March 2020

As we navigate this unprecedented situation and seek to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, Florida Atlantic University is coming together and will come out stronger than before. Click here for FAU COVID-19 Related Updates.
The State University System of Florida Board of Governors directed state universities to suspend in-person instruction and transition to a remote-learning experience. This is a difficult, yet necessary step to protect our students, faculty, staff and community.  

Alumni and friends of FAU are asking how they can support our students during this difficult time. Right now, students are trying to meet the unexpected needs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. To help our students, FAU has set up the FAU Cares Emergency Fund to ensure that our students can continue their studies. All donations will be used to provide emergency support for students through this unprecedented period.  

Contributions of any size are welcome and appreciated. If you would like to help, please make a gift online.

Join us for our new series, Behind the Science – A Wednesday Web Chat , for a “behind the scenes” look at our research—more specifically, our scientists. We want you to get to know them! Learn what inspired them to pursue ocean science, what is the most interesting project they worked on, the neatest thing they encountered, the biggest misstep that produced a surprising result, etc. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions. 
 
Our first chat is scheduled for Wednesday, April 1 at 4:00 p.m. Please pre-register via the following link and don’t forget to download the Zoom app on your computer, tablet or phone. The chat will also be livestreamed on the FAU Harbor Branch Facebook page. 
Spotlight

The Office of Technology Development (OTD) recently filed a utility patent application for a hybrid aerial/underwater robotic system for maintenance of aquaculture fish farms. Bing Ouyang, Ph.D., an associate research professor at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and co-investigators, Paul Wills, Ph.D., of FAU Harbor Branch, Jason Hallstrom, Ph.D., of the Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering and Tsung- Chow Su, Eng. Sc.D., of the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, are deploying a solution.
 
With a $1.2 million, four-year integrative project grant from National Science Foundation and United States Drug Administration/ National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the group designed, developed and deployed the initial prototype of a Hybrid Aerial Underwater Robotic System (HAUCS), a transformative collaborative robotic system at the Logan Hollow Fish farm in Illinois... Read More 

As a fisheries ecologist, Matt Ajemian studies how fish, like sharks, rays and groupers, interact with each other, their environment and how they respond to stress. He joined FAU’s Harbor Branch team in 2016 and currently has a variety of projects ranging from eagle ray ecology and bonefish reproduction to grouper communication. As a scientist, Matt’s goals are to further our knowledge of the ocean and provide sound science for managers, the scientific community and the public... Read More
Andia Chaves Fonnegra, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of biology in the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College and manager of the Laboratory of Integrative Marine and Coastal Ecology at FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. She has been awarded a 2019 Early-Career Research Fellowship by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Her research focuses on improving the management of marine ecosystems by determining how ecological interactions are altered by anthropogenic activities and global impacts such as climate change and pollution.

FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professors Annie Page-Karjian and Matthew Ajemian team with biologists at Loggerhead Marinelife Center and Inwater Research Group to better understand how exposure to toxin-producing harmful algal bloom (HAB) species impact sea turtle health in Florida's coastal waters. The study published in ScienceDirect establishes concentrations of 10 HAB toxins in plasma samples from green turtles (Chelonia mydas) foraging in Florida's Big Bend. Domoic acid, lyngbyatoxin-A, microcystins, nodularin, and okadaic acid were detected, demonstrating exposure to these HAB toxins, which are also a public health concern. This work was funded by a grant from the HBOI Foundation, as part of the Florida Center for Coastal and Human Health... Read More
Outreach
FAU Harbor Branch Researcher Brian Lapointe, Ph.D., recently presented, ‘Ecology of Pelagic Sargassum Blooms and Their Emerging Impacts on South Florida’s Coastal Zone,’ during the 7th Biennial UF Water Institute Symposium held February 25-26. The College of the Florida Keys also hosted Dr. Lapointe for a VIP Speakers Series presentation titled, ‘Florida’s Algae Crisis: Lessons Learned in the Florida Keys,’ in the Tennessee Williams Theater on February 5. The lecture examined the human impact on the global nitrogen cycle and its effects on algal blooms and coral reef health in the Florida Keys.
Watch FAU Harbor Branch Researcher Jon Moore, Ph.D.'s, recent talk on the BP oil spill given at the Florida Oceanographic Society's Coastal Science Lecture Series earlier this month. ⁠
Mission: Ocean Discovery
As a health and safety precaution, the FAU Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Visitors Center is temporarily closed. Please check back for updates. Visit FAU's Harbor Branch social media channels for daily research highlights, facts and trivia questions.
2nd Annual Ocean Science Art Contest Winners

Congratulations to everyone that participated in the 2nd Annual Ocean Science Art Contest! The contest invited middle and high school students to create unique artwork inspired by research conducted at FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and this year we received 89 entries!
Events
As a health and safety precaution, the John and Barbara Ferrara Ocean Science Lecture Series and Marine Science Friday Lectures are temporarily on hiatus. Please check back for updates.

About Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute: 
Founded in 1971, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University is a research community of marine scientists, engineers, educators and other professionals focused on Ocean Science for a Better World. The institute drives innovation in ocean engineering, at-sea operations, drug discovery and biotechnology from the oceans, coastal ecology and conservation, marine mammal research and conservation, aquaculture, ocean observing systems and marine education.