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  • RUCOOL Updates: April – June 2022

    Posted on July 19th, 2022 Mike Crowley No comments

    Welcome summer! For a lot of college researchers, summer is their quiet time, but this is oceanography and it’s our busiest season. Field research along the NJ shore, summer student research projects and the arrival of our new crop of Masters of Operational Oceanography students add to an already loaded schedule. Going to be a busy July and August, but first, here’s what we were up to this spring…



    • No doubt that the greatest news for RUCOOL the last few months was that Associate Professor Grace Saba received her tenure in April. For those that know Grace, this will come as no surprise as her bio-geochemistry work has been referenced world wide, and she has mentored a long list of heavily decorated grad students. Congrats Grace!
    • Congratulations to Emily Slesinger (and Grace Saba) who received the School of Graduate Studies Distinguished Scholarly Achievement Award. The Distinguished Scholarly Achievement Award is the School of Graduate Studies’ most prestigious honor. Awarded to a student who demonstrates the highest possible level of academic excellence and achievement, this award celebrates extraordinary scholarship and research.
    • Speaking of awesome students, RUCOOL had several grad students graduate in May including Liza Wright Fairbanks, Ted Thompson, Emily Slesinger, Sam Coakley, Schuyler Nardelli and Ailey Sheehan. Congrats!
    • Senator Robert Menendez staff visited RUCOOL in April to discuss our work in the offshore wind industry, as well as our research focusing on improving hurricane intensity forecasts for New Jersey and the nation.
    • RUCOOL’s Travis Miles, Josh Kohut, and Alex López were joined by graduate students Casey Jones and Tim Stolarz  at the NJDEP celebration of Earth day at Liberty State Park. The fearless group manned a Rutgers booth that saw over 1,000 visitors come through where they spoke about our graduate student program, offshore wind energy and hurricane research. 
    • RUCOOL welcomed two new additions to the team: Kaycee Coleman and Brian Buckingham. Kaycee will be focused on program management of the Orsted Fisheries research project while Brian is the newest addition to our expanding glider team as the fleet continues to grow. Welcome to both of them!
    • Operational Oceanography master’s degree students Courtney Dreyfus and Casey Jones joined Josh Kohut and others at the 2022 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum (IPF) conference in Atlantic City in late April
    • Oscar Schofield joined other Rutgers faculty to design and develop the Rutgers Climate Initiative which will be presented to the Chancellor Provost’s office in July.
    • Grace Saba and colleagues conducted a cruise May 2-5 focused on sampling microplastics in and around the Delaware Bay plume.



    • In June, RUCOOL’s Scott Glenn testified in front of the US Congress’ Subcommittee on the Environment, headed up by Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, regarding the Priorities for Weather Research report he co-led for the NOAA SAB.  The House version of the 2023 Appropriations Bill contains the language “The Committee applauds and thanks NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) for the report it produced titled, Priorities for Weather Research, which will be a useful guidepost for future investments in the weather enterprise”.
    • In April, the AMS President-elect, an AMS Past-President, and Scott Glenn co-lead a panel discussion on the future of weather research and forecasting at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Washington Forum in DC.
    • Travis Miles was interviewed by Accuweather in the RUCOOL ocean glider lab regarding his research in improving hurricane intensity forecasts for the nation.
    • Oscar Schofield was interviewed by Science Friday about changing life at the poles, and what to expect in the coming years. 
    • Scott Glenn and Oscar Schofield were invited keynote speakers at the  Lifetime Achievement Award for Doug Webb by Teledyne Marine Inc. in Falmouth.  This award recognized Doug’s impact and how it changed the field of oceanography through the new technologies he invented and commercialized. Scott and Oscar were asked to provide commentary of how important those changes have been over the last 30 years.  During the events Teledyne Marine announced a 3-year gift to Rutgers for the Teledyne Marine Doug Webb Graduate Student Fellowship to continue Rutgers history of student exploration with underwater glider technologies.
    • In June, we welcomed 12 undergraduate students from across the country to participate in our NSF funded REU program, RIOS.  These students are working with mentors over a 10 week program that supports their independent research.  Topics this year range from underwater volcanos, oysters physiology, Antarctic krill and ancient oceans.   Additionally, the interns are participating in weekly workshops that develop their career and research aptitude.  The program is co-coordinated by Josh Kohut, who, along with 2 other RUCOOL faculty, directly mentored three of the students.  The summer program will conclude with a science symposium in which the students shared their work and celebrate their success.  
    • PhD candidate Lauren Cook conducted a 3-week experimental study at the Rutgers Aquaculture Innovation Center to determine the amount of different sources of carbon released from Atlantic menhaden, a dominant forage fish in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.
    • Grace Saba presented two invited talks at the Ocean Carbon & Biogeochemistry annual summer meeting: New Insights on the Role of Fishes in Ocean Carbon Flux and ‘Eco-gliders’ as novel platforms for ocean health and ecosystem monitoring and research. Saba PhD candidate Lauren Cook also presented their research at the meeting “Closing the fish carbon export gap: Initial laboratory-based approaches in creating a full carbon production suite for an abundant North Atlantic forage fish.”



