News & Updates | January 2019
MIT students brave the cold to explore New England's coastal ecosystems, conducting fieldwork alongside MIT Sea Grant scientists
MIT Sea Grant Research Scientist Carolina Bastidas and Coastal Ecologist Juliet Simpson developed MIT course 2.981 New England Coastal Ecology, complete with a wintry field trip to Odiorne Point State Park in New Hampshire. Over the Independent Activities Period, MIT students explored the role coastal ecosystems play in protecting the environment and how climate change has affected them. This fall, Bastidas and Simpson will also teach course 2.982, Ecology and Sustainability of Coastal Ecosystems.
We focus on climate change as it impacts coastal communities like rocky shores and salt marshes. There are a lot of interesting implications for sea level rise for intertidal organisms. As temperatures rise, all of those organisms are going to need to adapt or the communities are going to change, possibly dramatically.
- Juliet Simpson
MIT Sea Grant Coastal Ecologist
I think it’s so important for mechanical engineering students to take classes like this one because we are definitely going to be needed to help mitigate the problems that come with sea level rise.
- Valerie Muldoon
Mechanical Engineering '20

Valerie Muldoon (left), a third-year mechanical engineering student, and biological engineering student Jenna Melanson explored the ecosystem at Odiorne Point State Park.
FishBots: Circuits and switches for robotic fishes at MIT Sea Grant
MIT Sea Grant Research Education Specialist Dr. Tom Consi led teams of students building a cohort of robotic swimming fish as part of the MIT freshman advising seminar course Mens et Manus: Building on the Science Core.

Freshman Logan Vawter, who built a dynamic cuttlefish robot during the FishBots class, will dive deeper into the field at the MIT Towing Tank Lab over IAP. Under the supervision of Mechanical Engineering PhD candidate Dixia Fan, who works with  Professor Michael Triantafyllou , Director of MIT Sea Grant and the Center of Ocean Engineering, Logan will investigate a classic problem linked to towing cylinders in the water. Vortices shed from moving cylinders can cause a multitude of real-world repercussions like offshore oil platform collapse. Logan will be in charge of analyzing flow patterns and incorporating sensors to measure the pressure distribution around the cylinder.
>>More to come on the Mens et Manus seminar and FishBots!

In the FishBots class, students became familiar with hand tools and techniques to bring their robotics to life, from sketching a design to submerging their final fish in the tank.
MIT student using a drill to build a robotic fish
A robotic fish kissing the surface in the tank at the MIT Sea Grant lab
The NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship | Apply by January 18
On-the-job education and training opportunities are available for postgraduate students in natural resource management and policy or environmental-related studies. Sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management, two-year state projects are available in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Submit application packages to the Sea Grant program in the state where you earned your degree.
The NMFS-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship Program | Apply by January 30
Work closely with an expert from NOAA Fisheries in two specialized areas: marine resource economics, and population and ecosystem dynamics, which involves the study of fish populations and marine ecosystems to better assess fishery stock conditions. Eligible graduate students – US citizens enrolled in PhD programs in the US – should submit applications to the MIT Sea Grant College Program by 5:00pm on January 30.
The John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship | Apply by February 22
This marine policy opportunity provides a unique educational and professional experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. Highly qualified graduate students are matched with hosts in the legislative and executive branches of government for one-year paid fellowships in the Washington, D.C. area. Applicants may apply through MIT Sea Grant or Woods Hole Sea Grant and are encouraged to email in advance with intent to apply and for application support.
Reassembly and Winterization at the AUV Lab
Dedicated to the development and application of autonomous underwater vehicles, MIT Sea Grant's AUV Lab is a leader in advanced unmanned marine robots.

This winter, the AUV Lab's research engineers and scientists have completed the process of winterizing the Boston Whaler research vessel Philos, and reassembled the Remote Explorer IV vehicle. REx IV (below) has been used to conduct salinity studies at the outflow of the Neponset River in Massachusetts Bay and to assemble a bathymetric map of the Charles River Basin. This year, the AUV Lab has been working to deploy the system as a platform for ocean acidification monitoring. 
Seminar at MIT Sea Grant: “Underwater Acoustic Communication in Doppler and Interference-limited Regimes” | December 4

