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  • RUCOOL Updates: February to March, 2020

    Posted on May 15th, 2020 Mike Crowley No comments

    Despite the COVID-19, RUCOOL remains active and excelling.  Core technologies (storm gliders and HF Radar) were deemed critical research tools based on national security requirements and continue to be supported. These activities are guided by an operations plan that maintains recommended self-distancing practices. In fact, RUCOOL has developed standard operating procedures for glider deployments leveraging social distancing requirements, which have been shared with multiple funding agencies and research partners. The operating guidelines are available upon request.


    • In early April, the first operational oceanography Masters students will be submitting abstracts of their thesis to the Marine Technology Society OCEANS meeting. One of the Masters students has already accepted a job working for NOAA’s operational oceanography service following her degree.
    • RUCOOL initiated two projects with Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, the joint NJ offshore wind project between EDF Renewables and Shell New Energies. One project is installing a vertically pointing wind lidar at the Rutgers Marine Field Station. The second is a modeling study of visibility conditions along the NJ coast.
    • RUCOOL hosted Commissioner Dianne Solomon of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for a tour and discussion of offshore wind.
    • In March, 4-H launched a Virtual 4-H at Home Short Term Exploratory Program (STEP).  The program was entitled: Exploring Life in the Southern Ocean and consisted of three 1.5 hour classes geared towards 5th-8th grade students – see Young people from across the state participated in this inaugural program led by the RUCOOL education team.
    • To fill the gap of in person 4-H STEM learning due to COVID-19, the RUCOOL education team has joined a larger Rutgers group that has created a new 4-H STEM Blog to help kids connect to STEM activities from home:


    • Grace Saba presented an invited to Sea-Bird Scientific on the glider pH efforts and path forward for an industry-academic partnership. Grace runs the only two pH gliders in the world.
    • The RUCOOL Education and Science teams lead the authoring of a special issue for the National Marine Educators Association Journal called Current –
    • Hugh Roarty travelled to Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Centers around the United States (Port of New York, Houston, Louisville and Port Arthur) to evaluate the Coast Guard use of HF radar to manage traffic in the ports. Existing microwave radars operated by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) do not provide reliable detection of small vessels.  Hugh will meet with Coast Guard personnel at the twelve MORE VTS centers and develop a needs analysis with respect to radar remote sensing.
    • For the NASEM HF-Radar work in the Gulf of Mexico, RUCOOL is improving CODAR ship detection software. Tests are being performed by comparing data acquired near two oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and from the Sandy Hook NJ site, to the national Automated Identification System (AIS) ship tracking data.


    • RU COOL scientists working on the NSF-funded Palmer LTER and Project SWARM connected with thousands of K-12 students this past winter in 10 live video teleconferences (VTCs) from Palmer Station, Antarctica. The education team recruited and prepared 25 teachers from 21 schools in 11 states (NJ, DE, NY, CT, VA, FL, AL, MN, AZ, OR, CA), reaching 1060 students directly and many more via the call recordings that are shared online.  The interaction helps build science identity as reported by teachers.
    • Several members of the RUCOOL team attended the Ocean Sciences meeting in San Diego in late February, which is the world’s largest oceanography conference, delivering 20 presentations (many are available on our website). Grace Saba co-chaired the town hall on Exploration of the Twilight Zone Ocean Network (JETZON), which published a piece in Nature last week
    • The RUCOOL team collected data for the last 30 years as part of the NSF funded Palmer Long Term Ecological Research program, that is conducting a long term study of how a changing climate will impact polar marine ecosystems along the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). This year leadership of the Palmer LTER was transferred to Rutgers which is the principal institution running this multi-university long term effort.
    • RUCOOL lead a team partnered with the University of Delaware, Oregon State University, Old Dominion University, Polar Oceans Research Group, and University of Alaska Fairbanks to deploy a polar ocean observatory off the coast of Antarctica. COVID-19 provided a challenge with travel logistics as scientists and students were scheduled to arrive home in late March. The entire team arrived home safely in late March, thanks to a great deal of help, cooperation and communication between gov’t agencies, airlines and universities. It’s good to have them back.

    Student Awards

    • Kasey Walsh, Grace Saba’s undergraduate student, received the Undergraduate Research Excellence Award from the Department of Marine & Coastal Sciences.

    Newly Funded Research

    • EDF Renewable 2020-2021, “Atlantic Shores Visibility Modeling Study” ($15,489), Joe Brodie.
    • EDF Build 2020-2021, “RUMFS Atlantic Shores Lidar Deployment” ($68,885), Joe Brodie.
    • Stevens Institute of Technology, Department of Homeland Security, “VTS Radar for Small Vessel Detection” ($192,473), Hugh Roarty.
    • National Science Foundation 2020, “LTER Palmer, Antarctica (PAL): Land-Shelf-Ocean Connectivity, Ecosystem Resilience and Transformation in a Sea-Ice Influenced Pelagic Ecosystem”, ($1,134,426), Oscar Schofield.
    • National Science Foundation 2020, “REU Site: Research Internships in Ocean Sciences (RIOS)”, ($498,502), Josh Kohut

    Papers Published: (**Current or Former Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researchers)

    RUCOOL Meetings & Conferences

    AGU Ocean Sciences, San Diego, CA; Schmidt Foundation, San Diego, CA; IOOS Annual Meeting, Washington, DC; USCG Meetings at Port of New York, Houston, Louisville and Port Arthur, TX; Swam Research, Palmer Station, Antarctica; Rhode Island Parks Conference, Rhode Island; Tropical Cyclone Operations and Research Forum, Lakeland, FL.

    RUCOOL Visitors

    • Total number of visitors to RU COOL: 75 (Lab was shut down for tours on March 6 due to COVID-19)

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