United States
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

NSF/PLR: New Antarctic Sciences staff member

Subject: Dr. Christian Fritsen appointed Program Director for Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Christian Fritsen as Program Director for the Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program in the Antarctic Sciences Section of the Division of Polar Programs. Dr. Fritsen is a Research Professor in the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at the Desert Research Institute (DRI). He also served as DRI’s Vice President for Academic and Faculty Affairs, is a member of the graduate faculty in Hydrology and Environmental sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, and has served as Director of both the Nevada Space Grant Consortium and Nevada NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree from Montana State University in 1990 and Ph.D. in the biological sciences with an emphasis in oceanography from the University of Southern California in 1996. His interest in marine biology and oceanography dates from his childhood when he spent time fly fishing the rivers of Montana and reading about the oceans and its inhabitants in books, such as Shark Stories.

Dr. Fritsen’s leadership of algal and systems ecology research has spanned more than 15 years. His systems ecology perspective has included studies on organismal survival and growth as well as energy transfer and material cycling processes in a range of polar habitats (e.g. frozen lakes, glaciers, snow, sea ice, subglacial lakes) as well as habitats in the Great Basin of Nevada.

His first research in Antarctica entailed work from a floating ice station for several months. Along with U.S. and Russian colleagues, Chris conducted biological, chemical and physical oceanographic studies of the western Weddell Sea. His broad polar ecosystem interests continued to develop during subsequent research in the McMurdo Dry Valleys and through interdisciplinary research along the western Antarctic Peninsula. These diverse activities led to an interest in serving the polar research community.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Fritsen to the Division of Polar Programs and the GEO team. Chris began serving on an intermittent basis on 15 June and so has been coming up to speed. He will begin a full-time appointment as a rotator on 14 July.

Scott Borg
Head, Antarctic Sciences