Committee and Staff Biographies
Karl W. Flessa (Chair) holds a joint appointment as professor in the Department of Geosciences and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. He was a Humboldt Fellow at Universität Tübingen, Germany, served as a program officer at the National Science Foundation, was chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and a visiting professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico. His current research interests focus on the conservation biology and environmental history of the Colorado River delta, the taphonomy, paleoecology, and stable isotope geochemistry of Recent and Pleistocene invertebrates, and the quality of the fossil record. Dr. Flessa is a fellow of the Geological Society of America. He received an A.B. degree in geology from Lafayette College (1968) and a Ph.D. from Brown University (1973).
Stephen T. Jackson (Vice Chair) is professor of botany and director of the Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming. His research focuses on ecological, evolutionary, and biogeographic effects of environmental change. He is particularly interested in linking patterns and processes at timescales studied by ecologists (months to decades) with those of Quaternary geohistorical records (centuries to millennia). Educational background includes a B.A. and M.S. in botany from Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Indiana University (1983). He was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in environmental biology at Brown University and
has also served on the Biological Sciences faculties at Idaho State University and Northern Arizona University.
John D. Aber is professor and chair of the Department of Natural Resources at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space of the University of New Hampshire. Since August of 2003, he has also served as vice president for research and public service. Dr. Aber studies forest ecosystems, with particular focus on nitrogen cycling and the process of nitrogen saturation in forests in response to acid deposition. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering and applied science (computer science) from Yale University in 1971, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in 1973 and 1976 from Yale in forestry and environmental studies.
Michael A. Arthur is a professor of geosciences in the Department of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Arthur’s research interests focus on sedimentary and stable isotope geochemistry of the marine record to understand paleoenvironments and environmental interactions. Prior to his present appointment, Dr. Arthur taught at the University of South Carolina and the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, following periods at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U.S. Geological Survey. He has contributed extensively to Ocean Drilling Program science planning committees. Dr. Arthur has received the American Association of Petroleum Geologists President’s Award and the F.P. Shepard Medal, and is a fellow of the Geological Society of America
Peter R. Crane (NAS) is the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. His current research interests focus on large-scale patterns in the history and diversity of living plants. He is also increasingly concerned with how plant diversity can best be conserved for the future, and how it can be used in sustainable ways for human benefit. Professor Crane has studied plants and vegetation in several parts of the world and has undertaken research on living plants in numerous families in order to establish a secure basis for comparison with fossil material. He was awarded the Bicentenary Medal of the Linnean Society of London in 1984, and was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1998. He was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in 2004.
Douglas H. Erwin is a research paleobiologist and senior scientist in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of Natural History. His interests range from the causes and consequences of the end-Permian mass extinction, to the role of ecology and development in the Cambrian radiation of metazoa, to the evolutionary
history of Paleozoic gastropods. He received the 1996 Charles Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society, given to a scientist under age 40 who has done outstanding work in the field of paleontology. He is also an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute and former interim director of the National Museum of Natural History.
Russell W. Graham is director of the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum and associate professor of geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Graham’s research focuses on the evolution, biogeography, and extinction of Quaternary mammals. He has edited three books and published more than 50 professional papers on these topics. Dr. Graham was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1996 for his studies of the spatial response of mammals to environmental change. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.S. in zoology in 1969 and an M.S. in geology in 1972. He received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1976.
Jeremy B.C. Jackson is a professor of oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Geosciences Research Division and Marine Biology Research Division) at the University of California, San Diego. Previously, he was the senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, where he was also director of its Center for Tropical Paleoecology and Archaeology. Before that, he was professor of ecology at Johns Hopkins University. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1971. His current research interests include paleobiology and macroevolution, speciation and extinction, ecology and paleoecology of coral reefs, marine conservation, and bryozoans and mollusks. His past research interests included historical patterns of diversity and extinction in tropical America in relation to the formation of the Isthmus of Panama and the ecology and conservation of tropical coastal communities.
