Odds and Ends

Newsworthy events from the Sea Grant community.

Hover and Alm Receive Doherty

MIT Sea Grant has awarded 2008 Doherty Professorship in Ocean Utilization to Franz Hover, assistant professor in MIT's Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, and Eric Alm, assistant professor in MIT's Dept. of Biological Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering. Each will each receive a supplemental award of $25,000 per year for two years.

In his research with AUVs, Hover will develop a manipulation system for unknown environments. This will allow AUVs to sample benthic organisms, including corals, rocks and sediments, supporting studies in earth history, climate change, paleoceanography, and potentially, drug discovery. Alm will be studying genetic diversity in ocean bacteria. Through a multi-disciplinary approach, he will be seeking to better understand the genetic basis of ecological specialization in marine bacterioplankton.

K-12 Round-up

MIT SG introduced some 100 students to the world of autonomous underwater (and surface) vehicles in the second annual Cambridge Science Fair--the first and only full-scale celebration of science and technology in the United States. This year's Charles River demonstration included the AUV Lab's Reef Explorer, which conducts missions in shallow water and is being used to explore coral reefs in Hawaii.. Equipped with a color camera and a wireless radio link, this AUV can stream data back to shore (and classrooms), allowing students to explore reefs virtually and send simple commands to the vehicle.

Adopt-a-Boat got a recent cash infusion from a fundraiser held by Whole Foods Markets and chef Chris Schlesinger, owner of East Coast Grill in Cambridge. Proceeds from the evening of cooking (and eating) are helping to support the partnership between K-12 classrooms and New England fishermen.

And students from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School won this year's Blue Lobster Bowl, an annual competition that tests students' knowledge of ocean-related issues and encourages the next generation of marine scientists, policy makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians, environmental advocates and informed citizens. The first place prize earned the team a trip to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals in Seward, Alaska.

Conservation Commission Training

More than 200 people recently attended a pair of workshops in Massachusetts aimed at better informing coastal decision makers about wetlands protection laws and the legal authority of conservation commissioners in coastal areas. Utilizing National Sea Grant Law Center Funds, WHOI Sea Grant partnered with the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissioners to create the "Coastal Conservation Training: Making Decisions Based on Law and Science" course.

Held in Stoneham and Barnstable, each workshop included case studies, a presentation describing the sources of regulatory authority of conservation commissions and a technical description of the fundamental principles of coastal processes and coastal landform function in the state, led by Woods Hole Sea Grant's Jim O'Connell. The training was also recorded and turned into a web-based module for broader utilization, available at www.maccweb.org.

Brodeur Appointment

Jeffrey Brodeur has joined the Woods Hole Sea Grant program as communications and outreach specialist. Brodeur brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in writing, editing, public relations, and communications, all of which will help him in his new role of coordinating Sea Grant's communications efforts, including its public outreach activities and education programs.

Brodeur, who has a B.A. in journalism from The Ohio State University, worked for the Associated Press in Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania before leaving daily journalism for public relations. He managed communications efforts at the American Red Cross in Philadelphia for several years before being appointed director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Brodeur is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Reserve, with a background in search and rescue and maritime law enforcement. He enlisted as a Boatswain's Mate in 1997 and received his commission as an officer in 2004. He can be reached at 508-289-2665 or jbrodeur@whoi.edu.