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Meet Paula Bontempi: Program Manager for NASA's Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry research program
Paula S. Bontempi is the Program Manager for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry research program, located within the Earth Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. She came from a faculty position at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Marine Science to NASA Headquarters in 2003. She currently serves as the program scientist for the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) Project and Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). MODIS is an image that flies aboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites.

Duties at NASA Headquarters entail developing and guiding the program in various aspects of ocean biology and biogeochemistry research, including carbon cycle science, phytoplankton physiology and productivity, air-sea gas exchange, ecosystem-carbon-climate modeling, ecological and biodiversity studies, as well as technology development, algorithm development and refinement, and data merging. A large part of the research program is involved in interagency efforts with the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, the Carbon Cycle Science Program, including the North American Carbon Program and Ocean Carbon and Climate Change Program, as well as integration with other international programs including the International Ocean Color Coordinating Group (IOCCG).

Her program recently delivered an advance plan for the research program that identifies science questions and observational strategies, including remote and in situ technologies, for the next three decades of ocean biology and biogeochemical remote sensing from space at NASA. She received her Ph.D. in 2001 from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, an M.S. degree in oceanography from Texas A&M University, and a B.S. in biology from Boston College. Previous research interests include phytoplankton taxonomy and bio-physical modeling of phytoplankton responses to river flows; biological, thermal, and optical ocean fronts; scattering properties of phytoplankton; transformations of dissolved organic carbon; and new technology (remote sensor) development for ocean science.

Related Links: + SeaWiFS satellite and ocean color
+ International Ocean Color Coordinating Group