Shoals Marine Laboratory's Monthly Newsletter - The Island View
February 2017
Dear Friends of Shoals Marine Laboratory,

Despite the ever-rising pile of snow outside my window right now, I feel fully engaged with the ebbs and flows of a rocky island teeming with innovative teaching, world-class research, and exciting outreach programs. I can almost hear the clinking of silverware and the lively voices of emerging scientists in Kiggins Commons. Why am I feeling this way? I am immersed in the writing of SML’s new Strategic Plan, which will chart our path over the next ten years. Students, faculty, alumni, supporters, and SML staff have all contributed, and I know that our plan is better because of this community approach.

One aspect of the plan that really stands out is the recognition that grand environmental challenges ahead of us will demand three things from Shoals Marine Laboratory: 
  1. A dedication to rigorous and defensible science.
  2. Strong communication skills about the value and usefulness of science.
  3. An interdisciplinary approach. 
Heidi Bostic, Dean of UNH’s College of Liberal Arts, recently stated that such grand challenges “require a global, eco-cultural awareness that would best allow us to respond collectively and cooperatively to the difficulties before us.” Here at SML, we could not agree more and we are excited to be a leader in cultivating interdisciplinary programs among our students and scientists.

While visiting Cornell’s campus this week, I look forward to engaging academic leaders and faculty across the colleges and departments. I will be inviting them, their UNH colleagues, and our partners and collaborators to SML’s island campus this summer. I am confident we can engage in building a community where we foster disciplinary convergence and find sustainable solutions for our grand challenges.

In this newsletter, I want to highlight examples of interdisciplinary projects happening at SML this summer – where marine science meets engineering, parasitology, horticulture, teacher training, art and more. Enjoy!

With deep appreciation and warm wishes,
Jennifer Seavey, Ph.D.
Kingsbury Director of the Shoals Marine Laboratory
SEI '15 alum, Chelsea Kimball, tests wave energy buoy off Appledore Island
Written by Chelsea Kimball
UNH Marine Immersion course at SML '13
SML Sustainable Engineering Intern  '15
UNH Class of 2017, Mechanical Engineering

On November 8th, 2016, a wave energy conversion buoy had its first prolonged at-sea test just off the coast of Appledore Island! 

The buoy is part of a multi-year design project, which began in 2013 for senior engineering students at the University of New Hampshire. The project's goal is to create a buoy which produces virtually endless, renewable energy to power offshore island facilities, just like SML.

The buoy generates electrical energy by harnessing ever-present ocean waves. There are two main components to the buoy: a spar and a float. The spar is designed to sit stationary in the water, even as waves move by, while the float rides up and down on the waves. The relative motion between these two components drives electricity generation.

The sea test last November was the first of its kind for the buoy, because it successfully generated electricity for four days without any difficulty! Now, as the design team embarks on another semester of work, they hope to increase its efficiency and seaworthiness by changing the internal generator from a rotary design to a linear one. The team plans to retest the buoy again this spring with hopes of improved efficiency and a wider range of operable weather conditions. Perhaps in a few years after continued work, the buoy may even be a part of SML’s renewable energy grid.

It takes a whole team to make these kinds of projects successful. A special thanks to Aaron Russell (project member), Rob Swift and Ken Baldwin (project advisors), John Ahern (UNH CEPS Technician), Bryan Soares ( R/V Gulf Challenger Captain), and Ross Hansen (SML).

Wave energy conversion buoy by Chelsea Kimball, taken during its first multiple-day sea test.  Pictured here on an SML mooring with Appledore Island in the background.

NEW Parasite Ecology Internship

SML is pleased to announce a new summer internship mentored by Dr. April Blakeslee (East Carolina University). Dr. Blakeslee has conducted and published research based on work at SML, beginning with her Ph.D. studies at UNH under Dr. Jeb Byers.  

The Parasite Ecology Internship will investigate parasite diversity in multi-host parasite systems on Appledore Island. Interns will collect parasite diversity data from invertebrate hosts, assist with experiments that induce infection in hosts, and then explore host behavior and physiology across an infection gradient. The experiments aim to determine whether parasitism influences competitive interactions in co-occurring crab species, such as the invasive European green crab and native Cancer crabs.

Internship dates: May 29 – August 8, 2017 (10 weeks on Appledore Island)

Application deadline: March 15, 2017

Historical Horticulture 
Celia Thaxter's Garden Steward and Master Gardener, Marie Nickerson, and Jonathan Ebba, the Horticulture Facilities Manager at UNH, have done extensive research to make sure this summer's garden is as "original" and as true to Celia Thaxter's island garden  as can be. Marie has made a list of the perennials that need to be relocated in the garden beds (nature has a way of moving things around!), and she is excited to announce that we have seeds for almost every flower on Celia's original planting chart from her book An Island Garden.

Each spring, the garden comes to life through the efforts of UNH plant scientists, dedicated master gardeners, and community volunteers.

This summer, SML will partner with UNH Cooperative Extension's Master Gardener Program. Under Marie's guidance, Master-Gardeners-in-training will receive credit hours toward their certification by working in our garden each week.  

Wouldn't it be great to explore an 1893 garden in 2017?

2017 Adult & Family Programs!
Come experience SML's innovative public programming in August and September, and enjoy the magic of Appledore Island and the Isles of Shoals. Each of our Adult & Family Programs is all-inclusive, and their unique themes reflect SML's mission to educate visitors about the marine environment and sustainability.

Our always-popular program for families! Adults and kids alike will trek around the island, wade through tidepools, use microscopes in the lab, see the seal colony, and, yes, there will even be time for games and crafts! (Best for ages 7-14.)

Open to New Hampshire middle and high school science teachers. This 7-day workshop brings inquiry-based marine science activities into the classroom. Group projects, lesson plan building, and curriculum alignment exercises, plus CEUs!

Ensuring SML's Future

Over this past year, several long-time SML supporters have helped fuel SML's future with over $1.38 million in legacy giving. These generous bequests will provide vital support for future students to experience the transformative power of SML’s field station education and research!

For more information about including Shoals Marine Laboratory in your will, please email Nancy Lowenberg (UNH) or Sharon Detzer (Cornell). Make ocean education and conservation part of your legacy.

Photo by David J. Murray ( during SML's 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Seasonal Staff Positions

Join our team! Seasonal staff positions at SML are unique, rewarding, and challenging! Our staff serve the island community in many capacities: vessel captains, engineers, chefs, and academic/outreach personnel. Positions are full-time, May-September. Staff work 5 days/week on-island with room & board provided. Time-off housing is available locally (Seacoast area). Applicants should be interested in sustainable living on a remote island field station and demonstrate a positive, teamwork-oriented work ethic. 
Applications are being accepted for several different positions on a rolling basis.
SML Artist-in-Residence Program

This summer, we will select several artists to join us at SML, each spending ~2 weeks living and creating art on Appledore Island. Artists will engage with students in courses and internships in order to cultivate and develop students' observational skills. Deep inquisitiveness and creativity apply directly to the process of scientific inquiry. In turn, the artists are welcomed into SML's scientific community and research activities, thus deepening their own understanding of the natural world and sparking original ideas. 

Artist-in-Residence applications will be accepted until April 1, 2017.