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Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste (2022)

Chapter:Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
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A

Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste

Margaret Spring
Chair

Margaret Spring is chief conservation and science officer at Monterey Bay Aquarium, with decades of experience in environmental law and policy. She oversees the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s conservation, science, and markets programs, including Seafood Watch, and coordinates the aquarium’s environmental sustainability initiatives. Before joining the aquarium in 2013, Spring served as chief of staff, and later principal deputy under secretary, at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 2009 to 2013. Prior to her tenure at NOAA, Spring led the Nature Conservancy’s California coastal and marine program from 2007 to 2009. Spring served for 8 years (1999–2007) as senior and general counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation where she advised members of Congress and developed key ocean and climate legislation, including the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 and the Oceans Act of 2000, which created the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. From 1992 to 1999, Spring was an environmental attorney in private practice at Sidley & Austin in Washington, D.C., specializing in clean water and hazardous waste matters. She currently serves on the boards of the Environmental Law Institute, the California Ocean Science Trust, and the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust. She previously served as a member of the Ocean Studies Board (2014–2020) and chaired the American Geophysical Union’s Position Statement Committee from 2015 to 2019.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
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She is a graduate of Duke University Law School and Dartmouth College and was a 1991 John A. Knauss Sea Grant Fellow in the U.S. Senate.

Mary J. Donohue
Member

Dr. Mary Donohue serves as specialist faculty at the University of Hawai’i Sea Grant College Program where she conducts research, extension, communications, and program and project management. She also serves as affiliate faculty at the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program at Oregon State University. She is trained as a marine mammal physiological ecologist with interests in marine mammal conservation, including the effects of derelict fishing gear and microplastics on marine mammals and the environment. Dr. Donohue has also focused on activities toward achieving sustainable communities through understanding and mitigating pollution in water resources. Her graduate research was conducted on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska where she investigated the physiological and behavioral ontogeny of northern fur seals. On the Pribilof Islands she observed the problem of plastic pollution on remote oceanic islands, including the entanglement of seals, foxes, and birds in plastic waste and derelict fishing gear. This experience informed her later position with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration where from 1998 to 2002 she developed, administered, coordinated, and served as chief scientist on the first systematic at-sea expeditions to document, study, and remove large aggregations of derelict fishing gear and other marine debris from the coral reefs of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, habitat of the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, threatened and endangered marine turtles, and other wildlife. Dr. Donohue had the privilege of experiencing an at-sea arrested landing and catapult assisted takeoff by air on the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Nimitz-class aircraft carrier as an environmental expert to observe the U.S. Navy’s implementation of a shipboard plastic waste management system. Dr. Donohue has published broadly on marine mammals, marine debris, water quality, and, more recently, workforce development, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics participation, including that relating to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. She has most recently served as senior author on a strategic visioning document for the United States Geological Survey Water Resources Research Act Program, which will guide and direct national, regional, and state activities of the program for the next 10 years. She has spoken at international conferences and symposia and as an invited university and public seminar speaker in the United States, Japan, Canada, Spain, Monaco, Malta, and Scotland. Dr. Donohue previously served as a committee member for the National Academies Committee on the Effectiveness of International and National Measures

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×

to Reduce and Prevent Marine Debris and Its Impacts in 2007–2008. She began her academic training at Santa Barbara City College, later earning a B.A. degree in aquatic biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1989 and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Santa Cruz in organismal and population biology in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

Michelle Gierach
Member

Dr. Michelle Gierach is a senior scientist in the Water and Ecosystems Group at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Her research interests include analysis and application of multispectral and hyperspectral (otherwise referred to as imaging spectroscopy) airborne and spaceborne observations to study synoptic to decadal changes in the aquatic environment. She has been involved in several NASA satellite and airborne remote sensing missions, including but not limited to, as co-lead for the NASA Surface Biology and Geology mission Pathfinder study (SISTER), project scientist for the NASA Earth Venture Suborbital 2 (EVS-2) Coral Reef Airborne Laboratory mission, and science team member for the NASA EVS-3 Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment mission. She is currently a member of the International Ocean Color Coordinating Group Task Force: Remote Sensing of Marine Litter and Debris, and co-chair of the U.S. CLIVAR Phenomena, Observations, and Synthesis Panel. She earned a B.S. and an M.S. in meteorology from Florida State University in 2004 and 2006, respectively, and a Ph.D. in marine science from the University of South Carolina in 2009.

