Month: May 2024

DMS at Ocean Science Meeting 2024

Thirty people from DMS attended the Ocean Science Meeting in New Orleans this February. Check out what we presented to the ocean science community.

by Mengyang Zhou

Every two years, the Ocean Science Meeting (OSM) brings together the ocean community around the world. This gathering serves as a platform for sharing latest discoveries and discussing the far-reaching impact of ocean science. This February, thirty DMS members attended OSM24 in New Orleans. The full list of presentations from DMS can be found at the end of this article. Here are some highlights of our departments’ participation at OSM24 that include student presentation highlights, DMS booth and reflections from first timers at OSM.

We delivered presentations that covered diverse fields in ocean sciences, especially those by talented students. Here are some great examples. Ph.D. student Halle Berger presented her poster on the effects of ocean acidification and warming on the vulnerability of the U.S. Atlantic sea scallop. Her study will help fisheries management by identifying candidate areas for future fishing zones. Bernard Akaawase, also a Ph.D. student, gave an oral presentation on the directional wave-breaking kinematics and the energy spectrum from 3-D stereo-image observations of ocean waves. Undergraduate student Vicki You presented a poster on using DNA metabarcoding of fish diets to understand fish’s prey preference and selectivity, and the contributions of fish predators to the food web dynamics of the pelagic ecosystem.

Halle Berger, photo credit: Hung NguyenBernard Akaawase (Photo credit: Halle Berger) Vicki You (Photo credit: Paola Batta-Lona)

Our department left a mark at OSM24 with an engaging booth that attracted visitors with its lively displays and interactive demonstration. We showcased our laboratories, ongoing scientific projects and educational programs spanning un dergraduate and graduate levels, as well as opportunities for postdocs and faculties. It served as a hub for building connections with fellow researchers and potential collaborators. Notably, many DMS alumni dropped by the booth and shared updates on career trajectories.

DMS booth at OSM24 (Photo credit: Mike Whitney)

For many students attending OSM for the first time, it was an unforgettable experience filled with excitement as well as some challenges. Second year Ph.D. student Catherine Crowley shared her experience at OSM as a first-timer: “OSM was a great opportunity for me to learn more about my field of study and meet collaborators who are working on similar niche questions. This was the first conference I attended where there were so many people interested in isotopes and the marine nitrogen cycle. I really enjoyed attending the talks and I learned a lot while at the conference. However, there were times when the conference felt overwhelming due to my schedule being planned to the minute, and I had to run from one end of the building to another to get to another interesting talk. Having a UConn booth at OSM was an interesting way to connect with prospective students and faculty members. I believe that UConn has a lot to offer as a program, and this was a unique way to showcase how cool our program is and highlight the research of various colleagues.” Paban Bhuyan, also a Ph.D. student, said: “Attending OSM for the first time felt like stepping into a grand fair, where oceanographers from across the globe gather to exchange groundbreaking ideas and state-of-the-art technology. It presented itself as the monumental opportunity I had long anticipated, allowing me to finally meet the esteemed researchers whose work I have diligently followed and admired. The chance to engage with them directly, to listen to their presentation in person, was an invaluable experience. Equally striking was the realization of being part of a vast community dedicated to similar research interests. Discovering so many scientists attending my session, engaging with my poster, and posing questions that delve into the core of my research inquiries was both surprising and reaffirming. Their questions opened new avenues of thought, highlighting aspects I had yet to consider but now recognize as essential. This interaction has inspired my research journey with a newfound sense of direction and purpose.”

OSM24 was a celebration of ocean sciences. Our department’s presence at OSM24 was both impactful and memorable. We showcased our commitment to advancing ocean science and education through engaging presentations and interactive booth displays. Looking forward to the next OSM in 2026!

Table of all DMS participants at OSM2024 and what their presentation title was

Summary of Spring 2024 Department Achievements

Check out a summary of some of the achievements in our department in spring of 2024 below!


*identify students


Professor Hannes Baumann and Professor Catherine Matassa: 

The study reports on a long-term experiment in the Rankin Lab, where small Black sea bass were raised under different temperature and food conditions during fall and winter.

Zavell, M. D.*, Mouland, M. E. P., Matassa, C. M., Schultz, E. T., & Baumann, H. (2024). Temperature- and ration-dependent winter growth in northern-stock Black Sea Bass juveniles. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 153, 163–1.


