earth science research in geochemistry, geophysics, climate and

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science hydrology, the carbon cycle, bioremediation, and surface remediation. An additional $2.2 billion is spent on applied programs that rely on the Earth sciences, including the Yucca Mountain Project, environmental management, fossil energy, geothermal energy development, and nonproliferation and verification. Major basic research programs include the following: Geophysics and Earth Dynamics supports research on large-scale Earth dynamics, evolution of geologic structures, properties of Earth materials, rock mechanics, fracture and fluid-flow, and underground imaging. Geochemistry supports research on thermochemical properties of geologic materials, rock-fluid interactions, organic geochemistry, and geochemical transport. Energy Resource Recognition, Evaluation, and Utilization supports research on resource definition and utilization, reservoir dynamics and modeling, properties and dynamics of magma, and continental scientific drilling. Hydrogeology supports research on fluid transport dynamics and modeling, thermochemical properties of energy materials, and perturbations of fluid flow. Climate and Hydrology supports research on global change. Carbon Cycle supports research related to understanding the geophysics and geochemistry of potential reservoirs appropriate for subsurface sequestration of CO2 and identifying ways to enhance carbon sequestration in biomass and soils. Bioremediation supports research on the potential of microorganisms to remediate toxic chemicals at hazardous waste sites. Subsurface Remediation supports research related to transport modeling, contaminant geochemistry, and characterization of sites contaminated by nuclear weapons production and research. These research activities are supported by a network of laboratories and national user facilities, such as synchrotron light sources, as well as by high-resolution microscopy, spectroscopy, and geophysical imaging tools. EAR-DOE collaborations focus on synchrotron facilities, although DOE was also a major contributor to the continental drilling program until 1995. (Congress rescinded DOE funds because of a misperception that the program was being “double funded.”) Although the increasing number of EAR programs is making it more difficult to identify joint projects, DOE anticipates future collaboration with EAR on DOE user facilities, such as an environmental molecular science beamline at the Advanced Light Source and new neutron science facilities such as the Spallation Neutron Source.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA conducts Earth science research related to the surface of the Earth, the Earth’s interior, and other planets and solar system bodies. Research directed away from the Earth is conducted through the Office of Space Science, and research directed toward the Earth is conducted through the Office of Earth Science. The mission of the Space Science Enterprise is to solve mysteries of the universe, explore the solar system, discover planets around other stars, and search for life beyond Earth. Approximately $400 million (out of a total of $2.1 billion) was available in FY 1999 for peer-reviewed research and data analysis in these topics. Major Earth science research programs within the space sciences part of NASA include the following: Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program supports scientific investigations of planetary surfaces and interiors, satellites, and smaller solar system bodies such as asteroids and comets. The program also supports analysis of samples from planetary missions, such as lunar rocks and soils; geologic field studies of terrestrial analogues to planetary phenomena; lunar agriculture studies; and a wide array of analytical, experimental, modeling, and remote-sensing studies. Cosmochemistry Program supports cosmochemical investigations related to understanding the geochemical nature of solar system bodies and the formation and chemical development of the solar system. The program also supports equipment related to laboratory studies of extraterrestrial materials (meteorites, cosmic dust, and lunar samples), such as microprobes, scanning electron microscopes, and mass spectrometers. Astrobiology Program supports research on how life begins and develops, the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe, and the response of terrestrial life to environmental change and to conditions in space or on other planets. The mission of the Earth Science Enterprise is to develop an understanding of the integrated Earth system (land, ocean, atmosphere, ice, and biota) and the effects of natural and human-induced changes on the global environment. The FY 1999 budget for the Earth Science Enterprise was $1.4 billion, of which $252 million was devoted to research and analysis. Major Earth science research programs include the following: Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics monitors plate motions and regions of intraplate deformation; develops improved gravity and topography models

