MIT Sea Grant College Program
Newsletter: June 2012
Vol 3, Issue 4
Banner pics only
In This Issue
A CALL FOR YOUR INPUT
Sherman wins Infinite Mile
Sea Perch Challenge 2012
REX II eelgrass survey
Digital Ocean II
Red Tide forecaster unveiled
Congressional briefing for fishermen boost
Climate Change workshop
World Oceans Day celebration
Ocean Science Internship 2012
Ocean Engineering Experience (OEX) 2012
Timothy K. Lu receives the Doherty Award
Summer projects and people
MIT Sea Grant on Facebook
Join Our Mailing List!
Greetings!
Chrys

The June e-Newsletter highlights the outstanding efforts and accomplishments of our engineers, scientists and advisory staff over the past several months.

 

It is with great pleasure that we announce our special summer projects and educational programs, and introduce specialists coming on board to help the MIT Sea Grant team successfully carry out our goals for this season.

 

We are also pleased to announce that Gayle Sherman, administrative assistant for MIT Sea Grant, was among the recipients of a prestigious MIT award recognizing her extraordinary contributions to our program and to MIT.

 

We are developing our MIT Sea Grant Strategic Plan for the 2014-2017 budget cycle, and I encourage you to take a moment to respond to our call for input on issues you believe will be important to Massachusetts and the region over the next 5-10 years.

 

On behalf of the whole team here at MIT Sea Grant, I hope you will enjoy reading our exciting news.

 

Sincerely,

 

Chrys Chryssostomidis

Director  

A SPECIAL CALL TO READERS AND STAKEHOLDERS FOR IDEAS AND INPUT FOR MIT SEA GRANT'S 2014-2017 STRATEGIC PLAN

MIT Sea Grant requests input from readers and stakeholders for ideas on impending issues, new technologies, and societal concerns as we look ahead and draft the strategic plan for our next 4-year budget cycle. We would like to hear from you. Please share with us what you think are the most important and pertinent issues for the next five to ten years, and where MIT Sea Grant's efforts would make a difference. Please send your suggestions to: seagrantinfo@mit.edu.  We look forward to hearing from you as we develop our strategic plan, and thanks!

 

MIT SEA GRANT ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT GAYLE SHERMAN IS AMONG MIT'S 2012 INFINITE MILE AWARD WINNERS

 MIT Sea Grant administrative assistant Gayle Sherman was among MIT's 2012 Infinite Mile Award winners. This prestigious award honors MIT employees or groups that have demonstrated exceptional dedication and accomplishments within their organizations. Sherman has played a critical role in the success of the Sea Grant program with her problem-solving skills, knowledge of MIT resources and practices, excellent computer skills, and her ability to prioritize goals. She demonstrates good judgment and initiative, and is described as "exemplifying the best type of MIT employee." (Read more about the Infinite Mile award) 

STUDENTS TAKE ON THE THIRD ANNUAL UNDERWATER ENGINEERING SEA PERCH INSTITUTE CHALLENGE THROUGH THE MIT SEA GRANT COLLEGE PROGRAM

Students from six Massachusetts area middle and high schools gathered at MIT's Zesiger Athletic Center swimming pool to test their engineering prowess during the Sea Perch Institute Challenge year-end event on May 3, 2012. As part of the MIT Sea Grant Program, teachers and students spent much of the academic year building and testing their own customized Sea Perches, which are underwater, remotely operated vehicles made from inexpensive and readily available materials. At the event, the students were challenged with a disaster scenario: an underwater oil rig leak. The students collaborated with each other to organize best response efforts by modifying and deploying their Sea Perches as necessary to contain the spill and stop the leak. (Read the full press release 

THE NEWLY REFURBISHED REX II AUV WILL BE USED TO CONDUCT A SUMMER SURVEY OF EELGRASS BEDS ALONG THE COAST OF MASSACHUSETTS  

MIT Sea Grant engineers Seth Newburg and Michael Soroka, along with environmental scientist Chris McIntyre and a team of interns, are gearing up for a unique MIT Sea Grant summer research project. The team will employ the REX II (Reef Explorer) AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) in capturing underwater still photos and video footage to survey conservation mooring systems and water quality along the coast of Massachusetts. The REX II AUV will search for the presence of the non-native sea squirt, Didemnum vexillum, and will examine the damage to eelgrass caused by ship mooring. REX II will also monitor new eelgrass beds planted in recent years by the state of Massachusetts, that are important for fish habitats.

PHASE TWO OF THE SEA PERCH DIGITAL OCEAN IS LAUNCHED

MIT Sea Grant recently launched Phase Two of the Sea Perch Digital Ocean, which uses tools and data models derived from MIT Sea Grant's Marine Invader Tracking and Information System (MITIS). The first phase of the Digital Ocean was launched in 2009 as part of the Sea Perch Program that trains educators and students to build and deploy student-built remotely operated vehicles for underwater surveys. The online database helped turn students into citizen-scientists by providing a platform to enter field findings and interact with data through the map-based interface. Phase Two of the Digital Ocean integrates closely with other MIT Sea Grant programs. With a more sophisticated database architecture, it will accommodate robust data from scientific, as well as citizen-science endeavors. 