Professor Hans Dam:

Future climate scenarios, under warmer and more acidic conditions, will increase the negative effects of the toxic phytoplankton Alexandrium catenella on non-toxic phytoplankton.

Leitão, E.*, Castellanos, D. F., Park, G., & Dam, H. G. (2024). Antagonistic interactions of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella under simultaneous warming and acidification. Harmful Algae, 102625.


Professor Heidi Dierssen:

Contrary to global model predictions, satellite data reveal that the timing of the spring start date and summer peak date of phytoplankton blooms have shifted later over the last two decades in the marginal ice zone west of the Antarctic Peninsula. Jessie Turner, postdoctoral associate in the Department of Marine Sciences led this effort. 

Turner JS, Dierssen H, Schofield O, Kim HH, Stammerjohn S, Munro DR, Kavanaugh M (2024) Changing phytoplankton phenology in the marginal ice zone west of the Antarctic Peninsula. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 734:1-21.


Professor Senjie Lin and Research Faculty Huan Zhang: 

This commentary highlights the recent development in research using cryo-electron microscopy, a cutting-edge technology, to characterize the architecture of photosystem I in dinoflagellates revealing previously unknown components. The piece then raises questions for future research to completely reconstruct the system and understand how dinoflagellates adapt to variable light conditions, thriving to form harmful algal blooms or supporting the highly biodiverse and productive coral reefs.  

Lin, S., Wu, S., He, J. et al. Shining light on dinoflagellate photosystem I. Nat Commun 15, 3337 (2024).

Graduate students in the Molecular Approaches to Oceanography course taught by Lin and Huan analyzed samples collected from the Long Island Sound Water Quality Monitoring Program. The work revealed a spatial and temporal distribution of the proton pump rhodopsin in Long Island Sound inversely related to phosphate concentration, suggesting the potential of this “novel” energy harvesting system to help dinoflagellates cope with phosphate limitation. 

Zhang, H.; Nulick, K.J.; Burris, Z.; Pierce, M.; Ma, M.; Lin, S. Dinoflagellate Proton-Pump Rhodopsin Genes in Long Island Sound: Diversity and Spatiotemporal Distribution. Microorganisms 2024, 12, 628.


Professor David Lund: 

The paper by Shub et al. shows that deep ocean stratification in the Atlantic is not a primary control on atmospheric CO2 over long timescales, which was one of the primary hypotheses to explain glacial-interglacial CO2 cycles.  Instead, factors such as changes in biological productivity, sea ice extent, and ventilation of the Pacific must play predominant roles. 

Shub, A. B.*, Lund, D. C., Oppo, D. W., & Garity, M. L.* (2024). Brazil Margin stable isotope profiles for the last glacial cycle: Implications for watermass geometry and oceanic carbon storage. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 39, e2023PA004635.


Professor Rob Mason:

Sediment cores were spiked with mercury isotopes to examine mercury methylation in sediments and its transfer into the water column and phytoplankton. The lead author, Kati Gosnell, was a former student, and the work was from her thesis.

Gosnell, K.*, Mazrui, N., Mason, R.P. 2024. Properties Influencing Algae Uptake of Mercury and Methylmercury from Estuarine Sediments. Environ. Poll. 346: Art. # 123604. 


Professor Rob Mason, Research Faculty Sandy Shumway and Zofia Baumann:

Hansen, G.*, Shumway, S.E., Mason, R.P., & Z. Baumann. A Comparative Study of Mercury Bioaccumulation in Bivalve Molluscs from a Shallow Estuarine Embayment. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 86, 262–273 (2024).


Professor Samantha Siedlecki and Research Scientist Zhuomin Chen: 

Combining ocean predictions with a physiological understanding through the metabolic index yields the ability to forecast habitat multiple years into the future for a wide variety of marine organisms. In addition, widespread subsurface predictability for temperature and oxygen is also identified.

Chen, Z., Siedlecki, S., Long, M., Petrik, C.M., Stock, C.A., and C.A. Deutsch. Skillful multiyear prediction of marine habitat shifts jointly constrained by ocean temperature and dissolved oxygen. Nat Commun 15, 900 (2024).

