Steven DiMarco and Ruth Perry appointed to National Academy of Sciences Committee

Apr 10, 2017

Dr. Steven DiMarco and alumna Dr. Ruth Perry appointed to the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Advancing the Understanding of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current Dynamics.

In early March this year, Professor Steven DiMarco and alumna Dr. Ruth Perry (B.S. ’04, Ph.D. ’13) were honored through an appointment to the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Advancing the Understanding of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current Dynamics. The process of being selected was a rigorous procedure that started last October through a recommendation from fellow experts on topics related to the Gulf Research Program. As a Committee of only 14 representatives, the selection of two Aggies from the Department of Oceanography does not go unnoticed.

Gulf of Mexico
(Image credit: NOAA)

“[It] is a tremendous honor to be considered and I am humbled to have been selected,” said Dr. DiMarco when asked what this nomination means to him. “To me, the selection is a significant recognition to the contributions I have made for more than 20 years on oceanographic observations in the Gulf of Mexico. It is definitely a highlight of my career.” As part of the Committee, Dr. DiMarco and Dr. Perry will help determine critical procedures to improve models and forecasts, assess the capacity of current technology in understand the Loop Current, suggest new approaches, and design and implement improved field campaigns.

The Gulf of Mexico has a profound effect on the weather, climate, ecosystem, natural and living resources, and economy of populations in the US, Mexico, and Cuba. The coastal region bordering the Gulf of Mexico also is home to more than 56 million people in five US states, and is the nexus of natural and anthropogenically derived processes. The main source of energy that drives the Gulf of Mexico is the Loop Current System.

With a focus on the oceanographic processes controlling the circulation and dynamics of the Loop Current, it’s no wonder that Drs. DiMarco and Perry were selected for the Committee. Dr. DiMarco is a Professor of Oceanography and Team Leader of Ocean Observing at the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group, where he and fellow scientists focus on applied interdisciplinary research through modeling and observational oceanography. Specifically, Dr. DiMarco focuses on hypoxia in the northern Gulf, Interdisciplinary Oceanography and Ocean Technology, and response to tropical weather.

Dr. Ruth Perry, a current employee of Shell as a Marine Scientist and Regulatory Policy Specialist, focuses on environmental issues in offshore operations and the integration of marine science and ocean technology with regulatory policy and decision making. When asked about her appointment, Dr. Perry said, “This is a very prestigious opportunity to grow as a scientist and also to bring my experience in the oil and gas industry to NAS Gulf Research Program. Also, the nature of this Committee is unique and presents an amazing opportunity to build and multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder partnership to provide new comprehensive data (monitoring and modeling) to tackle a complex problem that has a strong impact on the safety of Gulf of Mexico people and health and understanding of Gulf of Mexico environment and ecosystem, which also affects people.” 

Together, this pair of experts are sure to represent the Department of Oceanography in the best way possible and to further the understanding of the complex and dynamically rich and societally important environment of the Loop Current of the Gulf of Mexico.

By: Natalie Zielinski