Recent awards totaling nearly $5 million from NOAA and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will fund SMAST scallop and groundfish research over the next two years.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced cooperative fisheries research projects, including four led by SMAST scientists, to be funded under the 2014-2015 Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program. The RSA Program reserves a portion of the scallop harvest to fund cooperative research of benefit to the fishery.
Department of Fisheries Oceanography Chair Kevin Stokesbury is principal investigator on two funded video surveys and a project to track so-called "gray meat" in sea scallops, while Professor Steven Cadrin will continue as PI of the highly successful SMAST Yellowtail Bycatch Avoidance Program. The four projects total $4.4M. In addition, SMAST researchers are co-investigators on two RSA projects led by collaborating institutions.
A separate award of $450K from the state was announced at a press conference at SMAST on 21 July attended by (from left in photo) state Rep. Christopher Markey (D-Dartmouth), Professor Kevin Stokesbury, state Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford), UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman, state Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), and SMAST Dean Steven Lohrenz. The funding will support the continued development of new "no-capture" technology for fishery population surveys. The elected officials in attendance were instrumental in securing the state funding.
UMass Dartmouth Prof. Amit Tandon (College of Engineering/SMAST) is leading a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the United States and India to support large-scale research on monsoon prediction.
Researchers from the two countries are working together to understand ocean processes in the international waters of the Bay of Bengal and their relation to the annual monsoon, which is a dominant factor in the lives of the population of the Indian subcontinent.
The Office of Naval Research is funding the participating U.S. scientists and contributing the resources of the R/V Roger Revelle. The ship made a call in the port of Chennai in mid-June, the first U.S. research vessel to call at an Indian port since the 1980s, and has since completed its first successful data-gathering cruise in the Bay of Bengal.
The bilateral team also includes Dr. Amala Mahadevan, WHOI senior scientist and SMAST adjunct faculty, Dr. Sanjiv Ramachandran, research associate in Tandon’s Upper Ocean Dynamics Lab, and scientists from 17 other U.S. and Indian institutions.
As part of the collaboration, Dr. Tandon and several U.S. colleagues have returned to India to conduct a two-week training workshop at the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore on upper-ocean dynamics in the Bay of Bengal. [Read full press release.]
[Photo: Amit Tandon welcomes scientists aboard the R/V Roger Revelle in Chennai, India, as co-chief scientist Dr. Emily Shroyer from Oregon State University looks on.]
July 24, 2014
Profs. Miles Sundermeyer and Brian Howes of SMAST are among the principals of a new UMass system-wide EXperimental Center for Environmental Lidar (EXCEL), which has been established with a $150K grant from the University's 2014 Science and Technology Initiatives Fund.
Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remarkably precise remote measurement technology that has applications in a wide range of the natural sciences, and is a tool in research initiatives already underway on the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell campuses.
"By sending extremely short pulses of light (nanoseconds in duration), researchers can image objects and landscapes in three dimensions with meter-to-centimeter resolution," explained Sundermeyer. "Mounted on a tripod, a boat, or even an aircraft, lidar can be deployed rapidly in the field to image forests, coastal land-forms, and even shallow underwater landscapes."
Of particular interest to SMAST researchers are the oceanographic applications of lidar. Coastal erosion, both as a chronic issue associated with sea level rise and as a result of episodic extreme events such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012 or the blizzard of 2013, will have increasing impact on the state’s economy.
"Our ability to make rapid and precise measurements of coastal landforms and flora will be a critical tool in the maintenance of our coastal resources, and therefore of ecosystem health and coastal tourism," said Sundermeyer. "EXCEL is expected to accelerate these capabilities, while providing a technical resource and expertise to the Commonwealth, the region, and beyond."
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