Professor Pieter Visscher:

Viruses are generally associated with health issues, but actually play an important role in natural systems, where they regulate population sizes of their hosts and are involved in nutrient and element cycling. The size of most viruses ranges from 40 to 100 nanometer, which makes them difficult to detect. Consequently, their role in many ecosystems remains elusive. In the Bellanger et al. paper, we describe a novel method that makes enumeration of viruses in aquatic environments straightforward and inexpensive. With this, their ecological role can be easily assessed in freshwater, marine and hypersaline systems. As an example, we found that the viruses in Great Salt Lake, Utah, weigh about five pounds and fit in a gallon container.

Bellanger, M., P.T. Visscher, R.A. White III. 2023. Viral enumeration using cost-effective wet-mount epifluorescence microscopy for aquatic ecosystems and modern microbialites. Applied Environmental Microbiology, doi:10.1128/aem.01744-23.

Professor Evan Ward:

The gene expression profile of the microbial community inhabiting the gut of the blue mussel was analyzed to reveal a dominance of energy-related genes.

Griffin, T.W., Nigro, L.M., Collins, H.I.*, Holohan, B.A., & Ward, J.E. (2024). The metatranscriptome of resident microbiota in the gut of blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, under standard laboratory conditions. Current Research in Biotechnology 7, 100208.


Professor Michael Whitney: 

Whitney, M. M., Spicer, P., MacDonald, D. G., Huguenard, K. D., Cole, K. L., Jia, Y., & Delatolas, N. (2024). Mixing of the Connecticut River plume during ambient flood tides: Spatial heterogeneity and contributions of bottom-generated and interfacial mixing. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 129, e2023JC020423.



Professor Senjie Lin  was awarded the Excellence in research and creativity career award by AAUP

Research Faculty Sandy Shumway was awarded the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award by the US Aquaculture Society and is the first female to receive the award. 

Research Faculty Sandy Shumway was appointed Fellow of the Marine Biological Association, FMBA. MBA Fellows are senior practitioners in marine biology who have contributed to the discipline at the highest level and the title of Fellow of the Marine Biological Association, FMBA, was first awarded in 2014, following granting of a Royal Charter to the Marine Biological Association. The status of Fellow of the MBA is awarded in recognition of distinguished and long-term contributions to marine biology at the highest level.  There are currently 50 MBA Fellows.  

Graduate student Hannah Collins who received the R. LeRoy Creswell Award for Outreach and Education. This award is presented to a student of the National Shellfisheries Association who has shown exceptional merit in outreach activities. 

Graduate students won awards at the recent annual meeting of the National Shellfisheries Association:

  • Gordon Gunter Outstanding Poster Presentation Award Winner: Max Zavell from the University of Connecticut for his poster entitled “An estimate of carbon storage capabilities of wild and cultured shellfish in the northwest Atlantic and their potential inclusion in a carbon economy.”
  • Joint winners of the Thurlow C. Nelson Outstanding Oral Presentation: Kayla Mladinich Poole from the University of Connecticut for her oral presentation entitled “Investigating suspension-feeding invertebrates as bioindicators of microplastics.”


Professor Hannes Baumann and Associate Research Professor Zofia Baumann

Baumann, H., Baumann Z. Wiley, D., Therkildsen, N.O., Murray, C.S. ORCC: Collaborative Research: Mechanisms underpinning the unusual, high CO2 sensitivity of sand lances, key forage fishes on the Northwest Atlantic Shelf. NSF-ORCC #2307813, 8/15/23 – 7/14/2026, $1,050,000
UConn faculty with colleagues from Woods Hole and Cornell University will use molecular techniques to further understand why sand lances are so unusually sensitive to ocean acidification.

Associate Research Professor Zofia Baumann:

Z. Baumann (UConn), H. Sosik (WHOI), C. Mouw (URI), M. Lomas (Bigelow) ”Collaborative Research: A Novel Approach to Study Monomethylmercury on Natural Phytoplankton Assemblages” NSF grant (3 years: 2024-2027; Total: $1,876.706, UConn portion: $808,280)

This UConn-led research will investigate methylmercury in phytoplankton from the shelf waters and estuaries of the North Atlantic Ocean because the entrainment of this toxic pollutant into phytoplankton drives the extremely high concentrations in apex predators such as sharks tunas in this economically important ecosystem. 

