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Notes from the Dean

I hope everyone is staying cool as summer temperatures continue to rise. Staying cool was the rule of the game for SMAST alumnus Craig O'Connell and Adjunct Professor Greg Skomal during their work featured on the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. Both O'Connell and Skomal were up close and personal with Great Whites and other sharks. Read more below.

Our faculty and students continue to garner new awards, participate in a variety of field activities, and elevate SMAST when presenting their research at conferences around the globe.

We are also seeing major advances on the new building. You can see an overflight of the progress and take a virtual tour of the project by going there.
-Steven E. Lohrenz, Dean

Research and travel news
Research on the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) Industry-Based Trawl Survey for Gulf of Maine cod conducted by Professor Kevin Stokesbury, Associate Professor Steve Cadrin, and alum Doug Zemeckis of SMAST and David Pierce, Bill Hoffman, Nicholas Buchan and Micah Dean of Massachusetts DMF has been referenced in the Gulf of Maine Research Institute's June 22 issue of WayPoints article "Looking for Answers." The article also highlights Stokesbury's underwater video sampling system.

PhD candidate Chang Liu represented SMAST at the International Statistical Ecology Conference in Seattle, WA where he presented his research "Developing and Validating Geolocation Methods for Atlantic Cod off New England."

Graduate students Janne Haugen (PhD) and Alex Hansell (MS) and undergraduate intern Sofia Gabriel recently returned from a meeting in  
Penang, Malaysia hosted by the UN Food & Agriculture Organization to study the impact of existing protections of threatened shark species on the seafood sector of Asia. Learn more.

Science Librarian Elizabeth Winiarz recently attended the International Association of Marine Science Libraries and Information Center's (IAMSLIC) SAIL Conference at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological
Laboratory. SAIL is the Eastern North American regional group covering Newfoundland to Panama, including the Caribbean. The conference theme was "In the Transitional Zone: Waters, Libraries, and Librarians.

This past April, Assistant Professor Gavin Fay hosted a Stock Synthesis training workshop at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The 4.5-day course was taught by Dr. Rick Methot (NOAA Fisheries chief scientist for stock assessment) and Dr. Teresa A'mar (Operations Research Analyst for NOAA Fisheries). The 27 attendees included students and staff at UMass Dartmouth, regional assessment scientists (NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and North Carolina Department of
Environment and Natural Resources), and graduate students from the University of Maine and Rutgers University.
Stock Synthesis is an increasingly popular software tool for implementing integrated analysis methods for fisheries stock assessment. The training workshop included hands on application of assessment models in Stock Synthesis, providing attendees with practical experience developing and running population dynamics modeling software that is used to provide scientific advice for fisheries management, both nationally and internationally.  

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has awarded Professor Brian Howes funding in the amount of $11,000 for his project "Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve." The Town of Chatham's Pleasant Bay Resource Management Alliance has also awarded Howes $19,290 for data interpretation relative to current ecological state or estuarine habitats.

The National Science Foundation has awarded Research Assistant Professor Annie Bourbonnais (Isotope Biogeochemistry Group) and Professor and Chair Mark Altabet $290,608 for their study "Nitrous oxide cycling in the Western Arctic Ocean from stable isotopic and concentration data." 

The Nature Conservancy has awarded a $269,616 grant to Associate Professor Geoffrey Cowles and Associate Professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Fisheries Oceanography Steve Cadrin for their study "Investigating the stock structure and life history of Atlantic halibut, a species of concern off New England."

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) COCA (Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications) has awarded $16,913
to Professor and Principal Investigator Cindy Pilskaln for her collaborative project titled "Improving the environment while protecting coasts: A holistic accounting of ecosystem services of "Green Infrastructure and Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF)" in an urbanized coastal environment.

