Odds and Ends

Newsworthy events from the Sea Grant community.

Sea Perch in Cyprus

This autumn, MITSG took its innovative underwater robotics program, Sea Perch, to Cyprus. The program trains teachers, who then teach students to build a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and employ that underwater robot in real-life applications.

In the program's first international foray, MITSG staff Sarah Olivo and Michael Soroka teamed up with The Cyprus Institute: Energy, Environment and Water Research Center to lead workshops with 15 teachers who then taught 90 high school students to build ROVs.

"The great thing about Sea Perch," says Olivo, "is that it is so versatile. It brings in biology, oceanography, environmental science and engineering, so that teachers can use the program however they want to in their curriculum." For more information, see http://seaperch.mit.edu.

Whale Symposium

MITSG and the Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review recently co-sponsored a symposium, 20-Ton Canaries: The Great Whales of the North Atlantic, to explore how science, law, government and policy can help protect these endangered mammals. The gathering included a talk by Eric Jay Dolin, author of Leviathan: A History of Whaling in America and presentations by experts on the failures of current approaches to protecting whales and potential technological and legal solutions. Dolin's talk and a panel discussion can be viewed at http://mitworld.mit.edu. Proceedings are forthcoming.

Sea Change

MITSG is launching a new online literary journal with stories, essays and poetry inspired by the sea (and rivers and lakes and coasts, etc.). Sea Change will make its debut in Spring 2009 and will feature writing of all ages (including K-12). We're looking for the best work we can find: original, crafted pieces that make us look anew at our marine environment and ourselves. For information about how to submit material for consideration, please see http://seachange.mit.edu, and check out the first issue this spring.

WHSG Coastal Processes Expert Departs

Jim O'Connell, the coastal processes specialist at Woods Hole Sea Grant and Cape Cod Cooperative Extension for nearly a decade, resigned in August for a similar position with the University of Hawai'i Sea Grant program. O'Connell was appointed the assistant extension agent/coastal land use specialist based on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

"Jim's contributions to Woods Hole Sea Grant, and the region as a whole, were innumerable," says Judy McDowell, director of the program. "We are certain he'll have the same impact on Hawaii and wish him the best of luck."

Prior to joining WHSG in 1999, O'Connell was a marine resources specialist with the Cape Cod Commission and a coastal geologist with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management.

WHSG's Knauss Fellow

Anna Sawabini, a graduate student at UMASS-Dartmouth, has accepted for a one-year assignment as the WHSG representative to the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program. Administered by the National Sea Grant College Program, Knauss Fellowships augment a student's education by providing practical training and understanding of how marine issues are handled at the federal level.

For her doctoral research project, Sawabini is identifying the regional and local physical forces that affect dissolved oxygen concentrations in estuarine waters. Sawabini, who received her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University, explains that building an understanding of the estuarine systems requires her to "pull together information from a range of oceanography disciplines in combination with the systems analysis framework" from her engineering experience. She will receive her assignment following the program's placement week in late December.