Jane LuchencoObama has selected Oregon State University marine scientist Jane Lubchenco to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Reports The Washington Post:

Lubchenco, a conservationist who has devoted much of her career to encouraging scientists to become more engaged in public policy debates, is also a vocal proponent of curbing greenhouse gases linked to global warming. … The appointment marks a shift for NOAA, which oversees marine issues as well as much of government’s climate work. Lubchenco has criticized the agency in the past for not doing enough to curb overfishing.

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A Harvard-educated environmental scientist and marine ecologist, Lubchenco has been at Oregon State University for 30 years, where she is Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology and Distinguished Professor of Zoology.

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She has served as president of the International Council for Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Ecological Society of America. She has been a presidential appointee to the National Science Board, which advises the president and Congress and oversees the National Science Foundation. And she’s won more awards than any one mantel could hold, including, according to The Oregonian, “a MacArthur Fellowship, a Pew Fellowship, eight honorary degrees, the 2002 Heinz Award in the Environment, the 2003 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, and the 2004 Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences.”

Lubchenco founded the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS), an effort to bring together academics, scientists, and media types to communicate about marine conservation science. She also founded the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, which selects 20 academic environmental scientists each year for training and networking in the interest of improving the communication of science to policymakers and the public, and she continues to chair program’s advisory board.

She was a participant in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, co-chairing the business and industry subset.

Lubchenco also co-chaired Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s Advisory Group on Global Warming, which in 2005 released recommendations for how the state could reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions.

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As the Deep Sea News blog puts it, “Obama Appoints Totally Awesome Marine Biologist to Head NOAA!”