Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff
Dorothy J. Merritts, Chair, is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 2004-2005 she was the Flora Stone Mather Visiting Distinguished Professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She has expertise in streams, rivers, and other landforms and the impact of humans and geologic processes on landscape evolution. In the western United States, she conducted pioneering research on the San Andreas fault of coastal California, and her international work focuses on fault movements in South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, and Costa Rica. Her primary research in the eastern United States is on streams in the mid-Atlantic Piedmont, particularly in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, where she is investigating the impact on streams of the transformation of woodland and wetland forests to a predominantly agricultural and mixed industrial-urban landscape since European settlement. She is the author of two textbooks and more than 40 scientific articles and the editor and contributing writer for numerous scientific books. Dr. Merritts has done extensive work on inquiry-based learning in the classroom, particularly for non-science majors at the undergraduate level, and has assisted in presenting original inquiry-based materials and demonstrations online through the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College, Minnesota. Dr. Merritts received her B.Sc. in geology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, her M.Sc. in engineering geology from Stanford University, and her Ph.D. in geology from the University of Arizona.
Linda K. Blum is a research associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. Dr. Blum’s current research focuses on how microorganisms bring about geomorphologic changes in salt marshes. Her research includes a long-term interest in the linkage between microbial community spatial patterns and processes and
microbe-plant interactions. Dr. Blum was previously the chair of the National Research Council (NRC) Panel to Review the Department of Interior’s Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative, a member of the Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, and a previous and current member of the Committee on Independent Review of Everglades Restoration Progress. She earned a B.S. and an M.S. in forestry from Michigan Technological University and a Ph.D. in soil science and microbial ecology from Cornell University.
Susan L. Brantley has served on the faculty of the Department of Geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University since 1986. She is currently a full professor. She is also director of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute and Center for Environmental Kinetics Analysis at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests focus on the chemical, physical, and biological processes associated with the circulation of aqueous fluids in shallow hydrogeologic settings. She has published more than 110 papers that have discussed aspects of water-rock-biota interaction, the kinetics of dissolution and precipitation of minerals in the laboratory and in the field, surface chemistry of minerals, environmental water problems, biogeochemical cycles, volcano-water interactions, soil chemistry, and water interactions in metamorphic rocks. She has been awarded a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship, was a National Science Foundation (NSF) Presidential Young Investigator, and was a fellow of the AGU (American Geophysical Union). She has served on several NRC committees including, most recently, her stint as vice chair of the Panel on Solid-Earth Hazards, Resources, and Dynamics, established to write the solid-Earth contribution to Earth Science Applications from Space: A Community Assessment and Strategy for the Future (Decadal Study). She has also served on the advisory committee for the Directorate of Geosciences at NSF (2003-2005), during which time she served on the Committee of Visitors to review the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) Instrumentation and Facilities Program (2004) and chaired the Committee of Visitors to review the NSF EAR Section on Surface Earth Processes (2005). She received her A.B. in chemistry and her M.A. and Ph.D. in geological and geophysical sciences from Princeton University.
Anne Chin is courtesy professor in the Department of Geography of the University of Oregon. Previously, she was associate professor of geography at Texas A&M University. She is a fluvial geomorphologist with research interests in the energetics of mountain, dryland, and urban rivers. She seeks to understand how landscapes interact with a range of human impacts over diverse spatial and temporal scales. Her work also addresses landscape management and restoration. This line of inquiry explores the interplay between physical and biological processes on the one hand and the social forces that shape policy on the other. Dr. Chin was the recipient of the 2004 Grove Karl Gilbert Award for Excellence in Geomorphological Research from the Association of American Geographers. Her work has appeared in a range of journals in the geosciences, including the American Journal of
Science, Geophysical Research Letters, Geomorphology, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, Journal of Geology, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Progress in Physical Geography, Environmental Management, and BioScience. She has served on numerous professional advisory boards and is past chair of the Geomorphology Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers. In 2006-2007, she was visiting scientist and director of the Geography and Regional Science Program of the National Science Foundation. Dr. Chin holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University, both in geography.
William E. Dietrich (NAS) is a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He also has an appointment in the Department of Geography and the Earth Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and is affiliated with the Archeological Research Facility. He is co-founder of the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping and a member of the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics. His Berkeley-based research group is focusing on mechanistic, quantitative understanding of the form and evolution of landscapes and the linkages between ecological and geomorphic processes. He has numerous publications and honors, including being named a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, both in 2003. Dr. Dietrich received his B.A. from Occidental College and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
Thomas Dunne (NAS) is a professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a hydrologist and a geomorphologist, with research interests that include field and theoretical studies of drainage basin and hillslope evolution, sediment transport and floodplain sedimentation, and sediment budgets of drainage basins. He served as a member of the NRC Committees on U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Research; Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences; Alluvial Fan Flooding; and Future Roles, Challenges, and Opportunities for the U.S. Geological Survey. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1988 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993. He has acted as a scientific adviser to the United Nations; the governments of Brazil, Taiwan, Kenya, Washington, and Oregon; and several U.S. federal agencies. He is a recipient of the American Geophysical Union Horton Award. Dr. Dunne holds a B.A. from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. in geography from the Johns Hopkins University.