Professor David Lund:

Faculty member Dave Lund, in collaboration with scientists at USC and Oregon State, was recently awarded an NSF grant for $850,000 to understand the ocean’s role in carbon storage during the last ice age. The funded proposal, which will include a coring cruise to the Philippines, is entitled:  Collaborative Research – Resolving the LGM Ventilation Age Conundrum: New Radiocarbon Records from High Sedimentation Rate Sites in the Deep Western Pacific 

Professor Cara Manning and Professor Craig Tobias

They were awarded a $550k grant from NSF Chemical Oceanography titled “Unlocking the noble gas toolbox to quantify rates of denitrification and nitrogen fixation in marine systems.” This project will involve the application of noble gas measurements (Ne, Ar, and Kr) to quantify whether different types of coastal ecosystems are net sources or sinks of nitrogen-based nutrients. PhD student Kelsey Ward and Research Technician Peter Ruffino are working on this grant.

Professor Rob Mason:

Brandt, J. and Mason, R.P. Mercury in Eastern oysters and consumption-based risk assessment. USDA Capacity grant (Hatch). 10/1/2024-9/30/2026, $60,000

Professor Catherine Matassa and Professor Samantha Siedlecki 

Matassa lab was awarded $1,411,088 by NOAA Fisheries’ Research Set Aside Program to identify where and when biotic and abiotic stressors are most and least likely to affect the scallop resource using a combination of high-resolution climate model outputs and analysis of a spatially and temporally extensive sea scallop shell archive, in conjunction with existing predator assemblage and bottom type datasets.

Project title: Combining ocean models and historical shell archives to quantify and project spatiotemporal changes in Atlantic Sea Scallop functional traits (2-year grant)

More information here:



Sip N’ Science: Ocean Sciences on Tap

We are delighted to share the success of our recent outreach event Sip N’ Science, where we brought our science projects to the local community. 

by Mengyang Zhou

This March, graduate students in DMS hosted “Sip N’ Science” at Beer’d Brewery in Stonington Connecticut. This event was featured with fun and interactive scientific presentations from 18 dedicated graduate students. These science demonstrations covered a wide range of ocean science topics, through which they showcased the diverse and impactful research we do at DMS.

We know that the ocean generates 50% of the Earth’s oxygen, and absorbs 30% of anthropogenic CO2, therefore playing a critical role in regulating climate and supporting life on the Earth. However, global warming can affect the ocean’s capability to absorb greenhouse gas. Anagha Payyambally and Kelsey Ward teammates did a very simple experiment to demonstrate this. They took a beaker with cold water and another with hot water. Following that, they dipped test tubes containing carbonated drinks in each beaker. There was rapid bubbling and degassing in the test tube that was placed in the hot water, which implies that a rise in temperature decreases the solubility of gasses in water.

Anagha Payyambally and Kelsey Ward demonstrating the temperature dependence of gas solubility in the ocean. Photo credit: Hung Nyugen

Anagha Payyambally and Kelsey Ward demonstrating the temperature dependence of gas solubility in the ocean. Photo credit: Hung Nyugen


Riley Pena, a Ph.D. student studying benthic marine ecology, put together a tank of local rocky intertidal organisms, including mussels, barnacles, and herbivorous and carnivorous snails. People were able to watch the barnacles feeding on plankton in the water and handle the snails and juvenile crabs. For a lot of people, this was their first time to see barnacles feeding.

Riley showing the tanks of benthic organisms to kids. Photo credit: Hung Nguyen

Riley showing the tanks of benthic organisms to kids. Photo credit:  Hung Nguyen


Two of our physical oceanography graduate students, Molly James and Luke Glass, showcased an engaging hands-on activity centered around ocean density and its role in shaping circulation patterns. The demonstration involved pouring salty and fresh water each dyed a different color into opposite sides of a narrow table-top tank with a removable divider down the middle. Participants were posed with intriguing questions: What happens when the divider separating the two waters is removed? Will the waters mix or remain separate? Similar to the interaction between a river plume and the ocean, and in global thermohaline circulation, the denser (saltier) water sank beneath the fresher water, resulting in the formation of two distinct layers with a slightly mixed interface between them. Both adults and children were captivated by the distinct layers that emerged during the experiment. These density-driven, or baroclinic, flows play a crucial role in various phenomena observed in both coastal and open ocean environments. Want to learn more? Check out this YouTube video:

 Molly James and Luke Glass showcasing the salt and fresh water mixing. Photo credits: Hung Nguyen

Molly James and Luke Glass showcasing the salt and fresh water mixing. Photo credits: Hung Nguyen


Samantha Rush and her labmates demonstrated ocean acidification to the public using a SodaStream. Just like the SodaStream adds carbon dioxide to carbonate your beverages into a soda, they added carbon dioxide to our seawater samples. By having bromothymol blue (a pH dye indicator that is blue in a base and yellow in an acid), they could track how the pH changed visibly from a base to an acid! They also showed that adding in chalk (like that of a coccolithophore shell) rapidly bubbles in acidic water which demonstrated how acidic water can be damaging to carbonate shells. The goal was showing how anthropogenic inputs are changing the carbonate system! Their whole lab enjoyed conversing with the public and getting to watch the visitors see the pH changes visibly rather than just telling them numbers!

