The Island View: News from Shoals Marine Laboratory

October 2015
Dear Friends of Shoals Marine Laboratory,
As Executive Director, I am lucky to receive a lot of positive feedback and amazing stories about SML. So many of them are too wonderful to keep to myself, so I have invited members of the SML community to contribute articles for this month's newsletter! The enthusiasm for SML and the life-long positive impacts of the SML experience are reflected below in the words of students from 1970's to 2015. SML can spark new outlooks and opportunities in marine science and beyond. These sparks are cultivated by the immersive island experience in concert with close relationships that develop in a residential setting between students and faculty. SML is proud of almost 50 years of making a difference in the lives of our students and faculty! (thanks to SML alum  Mitch Walters for the beautiful Northern Gannet photo above)
Class of 1973
SML Alumni Reflection
Many thanks to Jack Culter, Cornell '74 and SML' 73 for this reflection from his summer trip to Shoals Marine Laboratory: "We are a diverse group of folks that assemble on board the R/V Heiser in the late afternoon sunshine. Some among us are faculty returning to teach yet another class, others are staff that have returned from a day off or perhaps an afternoon collecting an eclectic list of 'things' to keep the island running.

The weather is warm and clear as we depart Portsmouth, cruise down the Piscataqua River and out into the Gulf of Maine. I reflect back to the time I first made this trip aboard the R/V Wrack with 39 other students and a mountain of luggage. The weather was not as clear and views of the mainland from Appledore were few during the first two weeks of our month-long stay on the island. In those pre-internet, pre-cell phone, pre-computer days, we were truly cut-off from the rest of the world. Few of us knew any of the other students in the class so the isolation brought us closer together. Many of us were assigned to what is now known as Founders Hall with the remainder of us relegated to a large tent erected near the Grass Lab. There were no windows in Founders- only screens. If it rained, one simply moved his/her bed away from the window!
Since that fateful day in August of 1973, I have made numerous trips back to SML. On each visit there are new improvements to marvel at including composting toilets, showers in numerous locations, greatly expanded lab facilities and an ever-expanding array of solar cells. Through all these changes, the lab maintains it primary focus on providing undergraduate students with an immersive educational experience in the marine sciences. The number of courses has grown from the single "Introduction to Field Marine Science" in 1973 to 15 courses offered in the summer of 2015. While the students, seem to get younger each time I re-visit the Lab, the one constant is their interest in better understanding our marine environment. Now over 40 years since 39 others and myself were part of a grand "experiment", the Shoals Marine Lab continues to evolve and thrive. While their specific interest of study may change from year to year, the ability for students to become fully immersed in this unique marine environment remains unchanged. For many former students, their time on Appledore will be a major highlight of their undergraduate experience."

Coastal Habitat Research Methods in the Field
SML Summer Research Continues Off Island!
Many thanks to Luke Violette (SML '15, UNH '18) for this contribution to our newsletter: "During the summer of 2015, Jacob Moore (SML '15, UNH '18) and I took Coastal Habitat Field Research Methods at the Shoals Marine Lab, taught by Dr. Gregg Moore (UNH & SML Faculty). This class revolved around a study of the Appledore Island terrestrial plant communities, with the goal of gaining a better overall understanding of the island's plant systems and their diversity. We conducted hands-on field work such as laying transects, identifying botanical percent coverages in quadrats, and using GPS units to collect and organize our data. The little time we spent indoors at Shoals was devoted to data analysis. When our on-island time ended we had collected data from more than 50 transects! Upon returning to UNH in the fall, Dr. Moore, Jacob, and I discussed how we could continue our work on the project. We had ample data, and our task now was to analyze that data and to begin work on a manuscript for the project. Thanks to Dr. Moore we are now part of a Special Topics course devoted to continuing work on the project!
By combining the SML course with the campus course Jacob and I were able to delve into real-life research in a manner that could not be achieved by simply sitting in a lecture hall. We were given the opportunity to experience both the field aspects of a scientific study and the complete writing process for a true scientific paper. Connecting our work at SML with a course on campus at UNH gave us a well-rounded experience of the entire scientific process. "

Photo: J. Pustilnik
A Bartels Scholar Reflects on SML!
Thanks to Emily Waldman (SML '15, Cornell '16), a 2015 Bartels Merit Scholar, for this reflection on her SML experience: "At SML I learned so much about field ornithology, data collection methods, and bird identification. We learned about the increasing population of the iconic gulls of Appledore Island and how the island's unique gull population survey shows the yearly comeback in their population. T he most valuable thing I learned at SML was not only a "boat-load" of ornithological information, but also how a marine lab community such as SML unifies so many different people of all backgrounds when working together to help the island function.  We all pitched in and worked together, and got to know more about each other! "
Photo: J. Coyer
Save the Date SML Reunion!
Next summer is a big milestone for Shoals Marine Laboratory - we will be celebrating 50 years! SML Students, Faculty, Staff, Supporters of today and yesterday SAVE the DATE for the 50th Reunion: August 19-21, 2016. We are planning to have an SML auction, fun events for all ages (bring the kids!), lobster dinner! and much more.
SpanishShawl (D.O.Brown)
Call for Auction Items!
Please contribute to our scholarship fundraising auction during the SML Reunion. It will focus on SML memorabilia and marine biology/sustainability-related items (think items that SML alums and fans would love to have). We would be grateful for any and all donated items for this "fun"-raiser event. If you would like to give to the SML Reunion Auction, please contact Jim CoyerAll donations will go towards SML Scholarships for our students!
In closing,
I am happy to announce the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Cornell and UNH regarding management of SML. This is a wonderful occasion for SML that renews the commitment and equal partnership between UNH and Cornell as we approach into our 50th year! Highlights from the MOU include: 1) Coordinated and collaborative development initiatives to maximize SML community building and program support; 2) Equal financial responsibility for SML between UNH and Cornell; 3) Shared employment of SML Staff and consolidation of SML staff to facilitate efficiency and communications; 4) Simplified student enrollment via Cornell's School of Continuing Education and UNH's Summer School; 5) Formalized leadership structure including the SML Executive Committee made up of institutional leaders of both schools; 6) Commitment to exploration for the formation of a consortium with other partner institutions to further activities and education at SML.
With the signing of the MOU we will move forward to develop leadership and advisory support and strategic and business plans to guide SML into the future. Please stay tuned for a more news on our next steps.
As always, I welcome your valuable input and support to ensure that SML continues to be a vibrant place and extraordinary experience for our students.    
With deep appreciation and warm wishes,
Jennifer Seavey, Ph.D. 
Kingsbury Director of the Shoals Marine Laboratory
Shoals Marine Laboratory
113 Morse Hall, University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824
106A Kennedy Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853, NY

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