Environmental Strategic Plan&emdash;Natural
Assessment&emdash;Feb 4, 1999
Areas for development that build on an existing base in science
· Ecosystems and Natural
Resources includes biodiversity, ecosystem structure and
dynamics, environmental microbiology, environmental modeling, and
environment in literature.
· Surficial Processes
primarily addresses the physical aspects of the geo- and
hydrospheres, including particularly low-temperature geochemistry
and surface-air interactions relevant to global change.
· Atmospheric processes are
relevant to both air pollution control and global climate
Specific Goal: 3) Develop Ecology and Earth
a. Environmental Geology
geochemistry [Andreas Luttge started Jan 99.
Specialty is experimental studies of weathering reactions. He is
also interested in microbial influences on geochemical
· geomorphology [search
re-directed to include paleoclimatology/paleooceanography, which
could strengthen global change capabilities]
b. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
· ecosystem modeling; aquatic
systems; biosphere &endash; surface interactions; large-scale
processes (analysis of complex environmental problems at
regional scales) [EEB search in 1998 for a community
ecologist resulted in hiring of E. Siemann, who studies
· Atmosphere (paleoclimatology,
chemistry, biosphere-atmosphere exchange)
· Interest in Physics, Chemistry,
Biochemistry and Math seems low. We need to find ways to gain
broader support across the science departments.
· Both EEB and G&G feel strong
needs to maintain existing strengths; our ability to influence
them to target environmental specialties would be greatly enhanced
if we could offer incentives. We should examine the dynamics of
what influences such decisions.
- Explore the possibilities of creating at least one
environmental science position that is independent of (or
additional to) existing departmental slots, but will be filled
with an environmental scientist in an area complementary to
existing departmental strengths.
- Promote development of programs with strong local applications
(e.g. Environmental Health or Galveston Bay, or regional
sustainability). Galveston Bay is the nations second most
productive estuary, but is threatened with overuse and neglect as
well as rapid population growth. Such ecosystems elsewhere in the
nation and the world have assumed a high priority for study and
protection. Also, our proximity to the Johnson Space Center may
offer opportunities in remote sensing, understanding modifications
to regional habitats and global climate change. Such programs
could be effective vehicles for attracting new funds.