Samantha Rush and her labmates demonstrating ocean acidification. Photo credit: Hung Nyugen

Samantha Rush and her labmates demonstrating ocean acidification. Photo credit: Hung Nyugen


Members of the Vaudrey Lab, Matthew Leason and Emily Watling showcased the distinctions between eelgrass (Zostera marina) and seaweed while shining a spotlight on the Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve (CT NERR). Using centrifugal tubes of suspended seaweed and seagrass, as well as a poster, they illustrated these distinctions and encouraged attendees to use the methods found on the poster to replicate an experiment at home, demonstrating photosynthesis in seaweed. The table also highlighted ongoing CT NERR projects, including invasive plant mapping, with contributions from dedicated undergraduate interns. They said they had a fantastic experience this year at Sip N’ Science and were excited to return next year!

Matthew Leason and Emily Watling with their poster and samples of eelgrass and seaweed. Photo credits: Hung Nyugen

Matthew Leason and Emily Watling with their poster and samples of eelgrass and seaweed. Photo credits: Hung Nyugen


Rowan Batts set up dissecting microscopes with samples from a plankton tow at Avery Point, for people to see tiny planktonic organisms that are otherwise invisible. Visitors gained a greater understanding of plankton diversity and abundance by observing copepods jumping around and guessing the number of cells in a laboratory phytoplankton culture.

Rowan Batts setting up the microscopy. Photo credit: Hung Nyugen

Rowan Batts setting up the microscopy. Photo credit: Hung Nyugen


We appreciate the efforts graduate students made for Sip N’ Science. This event is not just about presenting our science and findings; it is more about sparking curiosity and passion for ocean sciences among the public, especially kids. Through the interactive science demonstrations set up by graduate students at DMS, we raised awareness of marine environmental problems, such as how ocean acidification may influence marine organisms. This event also helped us build connections with the local community, through which we can work together for a more sustainable ocean.

DMS Alumni – Dr. Amin Ilia

Dr. Amin Ilia graduated from DMS with a Ph.D. degree in physical oceanography in 2021, supervised by Dr. James O’Donnell. Currently working as a civil engineer, he shared his working experience in both the industry and academia afterwards with current graduate student Mengyang Zhou.


Mengyang: Can you share your research during your PhD, and any highlights you want to share?

Amin: During my Ph.D., my research focused on analyzing the parameters influencing wave climatology in a fetch-limited environment such as Long Island Sound, I also explored the effectiveness of wave-induced turbulence in mixing within summer stratified profiles. The pivotal discovery was the significance of white capping dissipation in defining wave climatology in a large estuary like Long Island Sound. Furthermore, my investigations revealed that wave turbulence does not play a critical role in the mixing of water profiles in the western region of Long Island Sound. The outcomes of my research are encapsulated in five published papers, with three as the lead author and two as a co-author ( These publications contribute valuable insights to the field. Beyond the academic achievements, my Ph.D. journey was enriched by memorable moments shared with the faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Marine Sciences at UConn.


Mengyang: Can you tell us your career after PhD? I know you worked for a company in California, how was that experience?

Amin: Working at CoreLogic in California was a valuable experience. While the position was a high-level position with competitive compensation, my involvement was primarily centered around one project, limiting opportunities to engage with broader topics. Desiring more diverse project contributions, I made the decision to leave the role.


Mengyang: And can you tell us about your current job, and how did your PhD prepare for it?

Amin: I am currently working as a contractor employee with NOAA, collaborating with accomplished scientists in the field. However, the job does not align entirely with my expectations, prompting me to start a new position soon. Having a Ph.D. degree presents both advantages and disadvantages for industry careers. On the positive side, it provides a technical edge, fosters innovative thinking, and enhances adaptability. However, there are drawbacks, such as the potential narrowing of expertise compared to individuals with extensive industry experience, who often possess a broader skill set sought after in certain industry roles.


