Elizabeth M. Middleton Maniac Lecture

Personal Photograph

Dr. Elizabeth M. Middleton is a senior terrestrial ecosystem and carbon cycle scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, focusing on the photobiology and remote sensing of vegetation, with expertise in field and laboratory measurements of plant physiological and spectral optical properties, project management, and satellite remote sensing of ecosystems. She leads a research team that studies vegetation spectral bioindicators of plant stress and photosynthetic function, including plant fluorescence. Over the last four decades with NASA, she has been directly involved in four satellite missions including Landsat (ERRSAC), Earth Observing One (EO-1, Mission Scientist for 9 years), formulation of an ESA mission (FLEX - the FLuorescence EXplorer, as the NASA representative for 10 years), and a successful NASA mission concept development team (HyspIRI - Hyperspectral Infrared Imager, 10 years as the GSFC leader), which was recently selected for development towards formulation by NASA. She was a Co-I in the tall grass prairie campaign as part of the FIFE (First ISLSCP) Field Experiment in Kansas (mid 1980s), a PI in the boreal forest studies in Saskatchewan during the BOREAS (Boreal Ecosystem Study) campaign (mid 1990s), the data system manager for the GSFC team for the Large Scale Ecosystem Study in Amazonia (LBA) in Brazil (late 1990s), and the research leader for the Fluorescence Laboratory, jointly conducted with USDA/Beltsville, MD. The fluorescence research has included a two-decade summer research campaign largely conducted at the local USDA research cornfield. In addition, she was a member of the NASA/GSFC Carbon Cycle Science Working Group (2000–2007) and the NASA representative to the U.S. Federal Geographic Data Committee's Vegetation Subcommittee for many years. Dr. Middleton won the 2012 Nordberg Award and has won other numerous NASA career achievement awards. She received the B.S. degree in Zoology, the M.S. degree in Ecology, and the Ph.D. degree in Botany (plant physiology) from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1967, 1976, and 1993, respectively. She joined NASA in 1978.