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science for the Earth, the moon, Mars, and Venus; measures time-variable gravity, postglacial rebound, and ice sheet thickness variations; and models the structure variations and sources of the Earth’s main and crustal magnetic fields. The program also operates an international space geodetic network and provides precise celestial and terrestrial reference frames to the community. Solid Earth and Natural Hazards Program supports research related to geodynamics and geodesy, geopotential fields, geologic applications of remote sensing, and natural hazards. The program also supports the development and operation of global and regional geodetic networks and airborne data acquisition. The budget for this program was $24 million, of which half was devoted to research and half to infrastructure. Land Surface Hydrology Program supports research on the scientific basis of water resources management and the role of water in land-atmosphere interactions. Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) supports research to observe, understand, and model the hydrological cycle and energy fluxes in the atmosphere, at the land surface, and in the upper oceans. NASA also supports hydrologic studies in specific regions, such as the Amazon Basin and arid and semiarid lands. EAR works with both the space science and the Earth sciences offices of NASA. Collaborative research tends to focus on technology development, equipment acquisition, and research related to large geophysical networks. Possible future collaborations identified by NASA program managers include the Plate Boundary Observatory, remote-sensing data purchases, and research in planetary volcanism. In their view, additional technology development is hampered by an NSF policy against funding soft-money researchers at federal centers such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Lessons Learned from Previous Collaborations with USGS, DOE, and NASA Multiagency collaborations save money and permit broad scientific objectives to be reached that could not be achieved by an individual agency. Such collaborations may take the form of joint solicitations, commonly with joint panel evaluations, or each agency may fund investigators separately. The latter can be awkward to manage because the agencies are on different funding schedules and researchers may have to go through two peer review processes. NSF, USGS, DOE, and NASA program managers identified the following “lessons learned” in establishing joint projects:

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science the best collaborations occur when there are a common interest, shared funding, and clear expectations of the results; funding and programmatic responsibilities of each agency should be delineated to reflect the culture of the agency (e.g., mission versus basic science, subject versus technique); good working relationships between program managers are essential; and agencies must be aware of perceptions in the community, such as which agency is getting the credit. Potential Partnerships with Other Agencies and NSF Programs The following federal agencies have programs with an Earth science component relevant to the research opportunities discussed in this report. Department of Defense. The Department of Army, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and Advanced Applied Technology Demonstration Facility support research related to the Critical Zone, particularly detoxification of military bases and arsenals; refueling plants; land degradation; global soil surveys; and soil erosion, compaction, and traffic-ability (i.e., ability of soils to withstand a load). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA supports research related to geobiology, microorganisms in the environment, and the Critical Zone. In particular, the Microbiological and Chemical Exposure Assessment Research Division supports studies to determine the levels of hazardous chemical and microbials in environmental matrices and the environmental pathways by which hazardous contaminants are transported via air, water, food, and soil to populations at risk. EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research sponsors research on environmental biology, environmental chemistry, and ecological effects of environmental stressors. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA supports research related to the Critical Zone, particularly studies related to mitigation, response, recovery, and loss estimation for all natural hazards, as well as surveys and studies of flood hazard and erosion. FEMA also supports the multiagency National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH supports research related to geobiology, the Critical Zone, and microorganisms in the environment. In particular, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences supports

