Scripps' Lisa Levin, Jeff Severinghaus Elected as AGU Fellows

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Two scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, have been elected 2013 fellows of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), an international organization of scientists working across a broad spectrum of topics in the Earth and space sciences. Biological oceanographer Lisa Levin and geoscientist Jeff Severinghaus and are among 62 researchers who will be honored at AGU’s Fall Meeting in December.

In describing the fellowship, the AGU states that “nominated fellows must have attained acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences. Primary criteria for evaluation in scientific eminence are major breakthrough/discovery and paradigm shift. This designation is conferred upon not more than 0.1 percent of all AGU members in any given year. New Fellows are chosen by a Committee of Fellows.”

In addition to Levin and Severinghaus, new AGU fellows include Scripps alumni Joan Gomberg, Barbara Hickey, Catherine Johnson, and Charlie Paull.

Levin, a marine ecologist, distinguished professor, and director of Scripps’s Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, was cited by AGU “for significant and diverse, interdisciplinary contributions to the understanding of benthic marine processes within Earth sciences.” Levin has been a pioneer in probing the mysteries of the deep sea, the planet’s largest ecosystem, as well as wetland areas. Her investigations have included explorations of oxygen-depleted regions of the deep, as well as methane seeps. Levin’s research has included efforts for conservation and sustainability of the deep sea, including calling attention to rising threats such as pollution and exploitation.

A native of Los Angeles, Calif., Levin received her Ph.D. in oceanography from Scripps in 1982 and a bachelor’s of science in biology in 1975 from Radcliffe College.

The AGU cited Severinghaus, a specialist in paleoceanography and paleoclimate research, “for his use of innovative measurements of gases in ice cores to understand the causes of climate change.”

Severinghaus has conducted extensive field research in Greenland and Antarctica and has led Scripps’s contributions to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide project, a multi-institutional, multi-year endeavor to create precise records of ancient climate from gases trapped in extracted Antarctic ice cores.

Born in Kentfield, Calif., Severinghaus received a bachelor’s degree in geology from Oberlin College in 1983, a master’s degree in geological sciences from UC Santa Barbara in 1988, and a Ph.D. in geological sciences from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in 1995.

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