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Dean's monthly update

April 2005

This report is coming out a few days late due to my March travel schedule which has now extended into the first week of April. I write this from Juneau on April 6 where Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker and I have been pounding the pavement to drum up support for state funds to construct our Fisheries Building at Lena Point. Many thanks to Heather McCarty for setting up the legislative appointments for us. Tomorrow, I am off to Seattle to meet with representatives from NOAA and the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) about a
long term study in the Bering Sea to be funded by= NPRB. Mark Johnson will also attend for SFOS. Beginning Monday, April 11, I will be in the office for th next month (except for a couple of one day trips to Anchorage).

The CORE Board of Governors meeting in early March provided me an opportunity to discuss the current federal budget with several congressional staffers and to
talk about the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) with NSF program managers. Although the ARRV was not part of the President’s FY06 budget, NSF Director
Arden Bement stated that NSF strongly supported construction of the vessel during his address to the CORE Public Policy Forum on Capitol Hill. I thanked
him for this support. I also delivered a copy of the final design of the vessel to Lisa Sutherland, Chief of Staff for the Senate Commerce Committee and former
aid to Sen. Stevens. UAF Chancellor Steve Jones and I will be discussing a strategy soon to help assure ARRV funding in FY07.

During the CORE meeting, CORE Education Director Sue Cook mentioned that they would like to see the National Ocean Science Bowl finals come to Alaska in the future. Our Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences, the Tsunami Bowl, Bowl is somewhat different from other regional competitions in that a research project is used in part to determine the winning team, and our event also includes the Ocean Connection Juried Art Show. Our unique blend of a quiz bowl, research paper, and art show has been recognized by the national ocean science bowl organizers and Phyllis Shoemaker and Susan Sugai are investigating what would be required to host the national event in Seward in 2007 or 2008.

Much effort was made by many to make the March 12-13 SFOS Advisory Council meeting in Fairbanks a marked success this year. Kathy Carter and Poppy Hochstetler did an excellent job with the arrangements, the unit directors gave interesting – if not brief – presentations and the faculty research presentations by Zygmunt Kowalik, Bodil Bluhm, and Katrin Iken generated considerable interest. We appreciate the advice the council provided on our
academic programs, facility needs, and fiscal situation. The council heard that our debt is down and number of graduates is up. In the last year we graduated 5 BS Fisheries, 13 MS Fisheries, 3 Ph.D. Fisheries, 8 MS GPMS, and 5 Ph.D.GPMSL students.

At the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) meeting in Anchorage in March, eight of the 33 successful proposals had an SFOS faculty member as principal investigator. The funding for these proposals totaled $1.8M or 30% of the total NPRB funding this year.

The Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) Policy Board met in Kodiak on March 15 concurrent with ComFish Alaska, the annual spring trade show for fish harvesters, processors, community leaders, and goods and services providers. The Policy Board heard reports on several research projects and discussed how to improve the visibility of the FITC research that supports seafood products industry. To aid in this effort, SFOS will soon advertise for a Public Information Officer who will have responsibility for developing and implementing a school-wide communication plan.

There was no good news at the UNOLS Council meeting in Washington, DC. The NSF budget for FY05 was cut by $110M and this has translated to significant cuts in Ocean Sciences research and ship operations funding. NSF will have to cut 900 ship days next year to meet the $7 to $10M cut in the $83M ship operations budget. The worse news is that I was appointed to the three-person ad hoc committee to “develop a plan for ship retirements or lay-ups that will fit the budget realities and minimize the impact on funded science programs.” Wish me luck.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center provided continuing funding to six students and awarded new fellowships to four SFOS students at its meeting on March 22. Some of you may have seen former Associate Dean Al Tyler who was in town for the meeting. Recipients of new fellowships this year were William Bechtol (Advisor: Gordon Kruse), Carrie Belben (Katrin Iken), Shannon Hanna (Loren Buck), and Cindy Tribuzio (Gordon Kruse). I hope you will find an opportunity to congratulate these outstanding students.

Denis