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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

News from the URI Graduate School of Oceanography . . .

URI Oceanographer appointed as National Science
Foundation division director for ocean sciences

Narragansett, RI --September 18, 2001 -- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the appointment of biological oceanographer James A. Yoder of the University of Rhode Island as Division Director for Ocean Sciences. He is scheduled to assume his new position on October 1, 2001.

As head of NSF’s Ocean Sciences Division, Yoder will manage a budget of approximately $270 million annually. His responsibilities include coordinating research in all disciplines of oceanography: biological, physical, chemical, and geological. In addition, his office provides support for technology and instrument development and support for ship operations to undertake the oceanographic field studies funded by NSF. The division also provides assistance for the Ocean Drilling Program, an international program of scientific drilling in the oceans.

At the University of Rhode Island, Yoder served as Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) for 18 months after Dr. Margaret Leinen left in January 2000 to become NSF’s Assistant Director for Geosciences. He also served as GSO’s Associate Dean from 1993 to 1998.

Yoder spent 1996 in Washington, DC, on leave from GSO to manage NASA’s Biological Oceanography Program in the Office of Mission to Planet Earth. During that time he supervised grant award procedures to universities and NASA centers related to ocean remote sensing in biological oceanography. He also represented NASA at meetings and workshops nationally and internationally.

Yoder is a well-known researcher in biological oceanography. As a research scientist, he uses satellite sensors to study the relation between physical and biological processes in ocean margin and open ocean waters. He led a group of researchers who made headlines in 1994 by discovering the cause of "a line in the sea" across part of the Pacific Ocean where microscopic plants grow between two currents.

Yoder received his B.A. degree (1970) in botany from DePauw University of Indiana and his M.S. (1974) and Ph.D. (1979) in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. He has participated extensively on national and international committees and panels, including membership on the Consortium for Oceanographic Research (CORE) Board of Governors, the U.S. Carbon and Climate Committee, and Chair of the International Joint Global Ocean Flux Study Task Team on Remote Sensing. In 2000, Yoder began serving as president of The Oceanography Society.

NSF, an independent federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States. It funds research and education in science and engineering through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, and other research institutions in all parts of the United States.

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography is one of the country's largest marine science education programs, and one of the world's foremost marine research institutions. Founded in 1961 in Narragansett, RI, GSO serves a community of scientists who are researching the causes of and solutions to such problems as acid rain, global warming, air and water pollution, oil spills, overfishing, and coastal erosion. GSO is home to the Coastal Institute on Narragansett Bay, the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and the National Sea Grant Library.

Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642,

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