MIT Sea Grant College Program
Newsletter: June 2013

In This Issue
THE OCEAN SCIENCES QUIZ GAME PHASE 3
CREATING MORE ACCURATE SWIMMING ADVISORIES
SALT MARSHES TO UNDERGO SURVEILLANCE
CANADA'S BALLAST WATER SOLUTION
5TH GRADERS EXCITED ABOUT OCEAN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
HANDBOOK TO PREPARE HOMEOWNERS FOR COASTAL HAZARDS
OEX 2013 SUMMER CAMP AROUND THE CORNER
ANDREI IVANOV WINS THE 2013 HORN AWARD
INTRODUCING MIT SEA GRANT SUMMER INTERNS
MIT Sea Grant on Facebook
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FROM THE DIRECTOR
Chrys Photo by Andrei Ivanov

Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

 

Summers at MIT Sea Grant are usually our busiest time of year, and this summer in particular holds some exciting events, projects, and programs, which I hope you will enjoy reading about below. 

 

We are proud of our science and engineering education programs for K-12 students, and have some exciting events coming up. We have also unveiled Phase 3 of the Ocean Science Quiz Game that promotes ocean literacy for students and teachers worldwide. 

 

MIT Sea Grant experts are constantly busy with research and outreach projects that support local and global communities on ocean and climate related issues. We describe some of our most recent initiatives that range from helping draft new ballast water regulations for Canada, to special new surveillance methods for New England's eroding salt marshes, to releasing a homeowners guide to prepare Massachusetts residents for coastal hazards. 

 

Finally, we announce the winner of our 2013 Dean A. Horn Award for Undergraduate Study in Marine Research, and we introduce our talented 2013 summer interns who will be assisting on many of our summer projects, programs and research. 

 

On behalf of our entire staff here at MIT Sea Grant, I hope you enjoy reading our latest news, and I wish you a happy and productive summer season. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Chrys Chryssostomidis

Director  

MIT SEA GRANT UNVEILS PHASE 3 OF THE OCEAN SCIENCES QUIZ GAME

MIT Sea Grant Research Engineer Greg Booma has rolled out Phase 3 of the Ocean Sciences Quiz game. This newest release includes a platform change, a significant code overhaul, and enhancements that allow for two players to compete online from separate locations. The team-against-team-player aspect of this online gaming platform compliment the other face-to-face special competitions such as the regional Blue Lobster Bowl organized by MIT Sea Grant, and the National Ocean Sciences Bowl organized by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. The Ocean Sciences Quiz is sponsored by NOAA and others and helps promote ocean literacy by engaging students, teachers, and teams worldwide. Click here to play the game!
A CASE FOR MORE ACCURATE SWIMMING ADVISORIES 
MIT SEA GRANT EXPERT MAKES A CASE FOR MORE ACCURATE SWIMMING ADVISORIES

MIT Sea Grant Advisory Leader and Marine Ecologist Judy Pederson testified before the Metropolitan Beaches Commission last April where she recommend that the state use rainfall events as predictors for swimming safety advisories. Advisories are currently posted when bacterial counts exceed threshold levels established by the US Environmental Protection Agency, and given that it takes 24 hours to process samples, advisories generally reflect outdated counts from the previous day. Pederson pointed to data showing a high correlation with heavy and longer wet weather events such as rainfall resulting in next day closures on days when bacterial count results were low. For more information click here

NEW ENGLAND'S ERODING SALT MARSHES TO UNDERGO SPECIAL SURVEILLANCE 

MIT Sea Grant Coastal Ecologist Julie Simpson is partnering with the Jones River Watershed Association and UMASS Boston researchers to study New England's most fragile eroding salt marshes using remote sensing methods. Salt marshes are critically important to coastal areas and many of New England's salt marshes have been lost to historic ditching, dredging, and filling. Many are falling victim to erosion and subsidence as they sink into the sea. Understanding the causes and rates of marsh damage can help researchers develop strategies for protecting and restoring these habitats. Simpson and the team of other researchers will place cameras in strategic salt marsh locations to send live video feeds through the internet for continuous monitoring with minimal disturbance to the physically fragile habitat. 

THE CANADIAN DEPARTMENT OF FISHERES AND OCEANS SEEKS MIT SEA GRANT EXPERTISE IN BALLAST WATER REGULATIONS REFORM

The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) invited MIT Sea Grant Marine Ecologist Judy Pederson as the sole non-Canadian to assist in a peer review meeting to support Transport Canada efforts in developing new ballast water regulations.  Ballast water is a major vector for introduction of aquatic non-indigenous species, and despite past regulations the ecosystems continue to face dangerous risks. Pederson reviewed and commented on a DFO draft scientific report to serve as the basis of the new regulations. These may have spillover effects into areas of significant concern for the United States, such as for the Great Lakes and Arctic region. For more information on ballast water and other vectors of alien species click here.