WOODS HOLE TEAM UNVEILS RED TIDE FORECASTER
Photo courtesy (WHOI)

A device funded in part by MIT Sea Grant and created by a team of scientists and engineers led by Don Anderson at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution  (WHOI) was unveiled early last month. A May 7, 2012 Boston Globe report detailed the creation and launch of the new Environmental Sensory Probe (ESP) that can gather real time information on the genetic makeup of offshore organisms to forecast red tide outbreaks. Scientists are specifically looking for Alexandrium fundyense, an alga that releases toxins when in bloom, and is the largest contributor to red tide outbreaks in New England. Humans who ingest shellfish and fish exposed to the toxins are at risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning, which can cause death. Scientists and fishery managers hope the ESP will help predict red tide outbreaks.

MIT SEA GRANT'S MADELEINE HALL-ARBER JOINS A ROUNDTABLE AND CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING ON SEA GRANT ECONOMIC BOOST EFFORTS FOR FISHERMEN

Anthropologist Madeleine Hall-Arber was MIT Sea Grant's representative in a wider group of Sea Grant and partners participating in the May 7 and 8, 2012 roundtable and Congressional briefing, "Local Catch: Sea Grant's Role in Helping Fishermen Thrive in a Challenging Economy." Speakers highlighted local catch activities to roundtable attendees from NOAA, the USDA, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The presentations provided decision-makers with a better understanding of the valuable contributions Sea Grant provides to fishermen, their local communities and their respective states. 

MIT SEA GRANT HOLDS A CLIMATE CHANGE AND REGIONAL MODELING WORKSHOP 
Photo by Hugh Mattison

On May 11, 2012, MIT Sea Grant organized a Northeast Climate Change and Regional Modeling Workshop, bringing together Massachusetts area climate change researchers, engineers, and social scientists. The goal was to find ways to help bridge the gap between cutting edge research and make it available to the public, especially municipal leaders and planners. Speakers covered documented environmental changes such as increased frequency and intensity of storms, changes in ocean circulation patterns, changes in hurricane patterns, and temperature changes. They also discussed methods for modeling the ocean - both at the global and local scale. MIT Sea Grant will prepare a white paper and convene another workshop to maintain the momentum of this important effort.     

CHILDREN TEST-DRIVE THE SEA PERCH AS PART OF WORLD OCEANS DAY CELEBRATION ACTIVITIES AT THE NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM

MIT Sea Grant Educator Kathryn Shroyer and AUV Engineer Michael Soroka displayed MIT Sea Grant's Sea Perch at a special exhibition hosted by the New England Aquarium in a free celebration of World Oceans Day on Sunday, June 3, 2012. The Sea Perch, a unique underwater remotely operated robot vehicle, was set in a nearby water tank as part of the exhibit and children were taught to use a controller to remotely drive the Sea Perch. Visitors also had fun taking the robot apart and putting it back together again with the help of Shroyer and Soroka. The Sea Grant team spent the day answering questions and describing all aspects of the Sea Perch Institute to an estimated 3,000 intrigued visitors who toured the exhibitions.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SELECTED FOR THE OCEAN SCIENCE INTERNSHIP ARE GEARING UP FOR AN EXCITING SUMMER RESEARCH PROJECT IN THE BOSTON HARBOR

Marine Science Educator Kate Longley is preparing to spend the month of July conducting ecological research with four outstanding Massachusetts and Connecticut high school students. As an extension of the Blue Lobster Bowl program, four interns were selected for MIT Sea Grant's Ocean Science Internship in collaboration with the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Service. Under the guidance of MIT Sea Grant researchers, interns venture out to several intertidal zones of Boston Harbor to perform ecological surveys, assess ecosystem health, and assist in the monitoring of non-native species. Each year's research produces new data, which students and educators then add to the growing pool of information for the Boston Harbor Islands database.   

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE UPCOMING 2012 OCEAN ENGINEERING EXPERIENCE (OEX) 

MIT Sea Grant Educators Kathryn Shroyer and Brandy Wilbur are preparing to receive 16 high school students in late July to conduct the annual weeklong Ocean Engineering Experience (OEX) at MIT. This hands-on residential camp introduces students to the field of ocean engineering and submerges them in a real world scientific problem. The challenge involves the design and construction of a marine vehicle or structure, and requires science, engineering and teamwork to solve. In addition to instruction provided by research staff and MIT faculty, the students will spend the week accompanied by undergraduate student mentors, who will live in the MIT dorms with the students, and act as chaperones and lab assistants during the program. 