Jenna Jambeck
Member

Dr. Jenna Jambeck is a Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia (UGA), Lead of the Center for Circular Materials Management and Circularity Informatics Lab in the New Materials Institute at UGA and a National Geographic Fellow. She has been conducting research on solid waste issues for more than 24 years with related projects on marine debris since 2001. She also specializes in global waste management issues and plastic contamination. Her work on plastic waste inputs into the ocean has been recognized by the global community and translated into policy discussions by the Global Ocean Commission, in testimony to U.S. Congress, in G7 and G20 Declarations, and the United Nations Environment program. She conducts public environmental diplomacy as an international informational speaker for the

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×

U.S. Department of State. This has included multiple global programs of speaking events, meetings, presentations to governmental bodies, and media outreach in 13 countries. She has won awards for her teaching and research in the College of Engineering and the UGA Creative Research Medal, as well as a Public Service and Outreach Fellowship. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees in environmental engineering from the University of Florida in 1998 and 2004, respectively. She graduated with bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering with honors from Florida in 1996.

Hauke Kite-Powell
Member

Dr. Hauke L. Kite-Powell is a research specialist at the Marine Policy Center of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Dr. Kite-Powell also holds appointments as a lecturer at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and as a senior analyst with Marsoft Inc. Dr. Kite-Powell’s research focuses on public- and private-sector management issues for marine resources and the economic activities that depend on them. Current and recent research projects include work on costs and benefits from improved ocean observing activities; approaches to economic valuation of marine resources; policy issues surrounding use of ocean “space” for non-traditional activities, such as aquaculture and wind power; economics and management of marine aquaculture operations; economics of ocean plastics and removal of plastics from the oceans; and economic dimensions of climate change effects on marine ecosystems, shoreline change, and the carbon cycle. Dr. Kite-Powell has contributed to several National Academies studies including Charting a Course into the Digital Era: Guidance for NOAA’s Nautical Charting Mission (1994); Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030 (2011); Best Practices for Shellfish Mariculture and the Effects of Commercial Mariculture on Drakes Estero, Pt. Reyes National Seashore, California (2010); and Ecosystem Concepts for Sustainable Bivalve Mariculture (2010). He holds degrees in naval architecture (B.S), technology and policy (M.S.), and ocean systems management (M.S. and Ph.D.) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kara Lavender Law
Member

Dr. Kara Lavender Law is Research Professor of Oceanography at Sea Education Association (SEA; Woods Hole, Massachusetts). Since 2007, Dr. Law’s research has focused on plastic debris in the ocean, beginning with an analysis of SEA’s then-25-year data set of floating microplastics in the

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×

North Atlantic, collected by more than 7,000 SEA students and scientists. Her initial research focused on physical processes that transport and transform plastics in the marine environment, and has since expanded “upstream” to better understand the generation, pathways, and treatment of plastic waste, with the goal to ultimately prevent plastics from leaking into the environment. Dr. Law served as co-principal investigator of the Marine Debris Working Group at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, is co-chair of the SCOR Working Group FLOTSAM (Floating Litter and its Oceanic TranSport Analysis and Modelling), and has participated in many other international working groups, workshops, and panels, including at the National Academies, on the topic of plastic marine debris. Dr. Law holds several scientific advisory roles and strives to effectively communicate the scientific understanding of ocean plastics, including major knowledge gaps, to wide-ranging audiences including policy makers, industry groups, students, and the general public. In 2018 she served as a witness in the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearing on “Cleaning Up the Oceans: How to Reduce the Impact of Man-Made Trash on the Environment, Wildlife, and Human Health?” Dr. Law received her Ph.D. from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography/University of California, San Diego in physical oceanography (2001), and a B.S. in mathematics from Duke University (1994).

Jay R. Lund
Member

Dr. Jay R. Lund (NAE) is co-director of the Center for Watershed Sciences and Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at the University of California (UC), Davis. Dr. Lund joined the UC Davis faculty in 1987. He teaches and conducts research on applications of systems analysis, economic, and management methods to infrastructure and public works problems. His recent work is primarily on water and environmental problems, but he has done substantial work in solid and hazardous waste management; dredging and coastal zone management; and urban, regional, and transportation planning. While most of this work involves the application of economics, optimization, and simulation modeling, his interests also include more qualitative policy, planning, and management studies. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for analysis of water and environmental policy issues leading to integrated water resources planning and management. He served on the Committee on Further Studies of Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath River and the Committee to Review the New York City Watershed Protection Program. Dr. Lund has a B.A. in regional planning and international

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×

relations from the University of Delaware (1979). He also has a B.S. in civil engineering, an M.A. in geography (1983), and a Ph.D. in civil engineering, all from the University of Washington (1986).

Ramani Narayan
Member

Dr. Ramani Narayan is University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University (MSU) in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. He has more than 200 refereed publications in leading journals and 32 issued patents, and he edited three books in the area of environmentally responsible biobased materials (h-index 50, i10-index 143, 12,248 citations in Google Scholar). He has graduated 22 Ph.D. and 23 master’s students at MSU and currently has 4 Ph.D. students working in his group along with several postdoctoral fellows, industrial visiting fellows, and 6 undergraduate students. He has won many awards and honors including fellow of U.S. National Academy of Inventors, the MSU University Distinguished Professor in 2007, and the William N. Findley Award for “significant contributions to the application of new technologies within the scope of ASTM Committee D20 on Plastic.” Dr. Narayan received his master’s in organic chemistry and Ph.D. in organic chemistry (polymer science and engineering) from Bombay University.

