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Call for Members of the Science Definition Team for the EXPORTS Field Campaign

NASA is soliciting applications and nominations for members of the EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) field campaign Science Definition Team (SDT). Response will take the form of a Letter of Application submitted to the Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program Manager at NASA Headquarters.

1. Scope of the Program

The next major field campaign to be sponsored by the NASA Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program will focus on developing a predictive understanding of the export and fate of global ocean primary production and its implications for the Earth’s carbon cycle in present and future climates, including understanding the roles of ocean biota in the global carbon cycle, and quantifying the export and fate of ocean net primary production from NASA satellites. The field campaign will be based on the EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) experiment concept as described in the final EXPORTS Science Plan and final EXPORTS Executive Summary (available at http://cce.nasa.gov/cce/ocean.htm; if this website is not available, please send an E-mail to support@cce.nasa.gov to request copies of the desired documents). This activity is NOT focused on rewriting science questions as identified in the final EXPORTS Science Plan.

Research conducted as part of EXPORTS will address carbon export (from the well-lit surface layer to the twilight zone), biogeochemical-ecosystem interactions, resulting carbon sequestration, and the prediction of carbon fluxes for present and future oceans. Study sites include the North Atlantic and Northeast Subarctic Pacific. An additional overarching objective for EXPORTS is to ensure the success of future satellite mission goals by establishing mechanistic relationships between remotely sensed signals and carbon cycle and ecosystem processes. EXPORTS will foster new insights on ocean carbon cycling under a variable and changing climate that will maximize its scientific relevance as a key component in the U.S. investment to understand Earth as an integrated system. The study will address questions that are associated with processes that are critical to understanding the environmental impacts of climate change on the Northern Atlantic and North Pacific carbon cycle and ecosystems, as well as biogeochemical responses that in turn affect trajectories of future change in the region and/or feedback to the global climate system. Insight may be gained into the influence of human activities on the carbon cycle and ecosystems within these regions, as well as science and modeling behind future decision-making in carbon management.

EXPORTS will contribute to the priorities of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and National Ocean Council (NOC). The USGCRP Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group has goals that include conducting research that responds to the vulnerability of carbon fluxes and stocks and predicting the effects of different CO2 and climate change scenarios on ecosystems (http://www.globalchange.gov/about/iwgs). Additionally, the Executive Order establishing the National Ocean Council (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-stewardship-ocean-our-coasts-and-great-lakes) calls for the need to increase scientific understanding of ocean ecosystems as part of the Earth system, including their relationships to humans and their activities, and improve our understanding of changing environmental conditions, trends, and their causes in oceans. EXPORTS research will require integrated biogeophysical observations, as well as improved simulation and modeling. Specific areas where progress is needed include (but are not limited to): assessment and quantification of carbon stocks and rates of organic carbon, formation, transport, and transformations; biogeochemical and physical property assessment at the mesoscale and submesoscale; tracking organic carbon from surface to depth; autonomous sampling of biogeochemical, ecological and physical properties of the ocean at the horizontal and vertical scales; examination of key physical and biogeochemical properties through an annual cycle; integration of observations into models; and possible attribution of change to human or natural causes.

The EXPORTS Science Definition Team (SDT) members will spend approximately nine to twelve months refining the issues to be addressed in developing implementation scenarios for the Final Science Plan, including logistical and field sampling issues and developing a detailed study design(s) for the EXPORTS field campaign. Minor refinements to the science questions may be suggested only if absolutely necessary to address a compelling implementation scenario. The SDT will be supported in its efforts by the Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program at NASA Headquarters and the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems (CC&E) Office at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The work of the SDT will culminate in a report that will serve as the EXPORTS Implementation Plan that NASA will use to guide its implementation of the field campaign (for an example, please refer to the ABoVE Concise Experiment Plan at http://above.nasa.gov/acep.html?).

2. Science Definition Team for EXPORTS

2.1 EXPORTS SDT Structure

The EXPORTS SDT will consist of approximately 8-20 members with expertise in scientific disciplines relevant to the goals of EXPORTS. These include, but are not limited to, carbon cycle science, ecology, biogeochemistry, and as needed, the associated management, social and economic sciences. Members also will have expertise in the methodologies to be used: satellite, airborne, and in situ observations; data analysis; data synthesis; data management; and modeling. It will be desirable for some members of the SDT to have knowledge of and experience working in North Atlantic and North Pacific carbon cycle science or ecosystems. NASA would welcome a few additional members with experience or expertise in applying scientific knowledge to decision making/management in the study regions, or its applicability globally. NASA also will be looking for members who have a demonstrated ability to work well as constructive, engaged members of a collaborative, interdisciplinary team.

NASA welcomes applications to the SDT for a Principal Investigator (PI) who wishes to be the Science Definition Team (SDT) Leader. NASA will select one SDT Lead to oversee and coordinate activities for the EXPORTS SDT. A desire to serve as the EXPORTS SDT Leader should be clearly identified in a separate section of the application. The SDT Leader will work with the NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office (CCEO) and Earth Science Project Office (ESPO - https://espo.nasa.gov/) to organize, plan, and chair any needed team meetings, coordinate the individual PIs, integrate the input of the various team members, and work to achieve consensus on the overall implementation plan objectives based on the science plan and requirements of one or each implementation scenario(s). NASA reserves the right to appoint a Deputy Science Definition Team Leader to assist the EXPORTS SDT Leader to ensure the breadth of scientific expertise is well represented. The EXPORTS SDT Leader (and possible Deputy SDT Leader) will act in close association with the NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office and Earth Science Project Office, if needed, and OBB Program Scientist to achieve the SDT goals. The Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program Manager will make a recommendation to the Selecting Official for a Leader and possible Deputy Leader of the EXPORTS SDT from the selected SDT members. The NASA Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program Manager and possibly other agency representatives will be ex officio members of the EXPORTS SDT.