    • Scott Glenn was awarded a 2022 Rutgers Global Grant entitled “Collaborative Metocean Observing in Cuba: Step 1 – High Frequency Radar.” The project is about building an observatory at a critical choke point in the global ocean circulation that impacts our climate and supports improvements in hurricane forecasting. This project is our first step in a longer term vision co-developed with Cuban scientists to advance metocean (meteorology and physical oceanography) observing in Cuba as a component of a shared Gulf of Mexico strategy. That strategy, characterized as “One Gulf, Two Technologies, Three Countries, For the People” is our plan to expand high frequency radar and underwater glider technologies across the Gulf in the US, Mexico and Cuba to improve weather and climate forecasts for the benefit of all. 
    • Oscar Schofield and Jim Simon have been coordinating Rutgers scientists (across the Departments of Plant Sciences, Agriculture, and Food Resource Economics combined with the Rutgers School of Engineering) and developed a team specializing in the implementation of sustainable food system development including agriculture and marine resources, agribusiness and fresh water engineering.  This has been developed working closely with the government of Pohpnei in the Federated States of Micronesia. This has resulted in a formal MOU for research and food system implementation partnerships.  The team has been developing a holistic vision for Pohnpei State’s sustainable food system development that includes climate smart agribusiness and aquaculture opportunities for capacity building, job creation and increased economic independence. Support for this has been supported with several external and internal grants. To date this includes a grant from Rutgers Global 2022-2023. Food Security for Island Nations in a Changing Climate (Schofield, Seidel, Simon, $10,000) grant and an external award from the Green Climate Fund 2022. Climate-resilient food security for farming households across the Federated States of Micronesia. PIs Simon, Seidel, Schofield ($245,000)
    • Scott Glenn and Travis Miles participated in the 4-day United Nations Ocean Decade Co-Design Workshop, helping NOAA co-lead the Tropical Cyclone Exemplar. Their Exemplar attracted over 60 international experts in tropical cyclone observations, forecasting and warnings to co-design an international U.N. response that includes less developed countries and small island developing states.  Scott and Travis  have been invited to join the overall international Co-Design Team.


    Newly Funded Research 

    • Texas A&M University (National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine):  Improving Loop Current Ocean Observations and Prediction. (Scott Glenn, $172,049, 1 year)
    • National Science Foundation Long Terrm Ecosystem Research Palmer Station:  Ecological Response and Resilience to “Press-Pulse” Disturbances and a Recent Decadal Reversal in Sea Ice Trends Along the West Antarctic Peninsula. (Oscar Schofield, $1,187,258, 1 year)


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

      • Mathieu Gentil, Claude Estournel, Xavier Durrieu de Madron, Gaël Many, Travis Miles, Patrick Marsaleix, Serge Berné, François Bourrin, Sediment dynamics on the outer-shelf of the Gulf of Lions during a storm: An approach based on acoustic glider and numerical modeling, Continental Shelf Research, 2022. DOI: 10.1016/j.csr.2022.104721.
    • Northeast Fisheries Science Center and contributors. 2022. State of the Ecosystem 2022: Mid-Atlantic. Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Access report here. Grace Saba and Lori Garzio were contributing authors.
    • Northeast Fisheries Science Center and contributors. 2022. State of the Ecosystem 2022 Report: New England. Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Access report here. Grace Saba and Lori Garzio were contributing authors.