Committee Membership Information

Study Title:

Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic

Primary Board:

Study Director:


Dr. Stephanie Pfirman - (Co-Chair)
Barnard College

Dr. Pfirman is a Professor of Environmental Science and Alena Wels Hirschorn and Martin Hirschorn Professor of Environmental and Applied Sciences at Barnard College. Dr. Pfirman has been a faculty member at Barnard since 1993 and currently serves as a Co-Chair of Barnard?s Department of Environmental Science. She also holds a joint appointment with Columbia University as a member of the faculties of the Earth Institute and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Adjunct Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. Before accepting her position at Barnard, Dr. Pfirman was a Senior Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund as well as a co-developer of the award-winning exhibition, "Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast," produced jointly with the American Museum of Natural History. Her research focuses on the Arctic environment, specifically the nature and dynamics of the Arctic Sea under changing climate. Dr. Pfirman is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Science Foundation?s advisory committee for Environmental Research and Education.


Dr. Henry P. Huntington - (Co-Chair)
Pew Charitable Trusts

Dr. Huntington is the Science Director for the Arctic Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts. Before this, Dr. Huntington worked as a consultant in environmental research and policy, reviewing the regulation of subsistence hunting in northern Alaska, documenting traditional ecological knowledge of beluga and bowhead whales, studying Inupiat Eskimo and Inuit knowledge and use of sea ice, and assessing the impacts of climate change on Arctic communities and marine mammals. Dr. Huntington has also worked as a researcher and writer on a number of international research programs, among them the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, the Program for the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, and the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. He has written two books and numerous articles, and has been published in journals such as Polar Research, Marine Policy and Ecological Applications. Dr. Huntington holds a Bachelor?s Degree in English from Princeton University and Master?s and Doctoral Degrees in polar studies from the University of Cambridge.


Dr. Carin Ashjian
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Dr. Ashjian is a Senior Scientist in the Department of Biology at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). She graduated with a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island in 1991. She did postdoctoral work at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University of Miami, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution before joining the scientific staff at WHOI in 1996. Her research has focused on oceanography, zooplankton ecology, and biological-physical interactions in a range of the world?s oceans. Her recent work focuses on the impact of climate change on polar ecosystems and the greater Arctic system, including the human dimension


Dr. Tom Weingartner
University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Dr. Weingartner is a Physical Oceanographer and Professor of Marine Science in the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). He has been affiliated with UAF since 1989. Dr. Weingartner holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography from North Carolina State University.He is an observational physical oceanographer interested in continental shelf dynamics and how these processes affect marine ecosystems. He is also interested in how high-latitude shelf systems are influenced by changing climate and how these shelf processes may affect the Arctic Ocean. Dr. Weingartner uses a variety of observational tools (oceanographic moorings, satellite-tracked drifters, shipboard measurements, shore-based, surface current mapping radars, autonomous underwater vehicles, and remote sensing tools) to investigate shelf processes in the Gulf of Alaska, and the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas.


Dr. Larry D. Hinzman
University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Larry Hinzman is the Director of the International Arctic Research Center and is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Professor Hinzman?s primary research interests involve permafrost hydrology. He has conducted hydrological and meteorological field studies in the Alaskan Arctic continuously for over 25 years while frequently collaborating on complementary research in the Russian and Canadian Arctic. His research efforts have involved characterizing and quantifying hydrological processes and their inter-dependence with climate and ecosystem dynamics. Dr. Hinzman?s academic degrees were earned from South Dakota State University, Purdue University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Chemistry, Soil Science, Agronomy and Soil Physics. He has served as a member of the U.S. Polar Research Board, the U.S. Representative to the International Permafrost Association and is member of the Universities Council on Water Resources. He served as co-chair of the U.S. National Science Foundation study on the Arctic Freshwater Initiative and presently serves as chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy?s Arctic Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment. He has served on the U.S. SEARCH (Study of Environmental Arctic Change) Observing Change Panel, and the Alaska Governor?s Sub-cabinet Economic Activities Technical Working Group. He serves on the International Advisory Board for the Korea Polar Research Institute and on the Scientific Steering Group for WRCP Climate and Cryosphere (CliC). He is an Advisory Committee Member for the Alaska Center for Energy and Power and Association of Polar Early Career Scientists. He is strongly committed to facilitating international partnerships to advance our understanding of the arctic system.


Dr. Ellen S. Mosley-Thompson
The Ohio State University

Dr. Mosley-Thompson is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geography and Director of the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2009 and currently serves as a member of both the Polar Research Board and the U.S. National Committee for the International Union for Quarternary Research. Dr. Mosley-Thompson has made significant contributions to understanding Earth's climate history using the chemical constituents and physical properties preserved in its glaciers and ice sheets. These records provide a critical historical context for assessment of contemporary climate changes and rigorous constraints on regional and global forcing mechanisms. Her areas of expertise include paleoclimatology, abrupt climate changes, glacier retreat, Holocene climate variability and contemporary climate change.


Dr. Gifford H. Miller
University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. Miller is a Professor of Geological Sciences as well as a Fellow and Associate Director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Miller earned his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1975 and specializes in quaternary stratigraphy, geochronology, and paleoclimatology. His main scholarly interests focus on gaining an improved understanding of how the physical earth system operates with particular interest in using the Quaternary as a means to reconstruct the coupled ocean/atmospheric/ice climate system. Current research includes quaternary stratigraphy and dating methods; amino acid geochronology and cosmogenic exposure dating; and glacial history of the Arctic, focusing on glacial chronology and ice-sheet dynamics using direct field evidence and quantitative estimates of the timing and magnitude of warm times in the Arctic. Among his distinctions, Dr. Miller is an Elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America and an Elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.


