Month: September 2017

UConn Outstanding Scholars Program Fellowship recipient Tyler Griffin begins graduate studies in Oceanography

Tyler Griffin joins the Oceanography graduate program with a UConn Outstanding Scholars Program Fellowship award. The primary goal of the OSP Fellowship is to recruit and enhance the most academically qualified and promising students entering UConn who are applying to doctoral programs.  OSP recipients represent the very best of the entering graduate student class applying to doctoral programs.  Tyler will be working towards a doctoral degree with Dr. Evan Ward (

Blumenthal, Murphy, Courtney Announce $250,000 Federal Grant to UConn for Study to Aid Future Long Island Sound Cleanup Efforts

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (CT-2) announced on Tuesday that the University of Connecticut (UConn) was awarded a Marine Debris Research Grant totaling $257,531 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program. The Marine Debris Program is a competitive grant process. UConn will conduct research on the effect of marine debris, like plastic, on oysters from August 2017 through October 2019.  


“Our state depends on a clean Long Island Sound, and UConn has been on the forefront of protecting it and supporting marine businesses. This federal grant will help UConn students and professors do even more. It will support invaluable research on the effects of ocean plastic on shellfish,” said Blumenthal, Murphy, and Courtney. “Connecticut’s oyster fisheries are an important part of the Southeastern Connecticut economy, and they depend on clean oceans. We look forward to reviewing the research over the coming years as we continue to fight for policies in Washington that protect the Sound.


“We are proud to receive this grant. Plastic debris can have profound impacts on marine life. Microplastics, produced by the weathering of debris, can be taken up by shellfish. Our research will examine what types of plastic particles are ingested by oysters in Long Island Sound, might cause them harm, and might be passed up the food chain to humans. The study connects the health of Long Island Sound to safe and sustainable seafood,” said Dr. J. Evan Ward, Professor at UConn’s Department of Marine Sciences in Groton.


gill figure

Micrograph of the gill of a living, actively feeding oyster delivered microplastic fibers (red Nylon, red arrows) and spheres (yellow polystyrene, yellow arrows). Fibers and spheres have been captured by the gill and are being transported to the mouth (magnification about 150 x). Credit: J.E. Ward.

Students from Marine Sciences Excel at the 13th International Conference on Copepoda

UConn Marine Sciences was well represented at the 13th International Conference on Copepoda, July 16-21, Los Angeles, USA.  The conference was attended by scientists from 30 countries and dealt with all aspects of copepods (tiny crustaceans that are the most abundant animals on the planet).

PhD student Matthew Sasaki received the very first prestigious Kabata award for best student oral presentation for his talk, The remarkable thermal generalist performance curve of Acartia tonsa: Implications for survival in a warming climate. PhD student James deMayo received an award for outstanding poster for his presentation,  Combined effects of warming and acidification on life-history traits of Acartia tonsa, and visiting PhD student  Érika Pinho Correia (Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil) also received an award for outstanding oral presentation for her talk, Is there any pattern of diel vertical migration of microzooplankton in the equatorial Atlantic?. All three students are members of Professor Hans Dam’s research group (

Warm congratulations to Matt, Jimmy and Erika!

Dam lab 13th International Conference on Copepoda

Photo caption:

From left to right: Prof. Hans Dam, James deMayo, Erika Pinho Correia, and Matthew Sasaki at the Student Award Ceremony (Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles) of the 13th International Conference on Copepoda.