The modern era of human history is a planetary era. Addressing challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and the perturbation of global biogeochemical cycles requires an integrated program of Earth system science that advances both the fundamental scientific understanding of our home planet and also the knowledge and perspective needed for regional and planetary environmental stewardship. In order to address these needs, building upon the quarter-century history of the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) was created in 2015 to link the Earth system science disciplines at Rutgers more tightly together.

EOAS today is a multidisciplinary, accomplished community of researchers that includes more than 100 faculty and staff across six schools. Our faculty ranks include numerous winners of national and international awards, and many of our researchers engage in policy and assessment processes at state, national, and international levels. EOAS scientists are global leaders in the study of climate and ecological risk, in integrated oceanic and atmospheric observation and prediction, and in polar research. They are pioneers in reconstructing past sea-level change and in piecing together the evolution on the protein nanomachines that power life. The EOAS community hosts a rich array of chemical and magnetic analytical facilities, and an extensive network of oceanographic, ecological, and atmospheric field stations. The community also has a long history of innovative education and outreach, including the country’s first geology museum.

Multidisciplinary And Accomplished

EOAS links together a community of researchers that includes more than 100 faculty and staff across six schools, studying the Earth’s interior, continents, oceans, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, their interactions and co-evolution through our planet’s history, and humanity’s dependence and impacts upon these systems. Our faculty include a laureate of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, 3 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 3 American Geophysical Union fellows, 3 American Meteorological Society fellows, and 8 Geological Society of America fellows. They are engaged in national and international leadership through organizations and assessment processes like the National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. National Science Foundation statistics indicate that Rutgers—New Brunswick research in oceanography, geosciences, and atmospheric sciences involves over $44 million/year in funding–about three times as much in proportion to total research funding as the average of our Big 10 peers, and third among the Big 10 schools in absolute dollar terms (see Appendix II on page 17). Among the many world-class initiatives and facilities within the EOAS community are:

  • Cutting-edge research and instruction on assessing and managing the risks that climate change and habitat change create for communities, economies, and ecosystems;
  • One of the world’s leading integrated oceanic and atmospheric observation and prediction systems;
  • Active oceanographic, ecological and glaciological field programs in the Arctic and the Antarctic;
  • Seminal research on the past, present, and future of sea level and coastal storm hazards on timescales from weeks to millions of years;
  • One of the ten teams that comprise the NASA Astrobiology Institute, focused on the protein nanomachines that power life, their origins, and their co-evolution with the Earth system;
  • An extensive suite of chemical and magnetic facilities for analyzing geological, biological and extraterrestrial samples;
  • One of the four sediment-core repositories of the International Ocean Discovery Program; and
  • A network of oceanographic, ecological, and atmospheric field stations that covers the state and extends as far as Borneo.

The EOAS community also has a long history of innovative public engagement, including the country’s first geology museum and a series of trailblazing K-16 educational initiatives in ocean and polar science.