Ocean science and ocean scientists have played a role in the
life of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) since its founding in
1863. In 1916, the National Research Council (NRC), the operating arm
of the NAS, was established to increase the capacity of the NAS to
provide scientific advice for the military during World War I. The
scope has continued to broaden, leading to the subsequent establishment
of the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
Throughout this history of the Academies, there have been committees
organized to address issues of ocean research, management, and policy.
Currently, the Ocean Studies Board is the primary group advising the NAS
on ocean issues. Like other units at the NRC, the OSB undertakes
studies at the request of government agencies, Congress, states, and
occasionally private groups and foundations. For each study, an ad
hoc committee of experts is assembled to examine a particular
issue. This process will be illustrated through descriptions of a few
high profile studies that were overseen by the OSB.
Susan Roberts is the director of the Ocean Studies Board at the National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in marine biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where she studied the biochemistry of fish muscle and discovered a symbiotic bacterium in the gills of a deep sea bivalve. After a postdoctoral position at the University of California, Berkeley and a research position at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Roberts joined the National Research Council's Ocean Studies Board in 1998 and became the director of the board in 2004. She has worked on a variety of ocean policy studies, from reviews of research programs to assessments of the status of marine species, including: Decline of the Steller Sea Lion in Alaskan Waters: Untangling Food Webs and Fishing Nets (2003); Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay (2004); Improving the Use of the "Best Scientific Information Available" Standard in Fisheries Management (2004); Mitigating Shore Erosion Along Sheltered Coasts (2007); and A Review of the Ocean Research Priorities Plan and Implementation Strategy (2007). She is a fellow of the Washington Academy of Sciences.
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