Twelve SMAST students completed their requirements for advanced degrees (six MS, six PhD) in 2013, the most within a calendar year since the founding of the growing academic program over a decade ago. An additional six students (one MS and five PhD) completed their requirements in time to qualify for a January 2014 conferral date.
A majority of the research topics focused on marine life, ranging from tiny algae and diatoms to apex predators like sharks, and a number of commercially important species in between. Students also successfully defended research on air-sea interaction, measuring isotopes in sea water, Antarctic productivity, and the effects of sea level rise on estuaries.
The degrees are awarded through the University of Massachusetts' system-wide Intercampus Marine Science program, which confers degrees on marine science students at the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell campuses.
[Photo, l to r: Katherine Thompson, Chawalit Charoenpong, Kaitlynn Shaw.]
An eclectic team of investigators is attempting to construct a high-resolution map of cod spawning on Stellwagen Bank.
South Shore fishermen, alarmed by the downward trend in cod take, approached The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for help. Although the season and area of code spawning in Massachusetts Bay is known in a broad sense, a widespread closure could be ruinous to the local industry. But a high-resolution spawning map, in space and in time, might allow for small, targeted closures to protect spawning while permitting fishing to continue as the stocks rebuild.
TNC responded to the fishermen by assembling a diverse team of federal, state, academic and Conservancy scientists to tackle the problem.
At a press conference last week, participating fishermen and representatives of TNC, the state’s Department of Fish and Game and Division of Marine Fisheries, NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology outlined the plan. Bottom mounted hydrophones will record the time and extent of the pronounced vocalizations that cod make during spawning. Meanwhile, acoustic transducers will record the movements of some 150 mature cod that have been electronically tagged over the past month or so. Researchers hope to integrate the data to zero in on the when and where of cod spawning in Mass Bay.
"This project has been a unique and successful collaboration between the fishing industry and scientists from multiple institutions,” said SMAST PhD student Doug Zemeckis, who is leading the tagging effort. “The information acquired from acoustic telemetry, passive acoustic monitoring, and at-sea sampling will be helpful for informing future fishery management decisions to help rebuild the resource and the cod fishery." (Read more.)
Photo courtesy John Clarke Russ/TNC.
March 6, 2014
An SMAST-led research team unveiled a “Groundfish Port Recovery and Revitalization Plan” for New Bedford and Fairhaven at a workshop last Friday at the School for Marine Science and Technology. UMassD Chancellor Divina Grossman welcomed participants to the workshop, and New Bedford Mayor John Mitchell provided the introduction.
Led by SMAST economist Dan Georgianna, the research team has been conducting interviews and gathering data since November. The draft report quantifies the status and trends in the groundfish fishery and the effects on the economic health of the port.
Economist and former UMassD Arts & Sciences Dean Bill Hogan discussed the decline of the groundfish fishery, and Prof. Georgianna reported on the effects on shore-side businesses. The report’s recommendations for recovery and revitalization were presented by Steve Cadrin (SMAST, improvements in stock assessment), Kevin Stokesbury (SMAST, improvements in data collection), Kate Kramer (Center for Sustainable Fisheries, reauthorization of the Magnuson Act) and Jeff Stieb (Harbor Development Commission, improvements to the port).
A final report is expected in about a month.
Marine Technology Reporter visited with a number of colleagues at the recent Oceans 2013 MTS/IEEE San Diego conference, including SMAST Dean Steve Lohrenz.
Dean Lohrenz attended the conference to chair the Marine Education and Outreach session and to promote SMAST's new Professional Science Master’s in Coastal and Ocean Administration, Science and Technology.
Lohrenz noted that the new program was created in response "to a growing demand in education to provide mid-career professionals and other students with different education goals with an opportunity to advance their skills."
"This two-year, non-thesis master’s program blends the study of science and engineering with elective courses in management, policy, economics and law," he said, "and it provides a strong emphasis on writing and communication skills. The last semester of the program requires that the student obtain an internship in industry, government, nonprofit or academia."
Reprinted with permission from the October 2013 edition of Marine Technology Reporter: www.seadiscovery.com