Swann appointed to Ocean Research Advisory Panel

LaDon Swann

LaDon Swann

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium Director LaDon Swann has been selected to serve on the Ocean Research Advisory Panel (OARP). The panel advises the National Ocean Research Leadership Council and provides independent recommendations about ocean research and related issues to the federal government.

Swann’s appointment is for a four-year term. Members of the panel represent the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, ocean industries, state governments, academia and others, including individuals who are eminent in the fields of marine science, marine policy, or related fields, including ocean resource management.

The panel’s duties include providing advice in several areas, including policies and procedures to implement the National Oceanographic Partnership Program; selection of partnership projects and allocation of funds for partnership projects for implementation under the program; and matters relating to the national oceanographic data requirements. The panel also fulfills any additional responsibilities that the National Ocean Research Leadership Council considers appropriate.

The ORAP is an advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and is the only FACA body chartered to advise all the ocean agencies.

The panel has no more than 18 members and no less than 10. Members are appointed by the Chairman of the Council, and the appointments are renewed on an annual basis by the Secretary of Defense.

Swann is also the director of marine programs for Auburn University.

Graham to share oil spill research

Larissa Graham

Larissa Graham

Larissa Graham has joined the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Auburn University’s Marine Extension and Research Center as a Gulf of Mexico oil spill extension specialist.

Each Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant program has hired an oil spill science extension specialist as part of a $1.5-million program funded through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). The four extension specialists will work as a team to create education programs to share GoMRI-funded oil spill research results with groups who depend on a healthy Gulf of Mexico for their livelihoods.

“Larissa has an exceptionally strong background as an adult educator, and she knows how to work with science and diverse audiences,” said LaDon Swann, director of Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and Auburn University Marine Programs.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative was created in 2010 with $500 million to invest over a 10-year period to investigate oil spill science topics and impacts of the spill. Universities across the United States are conducting research, which may also focus on improving mitigation and remediation technologies.

Chuck Wilson, GoMRI’s chief scientific officer and former Louisiana Sea Grant director, said Sea Grant has a rich history of working with science and reaching the audiences that use science-based information. 

“There are very few, if any, organizations that have the capacity inherent in Sea Grant’s extension network,” he said.

Graham is a trained facilitator and has experience developing and evaluating outreach programs for various audiences. She has worked with Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Mississippi and the New York Sea Grant College Program. She has a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife science from Virginia Tech.

“There is a lot of valuable information that is coming out of the GoMRI-funded research projects looking at the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the environment and public health,” Graham said. “It is important that those results and products are provided to the different audiences that can use the information.”

Graham can be reached at Larissa.graham@auburn.edu.