Notes from the Dean   

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with having said, "Change is the only constant in life." This seems particularly germane in today's world as we observe the day-to-day changes in our weather, the longer-term patterns of change in our climate, and the rapidly changing dynamics in Washington, DC as the new administration takes shape. As a science community, one thing that does not change is our primary job of seeking the truth in our fields of study. We do this by gathering information and observations from a wide range of sources and sharing our findings with others.

We also seek to engage with colleagues from diverse backgrounds who may have different perspectives that can help broaden our own understanding and enlightenment. As you can see later in this newsletter, our SMAST faculty and students continue to advance research and applications and earn accolades in a variety of areas.

As I am sure is the case for many of you, I am keeping a watchful eye on the changes in our government. And I will continue to advocate for the importance of high-quality science in guiding our nation's policies. This month, I will visit the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to present a seminar on applications of remote sensing and ocean models for understanding how changes in climate and human activity affect the cycling of carbon between land, ocean, and our atmosphere.

Later in the month, I will join thousands of scientists, educators, and students for the Aquatic Sciences meeting in Honolulu to learn about the latest advances in our field. The following month, I am traveling to DC to attend a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management meeting on Best Management Practices for Offshore Wind and a Consortium for Ocean Leadership policy forum titled "Feeding the Future: An Ocean of Opportunity." While in DC, I will meet with colleagues from other institutions as well as representatives from federal agencies to discuss ocean policy advocacy efforts - a topic of significant importance at this critical time.

-Steven E. Lohrenz, Dean

Research & Funding  
DEOS Chair
and Professor Mark Altabet has been awarded $75,399 by the University of Washington/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a project titled "Profiling Sensor Map N2 Gas Production in OMZs." Additionally, Altabet has been awarded $347,286 from National Science Foundation for his collaborative project "Did the SE Pacific Gyre Become a Hotspot for N2 Fixation?" The project will help uncover previously unknown linkages between the ocean environment and Earth's climate by exploiting past records of change. 

Research Assistant Professor David Bethoney
received a $135,062 grant from Clearwater Seafoods for a video
survey of the Canadian portion of Georges Bank and Browns Bank. Bethoney also received funding in the amount of $14,325 from Ocean Leader Fisheries to survey the Canadian sea cucumber population.  
Professor Changsheng Chen
received funding in the amount of $381,366 from the National Science Foundation to model process studies of freshwater accumulation and release in the Beaufort Gyre of the Arctic Ocean, $89,598 from the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) and NOAA to support an ocean observing system for the northeast region, and $62,370 from NERACOOS and NOAA for high-resolution coastal inundation modeling and advancement of green infrastructure and living shoreline approaches in the northeast. Additionally, Chen received $49,192 from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and NOAA for technical support for FVCOM ocean modeling activity.

Professor Brian Howes
and Research Manager Roland Samimy were awarded $525,967 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to determine whether the development of oyster colonies can restore estuaries and salt ponds endangered by high nitrogen levels. The initiative will use the Westport River and Cockeast Pond (a tributary of the river) as a natural laboratory. The team will also test whether the development of oyster clusters can reduce nitrogen levels that destroy fish and other marine wildlife habitats. Additionally, Howes has been awarded a $234,000 grant by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for an environmental analysis of Wellfleet Harbor, Barnstable Harbor, Menemsha/Squibnocket Ponds, Plymouth Harbor and Jesuit Harbor.

Professor Kevin Stokesbury
and graduate students Travis Lowery and Nick Calabrese recently deployed new video system  to survey Atlantic Cod population on the Stellwagen Bank fishing grounds, Stokesbury and team designed the system so they could identify the species in every image. The team aims to measure abundance, density, and size distribution to aid in management of the fisheries. The project is funded by Baker-Polito Administration who provided $96,720 in capital funds through the state Division of Marine Fisheries. Stokesbury's research has also received support in state funding of more than $800,000 through legislation supported by State Senator Mark Montigny, State Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral and the entire SouthCoast legislative delegation.  

Professor Miles Sundermeyer has been awarded $283,425 by the National Science Foundation for the collaborative project "Numerical Modeling of the Internal-Wave Cascade & Submesoscale Lateral Dispersion in the Ocean." The study will test different forcings, including surface winds and tides , to determine how varying wave and vortex interactions impact turbulence production, dissipation, and the internal wave energy cascade. 
SMAST expansion

Bond Brothers continues to make significant progress on the development on the SMAST Expansion project. The 64,115-square-foot SMAST facility, which is a partnership between SMAST and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, opens fall 2017.  
Student spotlight

PhD candidate Chang Liu recently published an article titled "Validation of a hidden Markov model for the geolocation of Atlantic cod," which is based on a geolocation method for estimating cod locations using depth and temperature data. Liu, who is lead author, co-authored the study with Geoffrey Cowles, Douglas R. Zemeckis, Steven X. Cadrin, and Micah J. Dean. Read more.  

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute awarded PhD candidate Owen Nichols the John Annala Fishery Leadership Award. The award was established to recognize the contributions made by the GRMI's first Chief Scientific Officer, John Annala. Nichols is the second recipient of the award, which honors early career scientists conducting research relevant to New England fisheries.
SMAST alums, we'd like to hear from you.

Professor Pingguo He
is the recent recipient of the ICES Service Award. He has served as chair of the organization's Working Group on Fishing Technology and Fish Behaviour, which initiates and reviews investigations of scientists and technologists concerned with all aspects of the design, planning, and testing of fishing gears for bycatch and discard reduction, as well as environmentally benign fishing gears and methods. Read more.

The Marine Fisheries Institute (MFI), a partnership between SMAST and the Division of Marine Fisheries, recently welcomed Dr. Jonathan Hare, Director of the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, to serve as an MFI Council member. Hare has held various positions with NOAA Fisheries for more than two decades. He also previously held the position of Supervisory Research Oceanographer and Oceanography Branch Chief.

The MFI also welcomed Chris McGuire, Marine Program Director of The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts, to serve as a Council member. As Marine Program Director, McGuire works to conserve Massachusetts' critical ocean coastal systems, develops sustainable fisheries partnerships with local fishermen, and advances ocean planning efforts. Read more.

This past November, Sonaljit Mukherjee
, who graduated last May with his doct orate degree, accepted a position at the UVI Center for Marine and Environmental Studies in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition to his career as a marine scientist, Sonaljit is an acclaimed vocalist who has performed at Carnegie Hall. Kudos Sonaljit!    
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