Two New Scripps Faculty Appointed


Helen Amanda Fricker and Jennifer Smith were recently appointed as the newest faculty members of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Fricker is a newly appointed associate professor/researcher in Scripps's Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP). She was previously a researcher with IGPP. Her research is focused on studying the marine cryosphere, the floating portions of the Antarctic ice sheet, using a combination of satellite radar and laser altimetry and other remote sensing data. In her new position as an associate professor/researcher at Scripps, Fricker's affiliation will remain with IGPP.

"It is an honor and pleasure to become a member of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography faculty, " said Fricker. "There is an urgent need right now to better understand processes contributing to mass losses in ice sheets and glaciers, and subsequent sea-level rise. I look forward to building up a strong group at Scripps to make a significant contribution to address this vital problem."

Fricker received her B.S. in mathematics and physics from University College London (UCL) in 1991 and was awarded her Ph.D. from the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia, in 1998. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Scripps Oceanography in 1999, and later became a member of the Research Series in IGPP at Scripps. Fricker is a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and was the chair of AGU's Cryospheric Sciences Focus Group from 2004 to 2006.

She received the Royal Tasmania Society Doctoral Award in 2001. While at Scripps, she has been involved in the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation (ICESat) mission, a program for measuring ice sheet mass balance, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as topography and vegetation characteristics. Fricker received the NASA Group Achievement Award for her role in the ICESat Mission Development Team in 2004 and was elected a member of the ICESat Science Team in 2006.

Smith is a newly appointed assistant professor/researcher in Scripps s Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (CMBC). She was a postdoctoral scholar at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at UC Santa Barbara before joining the Scripps faculty. Her research interests include the effects of grazing and nutrient input on coral reef benthic communities, marine invasive species, and coral-algal-microbe interactions.

"Scripps Institution of Oceanography is certainly one of the best places in the world to study marine science," said Smith. "I am honored to join such a dynamic collection of scientists and enthusiastically look forward to a long and successful career here at Scripps."

As an undergraduate at Humboldt State University, Smith studied biology and zoology. She was awarded her Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2003, where she remained as a junior faculty researcher until 2005.

Most recently Smith has been a participant in the Line Islands project, a study of the ecosystems of two of the most pristine coral reefs remaining, those surrounding Palmyra atoll and Kingman reef in the Line Islands in the central Pacific Ocean. There she found that the growth of algae on coral reefs sets the stage for the long-term continued decline of coral.

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