Presentation by MIT Sea Grant Visiting Scientist Milica Stojanovic, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University
Motion-induced frequency shifting causes serious degradation to acoustic communication unless proper care is taken to synchronize the signals. We focus on frequency synchronization in a multi-carrier acoustic system operating in conditions of high mobility, where Doppler shifts can easily exceed carrier separation. The method we propose draws on the concept of hypothesis testing and capitalizes on differentially coherent detection. The result is a receiver of low complexity, whose performance with real data shows excellent results. Given the ability to compensate for the extensive Doppler, we proceed to design a coded multi-carrier system intended for operation in interference-limited regimes. Such regimes are found in secure communication scenarios, where the signal level is intentionally kept low, or in multi-user scenarios, where interference is created by multiple users communicating simultaneously with a central station. We present preliminary proof-of-concept results obtained with real data transmitted over a mobile acoustic channel.
Buoys with solar radar panels
Bringing local marine life to the big screen at NEAQ | November 10
On Boston Ocean Day, a public day of opportunities to participate in ocean exploration organized by the MIT Media Lab, the New England Aquarium, and NOAA, MIT Sea Grant's Keith Ellenbogen (ocean photographer) and Research Education Specialist Dr. Tom Consi presented at the NEAQ IMAX Theater. Space to Sea: A Photographic Journey into Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary characterizes life in the marine sanctuary j ust 25 nautical miles outside of Boston and 6 nautical miles from Cape Cod. Beneath the surface is a dynamic environment with extraordinary marine life that includes apex predators such as great white sharks, ocean giants like humpback whales, schools of mackerel, and an entire microscopic ecosystem of planktonic creatures that are even visible from space.
Map of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary showing its proximity to Boston and Cape Cod
Keith Ellenbogen dwarfed by an IMAX presentation showing a small marine organism in a single water droplet
Bathymetric mapping and geospatial applications in science and art
MIT Sea Grant Web Developer Benjamin Bray specializes in geospatial applications and data mapping. Most recently, he has interpreted data collected by the Division of Marine Fisheries to create a digital bathymetric map depicting varying depths of a popular lake. Blurring the lines between science and art, his work often uses data to visually convey messages about the ocean. Bray and scientist Mark J. Stock’s 1000 Years media art exhibition is currently displayed through Art on the Marquee on the 80-foot-tall LED screen outside of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
Quotation marks
Throughout the globe, we’ve got these areas of the ocean that are really cold, salty, heavy water, and it sinks. For every place that it sinks, somewhere else in the ocean is upwelling, is rising ... [which] makes overturning. The ocean is flushing out every thousand years. That’s the idea of 1000 Years.   I wanted to focus on the entire ocean, versus the part we only see.

- Benjamin Bray
MIT Sea Grant Web Developer
Connecting with a Massachusetts school aiming to advance its science curriculum | December 12
MIT Sea Grant Social Scientist Lindsey Williams invited science educators from The Governor's Academy, a historic Massachusetts boarding school, to visit MIT Sea Grant. MITSG staff from all labs participated through demonstrations, lab tours, and discussions exploring possible collaborations in summer research opportunities, field trips, and research partnerships.
(1) Science educators from The Governor's Academy received a crash course on fish robotics with Dr. Tom Consi, MIT Sea Grant Research Education Specialist.
(2) Robert Vincent, MIT Sea Grant Assistant Director for Advisory Services and Research Coordinator, discussed his research with samples of river herring.
(3) During a tour of the AUV Lab, Research Engineer Michael Sacarny and the visiting educators took a dive under the hood of a submersible. NEREUS (novel, efficient, rapid evaluation of underwater spectra), a self-contained underwater mass-spectrometer system, is integrated with an MIT Sea Grant class submersible, Odyssey II.
Science educators from The Governor's Academy holding a robotic fish from a freshman course component led by Dr. Tom Consi.
Rob Vincent (Research Coordinator and Assistant Director for Advisory Services) holds a bag of frozen herring and discusses his research
Science educators from The Governor's Academy visit MIT Sea Grant and explore submersibles with the AUV Lab
2300 Days at Sea: Monitoring the Impacts of the Massachusetts Bay Outfall Workshop | November 13
MIT Sea Grant Research Affiliate Dr. Judith Pederson
As acting chair of the Massachusetts Bay Outfall Monitoring Science Advisory Panel, MIT Sea Grant Research Affiliate Dr. Judith Pederson welcomed the local community and stakeholders at   2300 Days at Sea: Monitoring the Impacts of the Massachusetts Bay Outfall , a workshop held at Atlantic Wharf in Boston. The workshop focused on the 30-year data monitoring program for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s marine outfall, which discharges treated wastewater from the Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant 9.5 miles into Massachusetts Bay. The workshop was co-hosted by Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, the Outfall Monitoring Science Advisory Panel, the Public Interest Advisory Committee, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, US Environmental Protection Agency, and MIT Sea Grant.
A pipe for wastewater outfall entering a large body of water
Salt Marsh Response & Resilience to Changing Conditions: Prospects for Management | Spring Workshop
New England coastal ecosystems face mounting challenges from pervasive anthropogenic stressors. Sea level rise in particular degrades salt marshes by altering hydrology, salinity regime, and erosive forces. The New England National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRS) hosted a regional workshop on April 28 to build capacity for improved conservation and to guide more effective management and adaptation strategies. MIT Sea Grant Assistant Director for Advisory Services and Research Coordinator Robert Vincent served on the workshop's planning team and contributed to the presentation, Prospects and uncertainties for tidal marshes in New Hampshire.
COMING SOON: MIT Sea Grant FY2020 Request For Proposals
MIT Sea Grant provides competitive funding opportunities for Massachusetts university-based research scientists who seek to address marine issues in ways that benefit the Commonwealth. Lead scientists on a proposal must have Principal Investigator standing at their institutions to be eligible for funding, and must not be the recipient of other MIT Sea Grant funding during the period of the grant. Information about the RFP Open House, FY2020 research focus areas, and the official call for proposals will be announced this month.
FY2019 FUNDED RESEARCH: Ocean Acidification | Underwater Wireless Power Transmission & Data Communication | Aquaculture Technologies

