NOAA Names Leon Cammen Director of National Sea Grant College Program

August 17, 2006

By Jana Goldman

Contact: Jana Goldman (301) 585-3607

Leon Cammen of Silver Spring, Md., was named as the director of NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program. NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program works closely with the 30 state Sea Grant programs located in every coastal and Great Lakes state and Puerto Rico, in addition to international programs in Indonesia, Korea, and South America.

“Dr. Cammen brings experience and vision to lead the National Sea Grant Program as it continues to provide quality research and services to coastal communities,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “With more people living along the coasts, the work done by Sea Grant is more important than ever as it helps NOAA complete its mission.”

NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program is located in Silver Spring, Md. The 30 programs are the core of a national university-based network of over 300 institutions involving more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, educators, students and outreach experts. This network works on a variety of topics vital to human and environmental health, such as water quality, coastal hazards and biotechnology. It is part of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR).

“Sea Grant’s ability to engage this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training, and extension projects to benefit our coastal communities enhances NOAA’s science, service, and stewardship to these areas,” said Dr. Richard Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. “With Leon’s leadership, I look forward to new and dynamic efforts between NOAA and Sea Grant.”

Cammen, who has been acting director since the February 2006 retirement of former Sea Grant Director Ronald Baird, will begin his new position about Aug. 20. Cammen has been with Sea Grant since 1990, where he has served as a program officer, research director, and acting deputy director, in addition to acting director. Since 2004, Cammen has been the program manager for NOAA’s ecosystem research program, a cross-cutting entity including programs and laboratories from OAR, the National Ocean Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. He holds a Ph.D. in zoology from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C. He carried out postdoctoral research as a National Research Council Canada Fellow at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, as a NATO Fellow at the Institute of Ecology and Genetics of Aarhus University in Denmark, and at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. In 1981, Cammen joined the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and over the next ten years his research included benthic ecology, respiratory physiology, the microbial loop, benthic-pelagic coupling, and ecosystem modeling. His Danish connection has continued as a visiting scientist at Odense University and a visiting professor at Aarhus University. He is the author of more than 30 publications in marine ecology and biological oceanography.

In 2007 NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. Starting with the establishment of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. The agency is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.


Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.