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science research on soil-borne pathogens, toxic chemicals, aerosol dusts, molecular biology, and the effect of soil consumption on human health. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA supports research related to hydrology and the Critical Zone. In particular, the Coastal Ocean Program supports research aimed at characterizing changes in coastal areas (e.g., shorelines, habitat), reducing and reversing the degradation of coastal habitats, and predicting and assessing the impact of natural and human-induced hazards (including climate change) on coastal ecosystems and habitats. The Office of Global Programs supports the GEWEX Continental-Scale International Project, which examines the water-energy exchange processes involved in the coupling of the atmosphere and land surface in the Mississippi River Basin. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA supports research related to geobiology, microorganisms in the environment, and the Critical Zone. For example, the Water Quality and Management Program sponsors research on water and climate characterization, hydrologic processes, and watershed characteristics. The Soil Resource Assessment and Management Program supports research on soil conservation, carbon sequestration in soils, and soil properties and indicators. The Global Change Program supports research on hydrologic processes, agricultural greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) budgets, and the effect of climate change on the agriculture system. The Natural Resources Conservation Program supports the national soil survey mapping program and research on spatial diversity of soil-landscape patterns, wind, and water erosion processes; mechanisms of carbon sequestration in soil systems; soil quality; and wetland biogeochemical processes. The Plant, Microbial, and Insect Genetic Resources, Genomics, and Genetic Improvement Program supports research on microbial cycling of elements and associated new biotechnologies. Finally, the Plant Biological and Molecular Processes Program supports research on the responses of plant growth and development to the environment, and the nature of environmental, physical, and chemical messengers that trigger developmental changes in plants. National Science Foundation. NSF supports research related to geobiology, Earth and planetary materials, the Critical Zone, EarthScope, and planetary science: Atmospheric Sciences Division supports research relevant to the Critical Zone, particularly the flux of trace gases into and out of the atmosphere, and the assembly and analysis of paleoclimate data.

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science Astronomical Sciences Division supports research relevant to Earth and planetary materials and planetary science. In particular, the Planetary Astronomy Program supports theoretical and observational studies of the detailed structure and composition of planetary surfaces, interiors, atmospheres, and satellites; the nature of small bodies (asteroids and comets); and the origin and development of the solar system. Biological Sciences Directorate supports research relevant to geobiology and microorganisms in the environment. The Division of Environmental Biology supports research on the origins, functions, relationships, interactions, and evolutionary history of populations, species, communities, and ecosystems. The program also supports a network of long-term ecological research sites. The Division of Integrative Biology and Neuroscience supports research aimed at understanding the living organism (plant, animal, microbe) as a unit of biological organization. Such research encompasses (1) the integration of molecular, subcellular, cellular, and functional genomics approaches to understand the development, functioning, and behavior of organisms; and (2) the form and function of organisms in view of their evolution and environmental interactions. The Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences supports research related to understanding life processes at the molecular, subcellular, and cellular levels, including microbial biology and biomolecular materials. The Microbial Observatories Initiative focuses on the discovery and characterization of as-yet-undescribed microorganisms from diverse habitats. Research sponsored by the program includes properties and mechanisms responsible for microbial growth, adaptation, and survival in natural environments and microbial processes for anaerobic and aerobic flow of energy and cycling of nutrients, including aquatic, soil-rhizosphere, and sediment ecosystems. Finally, the infrastructure for research in biology—including instrumentation, research facilities, field stations, and computational biology—is supported by the Division of Biological Infrastructure. Materials Research Division supports theoretical and experimental research relevant to Earth and planetary materials, particularly in condensed-matter physics and nanomaterials, solid-state chemistry and polymers, and metals and ceramic materials. Ocean Sciences Division supports research and instrumentation development relevant to geobiology, the Critical Zone, and EarthScope. The Biological Oceanography Program supports research on the relationships between marine organisms and their interactions with the geochemical and physical environment, including molecular, cellular, and biochemical studies, evolutionary ecology, and sometimes systematic biology and paleoecology. The Chemical Oceanography Program supports research into the chemical components, reaction mechanisms, and geochemical pathways at the ocean-solid-Earth interface. The Marine Geology and Geophysics (MG&G) Program

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Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science supports geology and geophysics research (e.g., structure, tectonics, volcanism, sedimentary processes, seawater or ocean rock geochemistry) on the ocean basins and margins, as well as the Great Lakes. It also covers interactions of continental and marine geologic processes. Important components of the MG&G program include (1) the Ridge Inter-Disciplinary Global Experiments, physical, chemical, and biological interactions between the midocean ridge volcanic system and the ocean environment, and (2) MARGINS (Continental Margins Research) (see Box A.2 ). Finally, the Coastal Ocean Processes Program supports research on the physical and meteorological processes that affect biological productivity, sedimentary processes, and chemical transformations in the coastal ocean system.