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USGS Gas Hydrates Scientists Lead and Participate in the Inaugural Gordon Research Conference on Natural Gas Hydrates

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William Winters and Ann Cook
Above: William Winters (left; USGS) and Ann Cook (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) discuss recent results at the Natural Gas Hydrates Gordon Research Conference held on the Colby College campus in Waterville, Maine. Photograph by Peter Flemings (University of Texas at Austin). [larger version]

From June 6 to 11, 2010, 86 researchers from academia, industry, and federal institutions worldwide met for the inaugural Gordon Research Conference on Natural Gas Hydrates, held at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Gordon Research Conferences is an 80-year-old nonprofit organization that manages and supports nearly 200 intense, retreat-like scientific meetings each year. The inaugural Gordon Research Conference on Natural Gas Hydrates was initiated through a competitive proposal process led by conference chair Carolyn Ruppel of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and vice-chair Peter Flemings of the University of Texas at Austin. For this first biannual meeting, the Natural Gas Hydrates conference focused on the physical, chemical, and biological interactions among gas hydrate, sediment grains, free gas, pore fluids, and microbes at various spatial scales. The Gordon Research Conference format schedules five talks and one 2-hour poster session between 9 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., with the remaining time available for informal discussions in unstructured settings. The meeting was hailed by many attendees for conveying state-of-the-art science while fostering a spirit of collegiality that led to many new research collaborations.

Seven current USGS gas hydrates scientists, two former USGS postdoctoral researchers, and an incoming USGS Mendenhall postdoctoral researcher were vital participants in the conference. Additional attendees included postdoctoral researchers and senior professors from the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Europe. An estimated 40 percent of the attendees were graduate students or recent Ph.D. recipients. A generous grant from the National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences and contributions from private-sector firms made it possible for many participants to receive substantial support for registration fees. If approved by the Gordon Research Conferences Board of Trustees, the 2012 meeting will focus on the theme "Energy and Climate," with Peter Flemings as chair and Michael Whiticar (University of Victoria) as vice-chair.

For additional information about the recent conference, visit

Related Web Sites
Natural Gas Hydrate Systems
Gordon Research Conferences

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Subsea Permafrost and Gas Hydrates Offshore of Alaska

Coral Calcification Rates

Coral Paparazzi

ResearchWhale Falls

Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Trends

Manatee Subspecies Genetically Confirmed

Outreach Earth-Science Multimedia

Woods Hole Partnership Education Program

Meetings International Workshop on Cold-Water Corals

Gordon Research Conference on Natural Gas Hydrates

Awards Jeff Williams Receives NPS Director's Career Achievement Award

Alan Cooper Awarded SCAR Medal for International Scientific Coordination

Publications Oct. / Nov. 2010 Publications U. S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
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