Obama plans to nominate Marcia McNutt as USGS director

US President Barack H. Obama said on July 9 that he will nominate Marcia K. McNutt director of the US Geological Survey and science advisor to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

US President Barack H. Obama said on July 9 that he will nominate Marcia K. McNutt director of the US Geological Survey and science advisor to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Her nomination is subject to US Senate confirmation.

She would be the first woman to head the US Department of the Interior agency since it was established in 1879. McNutt, who presently is president and chief executive of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Research Institute in California, also would be returning to the agency where she began her career in 1978.

Salazar said that he is looking forward to welcoming her back to the USGS. “Not only does she offer sterling academic credentials, but she also has worked in the field as chief scientist on many oceanographic expeditions and has been involved in government as chair of President Bill Clinton’s Panel on Ocean Exploration. Her experience will be valuable in leading the government’s premiere scientific agency,” he said.

McNutt worked in USGS’s Menlo Park, Calif., office for three years on earthquake prediction research after receiving her PhD from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., in 1978, according to DOI. She joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982, where she directed the Woods Hole Oceanography Institution and MIT’s joint program in oceanography and applied ocean science and engineering.

She has participated in 15 major oceanographic expeditions and was chief scientist on more than half of the voyages. She has published more 90 peer-reviewed articles, and her research has ranged from studies of ocean island volcanism in French Polynesia to continental break-up in the western United States.

McNutt also was American Geophysical Union president from 2000 to 2002, DOI said. It added that she chaired the Board of Governors for Joint Oceanographic Institutions, helping to bring about its merger with the Consortium for Ocean Research and Education to become the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, for which she served as trustee.

Contact Nick Snow atnicks@pennwell.com

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