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FAU Harbor Branch Research Professor to Testify Before U.S. House Subcommittee

BOCA RATON, FL (March 20, 2012) – Shirley Pomponi, Ph.D., senior research professor at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, will testify before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations about federal funding for marine research and education on Thursday, March 22.

Pomponi will testify on behalf of the National Association of Marine Laboratories, whose goal is to improve the quality and effectiveness of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes research, education and outreach.

Pomponi is executive director of the Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology, which is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and based at Harbor Branch. She will testify before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies during a member and outside witness hearing. Each speaker will be limited to four minutes, although the subcommittee also will accept written testimony.

“I will be speaking in support of federal funding for ocean science, marine lab infrastructure and workforce development,” said Pomponi, who is past president of the Southern Association of Marine Laboratories, which includes labs from Maryland to Texas, and Bermuda and the Virgin Islands.

The proposed White House budget for fiscal year 2013 terminates the National Undersea Research Program, which received $4 million from NOAA during the current fiscal year. If not rescinded, that decision could be devastating for the cooperative institute she heads, said Pomponi.

“My colleagues, who are directors of more than 100 marine labs from every coastal state and U.S. territory, are very concerned about future funding for marine projects,” Pomponi said. “We’re feeling the crunch in state funding for education and research, and the proposed reductions within NOAA threaten the continuation of these programs.”

Margaret Leinen, Ph.D., executive director of Harbor Branch, said that Pomponi’s testimony will be valuable to the 11-member subcommittee because she is a respected researcher who speaks from experience.

“Ocean research is critical to the growth of our economy, to hazard reduction and to our national security and food security,” said Leinen. “Dr. Pomponi is an internationally known oceanographer who has served on many national and international boards and committees that have given her important insights into the value of marine research to these issues. I am delighted that Congress will have the benefit of her testimony.”


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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