Todd A. Ehlers is a professor and chair of geology and geodynamics at the Institute for Geoscience, Universität Tübingen, Germany. Prior to this he was an associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Michigan. Dr. Ehlers’s research interests are in the topographic evolution of mountains over geologic
time scales. Techniques used in his research include numerical modeling of geomorphic, geodynamic, and atmospheric processes; low-temperature thermochronology; and cosmogenic radionuclides. His research group is active in the areas of quantifying the glacial erosion histories of mountains and the evolution of climate, topography, and deformation in the Himalaya and Andes mountains. He is an associate editor for Tectonics, coeditor-in-chief for Earth Science Reviews, and a fellow of the Geological Society of America. Dr. Ehlers received a B.A. from Calvin College and M.S. degrees in geophysics and geology and a doctorate degree in geophysics from the University of Utah.
Rong Fu is a professor at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Fu’s research aims at understanding the role of the atmospheric hydrological cycle in determining the stability of the Earth’s climate. She uses satellite and in situ observations and numerical models to identify the mechanisms that control this interaction between water cycle and surface climate, and uses them to explain natural variability and anthropogenic forced changes in rainfall, cloudiness, and water vapor distribution. In recent years, her research has been focused on the coupling between rainfall, rainforest, and biomass burning in the Amazon and on convective transport of water vapor in the tropics and over the Tibetan Plateau. Dr. Fu has served on a variety of national and international panels and programs, including the NRC review panels for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Carbon Cycle Science Program, Cloud and Aerosol Program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NSF panels for Climate Prediction and Drought Research, and the panels for the U.S. and International CLIVAR. She is also a long-term member of the NASA Aura, SesWinds and UARS Science Teams. Dr. Fu received her B.S. from the Department of Geophysics at Peking University and her M.A. and Ph.D in atmospheric sciences from Columbia University.
Christopher Paola is a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, where he has been since 1983. He worked for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Cascades Volcano Observatory from 1988 to 1990 and has held visiting appointments at the University of Genoa (Italy) and Columbia University. From 2003 through early 2008 he served as director of the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics, a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center devoted to transdisciplinary research on the evolution and behavior of the Earth’s surface. He has published more than 60 papers on surface dynamics and stratigraphy. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. Dr. Paola graduated from Lehigh University with a B.S. in environmental geology and an M.Sc. in applied sedimentology from the University of Reading (U.K.). After receiving an Sc.D. in marine geology from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution-Massachusetts Institute
of Technology Joint Program in Oceanography in 1983, he joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota.
Kelin X. Whipple is a professor at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Previously, he was a professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Whipple’s research focuses on the interaction of climate, tectonics, and surface processes in the sculpting of the Earth’s surface; mechanics of river incision into bedrock; dynamics of channel and sedimentation processes on alluvial fans; and experimental and field study of debris-flow rheologies. His current research activities focus on the geomorphic evolution of fluvial bedrock channel and alpine glacial valley systems. His active projects and interests span a range from small-scale modeling and investigation of the physics of bedrock channel erosion; to reach-scale modeling of the dynamics of bedrock channel evolution; to neotectonic studies of active deformation using geomorphic tools; to quantitative investigation of linkages between tectonics, climate, and surface processes at mountain range scale. Dr. Whipple is editor of AGU Editor’s Choice: Surface Processes and associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research—Earth Surface; he has served as associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research—Solid Earth. He is chair of the American Geophysical Union’s Sediment and Landscape Dynamics Committee and sits on the AGU Erosion and Sedimentation Committee. Dr. Whipple received his Ph.D. and M.S. in geology from the University of Washington and his B.A. in geology from the University of California, Berkeley.
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF
Elizabeth A. Eide, senior program officer, is a geologist with specialization in isotope geochronology applied to crustal processes. Prior to joining the National Research Council, she was a research scientist and team leader at the Geological Survey of Norway and managed the survey’s 40Ar/39Ar geochronology laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in geology from Stanford University and a B.A. in geology from Franklin & Marshall College.
Jared P. Eno was a research associate with the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources (BESR). Before coming to the National Academies, he interned at Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division, working on the 2004 edition of the Landmine Monitor Report. Jared received his A.B. in physics from Brown University.
Courtney R. Gibbs is a program associate with the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. She received her degree in graphic design from the Pittsburgh Technical Institute in 2000 and began working for the National Academies in 2004. Prior to her work with BESR,
Ms. Gibbs supported the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board and the former Board on Radiation Effects Research.
Nicholas D. Rogers is a financial and research associate with the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. He received a B.A. in history, with a focus on the history of science and early American history, from Western Connecticut State University in 2004. He began working for the National Academies in 2006 and has primarily supported BESR on a broad array of Earth resource, mapping, and geographical science issues.