Rutgers University
  • RUCOOL Updates: August & September 2020

    Posted on October 14th, 2020 Mike Crowley No comments

    As we transitioned from summer to a new school year, RUCOOL spun up virtual teaching for 7 fall semester courses and continued delivering on 28 research projects in a safe manner, enabled by Rutgers COVID-19 guidelines and our own documented procedures for remaining safe at sea and on shore.


    • RU COOL faculty are involved in teaching 7 classes this Fall term.  Courses include: Software Bootcamp, Ocean Observing, Ocean Modeling and Synthesis, Biological Oceanography, Waves and Sediment Transport, Undergraduate Ocean Observing, Freshmen Oceanography House.
    • The first two Masters of Operational Oceanography students defended their theses in August! Julia Engdahl presented her talk on “Developing an Automated Analysis of Fish Migration Video Using Computer Vision Algorithms” in mid August, and in late August, Joe Anarumo presented on “An Open-Source Software Application for Drifter Trajectory Prediction in the Mid-Atlantic Bight”. They have already acquired jobs as oceanographic data analysts at NOAA CO-OPS and Sage Environmental consulting. Congrats to Joe and Julia on jobs well done!
    • The second cohort of students have started their fall classes and thesis project. Students are participating in the operations of glider RU29 deployed in the Caribbean to help improve hurricane forecasting. Along with classes and research the students are learning to operate and make decisions about the glider deployment with daily ‘mission control’ meetings.
    • Oscar Schofield was named Chair of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Chair Council.
    • The RUCOOL Education team just completed an online program for 156 middle school kids through the ENIGMA project. ENIGMA strives to answer the question “Are we alone in the Universe?” To answer this fundamental question, scientists from Rutgers University and NASA are going all the way back to Earth’s beginning — back before there were people, dinosaurs, or even plants! The team also completed a new trailer for their research/education work.
    • The Ørsted ECO-PAM glider, RU34, completed its first mission on August 26, after spending 28 days surveying the Ocean Wind offshore wind lease area. During that mission, it detected 4 tagged fish, and a fin whale on August 23. It was also at sea during Hurricane Isaias, contributing its data to the other hurricane glider data being taken at the time. The glider is expected to be redeployed in early October. (link:
    • Through its ongoing work with NJ BPU, RUCOOL contributed to the New Jersey Offshore Wind Strategic Plan, issued by the State of New Jersey in September. (Link:
    • Grace Saba worked alongside Jeanne Herb (Bloustein School) and graduate student Janine Barr (DMCS) to create a science-informed framework for the NJDEP’s overall ocean acidification initiative. They provided consultative science and planning and policy expertise over a compressed period of time for NJDEP to plan, research and design a comprehensive science-informed statewide ocean acidification initiative that may be included in the Coastal Resilience Plan under Gov. Murphy’s executive order 89.


    • Oscar Schofield has been named Chair of the National Academy Sciences Study “Mid-Course Assessment of NSF progress on 2015 Strategic Vision for Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research”.
    • Scott Glenn is chairing the NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Environmental Information Services Working Group (EISWG) Task Team for the review of NOAA’s Response to Congress on the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program. Draft report submitted for internal EISWG review.
    • The RUCOOL Glider Team was involved either in deploying, piloting or recovering 11 gliders in August and September. Our partners in these deployments include the Univ. of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the University of Delaware, US Navy, and CARICOOS. During this time of year, the science focus is hurricanes predictability, however supports study of ocean pH, listening for whales, track fish and other tagged animals, and water quality in NJ coastal waters. Data from all of these gliders can be found here.
    • RUCOOL maintains the high profile Hurricane Blog. It documents in real-time research findings for August and September focused on Isaias, Laura, Marco and Sally. The blog site is circulated by NOAA leadership and was distributed through the US IOOS Eyes-on-the-Ocean as a recommended data resource (
    • The RUCOOL Education Team completed an annual report for The Polar Literacy project. An online flipbook of the report is available here. The report includes evaluation results; a summary of the advice and guidance of their advisors; and our second year (2021) plans summarized, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Our Education Team also just completed a new Broader Impacts Wizard. The Wizard will help applicants develop a broader impacts plan that will satisfy the National Science Foundation Broader Impact requirements and fulfill their interest in communicating your science.
    • The Data Labs Blog continues to feature articles on Ocean Observing Education, Python tutorials and examples of Labs. Additionally, the Education Team also has completed several new OOI Data Python Notebooks that involve students in data analysis through interactive widgets.
    • MSC research partners from Rutgers University released a RFI for next generation sensor technology for Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Services (VTS).  Collectively, the research team received responses from ten companies primarily focused on radar and camera technologies.  The team will be reviewing the submissions this fall to assess how the technology will integrate into Coast Guard VTS operations.  They will then model the sensor types based on the specifications supplied in the RFI and will make recommendations on the most promising technologies in a final report to the Coast Guard in late December.
    • Scott Glenn attended the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems (UGOS) coordination meeting, reporting on the new HF Radar Quality Control procedures developed by the RUCOOL operations team that sets a new standard for the U.S. National HF Radar network.