PROFESSOR TIMOTHY K. LU RECEIVES THE HENRY L. AND GRACE DOHERTY PROFESSORSHIP IN OCEAN UTILIZATION

Assistant Professor Timothy K. Lu was presented with the Doherty Professorship in Ocean Utilization during a special award ceremony at MIT on May 31, 2012. Lu won this prestigious award in support of his Engineering Hybrid Biological-Electrical Systems for Ocean Engineering project. The Doherty Professorship was originally established under the direction of Professor Ira Dyer when he was head of the Department of Ocean Engineering and director of the MIT Sea Grant College Program. Administration of the wide-ranging Doherty awards by the MIT Sea Grant College Program reflects its interdisciplinary orientation to ocean research.

(Read full press release). 

 

 
SUMMER PROJECTS AND PEOPLE
 
CHRIS MCINTYRE JOINS THE REX II AUV MIT SEA GRANT TEAM FOR A SPECIAL EELGRASS SUMMER SURVEY 

Environmental Scientist Chris McIntyre joined MIT Sea Grant's team for the summer to collaborate with engineers of the REX II AUV in surveying eelgrass beds along the coast of Massachusetts. McIntyre, a Massachusetts native from Scituate, has worked as a research assistant for the Division of Marine Operations at UMASS Boston, and as a crew member for the City of Boston's Pumpout Boat. As part of the Green Boston Harbor Project, McIntyre studied how water quality influences biodiversity and dominance by marine non-native species in fouling communities throughout Boston Harbor. McIntyre holds a BA in environmental science from Saint Anselm College, and an MS in environmental science from UMASS Boston.   

KATE LONGLEY JOINS MIT SEA GRANT TO CONDUCT THE 2012 OCEAN SCIENCE INTERNSHIP 

Marine Science Educator Kate Longley joined MIT Sea Grant to spend the month of July conducting ecological research with four Massachusetts and Connecticut high school students. Longley holds a BA in Biology from Wesleyan University and recently graduated with an MS in Biology from UMASS Boston. Longley has taught laboratory sections of neurobiology and introductory biology, and has prior experience as a marine educator and naturalist aboard the Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch in Provincetown, MA. She has also conducted aerial surveys of endangered North Atlantic right whales with Wildlife Trust, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, and Northeast Fisheries Science Center.  

MIT SUMMER INTERNS AND EDUCATION PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS 

AUV REX II INTERNS

Undergraduate students, Andrew McHenry from Maine Maritime Academy and Collin Perkinson from Reed College will join the MIT Sea Grant REX II research team as interns to conduct a summer survey of eelgrass beds along the coast of Massachusetts. 

 

2012 OCEAN ENGINEERING EXPERIENCE (OEX) MENTORS

Undergraduate MIT students Georgia Van De Zande and Sarah Brennan, along with Olin College undergraduate student Riva Kahn Hallock will serve as mentors to the 16 high school students participating in this year's annual weeklong Ocean Engineering Experience (OEX) at MIT. Van De Zande and Kahn Hallock will also work as interns throughout the summer at MIT Sea Grant, where they will help develop OEX camp materials, and assist in the expansion of tools and curriculum for MIT Sea Grant's Sea Perch Institute Challenge. 

  

INDEPENDENT INTERNSHIP STUDY ON DIDEMNUM VEXILLUM 

Undergraduate bioinformatics student, Serrano Pereira from Leiden University, the Netherlands, has joined MIT Sea Grant Marine Advisory Services for a five-month internship where he will work under the guidance of Advisory Leader, Judy Pederson, to develop an automated system for determining percent cover of the marine non-native tunicate, Didemnum vexillum as a first step in evaluating the ecological impact of the sea squirt on other species and its response to environmental changes.

 

2012 OCEAN ENGINEERING EXPERIENCE (OEX) - HIGH SCHOOL PARTICIPANTS

Nicholas Chin - Newton, MA

Stuart Collymore - Hampstead, MD

Marina Dimitrov - Vancouver, WA

Kelsey D'Souza - Austin, TX

Arizona Greene - Carrollton, GA

Brian Gilligan - Framingham, MA

Marisa Kager - Concord, MA

Michalis Kalliris - Thessaloniki, Greece

Peter Leng - Mangilao, Guam

Andrew Lin - Foster City, CA

James Mackaman - York, ME

Matthew Maxwell - Carrollton, GA

David Ricardo - Cambridge, MA

Ian Rolf - Minneapolis, MN

Mathew Shorter - Lexington, MA

Connie Zhang - Dublin, OH

 

2012 OCEAN SCIENCE INTERNSHIP - HIGH SCHOOL PARTICIPANTS

Isabelle Holt - Watertown, MA

Jeffrey Ho - Sudbury, MA

Pavlina Karafillis - Winchester, MA

Carolann Schack - 2012 high school graduate, Glastonbury, CT

 

  

MIT SEA GRANT SAYS "FAREWELL" TO EDUCATOR RACHEL VANCOTT

Educator and Ocean Literacy Coordinator, Rachel VanCott, is moving on to a new career with a software company. She was a valued member of MIT's Sea Grant College Program and we wish her the best in her new career. 

 



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