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 Judith Rosellon-Druker awarded $500 for excellence in doctoral research

Judith Rosellon-DrukerJuly 27, 2015

Judith Rosellon-Druker, a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, School for Marine Science and Technology, has been selected to receive an American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists (AIFRB) Clark Hubbs Research Assistance Award in the amount of $500.00 for excellence in graduate-level research.

Rosellon-Druker’s research examines the population dynamics of four groups of echinoderms—brittle stars, sand dollars, sea stars, and sea urchins—in both open and closed fishing areas of the Georges Bank ecosystem from 2005-2012. The study enhances current biological information toward the implementation of Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management, since echinoderms are the preferred prey for some commercially targeted groundfish and invertebrate species in the area.

The Award provides a maximum of $500 for travel costs associated with presenting an original research paper or research project at a scientific meeting. Rosellon-Druker will present her paper, “Decription of echinoderm populations on Georges Bank and the potential modifying role of marine protected areas on these populations,” at the American Fisheries Society 2015 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. She was sponsored by Dr. Kevin Stokesbury of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Rosellon-Druker is a Fulbright Scholar from Mexico and received her B.S (summa cum laude) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). 




 NOAA Fisheries awards SMAST researchers more than $950,000 in Saltonstall-Kennedy grants

SMAST researchers on boat with nets and birdsJune 25, 2015

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded SMAST $956,000 under the 2014-2015 Saltonstall-Kennedy (S-K) Grant Program for six projects that help build and maintain sustainable fisheries.

Saltonstall-Kennedy grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, fund projects that address the needs of fishing communities. SMAST research on scallop health and physiology, new methods for avoiding bycatch of sensitive species, and improving stock assessments were among the projects awarded S-K funds.

Professor Geoffrey Cowles received $131,491 for his use of archival tagging data to develop geolocation methodologies for North Atlantic groundfish. Professor Pingguo He received two awards for projects in the Georges Bank Haddock Fishery: $247,502 to reduce the catch of juvenile haddock and cod, and $233,535 to reduce flounder bycatch. Professor Emeritus Dan Georgianna received $299,551 for his project combining fishermen’s knowledge to locate, evaluate, and predict gray meat outbreaks.

In two subawards for projects with the New England Aquarium Corporation, Associate Professor Steve Cadrin received $14,273 to estimate the discard mortality rate and develop catch-and-release guidelines for haddock in the Gulf of Maine; and $29,688 to reverse the acute effects of barotraumas and increase the post-release survival of cusk.

Participating researchers also include Susan Inglis, research associate; Gavin Fay, assistant professor; Kevin Stokesbury, professor and chair; Doug Zemeckis, PhD student; and Chang Liu, PhD student. 



 SMAST to study new toxic invader‌

Jeff Turner at microscopeJune 15, 2015

WHOI/MIT Sea Grant has awarded Prof. Jefferson Turner $150,000 to study the toxic dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides, which has been increasing in frequency of blooms in Buzzards Bay over the last decade. Although unrecorded in previous published Buzzards Bay plankton studies, this fish-killing species has been forming massive blooms with “rust-colored” water discoloration in the northern Bay in August and September in the last few years. 

Prof. Turner’s Biological Oceanography/Plankton Ecology Laboratory at UMass Dartmouth (Biology Department and SMAST) has been monitoring Buzzards Bay monthly since 1987. Their study has produced almost 27 years of archived samples for plankton community composition and abundance and water quality parameters. Analysis of these samples can address the question of what causes the observed Cochlodinium blooms.

By working backward from the present, and focusing on samples from late summer-early fall in the northern portions of Buzzards Bay, the investigators hope to determine when Cochlodinium first appeared in the  Bay. They will also continue monitoring the Bay to illuminate the winter, spring and early summer nutrient and hydrographic conditions that set the stage for what now appear to be annual late-summer/early-fall blooms.


  Students weigh in on international fisheries management‌‌

June 2, 20152015 ICES student review panel

Since 2009, SMAST students have been participating directly in international fisheries science and management through the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). Each year, students from the Department of Fisheries Oceanography, with a faculty co-chair, serve as technical reviewers for stock assessments of a variety of species. This year, the group has reviewed 14 stock assessments from the North Sea. As co-chair, Research Associate Dr. Greg DeCelles is presenting the group’s reviews to ICES this week in Copenhagen. The student reviews are taken into account as ICES advises member countries on fisheries management.

The student reviewers this year are Alexander Hansell, Judith Rosellon-Druker, Liberty Schlipp, Megan Winton, Brook Wright, and Doug Zemeckis, along with DeCelles and fellow Research Associate Dr. Cate O’Keefe. Prof. Steve Cadrin co-chaired the group. In exchange for their efforts, students will receive a travel award from ICES to partially fund their attendance at the ICES Annual Science Conference in Copenhagen.

ICES is an intergovernmental organization of more than 4000 scientists whose main objective is to increase the scientific knowledge of the marine environment and its living resources and to use this knowledge to provide advice to management.

  NOAA grants to support scallop survey/bycatch avoidance‌

scallops on sea floorMay 14, 2015

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $534,660 to SMAST for research to benefit the sea scallop fishery, $373,922 to support “Broadscale Video Survey of Georges Bank Scallop Open Areas” (Prof. Kevin Stokesbury, PI), and $160,738 to fund “Scallop Fishery Bycatch Avoidance System 2015” (Dr. Catherine O’Keefe, PI).

The awards are granted through NOAA’s Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program, which reserves a portion of the scallop catch to fund research to advance the health and sustainability of the fishery.

In combination with a multi-year RSA grant awarded last year, the funds for Stokesbury’s group underwrite an industry-based video survey of the entire Georges Bank sea scallop resource area. The Bycatch Avoidance Program will use its award to administer a fleet communication network that alerts vessels to “hotspots,” where high yellowtail bycatch is occurring, thus helping ensure that the fishery does not exceed its yellowtail bycatch limit. SMAST will also conduct a comprehensive review of the bycatch avoidance network to evaluate program performance.