From the Director
Another “Cup”
Harlan Spence
Harlan Spence

AFTER A DROUGHT of 39 years, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara hoisted the Stanley Cup triumphantly skyward on the 15th of June, bringing a national championship home to joyful area hockey fans. As with every Cup championship club before, the Bruins' crowning achievement this season relied on a combination of teamwork, personal excellence, and commitment.

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky epitomized these qualities. Moreover, he fully understood the icy truth that without sound strategy the most skilled and determined team falls short of full success. On this point, he once said, ”A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” In the decisive seventh game of this year's Stanley Cup finals, the Bruins confidently played where the puck was going to be and were thus elevated to greatness this hockey season.

In parallel, EOS just finished its own "season" of greatness. Although the final numbers are not yet in, when fiscal year 2011 closed at the end of June it was clear that the overall activity rivals last year's record high success. Given the challenging condition of local, state, and federal economies, our second straight "championship season" is all the more impressive, and is a great accomplishment thanks to the past planning and current performance of EOS faculty, students, and staff.

While the Bruins' fortunes rose and fell since their last championship season in 1972, EOS' standard of excellence has remained high throughout its existence, even through periods of grave challenge. EOS remains great by remaining forward-looking and by reinventing itself in anticipation of the changing landscape of scientific goals and future research opportunities.

In this issue of Spheres, you will find striking examples of how EOS researchers are in step with the above hockey analogy. The theme repeats itself throughout whether it be initiatives to build collaborative, interdisciplinary partnerships for addressing societal needs, foster emerging international partnerships in environmental studies and sustainable food production, further geoscience education by building on unique cross-discipline UNH strengths, or discover mysteries about our physical universe through participation in novel space missions.

EOS's past successes have relied on setting research trajectories aimed at these constantly developing ideas and new opportunities. Though history suggests even the most well-informed predictions of the future sometimes miss their mark, that fact should never be a deterrent to reinventing and evolving in order to take advantage of new opportunities for great science. And, the fact is, EOS keeps putting high-quality shots on net.

Even after a winning season, an organization does not rest – it cannot afford to when planning for next season and beyond. EOS embodies this same ethos of constantly imagining and re-imagining the value of our research, generating clever new ideas, initiatives, and proposals to produce productive and beneficial tomorrows that many others never even considered. There is no off-season in EOS, though we should take time to reflect on our past investments and current triumphs.

So here's to another productive year, the byproduct of prior visions and investment, and to the new investments and ideas that will cultivate future "Cups."
– Harlan Spence

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the University of New Hampshire Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space electronic newsletter.

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Spheres Archives

Summer 2011
In this Issue of Spheres

Skating Towards the Puck

A Big UNHbrella for Geosciences Education

Solar Probe Plus

Catching a Share of River Herring

Hands Across the Water

News and Notes
Faculty, Staff and Student News
From the Director

Institute for the Study of Earth,
Oceans, and Space

EOS Director: Harlan Spence
Editor: David Sims
Designer: Kristi Donahue
Circulation: Laurie Pinciak

Morse Hall, 8 College Road,
Durham, NH 03824

Summer 2011

News and Notes
Faculty, Staff, and Student News

The Space Science Center’s (SSC) Benjamin Chandran and Mark McConnell were both recently promoted to full professor, and McConnell was named physics department chair. McConnell replaces Eberhard Möbius, who served as chair for the past three years.

The NASA and CONAE Aquarius/SAC-D satellite, which OPAL scientists Doug Vandemark and Joe Salisbury are involved with, was launched successfully on June 10 and placed in its proper orbit shortly thereafter. Instruments were turned on in late June. Vandemark is leading a UNH team that will participate in daily quality assessments of two instruments on board the satellite. The goal is to ensure all science data are meeting initial success criterion so that the calibration and validation period for the satellite science data can proceed. Aquarius represents NASA's first attempt to directly measure ocean surface salinity from space. To learn more see the Fall 2010 issue of Spheres.

