Tucson Scientist Wins Research Honor
Marcia WoodFebruary 12, 2003
BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 12—Hydrologist M. Susan Moran of Tucson, Ariz., has been named an “Outstanding
Senior Research Scientist of 2002" by the
Agricultural Research Service(ARS) for her pioneering research designed to help ranchers, wildlife
specialists and water managers more easily use eye-in-the-sky imagery captured
by orbiting satellites or low-flying airplanes. ARS is the chief scientific
research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Moran, a hydrologist, directs a team of more than 40 scientists, technicians
and others at ARS’
Southwest Watershed Research Centerin Tucson and Tombstone, Ariz.
Moran and other top ARS scientists were honored at an awards ceremony
today at the agency’s Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center here. Moran received a plaque, a cash award and additional research funds.
In her laboratory, and at field sites throughout Arizona, Moran has developed
innovative ways to harness the speed and power of desktop computers to
analyze remote sensing imagery gathered by cameras and sensors mounted
aboard satellites and aircraft. The computerized, math-based models that
Moran and colleagues develop enable users to determine the present and
possible future condition of rangeland grasses, for example.
The “SEHEM” model, short for “Spatially Explicit Hydro-Ecological Model,”
that Moran and colleagues developed uses weather data and information about
grasses to produce customized color maps on a desktop computer and color
printer. Ranchers and others can use the maps to estimate where, and how
much, forage might be available for hungry cattle and wildlife to graze
in the coming months.
“Dr. Moran is internationally known for her high-tech, leading-edge research
on how information gathered by the three major types of remote sensing--radar,
thermal, and visible infrared--can be used to improve management of plants,
soil and water,” said Acting ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling.
Moran has presented results of her research at major national and international
scientific meetings. She joined ARS in 1984 and has been research leader
at the Southwest Watershed Research Center since 2000. In addition, Moran
is an adjunct professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental
Science at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She has served on many research
teams organized by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Moran received her bachelor of science degree from San Diego State University
in 1976 in geography, her master of science degree from the University
of California at Santa Barbara in 1982, also in geography, and her doctorate
from the University of Arizona at Tucson in 1990 in soil and water science.