Ocean Acidification Monitoring
Themistoklis Sapsis, MIT    
The PI and his team will use a Bayesian data fusion framework for ocean acidification monitoring that “leaves no data behind” to build 3D volumetric maps of the Massachusetts Bay area, which can also be used in the Gulf of Maine. 

A New Paradigm for Pervasive and Persistent Monitoring of Ocean Acidity Using a Distributed System of Autonomous Mobile Robots
Dick Yue, MIT
The PI will employ a fleet of autonomous vehicles he has developed to collect acidification data in the ocean in an “intelligent swarm” configuration. 

AQUA-MIT: Novel Computational Capability for Aquaculture Cage and Mooring System Design in Severe Seas
Yuming Liu, MIT
Using computational and experimental method, t he PI will develop the capability to predict the loads on fish farms located offshore, subject to nonlinear wave action.

Bayesian Intelligent Ocean Modeling and Acidification Prediction Systems
Pierre Lermusiaux, MIT
The PI will develop principled Bayesian ocean modeling with acidification prediction systems that can discriminate among different existing models, while learning from misfits between data and model, accounting for uncertainty. The purpose is to obtain better models to monitor, predict, and characterize ocean acidification in the Massachusetts Bay and Stellwagen Bank region.

Four seniors designed an audible tell-tale to help an MIT employee navigate on the water. The course is a collaboration between the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology and the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
December 9, 2018

MIT employee Pauline Dowell (center) and her seeing eye dog, Dora, with MIT students on Team Pauline (l-r) Sandy Yang, Tiffany Xi, Rebecca Agustin, and Temitope Olabinjo.
Visiting Assistant Professor Maryam Rashed Alshehhi models a region with freshwater shortages, oil spills, and frequent dust storms.
December 26, 2018

A new MIT-led study projects a dramatic increase in annual high-heat days in the U.S. Northeast by the century’s end.
December 20, 2018

Scientists and engineers will collaborate in a new Climate Modeling Alliance to advance climate modeling and prediction.
December 12, 2018

At UN Climate Change Conference, MIT researchers share knowledge and tools to help nations meet Paris Agreement targets.
December 13, 2018

Experts gather at MIT to share insights, techniques, and strategies for building resilient urban water systems.
December 6, 2018
The civil and environmental engineering PhD student investigates the effects of climate change in the Midwest.
November 29, 2018

Frankel MME ’60, SM ’60, an expert in ocean systems and economics, served on the faculty of MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Sloan School of Management
November 26, 2018

Carl Wunsch continues to expand his foundational framework for understanding the behavior of worldwide oceans as a whole.
November 21, 2018

Wide-ranging acoustic images could help researchers identify populations on the brink of collapse.
November 6, 2018