photo by Chris Linder

RDML Gallaudet.JPG


Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 5, 2017, as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere for the Department of Commerce in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Gallaudet was previously a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, where his most recent assignment was Oceanographer of the Navy and Commander of the Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command. During his 32 years of military service, Dr. Gallaudet has had experience in weather and ocean forecasting, hydrographic surveying, developing policy and plans to counter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and assessing the national security impacts of climate change. He has led teams of Navy sailors and civilians performing such diverse functions as overseeing aircraft carrier combat operations, planning and conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts, assisting Navy SEAL teams during high visibility counter-terrorism operations, and developing the Navy’s annual $52 billion information technology, cyber security and intelligence budget.

Dr. Gallaudet holds a Bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, all in oceanography.


Richard Thoman, National Weather Service Alaska Region, Climate Science and Services Manager

Visitors from Distant Seas: Typhoons and Tropical Cyclones in Alaska

The southern and Caribbean portions of the United States were devastated in 2017 by a series of Category 5 hurricanes with direct and indirect casualties, billions of dollars in economic damages, and unprecedented precipitation, flooding and storm surge. These events were likely exacerbated by climate change. In Alaska, we do not have “hurricanes,” but rather western Pacific typhoons. Western Pacific typhoons and their offspring can be just as severe climatically and atmospherically as those experienced by the lower 48, producing significant damage to coastal communities and infrastructure and bringing copious moisture to inland areas of Alaska. Mr. Thoman will describe these events, their characteristics, and how they are similar and different from lower 48 hurricanes.

Richard Thoman grew up in the Amish country of Pennsylvania dreaming of life in Alaska. He has worked in the weather and climate business for the past 34 years in both the private and public sectors, and realized his childhood dreams when he joined the National Weather Service Alaska Region in 1988. He currently works as the National Weather Service Alaska Region Climate Science and Services Manager. He is the author or co-author on a dozen papers on aspects of Alaska climate and climate variability, including basic climate analysis, wildfires, and marine heat waves. He holds a B.S. in meteorology from Penn State and an M.A. in Athabascan Linguistics from the University of Alaska. He lives with his wife in Fairbanks, and, after 30 years, is now comfortable calling himself an Alaskan.


Lis Lindal Jørgensen senior scientist, Institute of Marine Research (IMR) Norway

PanArctic Benthic Monitoring: A Fast-changing Environment

Global climate change, harvest of marine resources, exploitation and invasion of new species place pressure on marine ecosystems. To be able to identify and follow impacts on the ecosystem, long-term monitoring is necessary, which can provide a cost and time-efficient PanArctic baseline overview of megabenthic invertebrate distribution and diversity. A trait-based approach is used, resulting in maps of temperature sensitivity and trawl vulnerability for the Barents Sea, Chukchi Sea and Bering Sea. These analyses show areas where different stressors can act on different species components of the community and cause a possible rapid change in biodiversity and habitat complexity. Such findings are critical and call for increased awareness from management authorities and global awareness of community impact from multiple, rather than single stressors.

Dr. Lis Lindal Jørgensen has been a senior scientist at the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) Norway since 2003. The focus of her work has been to understand how communities of benthic species are structured in space and in time by the surrounding natural and anthropogenic settings in the Northern Atlantic and Arctic Seas. Together with Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography (PINRO), Russia, Dr. Jørgensen and colleagues annually identify the megabenthos taken with trawls in the Barents Sea. Questions such as “how does the benthic community change” when impacted by invasive species such as king crab and snow crab, and increased temperature and bottom trawling, have become increasingly important with climate change. In 2017, Dr. Jørgensen started a PanArctic network with the seven Arctic member states to investigate changes of megabenthos in time and space. Together with scientists from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (NOAA), this network will be used to evaluate how benthic distribution and vulnerability are distributed in the Eurasian and in the Pacific Arctic. 

 photo by Mike Carlowicz

photo by Mike Carlowicz

Chris Linder, Expedition Multimedia Specialist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Senior Fellow, International League
of Conservation Photographers

Science on Ice

“Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised,” wrote Apsley Cherry-Garrard of his time with the 1910 Scott expedition to the South Pole. And that is how most of us still imagine polar expeditions: stolid men with ice riming their beards risking death for scientific knowledge.  But polar science has evolved over the past century. Using images from his book Science on Ice and recent work in Siberia and Antarctica, oceanographer-turned-photographer Chris Linder will demonstrate the power of photography to educate the public about science and inspire the next generation of scientists.

Chris Linder ( is a professional photographer, filmmaker, and lecturer.  Chris holds a Master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His education and training as an oceanographer give him a special insight into photographing science. For over a decade, Chris has focused on communicating the stories of scientists working in the Arctic and Antarctic. He has documented 50 scientific expeditions and has spent over two years of his life exploring the polar regions.

Chris’s images have appeared in museums, books, calendars, and international magazines, including Smithsonian, Audubon, Nature’s Best, and Wired. A solo exhibition of his photographs, titled “Exploring the Arctic Seafloor,” was displayed at the Field Museum in Chicago and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. He is the author of the hardcover book Science on Ice: Four Polar Expeditions (University of Chicago Press, 2011) ( and was the lead cinematographer for the documentary film Antarctic Edge: 70° South. He has been recognized with awards from the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Nature’s Best Photography, and International Conservation Photography Awards competitions.