WHRC changes command

Woods Hole Research Center Marks Transition in Leadership
Woods Hole Research Center's new President and Director John P. Holdren. Photo by Gabriel A. Cooney

On June 3, the Woods Hole Research Center will mark a transition in leadership, as John P. Holdren becomes President and Director and George M. Woodwell, Founder, current President and Director, becomes Director Emeritus and Senior Scientist.

Lawrence Huntington, chairman of the Woods Hole Research Center Board of Trustees, remarked, "On behalf of the trustees, I know that we are confident in John's commitment to the outstanding leadership and clarity of vision that George has made a hallmark of the Woods Hole Research Center. Continuing the Center's work with the great issues of the environment is especially crucial now, amid the escalation of climate change and discussion over viable energy solutions."

Kilaparti Ramakrishna, deputy director and holder of the Center's Sara Shallenberger Brown Chair in Environmental Policy, added, "Having John as Director ranks high among the many accomplishments of the Center. From the staff's point of view, we could not have hoped for a better person who knows the Center and the staff so well and admires what we do. We are all very much looking forward to working together as the Center enters this new stage."

The official change of leadership will occur during a morning meeting of the Center's Board of Trustees.

According to Amy Regan, a member of the Board of Trustees, "We needed a very special person to follow in George's footsteps. John Holdren is the right choice. He possesses both a deep appreciation for George's work and an ability to shape the vision and work of the Center in new and meaningful directions. With his experience and strength, the Center is poised for an exciting time."

Dr. Holdren has been a Visiting Distinguished Scientist and Trustee at the Center since 1991. He is also is the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is Professor of Environmental Science and Public Policy in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and co-chair of the Foundation-funded, bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy.

Trained in engineering and plasma physics at MIT and Stanford, Dr. Holdren co-founded in 1973 and co-led for 23 years the interdisciplinary graduate program in energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley. His work has focused on causes and consequences of global environmental change, energy technology and policy, nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, and science and technology policy. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and he is the President-Elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He was a member of President Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) from 1994 to 2001 and, in this capacity, chaired PCAST studies on nuclear materials protection, federal energy R&D strategy, and international cooperation on energy-technology innovation. In December 1995 he delivered the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance lecture on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which he served as Chair of the Executive Committee from 1987 to 1997. In December 2004 he retired from the chairmanship of the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the National Academy of Sciences after serving in that post for 11 years.

The Woods Hole Research Center is dedicated to science, education and public policy for a habitable Earth, seeking to conserve and sustain forests, soils, water, and energy by demonstrating their value to human health and economic prosperity. The Center has initiatives in the Amazon, the Arctic, Africa, Russia, Boreal North America, the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Cape Cod. Center programs focus on the global carbon cycle, forest function, landcover/land use, water cycles and chemicals in the environment, science in public affairs, and education, providing primary data and enabling better appraisals of the trends in forests that influence their role in the global carbon budget. Center staff work locally and regionally, assisting communities with resource management, and internationally, promoting policies that stabilize climate and protect the integrity of the global environment. The Woods Hole Research Center has approximately 40 staff members, consisting of scientists, international law and policy experts, researchers, and administrative staff. Funding is provided through government grants, corporate and foundation support., and individual donors.

Dr. Woodwell's research has been on the structure and function of natural communities and their role as segments of the biosphere. He has worked extensively in forests and estuaries in North America and has made well-known studies of the ecological effects of ionizing radiation and the circulation and effects of pesticides and other toxins. For many years he has studied the biotic interactions associated with the warming of the earth. Dr. Woodwell has published more than 300 papers in ecology and has contributed articles to Science, Scientific American, BioScience, Ecology and the Journal of Ecology, among many others. He has written and edited books on the effects of nuclear war, the global carbon cycle, biotic impoverishment, and satellite imagery used in measuring the area of forests globally.

Prior to founding the Woods Hole Research Center, George M. Woodwell served as Deputy Director, Assistant Director for Education, and Distinguished Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) from 1975 to 1985. He was also the Founder and Director of the MBLâ??s Ecosystems Center. He was a founding trustee and member of the Board of Trustees of both the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Environmental Defense. In addition, he was a founding trustee of the World Resources Institute.

He served as a board member (1970-84) and chair (1980-84) of the Board of Directors, and is currently a member of the National Council, for the World Wildlife Fund. He chaired the 1982 Conference on the Long-Term Worldwide Biological Consequences of Nuclear War. Woodwell also currently serves on the advisory board of the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment and as a board member for the Ocean Conservancy, the Grand Canyon National Park Foundation, the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia, and Living on Earth.

Dr. Woodwell earned his master's and doctoral degrees from Duke University and his bachelor's from Dartmouth College. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1996, he received the Heinz Environmental Prize, and in 2000, the John H. Chafee Excellence in Environmental Affairs Award of 2000. In 2001, he received the Volvo Environment Prize of 2001.

For additional information, contact: Elizabeth Braun, Director of Communications, Woods Hole Research Center, 508 548 9375, x 109, [email protected]

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