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Breakthroughs Magazine

At a Glance

Coastal ecosystem expert on board with Marine Research Operations

Andrea Copping, a biological oceanographer, has come from the deep blue sea to join Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Marine Research Operations in Sequim, Washington. Copping, a senior program manager for marine and coastal waters, is working with federal, state and local agencies on strategies and issues relating to the cleanup, restoration and protection of Puget Sound.

Before coming to PNNL, Copping was the associate director of the Washington Sea Grant Program at the University of Washington. She will maintain her university ties as an associate professor in the UW School of Marine Affairs. With a doctoral degree in biological oceanography, Copping brings more than two decades of marine research and institutional knowledge to PNNL, including experience in directing the Pacific Northwest Regional Marine Research program, environmental consulting and serving as president for the Pacific Estuarine Research Society.

Marine Research Operations is the Department of Energy's only marine research laboratory. Using state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, the laboratory is advancing the understanding of marine environments to solve problems and protect and manage valuable marine resources. Principal capabilities at the facility include marine and freshwater ecotoxicology, organic chemistry, environmental forensics, coastal and wetland restoration, fisheries studies, research in remediation technologies and biotechnology and fate-and-transport modeling in ocean and near-shore regions.

(Photo caption: Andrea Copping)

PNNL Laboratory Fellow appointed to Mars exploration committee

Laboratory Fellow Jim Fredrickson, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, accepted an appointment on the National Research Council's Committee on the Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars. The committee, whose assignment ends in September 2007, is undertaking a study that defines a scientific strategy for the search for life on Mars. Funded by NASA, the study will encompass both biological and environmental perspectives relevant to the search for life, as well as build path-forward strategies including scientific goals, objectives, investigations and priorities.

This integrated team of managers, scientists and engineers will respond to the scientific and resource challenges associated with deep space exploration of the Red Planet. By the end of the first decade of the Mars Exploration Program, scientists may know where and how to look for the elusive clues associated with a possible fossilized biological record of life.

Fredrickson was invited to join after the committee learned of his vast experience in microbiology and subsurface microbiology. The committee felt his expertise in this area would bring a new perspective to the group's diverse background. Specifically, Fredrickson's role will be to provide insight into various aspects regarding the potential for past and present microbial life on Mars, including current environments that may support life and the types of metabolic signatures indicative of past-life activity.

At PNNL, Fredrickson is a chief scientist in the Biological Sciences Division. He leads a range of research projects, including the Shewanella Federation, part of the Genomics: Genomes to Life program managed by the Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research. He also participates in the Grand Challenge in Biogeochemistry.

(Photo caption: Jim Fredrickson)

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