Letter from the USAC Chair

November, 2009

Dear All,

As I write this letter, the JOIDES Resolution has just departed from Townsville, Australia and begun IODP Expedition 317 to the Canterbury Basin off New Zealand’s South Island. All of us who have sailed with the program can easily relate to the 30 scientists from around the world as they settle into their berths and familiarize themselves with the new lab spaces. After having spent two holiday seasons at sea, one on the JR and one on the Chikyu, I know how compelling the objectives must be to pull scientists away from home for the next two months. Expedition 317, led by co-chief scientists Craig Fulthorpe (University of Texas at Austin) and Koichi Hoyanagi (Shinshu University), will investigate the history of global sea-level change over the last 30 million years. You can monitor the expedition’s daily progress on the USIO web page and find highlights in the weekly Ocean Leadership newsletter.

If you are interested in sailing with the program, now is a good time to apply. IODP is currently staffing three new expeditions scheduled for 2010: Juan de Fuca Hydrogeology II, South Pacific Gyre Microbiology, and the Louisville Seamount Chain. Newcomers to the program should also consider attending the short course “IODP Primer: An Introduction to Ocean Drilling Programs” being held Sunday, December 13th, in San Francisco, just before the AGU Fall Meeting. For more information about applying to sail, the short course, and other current opportunities to participate in IODP, please visit http://www.oceanleadership.org/usssp/.

Efforts continue on the challenging and extremely important task of developing a new science plan for scientific ocean drilling. The INVEST steering committee is currently assembling the exciting ideas generated in Bremen, and your nominations are being used by the IODP Science Advisory Structure Executive Committee (SASEC) to formulate the science-plan writing team. If you plan to attend the AGU Fall Meeting this year, don’t miss the IODP Town Hall meeting, where you will have an opportunity to learn more about the future of IODP as well as the results of recent expeditions on the JR, the Chikyu, and mission-specific platforms. The Town Hall meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 15th at the W Hotel. I look forward to seeing you there.


Liz Screaton
USAC Chair