SMAST professors receive grant for “Sustainable Seafood Collaboratory”

Professor Cindy Pilskaln

Professor Cindy Pilskaln

A grant from UMass President Robert Caret’s 2015 Science and Technology Initiatives Fund has been awarded to SMAST Professors Cynthia Pilskaln, research leader, and Brian Howes, collaborator, for the “Sustainable Seafood Collaboratory” project.

With a focus on assessing and advancing opportunities for marine aquaculture in the Commonwealth, the Collaboratory integrates sustainable seafood research across the academic, non-profit, and industry sectors. The Collaboratory will facilitate the development of marine aquaculture research through design and testing of mariculture systems that support healthy, sustainable, and resilient fisheries in the Commonwealth.

“The project is focused on shellfish (primarily oysters) health and development–we would like to examine this relative to changing nutrient, dissolved oxygen and pH regimes,” says Pilskaln.

Portions of the grant totaling $125,000 will also be divided among UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, and the New England Aquarium to address issues in the state’s marine economy.

The SMAST grant amount, which will be distributed over an 18-month period, will provide partial salary support for the lead scientist, a technician, and graduate research assistants, as well as support costs of stakeholder workshops. Seed funding will be utilized for pilot research on monitoring and mitigation of seafood-borne illnesses.

Additionally, the grant will be leveraged to secure funding from federal agencies such as the USDA, NOAA, and NMFS; private foundations such as the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; and private sector partners, including Benchmark Holdings, PLC.

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

Rosellon-Druker-ccJudith 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. Continue reading

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

June 25, 2015

SMAST photo for BOT video

Department of Fisheries Oceanography research

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. Continue reading

SMAST to Study New Toxic Invader

Jeff_Turner_microscope_260x321WHOI/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. Continue reading

Students Weigh in on International Fisheries Management

ICES_group_340x262Since 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. Continue reading

NOAA Grants to Support Scallop Survey/Bycatch Avoidance

scallops_320x260The 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. Continue reading

Stokesbury Keynotes International Workshop

umassd_photos_000051894Prof. Kevin Stokesbury, Chair of SMAST’s Department of Fisheries Oceanography, delivered the keynote address “Marine protected areas and the US sea scallop fishery” at the 20th International Pectinid Workshop in Galway City, Ireland, on April 25.

In the words of the workshop organizing committee, “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Kevin Stokesbury attend and be a keynote speaker at this year’s IPW. Dr. Stokesbury, from the UMass-Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) in New Bedford, USA, is well respected for his innovative work in surveying scallops and groundfish by developing the SMAST Scallop Video Survey. Continue reading

SMAST at NSA Annual Meeting

SMAST_and_Shumway_320x186SMAST faculty, staff, and students contributed to the scientific program of the National Shellfisheries Association’s 107th annual meeting in Monterey, California, last week.

Seven oral and poster presentations were authored by SMAST personnel from the Department of Fisheries Oceanography (DFO), reporting on research focused on scallops, lobsters, and surfclams. Prof. Kevin Stokesbury, chair of DFO, also moderated a session on commercial fishing. Continue reading

SMAST Hosts Police Dive Team

divers_at_bottom_crop_320x232The SMAST acoustic-optic test tank today welcomed the New Bedford Police Underwater Recovery Unit for the first of an anticipated series of training sessions.

“It is critical to train members of this unit in many different situations and environments,” said Sergeant Jason Gomes, CO of the Port Security Unit and a supervisor on the Underwater Recovery Unit. Continue reading