Susan M. Kidwell is the William Rainey Harper Professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. Her research expertise is in taphonomy and stratigraphy, particularly of marine records, and she is particuarly interested in the recognition and evaluation of preservational biases in biological and geologic information. Dr. Kidwell was a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Delegation on Sedimentary Basins to the Peoples’ Republic of China in 1985. She is a past member of the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. She received the Presidential Young Investigator Award (1986) from the National Science Foundation, the Charles Schuchert Award from the Paleontological Society (1995), and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2002).
Christopher G. Maples is the vice president for research at the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada. His current research involves field- and literature-based studies of invertebrates or invertebrate traces. He uses these data to address questions that link paleontology and geology. Other current research includes several projects on Late Devonian through Permian echinoderm extinctions, extinction rebound, and biogeography from various parts of the world. Dr. Maples served as program director for geology and paleontology and other programs at the National Science Foundation from 1995-1998. He received the 1994 Charles Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society, awarded to a scientist under age 40 who has done outstanding work in the field of paleontology.
Charles H. Peterson is Alumni Distinguished Professor of Marine Sciences, Biology, and Ecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Peterson’s research is focused on the organization of soft-sediment benthic communities in estuaries and lagoons, with particular interest in predation and intra- and inter-specific competition, the influence of hydrodynamics on ecological processes, and the role of resource limitation in suspension-feeding bivalve populations. In addition to his experimental approach to testing hypotheses concerning benthic systems, he conducts research in paleoecology, invertebrate fisheries management, estuarine habitat evaluation, and barrier island ecology. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1972.
O. James Reichman is director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on the influence of the spatial patterns of animal disturbances on the structure, function, and restoration of plant communities and natural landscapes. A second area of research involves an analysis of long-term food storage strategies by animals that cache food during periods when it is unavailable or costly to obtain. Dr. Reichman has been a program officer in the ecology program at the National Science Foundation, associate vice provost for research and director of Konza Prairie Research Natural Area at Kansas State University, and assistant director for research in the National Biological Service in the Department of the Interior. Dr. Reichman received a Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University in 1974.
LIAISON FROM BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES
David L. Dilcher (NAS) is a Graduate Research Professor in the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. He was professor
in biology and geology at Indiana University for 24 years. His research activities focus on the history of CO2 in relation to climate change in the past, and the evolution of land plants as revealed by the fossil record—the nature of the earliest flowering plants, the reproductive biology of flowering plants, and the historical diversity and paleogeography of flowering plants. Professor Dilcher has been president of the Botanical Society of America, and is an honorary professor of Jilin University and Nanjing University in China and a corresponding member of the Senckenberg Museum in Germany.
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF
David A. Feary is a senior program officer with the NRC’s Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. He earned his Ph.D. at the Australian National University before spending 15 years as a research scientist with the marine program at the Australian Geological Survey Organisation. During this time he participated in numerous research cruises—many as chief or co-chief scientist—and most recently was co-chief scientist for Ocean Drilling Program Leg 182. His research activities have focused on the role of climate as a primary control on carbonate reef formation and improved understanding of cool-water carbonate depositional processes.
Robin A. Schoen is the director of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR). Before joining BANR, she was senior program officer for the Board on Life Sciences, where she directed a range of studies that included stem cell research, the plant genome initiative, and invasive plants. Her earlier work focused on involving U.S. scientists in efforts to strengthen biology internationally, and in addressing policy issues that affect progress in microbiology, neuroscience, biophysics, cancer research, physiology, and biodiversity. Robin received a B.S. in biology and chemistry from Frostburg State College (Maryland) and an M.A. in science and technology policy from George Washington University.
Radhika S. Chari was a senior project assistant with the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources until April 2004, before moving to a position as administrative coordinator for the Board on Assessment of NIST Programs and the Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board. Ms. Chari received her B.A. degree in philosophy from Fordham University.
Amanda M. Roberts is a program assistant with the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. Before coming to the National Academies she interned at the Fund for Peace in Washington, D.C., working on the Human Rights and Business Roundtable. Amanda also worked in