Science Operations Committee Terms of Reference

NSF Polar Geospatial Center (PGC), University of Minnesota

Science Operations Committee

Spring 2015



As noted in the NSF PGC Cooperative Agreement (NSF Award ANT-1043681), the PGC Director, in consultation with NSF, will establish the PGC Science and Operations Committee and will facilitate the work of this advisory group to PGC. The Science and Operations Committee (i.e., the SOC) will provide advice and guidance regarding the management and strategic direction of the NSF PGC Cooperative Agreement. The SOC is the primary external advisory body to the project and is expected to comment on scientific strategy, research directions, and quality of deliverables from the Center’s various activities.

Board Membership and Selection Process: The SOC Chair and Members of the SOC are selected by the Center Director and approved by the NSF. SOC membership consists of at least five advisors with knowledge of and influence in the major research areas of the PGC. Members may propose nominees for SOC membership at any time by submitting names and supporting information to the Center Director.

Qualifications: Members of the SOC will possess high professional ethics and integrity, and be committed to representing the long-term interests of the PGC. Members must have an inquisitive and objective perspective, practical wisdom, and scientific judgment. The SOC will contain diverse experience in science and technology and depth and breadth of knowledge in areas that are relevant to the PGC. Members must be willing to devote sufficient time to effectively carry out their responsibilities, and be committed to serve on the SOC for their entire term. Members may be removed from the SOC for cause at any time by the Center Director with concurrence from the NSF Program Manager. Potential conflicts of interest (COI) should be discussed with the Center Director. Unpublished information disclosed by SOC members will be treated as confidential.

Responsibilities: The SOC will assess progress of the project annually and provide guidance to the PGC towards its goal of providing geospatial support for science and operational activities at both poles while also providing access to new data sources. The SOC will specifically:

• Provide guidance on a general framework for the prioritization of requests.

• Evaluate unusual or non-standard user requests to ensure that they are commensurate with proposed research and operational activities.

• Guide the center to ensure that services provided are aligned with research and operational needs for both the Arctic and Antarctic.

• Advise PGC on the most effective means to communicate its services to the community.

• Prepare a report that documents guidance of the SOC to the Center Director.

Terms of Service: SOC members will serve a three-year term. Members on the SOC may serve up to three consecutive terms based on the discretion of the Center Director.



Frequency of Meetings: The SOC will have opportunities throughout the year to interact with PGC staff and students. The SOC will meet annually at the University of Minnesota or elsewhere in order to gain in-depth knowledge of relevant science and technology activities. There will also be a mid-year update teleconference meeting. Delegates are not permitted.

Annual Board Agenda: The PGC Center Director will discuss the agenda with the SOC in advance of each scheduled meeting. Members of the SOC are urged to make suggestions for agenda items or to request pre-meeting materials.

Reimbursement for Board Members: Travel reimbursement for attendance to PGC SOC annual meetings will be provided according to NSF guidelines and practiced at the University of Minnesota.

Access to PGC Management, Staff and Students: SOC members are encouraged to contact the PGC Center Director, Managing Director, staff, and students as necessary to fulfill their duties.

Science Operations Committee Members

  • Dr. David R. Marchant, Boston University

    PGC Science Operations Committee Chair

    Dr. David R. Marchant is a Professor at Boston University and Chair-elect of the Department of Earth and Environment. In 2014, was appointed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professorship for his Antarctic research and novel teaching program. He is currently a member of the US National Academies Committee on the Development of a Strategic Vision and Implementation Plan for the U.S. Antarctic Program at the National Science Foundation. Professor Marchant’s research focuses on long-term landscape evolution and process geomorphology, specifically on Antarctic glaciation and climate change, and by extension climate change and ice ages on Mars. He has led 25 expeditions to the Transantarctic Mountains, and combines results of field mapping with cosmogenic-nuclide analyses, Ar/Ar analyses, and numerical modeling. Several discoveries by Marchant and his team include the development of one of the longest terrestrial records for East Antarctic Ice Sheet glaciation in the Transantarctic Mountains; the elucidation of long-term climate change and extinction of tundra ecosystems from the central Transantarctic Mountains; and, the discovery and analysis of ancient buried ice. For his research and teaching efforts he received Boston University’s highest teaching award, the Metcalf Award, and from the Royal Geographical Society the prestigious W.S. Bruce Medal for “outstanding contributions to the field of Earth Science, especially in relation to the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.” He earned his Ph.D. in Geomorphology from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