Jingfent Xiao
Jingfeng Xiao
Jingfeng Xiao was selected as a Science Definition Team member of NASA's Carbon Monitoring System and will provide scientific and technical guidance to the development and evaluation of the global Integrated Carbon Flux Product. Xiao also reports he gave an invited talk titled "Success and Failure of Implementing Data-driven Upscaling Using Flux Networks and Remote Sensing" at the FLUXNET and Remote Sensing Open Workshop in Berkeley, CA, June 7-9. Xiao also published a paper in Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, titled "Upscaling carbon fluxes from towers to the regional scale: influence of parameter variability and land representation on regional flux estimates.”

Erik Hobbie
Erik Hobbie
Erik Hobbie was awarded a Bullard Fellowship to be at Harvard during the 2011-12 academic year. He will be based at the Department of Organismal and Evolutionary Biology with fellow mycologist Anne Pringle (sister of oceanographer Jamie Pringle of OPAL). Hobbie will also spend time at Harvard Forest focusing on two projects: assessing organic nitrogen uptake by mycorrhizal (symbiotic) fungi using radiocarbon and stable isotope analyses on both field specimens; and, estimating mycophagy (eating of fungi) in small mammals and marsupials from stable isotope analyses on hair.

Katilyn Steele
Kaitlyn Steele

Ruth Varner returned to Sweden with two graduate students, Research and Discover student Kaitlyn Steele (who is spending five months there working on her thesis project) and undergraduate Jacki Amante, to deploy methane ebullition sensors that will listen for methane bubbles released from peat and thermokarst lakes. The effort should help provide insight into the methane budget from wetlands – whose response to warming is still one of the biggest unknowns in the climate change puzzle. Steele was awarded a grant from the American Scandinavian Foundation to support her research this summer in Sweden.

Kai Germanschewski
The SSC’s Kai Germaschewski received a prestigious Early Career Research Program grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to support work in fusion plasmas that could one day lead to a cleaner source of energy. Germaschewski, an assistant professor of physics, is the first UNH faculty member to receive a grant through this program since its launch in 2009.

Among a diversity of successful awards, both external and through UNH’s New Ventures Research Leverage Proposal, CSRC’s Michael Palace received an ADVANCE NSF grant to develop a J-term course in Costa Rica with new COLSA hire, Heidi Asbjornsen. The title of this project is “Experiential Student Learning and Collaborative Research: Understanding Tropical Ecosystem Responses to Climate Change from Leaves to Landscapes.” In addition to the course development, Palace and Asbjornsen will develop a research framework with the future plan of submitting a NSF Macroscale Biology proposal.

Amanda Plagge
Amanda Plagge

OPAL Ph.D. student Amanda Plagge was awarded a continuation of her NASA Graduate Student Research Program fellowship for 2011-2012. She is interning at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory this summer with NASA Ocean Vector Wind Science Team project scientist Ernesto Rodriguez as part of her GSRP project.

Matt Vadeboncoeur of CSRC was recently awarded a 2011 Switzer Environmental Fellowship. Fellows work across a broad spectrum of environmental issues and in a diversity of settings from local grassroots groups to Capitol Hill. Vadeboncoeur, a Ph.D. student in the NRESS program, is working on nutrient limitation and element cycling in human-influenced forest ecosystems, in particular plant uptake of organic nitrogen and mineral forms of phosphorus and calcium as mediated by mycorrhizal fungi.

Kevin Hanley, a master’s student working with CSRC’s Wil Wollheim, was named a NASA ambassador for New Hampshire. The space agency chooses one ambassador from each state to develop an outreach program aimed at generating excitement about some aspect of space science. Hanley has been giving presentations to grades K-12 about some UNH projects, including his own research making use of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data to understand aquatic biogeochemistry, and other research involving NASA’s Aqua satellite, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the STEREO solar probes.

Ph.D. student Alexander Crew, who is working with EOS director Harlan Spence, received an Outstanding Student Paper Award from the American Geophysical Union for his paper “Probing the microburst source region using low energy election measurements made in low-Earth orbit.”

NH Space Grant 20 Years
David Bartlett  
David Bartlett
During a June 2 celebration in Morse Hall, the New Hampshire Space Grant Consortium (NHSGC) marked 20 years of work dedicated to improving education and public awareness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, particularly as related to our nation's space program. The event also honored NHSGC founding director and EOS associate director David Bartlett, who retired at the end of the month.

by David Sims, Science Writer, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space.