Skip to main content.

Dean's Message

SMAST Dean Kevin Stokesbury

Welcome to the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Never has there been a more dynamic time for the marine economy along our coast. New Bedford leads the nation for fisheries value landing and is a hub of the developing offshore wind industry. Aquaculture is posed to make great strides in productivity. Ocean technology and innovation are rapidly developing, enjoying unprecedent advancements around the world. 

For the past 25 years, SMAST has played an integral part in our region’s development, with research in marine ecosystems, climate, physics, ocean observation, and marine engineering, and has had huge impacts in coastal ecosystem dynamics and restoration, ocean modeling and fisheries science. SMAST graduate students are highly successful in obtaining jobs within their field; many now occupy leading roles throughout the commonwealth. The cooperative research between the fishing industry and SMAST has led to the rebuilding of the scallop stock, achieving a level five times higher than the estimated maximum sustainable yield and making it one of the most lucrative sustainable fisheries in the nation. It is a time of great potential for marine science in New England, but moving forward will require being able to separate the vital from the trivial, to differentiate between what is esoteric and interesting and what is critical. Moving forward, SMAST will focus on four key priorities vital to our region and nation: 

  1. Climate Change and Ocean Impacts
    Recognizing climate change's profound impact on our oceans, SMAST is committed to researching these complex interactions and developing innovative solutions for ocean preservation.
  2. Food Security via Sustainable Fisheries
    In an effort to address global food security, we are dedicated to advancing the science and technology needed for sustainable fisheries and responsible aquaculture.
  3. Sustainable Energy Development and Associated Impacts
    Our scientists conduct research aimed at balancing renewable energy, like wind farms, with fisheries' needs. SMAST is committed to developing strategies for their coexistence, benefiting coastal ecosystems and communities.
  4. Coastal Ecosystem Resilience
    Our fourth priority centers on the vital role coastal ecosystems play in ocean health and community protection. SMAST is dedicated to their protection and restoration to maintain biodiversity and resilience.

About Kevin Stokesbury

Dr. Kevin D. E. Stokesbury is a Commonwealth Professor and Dean of the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at UMass Dartmouth. His research examines the marine ecology of invertebrates and fish, their spatial distribution, population dynamics and the impacts of fishing and energy development. For the past 20 years, his work has focused on the sea scallop and groundfish resources, including stock assessment, rotational fishery management strategies, growth and mortality estimates, gear development and recently environmental assessment of windfarm development. Most of his research is collaborative with the fishing industries of Canada and the United States. Stokesbury has played a pivotal role in revitalizing the scallop industry in New Bedford, inventing a drop camera in 1999 to capture photos of scallops on the seafloor, giving scientists and fishermen more precise estimates of scallop abundance than previously available. He was awarded the David H. Wallace Award from the National Shellfish Association (2013) and the Standard-Times Southcoast Man of the Year (2018) for his two decades of science in the public interest, and the collaboration he has fostered between fishermen and scientists. 
Stokesbury's research has been published in 75 scientific papers and 5 book chapters and has been funded by over 100 competitive grants totaling more than $40 million. He has testified in 5 congressional hearings. He was the founding chair of the Department of Fisheries Oceanography at SMAST from 2005 to 2016. He serves on several International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) committees including Chair of the Scallop Assessment Working Group from 2013 to 2018, and Chair of the Nephrops Benchmark Workshop in 2009. He served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine steering committee for “Fisheries Research and Monitoring for Atlantic Offshore Development – A Workshop” and “Assessment and Advancement of Science in the Bureau of Ocean Energy management’s Environmental Studies Program.” He was recently appointed to the NAS’s Committee on Offshore Science and Assessment, (COSA) and is now the upcoming Chair. He has also been elected as the next President of the National Shellfisheries Association. He was a subject editor for Ecological Applications for 10 years and currently serves on the Journal of Shellfish Research and Reviews in Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture editorial boards.

Back to top of screen