Dr. David Hik
University of Alberta

Dr. Hik is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta. Since 1984 his research interests have focused primarily on the ecology of plant-animal interactions in northern, alpine and arid environments. He holds a B.Sc. from Queen's University, a M.Sc. from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. He currently serves as President of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and Vice-Chair of the Arctic Council?led ?Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON)? initiative. He is also a member of several advisory boards, including the Canadian Polar Commission, the Arctic Institute of North America, the Polar Continental Shelf Program, and the NSERC CREATE Program in Arctic Atmosphere Science. Previously, he held the Canada Research Chair in Northern Ecology (2002-2012) and was Executive Director of the Canadian International Polar Year (IPY) Secretariat (2004-2009).


Dr. A. Michael Macrander
Shell Oil Company

Dr. Macrander currently serves as Chief Scientist for Shell Alaska. In this role he is responsible for planning, directing, and implementing a diverse portfolio of scientific investigations and monitoring in the Alaskan Arctic. This portfolio includes both onshore and offshore studies programs and is directed at understanding broad baseline environmental /ecological conditions, monitoring and assessing interactions between industry activities and the environment, and assessing impacts of an overall changing Arctic. In addition to directing the Shell Alaska science program, Dr. Macrander serves as a subject matter expert on Arctic sciences within Shell, advising on Arctic and subarctic projects for the company. He serves on the Advisory Panel for the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) and the Science and Technical Advisory Panel for the North Slope Advisory Panel. Through his more than 30 year career, Dr. Macrander has focused his investigative efforts on multiple aspects of environmental ecology, management, and regulation including wetlands, threatened and endangered species protection, ecological risk evaluation, and evaluation of the impacts of oil spills.


Dr. Kate Moran
Neptune Canada

Dr. Moran is the Director of NEPTUNE Canada. She formerly served a two-year term as Assistant Director in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, DC. In her White House role, Moran advised the Obama administration on the oceans, the Arctic and global warming. She was seconded to the position from a faculty appointment at the University of Rhode Island where she was a Professor of Oceanography and Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography. Dr. Moran holds degrees in marine science and engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Rhode Island and Dalhousie University. Her research focuses on marine geotechnics and its application to the study of paleoceanography, tectonics and seafloor stability. She has authored more than 45 publications.


Dr. Amanda H. Lynch
Brown University

Dr. Lynch is a Professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Meteorology in 1993 from the University of Melbourne. From 1992-2003 she was in the United States, most recently at the University of Colorado. She was a Fellow of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, a Visiting Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and a consultant to Los Alamos National Laboratory. She returned to Australia in 2004 to take up a Federation Fellowship and head the Monash University Climate program. She was admitted as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2008, and returned to the U.S. in 2011. Dr. Lynch's interests lie in the application of climate and meteorological research to concrete problems of policy relevance. Her approaches include regional and global climate models of the contemporary and past climates, weather prediction models, statistical models, and quantitative and qualitative analysis. She has a strong interest in working with under-represented minorities, particularly indigenous people.


Dr. Robert Hawley
Dartmouth College

Dr. Hawley started working as a glaciologist in 1995, as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, through the National Science Foundation 'Research Experience for Undergraduates' (REU) Program. Following the completion of his B.S. degree, he continued in glaciological research by participating in the inaugural winter-over at Summit camp, Greenland, during the 1997-1998 boreal winter. In 2005, Dr. Hawley earned a Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Washington. He then served as a post-doctoral research associate at Cambridge University from 2005-2008 before joining the faculty at Dartmouth in 2008. His research interests include: the physics of firn densification, mass balance of large ice sheets, interpretation of ice core records, and remote sensing. He has worked primarily in East and West Antarctica and Greenland.


Dr. Jennifer A. Francis
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Jennifer A. Francis is a Research Professor at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences and the Graduate Program in Atmospheric Sciences at Rutgers University. She studies the Arctic climate system, causes for rapid change, and linkages between the Arctic and the global climate system. Her work is funded primarily by the National Science Foundation. She has served on several national committees in the National Science Foundation, the American Meteorological Society, and the science steering committee for the Study of Arctic Environmental Change (SEARCH). Dr. Francis received her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington in 1994. Dr. Francis is currently a member of the Polar Research Board.


Dr. Sven D. Haakanson
Alutiiq Museum Kodiak

Born and raised in the rural Kodiak Island community of Old Harbor, Alaska, Sven Haakanson is a member of the Old Harbor Alutiiq Tribe. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard University. Since 2000, Dr. Haakanson has worked to share Native American perspectives with museums as well as museum practices with Native people. Dr. Haakanson is the Executive Director of the nationally acclaimed Alutiiq Museum, a Native cultural center in Kodiak, Alaska. He has made collections more accessible to Native communities by researching objects in the world?s museums and developing traveling exhibits and educational resources around the information they hold. In 2007 his work was honored with a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Dr. Haakanson serves on many cultural organizations and maintains an active research program. He is systematically documenting Kodiak?s prehistoric petroglyphs and continues to publish his research on the Nenets culture of Siberia.


Dr. Samuel B. Mukasa
University of New Hampshire

Dr. Mukasa has been the Eric J. Essene Professor of Geochemistry and Dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of New Hampshire since January 2011. Previously, he was a faculty member at University of Michigan since 1989, where he also served as Department Chair for the Department of Geological Sciences in 2007-2010. He holds a Ph.D. in geochemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.S. degree in geology from Ohio State University, and a B.S. in geology from the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Mukasa received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Nkumba University in Uganda in 2008. Dr. Mukasa?s fields of interests include geochemistry, geochronology, and petrology.