NOAA has awarded funding in the amount of $87,500 to Steve Cadrin for his "Scallop Fishery Bycatch Avoidance System" project. NOAA also recently awarded $270,000 to Cadrin and Research Technician Crista Bank for their study in which they will tag juvenile monkfish to help improve growth estimates of monkfish.
Cadrin has also been awarded $123,352 from NOAA for comparative development of fisheries stock assessment. NOAA also awarded $30,000 to Mark Altabet for his project "Kelp Forests: Their services, valuation and fate in a changing climate."
Additionally, Cadrin has received $7,500 from the Environmental Defense Fund for development applications of fishery catch rates for New England groundfish stock, and a $25,004 grant from the New England Fishery Management Council and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center through the Gulf of Maine Research Institute for his project titled "Developing applications of fishery catch rates for New England groundfish stock assessme nts." The Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman's Alliance has also awarded Cadrin $21,000 to support the bycatch avoidance program.

The University of Massachusetts Provost's Office awarded Associate Professor Miles Sundermeyer travel support in the amount of $500 to present his research in an invited talk titled "Observations of dye dispersion in the Gulf Stream core and across the North Wall" at the AmeriMech Symposium on Fluid Transport and Nonlinear Dynamics on May 17-20, 2016 in Woods Hole, MA.

The University of Massachusetts Provost's Office has also granted $500 in travel support to Cindy Pilskaln for the presentation of two papers (involving WHOI, University of Maine and University of New Hampshire co-authors) at the 4th International Symposium on the Ocean in a High CO2 World Symposium in May in Hobart, Tasmania (Australia). The presentation titles are"Climate change-driven multi-stressor impacts on a shelf ecosystem: The Gulf of Maine" and "Water-column controls on the carbonate cycle and potential ocean acidification impacts in the Gulf of Maine."

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has awarded $268,386 to Geoffrey Cowles and Kevin Stokesbury for their project "Modeling the impact of climate change on larval connectivity and recruitment of the American lobster off of Southern New England." Cowles has also received funding in the amount of $17,603 from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and NOAA for his research "Quantification of the contribution of wastewater effluent to coastal acidification." 

The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative has awarded funding in the amount of $10,000 to Kevin Stokesbury for his project "Survey of substrate and benthos at Cape Cod Canal tidal energy demonstration site." Clearwater Seafood has also awarded Stokesbury $47,247 for his Video survey of Banquereau Bank.

SMAST expansion

The SMAST expansion project hit yet another milestone this month when the construction crew began erecting the steel last week. Bond Brothers, managers for this project, continue to make significant progress on clearing the way for construction of the new 64,115-square-foot facility, scheduled to open fall 2017. Learn more at Support SMAST 

Faculty spotlight
 Professor Cynthia Pilskaln talks climate science
(L to R) Professor and Chair Mark Altabet, Congressman Bill Keating (9th District); Professor Cynthia Pilskaln, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, Interim Chancellor Peyton R. Helm, and Professor Kevin Stokesbury.

Meet Cynthia Pilskaln, Professor in the Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences at UMass Dartmouth's School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST). Dr. Pilskaln, an expert in marine biogeochemistry and sedimentology, is presently focused on the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification in New England offshore coastal waters, examining changing ocean chemistry, potential effects on marine ecosystems, and issues of shellfish production sustainability. 

Pilskaln is also working with colleagues on enhancing our coastal cities' resiliency in the face of increasing sea level and seasonal storm surges.
This past spring, she served as a panelist on an advisory committee comprised of energy sustainabilty experts, NOAA reps, politicians, and her fellow colleagues at the Ocean Acidification (OA) meeting in Woods Hole.

More recently, Pilskaln opened her lab at SMAST in New Bedford and discussed the ocean-acidification-based research she's been conducting. United States Senator Edward Markey, a consumer champion and national leader on energy, environmental protection and telecommunications policy, was one of various policymakers in attendance to hear from Pilskaln and her colleagues. Read more

Student spotlight
Yu Zhang researches sea ice in the Arctic Ocean 

The Arctic Ocean plays a significant role in the global ocean circulation and water exchange as a connection between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

PhD candidate Yu Zhang along with his faculty advisor and Principal Investigator on the project Dr. Changsheng Chen, Professor of Fisheries Oceanography at SMAST, and collaborating scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Shanghai Ocean University are currently studying the seasonal and interannual variability of sea ice characteristics.

