US Representatives to the SCAR Standing Scientific Group on Life Sciences

ByronByron Adams
Brigham Young University


Byron Adams is a Professor of Biology at Brigham Young University. He is an evolutionary ecologist with a background in invertebrate molecular systematics and evolution, and much of his current work involves using metagenomics / transcriptomics to characterize biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.  Byron has been working in Antarctica since 2002, mostly working with the McMurdo Long-Term Ecological Research group to understand how soil ecosystems in the McMurdo Dry Valleys are responding to climate-driven changes.  He directs an international consortium for monitoring ecosystem changes in for the McMurdo Dry Valleys, serves as a member of the steering committee and co-lead investigator under SCAR’s Scientific Research Program for “Antarctic Thresholds – Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation”, and has been involved in the SCAR effort to establish the Antarctic Near-Shore and Terrestrial Observation System (ANTOS).  He has a Ph.D. in  Biological Sciences from the University of Nebraska.


CharlesCharles Amsler
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Charles (Chuck) Amsler is a phycologist (algal biologist) and marine chemical ecologist. He is a Professor of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Dr. Amsler first participated in Antarctic marine research as a UCSB graduate student in 1985-86 and has participated in a total of 18 Antarctic expeditions including 12 research expeditions to Palmer Station along the western Antarctic Peninsula. He has been on three expeditions to McMurdo Station (Ross Sea) as a researcher plus one as a member of the United States Antarctic Program Scientific Diving Control Board and two as the rotating Program Director for the NSF Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program which he headed from June 2013 to July 2015. He has conducted over 750 research SCUBA dives in Antarctica studying the ecology of marine macroalgae and invertebrates. He has a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of California at Santa Barbara.


DenebDeneb Karentz
University of San Francisco (Term ends 01/2018)

Deneb Karentz is a professor at the University of San Francisco with a joint appointment to the Department of Biology and the Department of Environmental Science. She is a marine biologist with expertise in plankton ecology and ultraviolet (UV) photobiology. She has a PhD from the University of Rhode Island. Her current research activities include investigations on biological responses and defense mechanisms of marine organisms to UV exposure, particularly related to ozone depletion in Antarctica; and continuation of work on understanding the molecular basis of DNA damage and repair in the context of human disease. Deneb has been involved in field research in Antarctica since 1986, has been a member of several committees that act in an advisory capacity to the US Antarctic Program, is an instructor for the Antarctic Biology graduate course taught at McMurdo Station, and served two years at the US National Science Foundation as the associate program manager for Biology and Medicine in the Office of Polar Programs.

ShepanekMarc Shepanek
NASA ends 01/2016)


Marc Shepanek is the NASA HQ lead for Aerospace Medicine and Behavioral Health in the Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer and an Assistant Prof. of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University Medical School. He started working for NASA in 1987 as part of the Office of Exploration, helping to design reference missions for a Lunar Science outpost and a mission to Mars. He is broadly published in the area of ground based analogs for space flight, adaption to isolation and confinement and the psychology of space flight.
Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer
NASA Headquarters
300 “E” St. SW
Washington DC 20546
202 358-2201


GeorgeGeorge Watters
Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division

George Watters is the Director of the Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division and leader of the Antarctic Marine Living Resource (AMLR) program, which conducts marine ecosystem research in the Antarctic Peninsula region where commercial harvesting overlaps with the foraging range of sea birds and marine mammals. This program provides data that are used by the CCAMLR Scientific Committee to provide advice to policy makers in regulation of harvesting with the goal of marine conservation.  George also serves as the US Representative to the Scientific Committee for CCAMLR as a member of the US Delegation to CCAMLR.  He has chaired CCAMLR’s Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Management, which addresses topics such as feedback mechanisms in fishing management, krill dynamics, oceanographic regimes, sea bird and mammal population biology, and climate change.  George recently played a lead scientific role in the development of the Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area, which is jointly sponsored by New Zealand.  He earned a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of California San Diego.