  • Dr. Breck Bowden, University of Vermont

    Dr. Bowden is the Robert and Genevieve Patrick Professor in Watershed Science and Planning in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. He teaches undergraduate courses in the Environmental Sciences curriculum and graduate courses in the Aquatic of Ecology and Watershed sciences curriculum at the University of Vermont. He is the Director of the Vermont Water Resources in Lake Studies Center and the Lake Champlain Sea Grant program and leads the Vermont component of the Northeastern States Research Cooperative. Dr. Bowden's research interests focus on the interactions among land use, land cover, and water resources. He has conducted research on wetland, terrestrial, and aquatic ecosystems in temperate, tropical, and arctic biomes and has been involved with strategic planning in universities and in government agencies. He founded the Water Resources Management undergraduate and graduate programs at the University of New Hampshire and helped to establish the Natural Resources MS and PhD programs there. He established the national Integrated Catchment Management Program at Landcare Research in New Zealand as the lead Project Manager and Team Leader. His current research projects focus on the effects of exurban development on stormwater runoff in Vermont and on climate change impacts in the arctic. Dr. Bowden is active in national and international programs to that seek to integrate science in resource management decision making, including the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, Hydrology for Environment Life and Policy (HELP), the National Environmental Observatory Network (NEON), and the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH). Dr. Bowden received his B.S. with majors in Zoology and Chemistry from the University of Georgia (1973) and his M.Sc. (1974) and Ph.D. (1982) from North Carolina State University.

  • Knut Christianson, University of Washington

    Knut Christianson is an Assistant Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington. He has a PhD in Geosciences from the Pennsylvania State University. Knut’s research interests include glacier dynamics, ice-ocean interactions, glacier seismology, ground-penetrating radar, active-source seismology, geodesy, and synthetic aperture radar. His research focuses especially on using geophysical methods to study basal processes of glaciers and ice sheets. He has participated in 16 polar field seasons, including deep field expeditions to Arctic Norway, Svalbard, Greenland, and Antarctica. Knut has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications.

  • Andrew Fleming, British Antarctic Survey

    Andrew Fleming is the remote sensing manager for the British Antarctic Survey where he leads the application of remote sensing methods to science and operations projects. He has been Manager of Polar View activities in the Antarctic since 2004, which develops and delivers near-real-time sea ice information to users operating in both polar regions. He also plays a key role in the related MyOcean, ICEMAR, Polar Ice FP7, ArcticSat and H2020 Polar Net projects. He has close links to many relevant organisations involved in Antarctic and Arctic operations including other national science programmes, UK NERC Arctic Programme Office, COMNAP (Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes), SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research), and IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators). He also has active interests in developing the application of hyperspectral imaging and UAVs to polar science research and operations. He is Chair of the NERC EO Data Acquisition and Analysis Service and a Member of the U.S. Polar Geospatial Centre Science Operations Committee.

  • Tom Heinrichs, Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA)

    Tom Heinrichs is Director of the Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He performs general and technical management, program development, and outreach for GINA. He has been instrumental in creating partnerships and joint projects between the University, agencies, and the private sector. He manages the statewide ortho-imagery program on behalf of the State of Alaska , leads the NOAA High Latitude Satellite Proving Ground, and leads data management for the North Slope Science Initiative. Prior to going to work for UAF, Tom was a Hydrologist and Project Manager in Alaska, first with the USGS, then with Michael Baker, an engineering consultancy. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Stanford and a M.S. in Geophysics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

  • Dr Craig Tweedie, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)

    Dr Craig Tweedie was born and raised near Brisbane, Australia. He attended the University of Queensland for his university studies and has degrees with foci in ecology and conservation biology, rainforest ecology, and subantarctic climate change and plant ecology. After completing postdoctoral research studies in Arctic System Science at Michigan State University, he joined the faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 2005. At UTEP he is an Associate Professor with a dual appointment between the Department of Biological Science and the Environmental Science and Engineering doctoral program. He directs the Systems Ecology Lab and the i-Sense initiative within the NSF-CREST funded Cyber-ShARE Center of Excellence at UTEP. His research aims to advance our knowledge of how ecosystems are responding to climate change and human disturbance, and focuses on understanding how these processes alter biodiversity, land cover, and the movement of carbon, water, and energy across the land-atmosphere boundary. His current research takes place in the Arctic, Indonesia, and in the Chihuahuan Desert. His lab also develops and uses novel environmental sensing technologies and software to advance ecological research. Tweedie has more than 100 publications and a passion for interdisciplinary research and expanding research and educational opportunities for students by involving large groups of students in his lab and field based research and study abroad trips to Indonesia and the Antarctic.