    • Oscar Schofield chaired the virtual science symposium focused on the West Antarctic Peninsula on behalf of the International Southern Ocean Observing System.
    • Oscar Schofield was asked to Chair the virtual symposium of the Global Biogeochemical Argo program for G7 nations on behalf of the National Science Foundation and NASA.
    • Scott Glenn was an invited speaker on Ocean Observing for the US-Indonesia (NOAA-BMKG) 3-day virtual collaboration meeting on climate and weather. BMKG Academy students are excellent candidates for the DMCS Masters in Operational Oceanography.
    • Serving on the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Ocean Studies Board (OSB), Scott Glenn is working on the U.S. Committee for the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to help launch the coordinated U.S. effort in October.

    Student Awards

    • Emily Slesinger was selected as a runner-up for the 2020 J. Frances Allen Scholarship Award. The scholarship was established in 1986 to honor Allen, who pioneered women’s involvement in the AFS and in the field of fisheries. The scholarship award comes with $2,500. Congratulations to Emily and her mentor, Grace Saba!

    Newly Funded Research

    • State of NJ Department of Environmental Protection, “Glider deployments for water quality monitoring”, Kohut ($84,464).
    • National Science Foundation, “Supplemental Funding LTER Palmer, Antarctica (PAL): Land-Shelf-Ocean Connectivity, Ecosystem Resilience and Transformation in a Sea-Ice Influenced Pelagic Ecosystem”. This proposal was transferred to Rutgers to be the lead institution. Schofield, ($592,668).
    • L3Harris (DARPA), “Timely Information for Maritime Engagements”, Glenn ($130,000).
    • NOAA IOOS Alaska Ocean Observing System, “Autonomous Assessment of pH and Plankton in the Southeastern Gulf of Alaska”, Saba ($212,507).
    • NSF Collaborative Research, “Developing a profiling glider pH sensor for high resolution coastal ocean acidification monitoring”, Saba ($164,347).
    • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, “Creating a framework to support efforts of the New Jersey Coastal Management Program to address ocean acidification as an element of state coastal climate resilience planning”, Saba with Jeanne Herb ($56,985)

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

    • **Xu, Y., Miles, T., Oscar Schofield. O. 2020. Physical processes controlling chlorophyll-a variability on the Mid-Atlantic Bight along northeast United States. Journal of Marine Systems Volume 2012. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2020.103433
    • **Slesinger, E., Langan, J., Sullivan, B., Borkman, D., Smayda, T.. 2020. Multi-decadal (1972–2019) Mnemiopsis leidyi (Ctenophora) abundance patterns in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, USA. Journal of Plankton Research, fbaa035. DOI: 10.1093/plankt/fbaa035
    • Barr, J., Bean, C., McDonnell, J. Aug 20, 2020. Strategies for Running a Successful Virtual Career Panel. Oceanography The Official Magazine of the Oceanography Society. DOI: 10.5670/oceanog.2020.220
    • R. Lindeman, F. Straneo, N. J. Wilson, J. M. Toole, R. A. Krishfeld, N. L. Beaird , T. Kanzow J. Schaffer, 2020. Ocean circulation and variability beneath Nioghalvfjerdsbræ (79 North Glacier) ice tongue. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. e2020JC016091. DOI: 10.1029/2020JC016091
    • Friedland, K. D., Morse, R., Manning, J., Melrose, D., Miles, T., Goode, A., Brady, D., Kohut, J., Powell, E. 2020. Trends and change points in surface and bottom thermal environments of the US Northeast Continental Shelf Ecosystem. Fisheries Oceanography 29(5):396-414. DOI: 10.1111/fog.12485

    RUCOOL Meetings & Conferences

    • Though there were no in person meetings due to COVID, there were plenty of virtual meetings during the last two months: Ocean Hackweek Workshop, Offshore Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation Webinar Series, Presentations to several local NJ Schools on various oceanography topics, Ocean Best Practices System Workshop IV, NJ PACT Stakeholder Meetings on Offshore Wind and Renewable Energy. New Jersey Water Monitoring Council Meeting, numerous recurrent hurricane meetings, including (a) national Hurricane Glider Picket Line coordination, (b) Extreme Event Ocean Observing Task Team (EEOOTT), (c) hurricane science meeting with NOAA Research Lab AOML, National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Ocean Studies Board (OSB) Meetings.

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