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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872


Two URI scientists named to Ocean Studies Board

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 19, 2001 -- Two University of Rhode Island scientists have been appointed to three-year terms on the prestigious Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council.

The Council, part of the National Academies of Science, is an objective body of experts that advises the federal government on issues of ocean science, engineering and policy. It also conducts research at the request of federal agencies, Congress or other sponsors.

Jon Sutinen, professor of environmental and natural resource economics, and James Yoder, interim dean of URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, begin their appointments in March. Scott Nixon, URI professor of oceanography, was appointed to the board last year.


The Ocean Studies Board examines issues such as fisheries management and the sustainable use of coastal resources, and works closely with various federal agencies that have marine responsibilities, including the Coast Guard, National Marine Fisheries Service, the Navy, and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration.

"The board includes many very prominent people, and I’m absolutely delighted and honored to have been chosen to participate," said Sutinen, a resident of Kingston. "What gives me a thrill is when something scholarly is used by policymakers and makes a difference in the world. I see the Ocean Studies Board as a way to help make a real difference."

"The fact that URI has three members on the board is astounding," notes Yoder. "It’s a relatively small board, so you wouldn’t expect three people from the same institution to be appointed. It’s a good sign that URI’s reputation is growing."

In addition to the three current URI faculty members, Robert Duce, former dean of URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, was also recently appointed a member of the board.

One key role the board will play during the next several years is as an advisor to the Oceans Commission, which was established by the U.S. Congress in 2000. The board will help to guide the Commission on ocean science and policy issues, including the potential restructuring of government agencies that have jurisdiction over marine resources.

Sutinen’s research interests are in the evaluation of fisheries management and regulation, especially the compliance and enforcement of fishing regulations. He earned a bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University and master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Washington.

A resident of Kingston, Yoder is a biological oceanographer who uses satellite sensors to study the relationship between physical and biological processes in the ocean. He received degrees from DePauw University and URI.

Nixon studies the ecology of estuaries, lagoons and wetlands and formerly served as director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant Program. He currently chairs the Ocean Studies Board’s new committee to review the carrying capacity of the Florida Keys and represents the board on a committee studying the restoration of the Everglades ecosystem. He earned degrees from the University of Delaware and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He lives in Wakefield.

For Information: Todd McLeish 874-7892

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