PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco is a leading contender to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, first reported on its Web site Thursday that the marine biologist is President-elect Barack Obama's choice to lead the agency that oversees ocean and atmospheric research and the National Weather Service. The Register-Guard and The Oregonian newspapers also report that Lubchenco is the pick.
An expert on overfishing and climate change, Lubchenco would be the first woman to head the agency.
A spokesman for Obama's transition team declined comment. OSU officials would not confirm the selection, but said Lubchenco is traveling to Chicago, where Obama has announced his appointments.
John Byrne, a former OSU president who served as head of NOAA in the Reagan administration, praised the apparent selection.
"This is a big kudo for both Jane and Oregon State," he said. "It's a science agency -- it's a good signal from the Obama administration that they're behind that."
Lubchenco also becomes the first Oregonian to be chosen for Obama's Cabinet.