Rutgers University
  • RUCOOL Updates: Dec. 2020 to Jan. 2021

    Posted on February 11th, 2021 Mike Crowley No comments

    University classes may have been closed for half of the reporting period, but as you will see, this has been a very busy time for the RUCOOL team in research, national strategic planning meetings, operations and in the virtual classroom.


    • Three days, two thesis defenses: On December 14, Sarah Murphy presented her Master’s Thesis defense entitled “Coastal Upwelling and the Offshore Wind Environment”. On December 16th, Cliff Watkins wrapped up his PhD. with his dissertation presentation on “Mixed Layer Dynamics: Exploring the Impact of Storms in the Mid Atlantic Bight.”
    • Grace Saba attended the OA Alliance (International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification) U.S. State meeting as part of her efforts with Jeanne Herb (Rutgers, Bloustein) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to develop an ocean acidification Action Plan for the state of New Jersey.
    • RUCOOL graduate student Emily Slesinger just published the second paper from her thesis, co-authored with Grace Saba. The paper is “Spawning phenology of rapidly shifting marine fish species throughout its range.”
    • RU COOL faculty completed teaching their seven courses in the fall and have begun seven new courses for the spring including: Oceanography Seminar, Topics in Marine Science, Operational Ocean Modeling, Topics Course in Polar Systems, Integrated Ocean Observations 2, Science Pseudoscience and Society, and Field Laboratory Methods 2.
    • Scott Glenn is serving as the faculty advisor to an Engineering Capstone Project team developing phone apps for underwater glider operators.
    • Beginning in January, the RUCOOL team has refocused on outreach by improving our web and social media presence. We have linked our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin pages through the web page to more efficiently get our story out to students, researchers, funding agencies and the public.
    • Josh Kohut and Joe Brodie attended the Time for Turbines ( meeting. It was a 4th annual NJ focused offshore wind conference.  The meeting was a mix of panels, plenary and keynote sessions with RUCOOL well represented, including Joe who was an invited environmental panelist.
    • RUCOOL faculty met with Monmouth University marine science faculty with a goal of establishing connections between MU undergraduates and the RU Masters in Operational Oceanography program. Our second cohort of Masters of OO students completed their first semester, which included drafts of their initial thesis proposals that they presented at the weekly RUCOOL science meeting.


    • In January, NOAA hosted a workshop entitled “Integrating Ocean Observations to Improve NOAA’s Hurricane Intensity Forecasts”. RUCOOL/DMCS faculty, staff and graduate students participated throughout the workshop, including presentations by John Wilkin on the “Current State and Future Plans of Modeling and Data Assimilation Efforts for Hurricane Intensity Forecast: ROMS ocean model and DA” and by Scott Glenn on “Observing the Upper Ocean During Hurricanes: The Value of Coordinated Ocean Observations,” in a session moderated by Travis Miles. The overarching goal for the 150+ attendees was to develop a framework for coordinated ocean observing in support of hurricane intensity science and forecasting.
    • Janice McDonnell and Sage Lichtenwaler were the lead authors on a chapter for the Ocean Observatories Initiative Science Plan released in January 2021. The chapter was entitled “Using Real-World Data from the Ocean Observatories Initiative in Teaching”.
    • In December, the RUCOOL Education Team wrapped up their first pilot test of lab manual, “Exploration the Ocean with OOI Data“, a collection of laboratory exercises featuring data from the Ocean Observatories Initiative. The pilot included 20 undergraduate faculty from around the country.
    • The Education Team completed training for deans/administrators from five Big 10 universities. They leveraged the Broader Impacts Wizard that they completed in January in partnership with the Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS).
    • As part of a new NSF IUSE project with Rider University (Improving Undergraduate Scientific Explanations: Exploring the Role of Data Literacy Skills in Scientific Reasoning), Sage Lichtenwalner worked with faculty at Rider University to develop a series of new Data Explorations that will be pilot tested by students in the spring semester.
    • The Education Team rebranded the COSEE NOW YouTube channel to Rutgers Marine Sciences Education. We have posted the first two of 10 new videos that will promote Polar Literacy Principles and Polar scientists.
    • On Thursday, January 28, RUCOOL’s Josh Kohut and Joe Brodie co-hosted (with Rutgers Cooperative Extension) its 2021 Partners in Science Workshop: Identifying Ecological Metrics and Sampling Strategies for Baseline Monitoring During Offshore Wind Development. The workshop, sponsored by the NJ Board of Public Utilities, was attended by over 80 individuals representing federal and state agencies, the commercial and recreational fishing industries, the offshore wind industry, environmental groups, and academics throughout the region.
    • The NOAA Science Advisory Board’s Environmental Services Working Group (EISWG), co-chaired by Brad Colman from the Climate Corporation and Scott Glenn, continued to ramp up activities in support of the Congressional Weather Act. These include: (a) Joint meetings with the Climate working group on NOAA’s many service delivery programs; (b) Initiation of reviews of NOAA’s Seasonal to Subseasonal Forecast Plan and the Weather Radar Plan; (c) Follow up on its review for the Hurricane Forecast Improvement plan; (d) Restructuring of its annual Report to Congress procedure for 2021; and (e) Responding to a new request from Congress to, by the end of 2021, provide a report identifying future priorities for Congressional investment in the National Weather Service.
    • RUCOOL undergraduate student, Allison Proszowski, presented a talk at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting entitled “Assessing the Impact of Spatial Variability and Wake Effects on Power Prediction for NJ Offshore Wind Energy Area.”


    • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Ocean Studies Board (Scott Glenn is a member) that forms the U.S. Committee to define the U.S. contribution to the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, reviewed the nearly 100 OceanShot submissions, engaged early career representatives, and developed the agenda for the February 2021 launch meeting for the U.S. response.
    • RUCOOL is one of the key initial partners in the proposed Caribe Corredores project to improve climate monitoring and hurricane forecasting in the Caribbean Corridor for the U.N. Ocean Decade. The proposal was submitted to the U.S. Committee as an OceanShot and to the U.N. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission as a collaborative project from the Global Ocean Observing Systems Regional Alliance for the Caribbean. The Caribe Corredores project was accepted as one of the OceanShot posters to be presented at the U.S, launch.
    • Grace Saba was one of several collaborative experts that published a comprehensive assessment of the status quo and future of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean that surrounds it. See the press release from Alfred Wegener Institute (here) and the paper now published in Biological Reviews:
    • Grace Saba and Scott Glenn participated in the global OceanOPS OceanGliders Steering Committee as the leads of the Ecosystems Working Group and the Storms Working Group, respectively.
    • As lead of the SWARM Antarctica project, Josh Kohut hosted a series of virtual meetings entitled the SWARM Science Extravaganza that included several members of the RUCOOL team and numerous global partners. The 4 day meeting covered topics on Antarctic Physics, Phytoplankton & Mammals, Krill, and integrative science.

    Newly Funded Research

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

    • Slesinger, E., Jensen, O., Saba, G.K. Spawning phenology of a rapidly shifting marine fish species throughout its range. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsaa252.
    • Gutt, J., Isla, E., Xavier, J., Adams, B., Ahn, I.-Y., Cheng, C.-H., Colesi, C., Cummings, V., di Prisco, G., Griffiths, H., Hawes, I., Hogg, I., McIntyre, T., Meiners, K., Pearse, D., Peck, L., Piepenburg, D., Reisinger, R., Saba, G.K., Schloss, I., Signori, C., Smith, C.R., Vacchi, M., Verde, C., Wall, D. 2020. Antarctic ecosystems in transition – life between stresses and opportunities. Biological Reviews, doi:1111/brv.12679.
    • Literature Review: Miles, T., Murphy, S., Kohut, J., Borsetti, S., Munroe, D. Dec. 2020. Could federal wind farms influence continental shelf oceanography and alter associated ecological processes? Science Center for Marine Fisheries.

    RUCOOL Meetings & Conferences

    RUCOOL continues to attend numerous virtual meetings. Here is a sample of meetings which our team attended and/or presented: OceanOPS Ocean Gliders Steering Committee meeting, American Geophysical Union Meeting, UG2 Gliders Meeting, Hurricane Glider Hotwash, NYSERDA State of the Science workshop, OA Alliance (International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification), NOAA NEFSC State of the Ecosystem synthesis workshop, Integrating Ocean Observations to Improve NOAA’s Hurricane Intensity Forecasts, NJ Partners in Science Workshop. SWARM 4 Day Workshop, Time for Turbines, Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean.

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