Press release

GMRI Scientist Selected to Lead National Climate Assessment Oceans Chapter

Research Scientist Dr. Kathy Mills Becomes the Second GMRI Scientist — and First Woman — Appointed to this Role

PORTLAND, Maine — August 26, 2021 — On August 17, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) announced the appointment of GMRI Research Scientist Dr. Kathy Mills as a Chapter Lead for the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5). Dr. Mills becomes the second GMRI scientist in a row selected to lead the NCA chapter covering oceans and marine resources. Former GMRI Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Andrew Pershing, led the development of the same chapter for the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4).

"I'm incredibly honored to have been selected as the Chapter Lead for the Fifth National Climate Assessment’s oceans chapter,“ Dr. Mills said. “I'm looking forward to collaborating with some of the brightest minds in the field to characterize the climate risks to our oceans and marine resources, as well as opportunities and solutions to ameliorate those risks."

The National Climate Assessment is a comprehensive, congressionally mandated report that is collaboratively developed by the nation’s top scientists and researchers. The report analyzes effects and trends of global change across a range of systems. The end product is a policy-neutral technical scientific assessment that supports informed decision-making.

The chapter covering oceans issues is one chapter of many in the report. Its ultimate scope will be informed by stakeholder engagement and expert input, but has historically covered topics such as climate-driven ecosystem disruption, impacts on fisheries, and the consequences of extreme events on marine resources.

Dr. Mills will lead this chapter's authorship with a diverse team of experienced scientists and practitioners. The goal is to help inform forward-looking adaptation, resilience, and mitigation strategies.

Dr. Emily Osborne, a research scientist at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, will serve as the Coordinating Lead Author on the chapter. Dr. Osbourne will ensure the chapter meets the highest scientific standards and is responsive to emergent community needs.

NOAA Fisheries Climate Coordinator Roger Griffis, will serve as the Agency Coordinating Lead. He will work with Dr. Osbourne and Dr. Mills to support the development of the chapter and ensure consistency and integration across all chapters in the assessment.

"The NCA is the premier scientific analysis of how climate change is impacting the United States. As a world-renowned marine ecologist, Dr. Mills is an ideal lead author for the NCA chapter on climate impacts on the nation's valuable oceans and marine resources,” Griffis said. “Dr. Mills has led numerous scientific efforts to understand the impacts of climate on oceans, fisheries, and the many people that depend on them. This experience — and her current focus on how to advance resilience and adaptation to changing oceans — make her an ideal leader for this important work."

Dr. Mills leads the Integrated Systems Ecology Lab at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. She and her team distill complex ocean data to understand how a mix of variables affect marine ecosystems, fisheries, and fishing communities.

“Dr. Mills’ appointment to this prestigious position is an acknowledgment of the high standing she holds among her peers and resonance of her research across communities. By translating complex ecological changes in the marine environment into consequences and response options for coastal communities reliant on the blue economy, Dr. Mills’ work is providing a blueprint for waterfront economies to continue thriving in a warmer world,“ said Dr. Dave Reidmiller, Climate Center Director at GMRI and the Director of the previous NCA. “She’ll be joining hundreds of the nation’s leading experts in providing to the nation — and the world — the most up-to-date understanding of how climate change affects American well-being.”

About the Gulf of Maine Research Institute:

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute pioneers collaborative solutions to global ocean challenges. Located in Portland, ME, the institute is dedicated to the resilience of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the communities that depend on it. For more information, visit


Dr. Kathy Mills looks to her right as she listens to a reporter's question.

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Elijah Miller
Elijah Miller Communications Director (207) 228-1667 [email protected]