NASA is currently seeking partnerships with other organizations in the conduct of EXPORTS. There is also the possibility that partnerships may develop to involve EXPORTS in a broader, multidisciplinary field program in either the North Atlantic or North Pacific. If such partnerships are realized, NASA may ask its EXPORTS SDT members to also engage in the scientific and implementation planning for the combined activity, joining with the scientists representing the scientific interests of the partner organizations. NASA is not anticipating that such interactions will add significantly to the burden of work to be undertaken by the EXPORTS SDT.

2.2 EXPORTS SDT Responsibilities
The members of the EXPORTS SDT will provide NASA with assistance in developing an Implementation Plan for the EXPORTS scientific field campaign. This plan will include a reasonably detailed study design or implementation options with a modular approach, and a description of required field and remote sensing observations, required field infrastructure, logistics, technologies, modeling, and data management capabilities.

NASA's charge to the SDT will be to design the implementation requirements for a regional, aquatic biogeochemical and ecosystem research project to be conducted in the North Atlantic and North Pacific study areas that is faithful to the scope and primary objectives described in the Final Science Plan for EXPORTS. The EXPORTS Final Science Plan included details regarding study design and management as a proof-of-concept demonstration of feasibility. The SDT will be free to adopt those recommendations or further consider, refine, and/or alter the study design to best address EXPORTS goals and objectives. The SDT should identify any particular societal issues that could be studied in EXPORTS, with the understanding that these will likely require the incorporation of complementary social and natural science perspectives and methods. The SDT will be charged to design a study that leverages, complements, and is compatible with ongoing North Atlantic and North Pacific research projects and field observations of national and international organizations working in the region, where possible. Where collaboration is possible, the NASA field campaign can then focus on filling gaps in scientific or geographic coverage and providing integrated regional analyses through effective use of satellite and airborne remote sensing, in situ observations, geospatial data analysis tools, and integrative data synthesis and modeling studies.

The initial meeting of the EXPORTS SDT will be targeted for early autumn 2015 and will be a teleconference call (for planning purposes, proposers should hold the afternoons of October 1 and 9 for a one and one half hour teleconference call to be scheduled on one or the other of those two days). The SDT can be expected to meet in person three times over the nine to twelve months following SDT selection. Meeting duration will be for (typically) two to three days. The SDT also may have regular phone-in meetings. Meetings will be called and their agendas set by the SDT Lead/Deputy Lead in coordination with NASA Headquarters and CC&E Office management to ensure that planned activities are aligned with programmatic needs and expectations. NASA will support travel expenses for all EXPORTS SDT work. Salary and other financial support will not be provided to SDT members. The CC&E Office will be responsible for any tasks necessary to support the work of the EXPORTS SDT. All reports and other output of the EXPORTS SDT will be made publicly available on an EXPORTS web site. Once the SDT's work has concluded, it will be disbanded prior to any solicitations for the field campaign being issued by NASA.

2.3 EXPORTS SDT Membership Proposal Content

Response to this Call is in the form of a Letter of Application. In the letter, the applicant should provide evidence of expertise and knowledge in areas highly relevant to the EXPORTS primary scientific goals and related research activities. The types of expertise and knowledge desired were listed in Section 2.1; however, appropriate expertise is not limited to the examples given there. All applicants must explain the knowledge and skills they have to offer and why they are important for SDT activities. All Applicants should have read and be familiar with the Final EXPORTS Science Plan. Letters of application should provide a brief statement regarding which aspects of the EXPORTS study and implementation the applicant would be able to help develop, as well as their overall vision regarding the scientific direction and scope of the field campaign. Applicants may express an interest in serving as SDT Lead, but NASA reserves the right to not limit selection of the SDT Lead to those applicants who express interest.

The Letter may contain a brief list of references to scientific or technical papers the applicant has published and/or positions held and work conducted that establish her/him as a leader in their area(s) of expertise. The Letter should also contain a statement of how much time the applicant will commit over the next nine to twelve months for activities related to the EXPORTS SDT, particularly if there are any major constraints that may restrict full engagement in the significant amount of work that will be required to define the implementation study design for the EXPORTS field campaign. This statement could take the form of a brief institutional letter/statement of commitment from the applicant’s management to support the PI’s participation/salary during the SDT activities).

Letter applications are invited from individuals, not groups. Collaborations and teams are not solicited. Each Letter is to be limited to three pages, with 11-point (or larger) font and one-inch margins. Applicants must follow the 2015 Guidebook for Proposers (http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/nraguidebook/) regarding line spacing. Letter applications are required to be submitted by E-mail – see below. The subject line of a responsive application must read "NASA EXPORTS SDT Application." Responses to this invitation must be received no later than 4:30 PM Eastern time on August 31, 2015. Applications from international organizations/investigators are welcome on a no-exchange-of-funds basis.

3. Selection of the EXPORTS Science Definition Team


NASA expects to select approximately 8-20 individuals for membership on the EXPORTS SDT and plans to announce its selection in September 2015. NASA will select the EXPORTS SDT members and the SDT Lead from the pool of respondents after reviewing the letters received in response to this call.

Application letters should be submitted to:

Dr. Paula S. Bontempi
Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program
Earth Science Division - Mail Suite 3V75
Science Mission Directorate
NASA Headquarters
300 E Street, SW Washington, DC 20546
Tel: 202-358-1508
E-mail: paula.bontempi@nasa.gov
Fax: 202-358-3098