CAMBRIDGE FIFTH-GRADERS LEARN ABOUT OCEAN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING WITH MIT SEA GRANT ENGINEERING EDUCATOR 

MIT Sea Grant Engineering Educator Kathryn Shroyer made special Sea Perch remotely operated vehicle (ROV) presentations to 5th graders at several Cambridge middle schools throughout the month of June. The young audiences were well prepared for the exciting science and engineering conversations with Shroyer as these events followed their capstone science and engineering project presentations. In addition to working directly with students, Shroyer also works on various projects that help bring science and technology out of the laboratory and into the hands of students, professionals, and the general public.

THE MASSACHUSETTS HOMEOWNER'S HANDBOOK TO PREPARE FOR COASTAL HAZARDS

MIT and Woods Hole Sea Grant Programs released MIT The Massachusetts Homeowner's Handbook to Prepare for Coastal Hazards earlier this year. The book is designed to help homeowners prepare for coastal hazards to reduce risks to family and property. It was developed collaboratively with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Barnstable County. Free hard copies are available at town halls throughout coastal Massachusetts and electronic versions are available to download by clicking here.

THE 2013 OCEAN ENGINEERING EXPERIENCE AROUND THE CORNER

The Ocean Engineering Experience (OEX) is a two-week summer residential academic program for rising high school juniors and seniors. The program is project-based and structured around the engineering design cycle. Sixteen students from around the country will participate in lessons, labs, guest lectures, and field trips taught by MIT professors, staff, and local scientists and engineers. The participants will given a real world ocean engineering challenge at the beginning of the camp and they will work in teams to design, construct, and field test remotely operated underwater vehicles to complete a scientific task in the Charles River by the end of the camp. For more information click here . 

THE 2013 DEAN A. HORN AWARD GOES TO ANDREI IVANOV

MIT Sea Grant has awarded the 2013 Dean A. Horn Award for Undergraduate Study in Marine Research to Andrei Ivanov, a rising MIT sophomore. The annual recipient of this award is chosen for excellence in design and execution of his/her research project, and for clear communication of his/her results in a well-written paper. In Ivanov's case, his excellent video work as a UROP student for MIT Sea Grant serves as his qualifying research project. Ivanov helped incorporate video as major component of MIT Sea Grant's communications and social media tool kit, bringing to colorful life the mission, projects, and programs of MIT Sea Grant. Watch some of his videos by clicking here.

 INTRODUCING MIT SEA GRANT SUMMER 2013 INTERNS 

MADDIE PERRY

Maddie Perry is a junior at Olin College of Engineering majoring in mechanical engineering with a special focus on ocean engineering and education. At MIT Sea Grant she is part of a collaborative to revamp the signature Sea Perch ROV while also serving as assistant and mentor to the group of sixteen high school students participating on MIT Sea Grant's Ocean Engineering Experience (OEX) this summer. Perry is considering a career in underwater robotics after graduation and in her spare time enjoys dancing and taking pottery lessons. She is from Newton, Massachusetts. 

 

NATHASHA RODRIGUEZ

Nathasha Rodriguez is an MIT junior from Puerto Rico studying management science and economics. This summer she is assisting MIT Sea Grant Anthropologist Madeleine Hall-Arber with a special project that examines the effects of Social Impact Assessment Regulations on herring fisheries management, as well as helping to build a nationwide database of fisheries social scientists for MIT Sea Grant. Rodriguez has prior internship experience at NASA and Lockheed Martin, and is interested in pursuing a future career within the defense field in finance and/or operations research. 

 

STEPHEN RODAN

Stephen Rodan is an MIT rising sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering and media sciences. This summer Rodan is helping MIT Engineering Educator Kathryn Shroyer to develop a curriculum for MIT Sea Grant's Ocean Engineering Experience (OEX), as well as acting as mentor and lab assistant for the high school students attending OEX 2013. He is also helping redesign the construction manual of the Sea Perch ROV, which is a major education component of OEX. Rodan is on MIT's Varsity Soccer team and a member of MIT SEVT (Solar Electric Vehicle Team). He is from Potomac, Maryland and is a dual US-Australian citizen. 

KIRA SCHOTT

Kira Schott is a rising MIT sophomore from New Canaan, CT expecting to major in mechanical engineering. She is spending the summer assisting MIT Sea Grant Director Chrys Chryssostomidis and MIT Sea Grant Engineering Educator Kathryn Shroyer in building model ship hulls for students and educators. Schott has prior experience working in marine outreach and education through a Girl Scout Gold Award project where she designed a curriculum for a Mommy and Me program at the Norwalk, CT Maritime Aquarium. As an MIT student she is actively involved in the Navy ROTC, MIT's premier improv troupe Roadkill Buffet, and her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. 



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