Today, NOAA announced the appointment of Dr. Evan Howell as the new director of NOAA’s Office of Science and Technology. In this role, Dr. Howell will advocate and ensure a sound scientific basis for NOAA Fisheries science programs and resource conservation and management decisions. He will coordinate closely with six NOAA Fisheries science centers in Alaska, Northeast, Northwest, Pacific Islands, Southeast, and Southwest.
“The NOAA Fisheries science enterprise provides the foundation for understanding the dynamics of our marine ecosystems. We build on this understanding to provide sound science advice for the sustainable management of our commercial and recreational fisheries and the conservation of our protected species. As our new lead for NOAA Fisheries Office and Science and Technology, Dr. Evan Howell has the responsibility to help guide our agency through rapidly evolving technological and scientific capabilities and maintain our global leadership role. I have every confidence Evan will successfully meet these challenges based on his many years in science and leadership roles," states Cisco Werner, Chief Science Advisor and Director of Scientific Programs for NOAA Fisheries.
For the past 5 years, Howell has served as the deputy director for the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, though he began work with NOAA Fisheries as a Cooperative Institute employee in the Pacific Region back in 1997. Overall, he has spent 15 of these 23 years as an ecosystem scientist, 3 years leading IT and data management development to support scientific research, and 5 years as deputy at the science center. Throughout his career, Howell has demonstrated his leadership and participated in scientific research coupling physical and biological processes to better understand critical habitat and possible climate effects on highly migratory and protected species in the central North Pacific ecosystem. As part of this research, Howell authored or co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific papers and participated in 11 NOAA or scientific partner research missions.
Howell is no stranger to the Office of Science and Technology, entering federal service in 2002 as one of the first full-time employees to support the office’s Fisheries and the Environment program. He served in this role until 2012, also becoming a formal steering committee member of the program over time. Among other roles, he managed the office’s Kona (now West Hawaii) Integrated Ecosystem Assessment program and served on the program’s founding steering committee. Howell also represented the Pacific Islands on the Office of Science and Technology’s Public Access to Research Results implementation team, helping lead the implementation plan for NOAA Fisheries.
Over the years, Dr. Howell has received a number of notable awards, including:
Employee of the Year (2003) for providing scientific support to enable better understanding of swordfish fishery dynamics and protected species interactions in the North Pacific.
Co-Author on Best Paper of the Year in Fishery Bulletin (2010) looking at fishery trends of incidental species caught relative to target species.
Bronze award (2010) for his work creating the TurtleWatch product to electronically provide real-time habitat information for loggerhead sea turtles to allow for dynamic management within the Hawaii-based shallow set longline fishery.
Howell received his B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Antioch University in Ohio, his M.S. in Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry from the University of Miami, and his Ph.D. in Marine Bioresource and Environmental Science from Hokkaido University.
“I’m excited to take on this new position with the NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Science and Technology. I look forward to joining S&T staff and Fisheries leadership to identify how the office can lead, partner on, and advance innovative and impactful science to support our mission now and through the future,” says Dr. Evan Howell.