SMAST demonstrates excellence of its research

The School for Marine Sciences and Technology (SMAST) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth performs the type of scientific research that answers real world questions and provides real world solutions for sound environmental, economic, and public policy decisions affecting Massachusetts's coastline, inland waterways, and the oceans that border and sustain them.

April 11, 2003 

SMAST demonstrates excellence of its research to House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran 

The School for Marine Sciences and Technology (SMAST) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth performs the type of scientific research that answers real world questions and provides real world solutions for sound environmental, economic, and public policy decisions affecting Massachusetts's coastline, inland waterways, and the oceans that border and sustain them. 

The status and impact of this scientific research was demonstrated Friday (April 11) to House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran and other elected officials at a briefing arranged by Representative John Quinn, whose district includes UMass Dartmouth and who has long demonstrated a commitment to the fishing industry. 

"The Research that is done at SMAST is vitally important to the economic development of Southeastern Massachusetts and in particular the fishing industry. The entire legislative delegation has been very supportive of this research and will fight extremely hard against attempts to tamper with the successes of UMASS in this region, " said Rep. John Quinn 

Prof. Brian J. Rothschild, SMAST director and dean of the UMass System Graduate School of Marine Sciences and Technology, said, "Our contributions to the fishing community and economic development did not just happen. These accomplishments result from a dedicated faculty and staff, teamwork and partnerships with industry, and particularly the confidence and support of our forward thinking representatives, such as Tom Finneran and John Quinn." 

Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said: "With our thanks to the Speaker and Representative Quinn goes this message to the entire state Legislature: 'UMass Dartmouth's leadership research in the marine sciences and related technologies is a vital asset to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a major component of the UMass System's research profile."' 

SMAST scientists and researchers, who annually secure nearly $8 million in grants and contracts from sources external to the university budget, demonstrated overviews of these projects: 

  • The Scallop Recovery Project Since 1999, SMAST and members of the commercial sea scallop industry have completed 27 video and tagging cruises to Georges Bank, resulting in 700 hours of video footage and 17,000 digital images. This research on the Georges Bank sea scallop population has had a profound impact on understanding of this unique ecosystem, and persuaded federal regulatory agencies to reopen closed beds on the Georges Banks. This produced a catch worth $30 million in 1999 and $25 million in 2000, while at the same time reduced the effects of fishing on the sea floor by greatly reducing dredging time. The scallop grounds remain open.
  • The Mount Hope Bay Natural Laboratory SMAST has just completed Phase I of a five-year project and is developing the Mount Hope Bay Natural Laboratory (MHBNL). One of the important changes under study is the decline of winter flounder in Mount Hope Bay.
  • Coastal Systems Group (CSG) Estuaries Project This multi-year assessment of water quality in 89 estuaries from Duxbury to Cape Cod and the Islands and around the Southeast Coast is a partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and others. CSG is active in 20 of those estuaries right now; this summer they'll extend their fieldwork to 15 more
  • Mobile Re-locatable Ocean Observation System (MROOS) The Autonomous Underwater Platform (AUP) is a large, fully autonomous, all-weather, offshore submersible vehicle. It is an integral part of the new Mobile Re-locatable Ocean Observation System (MROOS), a joint venture still in development among SMAST the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and Sippican, Inc. MROOS marries the AUP with small, inexpensive Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). AUVs have the potential to perform valuable and unique oceanographic tasks such as underwater optic and acoustic surveillance that can be applied to fisheries management as well as Homeland Security. 

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