To accomplish their goal, Zhang and team have developed a high-resolution,
unstructured-grid, fully ice-sea coupled Arctic Ocean Finite-Volume Community Ocean Model (AO-FVCOM) to simulate the seasonal and year-to-year variability of sea ice and current circulation in the Arctic Ocean. Read more.
Alumni spotlights

Catherine O'Keefe
recently accepted a position as a Marine Science and Policy Analyst with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). O'Keefe works alongside David Pierce (Director of DMF) and his team, and focuses on state and federal fisheries science, management and policy. O'Keefe also recently received an appointment with SMAST to serve as an assistant adjunct.       

greg decelles
Gregory DeCelles
recently accepted a position with the Massachusetts DMF. His main responsibility is to be involved with the stock assessment of groundfish in the Northeast. He will participate in stock assessment working groups, and conduct research related to groundfish biology and life history. DeCelles is also an Assistant Chief Scientist on the state DMF biannual trawl survey, was recently appointed as a member of the Groundfish Plan Development Team, and is an assistant adjunct at SMAST.
Doug Zemeckis, as many of you know, divides his time between Rutgers University and SMAST. At Rutgers, Zemeckis has been working on a ventless trap survey of New Jersey artificial reefs, focusing on black sea bass, tautog, and lobster. He and colleagues are currently investigating spatial and temporal variation in community composition, and working to inform the development of a broad-scale trap survey for structure-associated species. "We will also be conducting an acoustic telemetry study this winter to estimate and mitigate the discard mortality of black sea bass caught in the recreational offshore rod-and-reel fishery," says Zemeckis.

Craig P. O'Connell
made a recent appearance on the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. A marine biologist and shark expert, O'Connell has developed a non-lethal, magnetic deterrent technology to serve as an "eco-friendly alternative form of technology" to minimize the danger of shark encounters. Read about Craig's expedition and check out the episode "Sharks Among Us" to learn more.   
SMAST alums, we'd like to hear from you.
Use our new Alumni Connection Tool to keep us up to date.

John W. Farrington (PhD), SMAST Adjunct Professor 
Congratulations to John W. Farrington (PhD), SMAST Adjunct Professor and Dean Emeritus of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who has been elected and conferred as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Farrington has served on committees and panels for international, national, and local organizations, including the UNESCO-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, National Academy of Sciences, National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. 

Greg Skomal, SMAST Adjunct Professor
Kudos to marine biologist Greg Skomal, SMAST Adjunct Professor, who made an appearance on the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. Skomal also recently took Snapchat followers on a white shark research trip off the coast of Cape Cod. If you missed the trip and/or the episode, you can still catch Skomal on " The Daily Shark Feed with Greg Skomal."

Matt Grossi, Research Associate

Congratulations to Research Associate Matt Grossi, who is soon heading to the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), where he'll pursue his PhD in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography. Grossi joined SMAST as part of Professor Wendell Brown's team in 2014 and departs from SMAST on July 22.

Kate Tremblay, Technical Associate 
Welcome Kate Tremblay, SMAST's newest addition. Tremblay joined Professor Wendell Brown's team as a Technical Associate in OCEANOL in May, and will also begin graduate studies at SMAST this fall. She will conduct research using oceanographic technology such as our Glider, Blue, and the HF Radar System used from CODAR.

Upcoming events
5th Annual Boston Seafood Festival 
The 5th Annual Boston Seafood Festival, hosted by the Boston Fisheries Foundation, will take place on the historic Boston Fish Pier on Sunday, August 7. In addition to a full day of chef demos and seafood samplings, many education components are part of the family-friendly event. SMAST will exhibit a booth showcasing research taking place within the departments of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences as Fisheries Oceanography. Visit the Boston Seafood Festival website
for ticket prices, event times, and other details.
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