Focus areas: The intersection of science and society, the history of science (particularly biology and ecology in the 20th century), agriculture, marine science, the development of environmental movements and policy

Sara Tjossem is a Senior Lecturer in SIPA’s Master of Public Administration program in Environmental Science and Policy, and the program’s Associate Director of Curriculum. Her teaching and research interests are on the intersection of science and society, the history of science (particularly biology and ecology in the 20th century), agriculture, marine science, and the development of environmental movements and policy.

Tjossem’s book, The Journey to PICES: Scientific Cooperation in the North Pacific (Alaska Sea Grant Press, 2005) traces the events and explores the impediments to the eventual formation of the North Pacific Marine Science Organization in 1992. PICES is now the premier intergovernmental marine organization for the Pacific Ocean, promoting and coordinating advances in marine science.

Other publications include "Scientific Cooperation in the North Pacific: The PICES Project," with Warren S. Wooster in Multilateralism and International Ocean-Resources Law (Law of the Sea Institute, 2004) and several reviews of history of science books and articles.

Tjossem taught history of science at the University of Minnesota from 1995 to1998 and was assistant director of the Institute of Social, Economic and Ecological Sustainability (ISEES) from 1996 to1998. From 1998 to 2003 she served as lecturer and capstone instructor in history and in the Program on the Environment at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Research & Publications

March 2016|Oxford Bibliographies |Sara Tjossem
October 2012|Great Decisions|Sara Tjossem
October 2006|Environmental History|Sara Tjossem

This book is a significant contribution to the history of international marine scientific organizations. It looks in depth at the process of creating the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES). It seems obvious enough that such an organization was needed—the best way for the Pacific Rim nations to gain knowledge about the enormous North Pacific Ocean is through cooperative research—yet PICES was two decades in birth.

The reasons for this lengthy incubation become obvious to the reader through the author's masterful tracing and interpretation of events. Fisheries regulation was scrupulously avoided, and governments balked. The process required aggressive promotion, incredible patience, and dogged perseverance; these eventually led to PICES, a vibrant six-nation international marine organization contributing substantially to marine science.