Mengyang: Were there any challenges during COVID time?

Amin: Adjusting to remote work during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges. As I began my post-Ph.D. career, the shift to remote work was new for me and others, creating initial hurdles. However, the work environment has since adapted to this new norm, with improvements in remote communication. The move to remote/hybrid work arrangements also offers various benefits for both employees and employers, including time savings from eliminating commutes.


Mengyang: Do you have any advice for current students who want to pursue a career in industry or academia, based on your own experience?

Amin: Developing a robust professional network is a strategic approach to navigating and improving your career. By actively expanding your network, you not only increase your chances of discovering more favorable career opportunities but also enhance your overall professional prospects. Additionally, directing your focus towards topics with practical applications in your intended career path can serve as a proactive step in equipping yourself with the relevant skills and knowledge. Therefore, investing time in both broadening your professional connections and developing expertise in relevant areas will undoubtedly contribute to a more resilient and promising future in your field.

National Ocean Sciences Bowl 2024, 2024 National Ocean Sciences Bowl Team Coginchaug

Coginchaug’s National Ocean Sciences Bowl Team continues its impressive streak in ocean science competitions

Written by Lorrie Martin

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) is an academic competition and program that introduces high school students to ocean science, aiming to prepare them for ocean science-related STEM careers and addresses a national gap in environmental and earth sciences in public education.

This February 3rd, Coginchaug fielded a NOSB team for the 17th consecutive year at UConn Avery Point Campus in Groton. Team members, Logan Watts, Claire Roraback and Bella Oakley again claimed a 1st Place Finish for their school at the Regional CT/RI Quahog Bowl. This was actually the “4th” First Place Regional Finish in the 17 years Coginchaug has competed in the program. The team has never “hung up their fins”, transferring seamlessly to the Blue Lobster Bowl in Massachusetts when the Quahog Bowl temporarily shut down and competing virtually throughout Covid. When the National Competition has been held, Coginchaug has placed 9th, 10th and 12th in the country when going up against the 25 other Regional Teams, a remarkable achievement for such a small public school often pitted against marine magnet schools and science & technology institutions. 

Coached by Lorrie Martin and Luke Charest, students build over their high school years on their ocean knowledge ranging in fields as diverse as marine biology, geology, chemistry, physics, history, geography, technology, literature and archaeology.  No water related topic is off the table as students on competing teams race to buzz-in on multiple choice and short answer questions on a lock out system.  Each approximately 15 minute match also includes two high-scoring Team Challenge Questions where the team works cooperatively to prepare their answers. 

As usual, the friendly competition taps dozens of Volunteers from Connecticut and Rhode Island Colleges, Marine organizations, Coast Guard and Navy plus graduates who have competed in Ocean Bowl themselves. They serve as a large professional team of  Moderators, Science Judges, Scorers, Timers and Runners to smoothly run the competition for the students. Remarkably, the National Ocean Bowl representative who along with Andrew Ely (Project Oceanology), Larissa Graham (National Estuarine Research Reserve) and others brought the face-to-face Quahog Bowl back to life in 2024 is Megan Szymaszek –  a Coginchaug graduate herself as well as an Ocean Bowl competitor throughout high school and an Ocean Bowl Coach throughout college before moving into this NOSB leadership position which for many years was held by Diana Payne. 

The Coginchaug team, representing the two small central Connecticut towns of Middlefield and Durham, practices diligently each Sunday afternoon throughout most of the academic year in their own “Ocean Annex” space – generously donated by the United Churches of Durham. Scrimmages with other teams, Dunkin Donut Card Competitions among themselves, ocean-themed sugar cookies and Swedish fish contribute to their success. Coach Martin insists that every competition MUST be accompanied by fun and their two valuable 17 year old Cephalopod Mascots – “Squidley” Squid originally from Peabody Museum and “Octavius” Octopus donated by Hannah Gossner, a nationally known oceanographer returning from Antarctic research as this article is being written and a former Coginchaug Ocean Bowl competitor herself.  Martin commends the “mental agility, exemplary teamwork and good sportsmanship” exhibited by this year’s small, close-knit academic group, as we coaches, could do nothing more than “sit back in the audience and squirm through 6 hours of tough marine questioning in total silence.”