Expert on Viewing Earths
Hydrologic Health from Space Tops ARS Award Winners
By Don Comis
February 9, 2000
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9--Albert Rango, a
U.S. Department of Agriculture hydrologist
and internationally recognized expert on hydrologic remote sensing, has been
named Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of 1999 by USDAs
Agricultural Research Service. It is the
top scientific honor given by the research agency.
Rango's research in Agricultural Research magazine.
Rango is being honored today for
creating the field of hydrologic remote sensing, applying it to monitor
rangeland conditions, and linking it to computer models to predict water
availability for electricity, drinking, irrigation, and recreation. Under a
cooperative research and development agreement with the
Electric Power Research Institute and the
U.S. Geological Survey, he helped develop a
newer model that for the first time accounts for radiation and cloud cover as
well as temperature, precipitation and snow cover in its predictions of the
effects of climate change on snowmelt.
Rango and other ARS scientists will be recognized in an awards ceremony
scheduled for today at the ARS Beltsville
(Md.) Agricultural Research Center. Each winner will receive a plaque, a
cash award and additional research funding. Rango works at the ARS
Hydrology Laboratory at Beltsville.
"Albert Rango has engaged in groundbreaking research with
NASA and ARS for 27 years in hydrologic
remote sensing, snow hydrology, climate change and rangeland health, ARS
Administrator Floyd P. Horn said. He has been the primary leader in
hydrologic remote sensing research in the world, with particular expertise in
remote sensing of snow, snowmelt-runoff computer models, climate change
assessment, and rangeland condition monitoring."
"Rango was the first scientist to use satellite images to analyze and
map a flood, to measure snow cover depletion and relate it to subsequent
snowmelt runoff, and to evaluate climate change effects," Horn said.
He was also the first scientist to use satellite microwave data to
estimate snow water equivalent and depth information over large areas with
applications to predictions of water yield and winterkill of wheat."
Rango has bachelor's and master's degrees in meteorology from
Pennsylvania State University and a doctoral
degree in watershed management from Colorado State University. He worked for
NASA from 1972 until 1983, when he joined ARS.
In addition to his research activities, Rango has instituted a cooperative
research program with Howard University,
Washington, D.C., to improve its remote sensing capability. He has a long
history of involving students in his field programs and has supervised numerous
postdoctoral students and visiting scientists, including Fulbright fellows, who
have made major contributions to his research program and later to their own
The field of hydrologic remote sensing was created from Rangos
research at NASA using the then newly launched
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration satellites. In recognition of his eminence in the field, he
has been elected by his peers to serve as president of the
American Water Resources Association (1986),
president and general chairman of the
Western Snow Conference
(1990-1992), and president of the International Commission on Remote Sensing,
International Association of Hydrological Sciences (1997-2001). He also holds
the highest honors in the American Water Resources Association (fellow) and the
Western Snow Conference (life member). Rango has written or co-written more
than 260 scientific publications.
ARS today will also honor Jerry L. Hatfield, Leon V. Kochian, and
W. Joe Lewis as
Outstanding Senior Research Scientists of 1999. Hatfield directs the agency's
National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames,
Iowa, Kochian leads research at the ARS-U.S.
Plant, Soil and Nutrition
Laboratory in Ithaca, N.Y., and Lewis is at ARS'
Insect Biology and Population
Management Laboratory in Tifton, Ga.
article on Hatfield's research in Agricultural Research.
Hatfield is being recognized for
his outstanding scientific and educational contributions to understanding the
role of farming practices on water pollution. He leads a major U.S. Department
of Agriculture water quality program and continues to develop research and
education programs on environmental quality and agriculture across the United
States. He has made significant contributions in the area of remote sensing to
assess crop growth.
article on Kochian's research in Agricultural Research.
Kochian is being honored for his
pioneering research on understanding plant species that tolerate marginal soils
and using plants to restore or bio-remediate contaminated soils. His research
has been used to create wheat and corn varieties that grow better on acid
Read article on
Lewis is being cited for advancing
use of parasitoid wasps to attack caterpillar pests of corn, cotton and other
crops. He has made fundamental discoveries about the chemical cues wasps use to
locate their prey.
ARS is also honoring scientists who are just building their careers. Early
career awards recognize the achievements of ARS researchers who have been with
the agency seven years or less.
This year, the top award in this category will go to poultry physiologist
Ann M. Donoghue as the Herbert L. Rothbart Outstanding Early Career Scientist
of 1999. Donoghue works at ARS'
Germplasm and Gamete
Physiology Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. She is being honored for improving
the understanding of sperm function and competition in turkeys. Her findings
could help turkey farmers select sires and save millions of dollars annually.
The agency also named four Area Senior Research Scientists of 1999. They
article on vaccine in Agricultural Research.
- Phillip H.
Klesius of the ARS Aquatic Animal Health Research
Laboratory in Auburn, Ala. Klesius is being honored for outstanding
research to improve the health of farm-raised fish, including development of a
catfish vaccine. Klesius is the senior winner in the agency's Midsouth Area,
which includes Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Read article on
- Karl J. Kramer of the ARS
Grain Marketing and Production Research
Center in Manhattan, Kan. Kramer's award is for pioneering research in
insect molecular science and its application to development of insect pest
control methods. Kramer is the top senior scientist for the agency's Northern
Plains Area, which includes Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North and
South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
Read article on this
- Melvin J.
Oliver of the ARS Plant Stress and Germplasm
Development Unit in Lubbock, Texas. Oliver is being honored for pioneering
research accomplishments leading to a more complete understanding of crop
tolerance to stresses such as drought. Oliver is the top senior scientist for
the agency's Southern Plains Area, which includes Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and
- M.K. (Kay) Walker-Simmons of the ARS
Wheat Quality, Physiology and
Disease Research Unit, Pullman, Wash. Walker-Simmons' award is for making
great strides in understanding how hormones affect the ability of wheat seed to
survive adverse environmental conditions such as drought, cold and preharvest
rains. Walker-Simmons is the top senior scientist for the agency's Pacific West
Area, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon
Seven Area Early Career Scientists are being honored by ARS. They are:
about the model in Agricultural Research.
- Raymond P. Glahn, North Atlantic Area, at the
U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition
Laboratory, Ithaca, N.Y., for developing a lab model of the human digestive
system to study the bioavailability of food nutrients.
article on Herrick's research in AR.
- Jeffrey E. Herrick, Southern Plains Area,
Jornada Experimental Range, Las Cruces,
N.M., for leading development of a rangeland "health" monitoring
program and transferring technology to ranchers and other users.
- J. Mitchell McGrath, Midwest Area, Sugarbeet and Bean Research Unit, East
Lansing, Mich., for building a world-class science program to bring sugarbeet
breeding and genetics into the 21st century.
Read previous article
on Panella's research.
- Leonard W. Panella, Northern Plains Area,
Sugarbeet Research Unit, Fort
Collins, Colo., for advancing sugarbeet germplasm and knowledge of the genetics
of disease resistance.
C. Pearson, Pacific West Area, Western
Regional Research Center, Albany, Calif., for developing a high-tech
pistachio sorter capable of removing aflatoxin-contaminated nuts at production
Individual news releases on each awardee are available on request to:
Don Comis, ARS Information Staff, phone (301) 504-1625, fax (301) 504-1641,