Eben Schwartz
Member

Eben Schwartz, a staff member of the California Coastal Commission since 2000, runs Marine Debris and Public Outreach programs for the Public Education Program. Schwartz has a lengthy history of work on plastic pollution and marine debris, topics on which he has become one of the state’s leading authorities. As the leader of California Coastal Cleanup Day, California’s largest volunteer event, as well as the year-round Adopt-a-Beach Program, Schwartz has helped motivate hundreds of thousands of citizens to become active in the fight against plastic pollution. Schwartz works with hundreds of nonprofit organizations, local government agencies, and corporate partners to coordinate beach and inland shoreline cleanups as well as develop long-term policies that will stop pollution at its source. Schwartz serves as the chair of the West Coast Marine Debris Alliance, an organization that he helped found in 2008, initially as part of the West Coast Governors’ Alliance on Ocean Health. From 2007 to 2010, Schwartz served as the chair of the California Ocean Protection Council’s Marine Debris Steering Committee while it was drafting and adopting the first statewide Ocean Litter Strategy, and currently serves on the planning

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×

committee for that strategy’s update, which was adopted and published in April 2018. Schwartz has traveled extensively to give talks and presentations about the challenges and potential solutions to marine debris and plastic pollution. A brief sampling includes an address to The Economist’s Sustainability Summit in London in March 2019, a keynote address to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Northwest Pacific Action Plan Marine Litter Workshop in Okinawa, Japan, in October 2013, and multiple presentations to both the 5th and 6th Marine Debris Conferences in 2011 and 2018. In 2018, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs invited Schwartz to join its Guest Speaker Program, for which he has traveled to Poland in 2019 and participated in virtual programs in Taiwan in fall 2020. Prior to his work with the Coastal Commission, Schwartz worked in conservation programs at the Sierra Club at both the local and national levels. In 2007, Schwartz was awarded an Aspen Institute Fellowship and served as one of the inaugural Catto Fellows, a program designed for emerging leaders in the environment and energy sector. Schwartz holds a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

Rashid Sumaila
Member

Dr. Rashid Sumaila is a professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Interdisciplinary Ocean and Fisheries Economics. He is director of both the Fisheries Economics Research Unit and the OceanCanada Partnership at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia (UBC). Dr. Sumaila is also appointed in the UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. His research focuses on bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation, and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, illegal fishing, climate change, marine plastic pollution, and oil spills. Dr. Sumaila is widely published and cited. He is on the editorial boards of several journals, including Science Advances, Scientific Reports, and Environmental & Resource Economics. As well as winning the 2017 Volvo Environment Prize and other prestigious awards, Dr. Sumaila was inducted into the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada in 2019. He was named a Hokkaido University Ambassador in 2016 and a Distinguished Professor (visiting) at the National University of Malaysia in 2020. Dr. Sumaila has given talks at the UN Rio+20, the World Trade Organization, the White House, the Canadian Parliament, the African Union, the St. James Palace, and the British House of Lords. Dr. Sumaila has served on many scientific advisory boards and high-level panels. He is currently on the board of directors of Oceana and he is a member of the science advisory committee for the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy convened by the Prime Minister of Norway, which consists of 14 sitting heads of states

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×

and governments. The mission of the panel is to build momentum toward a sustainable ocean economy, where “effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand-in-hand.” Dr. Sumaila received his Ph.D. and M.Sc. from the University of Bergen, Norway, in economics in 1996 and 1993, respectively, and graduated with a B.Sc. (Hon.) degree in quantity surveying from the Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, in 1986.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
Page209
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
Page210
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
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An estimated 8 million metric tons (MMT) of plastic waste enters the world's ocean each year - the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute. Plastic waste is now found in almost every marine habitat, from the ocean surface to deep sea sediments to the ocean's vast mid-water region, as well as the Great Lakes. This report responds to a request in the bipartisan Save Our Seas 2.0 Act for a scientific synthesis of the role of the United States both in contributing to and responding to global ocean plastic waste.

The United States is a major producer of plastics and in 2016, generated more plastic waste by weight and per capita than any other nation. Although the U.S. solid waste management system is advanced, it is not sufficient to deter leakage into the environment. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste calls for a national strategy by the end of 2022 to reduce the nation's contribution to global ocean plastic waste at every step - from production to its entry into the environment - including by substantially reducing U.S. solid waste generation. This report also recommends a nationally-coordinated and expanded monitoring system to track plastic pollution in order to understand the scales and sources of U.S. plastic waste, set reduction and management priorities, and measure progress.

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