The Comings ... and Goings

Network News Fall 2004, Vol. 17 No. 2
Network News

Mark Servilla joined LTER Network Office (LNO) as Lead Scientist on the Network Information System (NIS) project in May 2004. Mark has a professional background in developing networked data distribution and analysis systems and an educational background in computer science and geology. Mark is currently familiarizing himself with the LTER sites and working on NIS tasks identified in the draft NIS strategic plan developed by the Network Information System Advisory Committee (NISAC). The plan, though incomplete, provides a framework for budgeting development time. 

Also in May, McOwiti Thomas, a Kenyan, joined the LTER Network Office (LNO) as Public Information Officer. McOwiti, who has a long and wide ranging experience in journalism and public communication, replaces Patty Sprott, who relocated to North Carolina in Spring 2004. His initial tasks are to develop and implement strategies and tools for communicating LTER accomplishments to its various constituencies. McOwiti holds a bachelor's degree in Physics and Mathematics from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya and a master's degree in Communication from the University of New Mexico.

In June 2004, Karen McGlathery replaced Bruce Hayden as lead PI for the Virginia Coast Reserve (VCR) LTER site.  Karen's background is in coastal ecology, in particular the coupling of nutrient cycling with plant ecology in shallow coastal ecosystems.  She began working at VCR in 1996, linking watershed nutrient inputs to the fate and transformations of nutrients within the lagoons on their trajectory to the open ocean. This work complements similar work she has done in coastal bays in the tropics and in Scandinavia. Recently, Karen has begun a collaborative project for large-scale restoration of formerly extinct seagrass populations in the VCR lagoons.

In August LNO hired Katy Perry as Administrative Assistant II. Katy's duties are to assist with all general administrative office duties; process travel reimbursements for local, national, and international meeting participants; coordinate various national and international meeting logistics, and serve as a liaison between the Network office and various LTER sites and affiliates to resolve problems and questions of a general nature.

Marjorie Hudson joined the Network Office in September as Senior Program Manager. Formerly a Senior Contract and Grant Administrator in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at the University of New Mexico, Marjorie is also a Certified Research Administrator—a professional certification acquired through experience, knowledge, and passing a written exam that covers a broad spectrum of knowledge in federal, state, and university rules and compliance regulations. She has extensive experience in grant, contract, and cooperative agreement management, and is finishing her doctorate in social science. Her dissertation project involves an international collaboration (Chile, Panama, and the US) of ecologists, medical personnel, and social science in hantavirus prevention outreach. Marjorie will divide her time between the LTER Planning Grant, the SEEK project and LNO. Initially, her principal duty will be to help manage and supervise the accounting for all three projects, but over time LNO intends to capitalize on her skills to enhance social science within LTER.

…and Goings

Patty Bonito (née Sprott), who served as technical writer/editor and publications specialist in the LNO since 1997, relocated to North Carolina in Spring 2004.  However, Patty will continue to work part-time with LTER sites to develop site brochures and to help in editing projects as the need arises.

Bruce Hayden, formerly PI for VCR, is the new co-leader of NEON together with Bill Michener, who retains his position as Associate Director at LNO. Commenting on the changes, Henry Gholz, director of the LTER Program at NSF, said Bruce's “long-standing, high-level participation in LTER, both at the VCR site level as well as at the network level, has inspired a generation of new scientists and has been critical in bringing the LTER program to its current prominence in ecology.” He commended VCR for anticipating and planning for Bruce's departure and thus preparing Karen to take over smoothly as PI. Henry pointed out that Bruce's leadership of the NEON project over the next two years would be equally critical for the science and the general community at large. Noting that Bruce's LTER background will ensure the exploration of joint development and possible synergisms between LTER and NEON, Henry observed that the coordination of the two development efforts over the same two-year time period would be a huge challenge for Bruce and his team, but that it was essential that they use the resources and time as efficiently as possible.

John Norman, the GIS Manager at the SGS-LTER has accepted a position with the Natural Resources Ecology Lab at Colorado State University as GIS Modeler. We appreciate John's contributions to the project since he started as an REU over five years ago.

After three successful years with LNO, Sonia Ortega returned to NSF in late September. Sonia leaves LNO and LTER after spurring the Network's education component to new heights. She says she plans to collaborate with Henry Gholz at NSF and will continue her connection with the Network. Sonia's new contacts are: National Science Foundation, Division of Graduate Education, Room 907 N, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230, email:; phone 703 292 5198.