SMAST seeks to strengthen Portuguese connection

SMAST seeks to strengthen Portuguese connection Collaboration with a visiting scientist from the Instituto de Investigacao das Pescas e do Mar (IPIMAR) in Lisbon, the establishment of a student exchange program with the University of Azores and participation on an advisory panel for Instituto do Mar (IMAR), an international research organization, are among the ways UMass Dartmouth's School for Marine Science and Technology is strengthening ties to the Luso-American community.

SMAST seeks to strengthen Portuguese connection 

Collaboration with a visiting scientist from the Instituto de Investigacao das Pescas e do Mar (IPIMAR) in Lisbon, the establishment of a student exchange program with the University of Azores and participation on an advisory panel for Instituto do Mar (IMAR), an international research organization, are among the ways UMass Dartmouth's School for Marine Science and Technology is strengthening ties to the Luso-American community. 

Dr. Brian Rothschild, SMAST director, said it is essential to contribute to the Luso-American culture that permeates the city of New Bedford and the southeastern Massachusetts region. Since 2000, SMAST has been working with Dr. Maria de Fatima Borges, visiting scientist, through a three-year cooperative program with the IPIMAR in Lisbon. Funded by the Portuguese government and the Luso-American Foundation (FLAD), Borges' research project at SMAST involves comparing and contrasting spatially resolved fisheries systems in the Portuguese European region with the fisheries system from this side of the Atlantic. She's studying the relationship among long-term changes on the ocean linked to environmental effects and the fish population response in those particular regions. 

Borges said that her research project is based on an earlier study published by Rothschild entitled, Fishtock fluctuations as indicators of multidecadal fluctuations in the biological productivity of the ocean and on recent published studies by Avijit Gangopadhyay, physics professor, on the Gulf Stream relation to the North Atlantic oscillation. I am learning and exchanging experiences with important scientists here, she said. 

Another connection with IPIMAR involves the development of the SMAST model chaired by Professor Wendell Brown, Advanced Fisheries Management 
Information System (AFMIS) with Rothschild, and Professor Allan Robinson of Harvard University. 

The scientists combine live data with fish and environmental models in order to map fish distribution in real time in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank area. The data comes from fishing boats and in return, fishermen get forecasting maps that predict where they are likely to get a good catch. The primary purpose of AFMIS, according to Borges, is to provide information for management strategies such as localized area closures during spawning and/or recruitment events. 

The visiting scientist received her Ph.D. in Fish Population Biology from the University of East Anglia, School of Biological Sciences, in Norwich, England and earned in 1988 a Portuguese Senior Scientist thesis (equivalent to Ph.D.) from the Instituto Nacional de Investigação das Pescas. She has22 years experience in applied fish stock assessment and a vast advisory background in fishery management. Since 1998, she has served as IPIMAR's principal investigator in fish population dynamics. 

Borges is also striving to promote student exchanges with IPIMAR and SMAST. Currently, UMD alumna Ana Luisa Marçalo '96 (BA/biology) is working as a fisheries biology technician in its Department of Marine Resources with a grant awarded by the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to strengthen the links between Portugal and the Luso-American community in Massachusetts. Marçalo's primary concentration areas include the sardine purse-seine fishery resource survey program, at sea fishery data collection on commercial boats, fisheries' discards and impacts on small pelagic fish populations. Born in Lisbon, Marçalo lived in New Bedford while attending UMD. 

With the new InterCampus Graduate School of Marine Sciences and Technology, Borges anticipates further exchanges by Portuguese students. I know of graduated students attending several universities in Portugal who already approached me to get information about enrolling at UMass Dartmouth to get master's and doctorate degrees, she said. And now, with IGS, it's possible. 

Rothschild said that a recently developed cooperative agreement with the University of Azores' Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, (DOP) will result in additional short and long-term student exchanges. 

Next September, Rothschild and Borges will participate in the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Annual Science Conference to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Rothschild will be co-presenting a session entitled, Pelagic Fish Responses to Climate Change, with scientists from Portugal, Spain and Norway. As first convener of the session, Borges will act as moderator. 

Rothschild is also a permanent member of an international, four-member advisory committee for Instituto do Mar (IMAR ), an organization headquarted in Coimbra, and comprised of 200 researchers associated with institutions all over Portugal. IMAR is active in the majority of research areas in marine science and technology including aquaculture, coastal management, fisheries, pollution, sediment transport, and more. It presently participates in 71 research projects financed by governments, international contracts and private and public sector income. 

Associated institutes of IMAR include the universities of Coimbra, Lisbon,Porto, Evora, Azores and Algarve as well as the Technical Institute of Lisbon, New University of Lisbon, the Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences and Museu Municipal do Funchal. 

SMAST's director said the panel reviews the programs offered at thePortuguese universities and provides advice on direction and ways to programmatically improve. SMAST is committed to the chancellor's idea to become engaged, embedded and evolving, Rothschild said. We look forward to supporting the Portuguese community any way that we can.


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