One of the payoffs of the partnership that UConn Avery Point has with Mystic Aquarium and its Sea Research Foundation is courses that give students an opportunity to learn firsthand about potential jobs in the marine sciences and to conduct research at the famous aquarium. MARN 3014 is one of those classes.
PhD student Vena Haynes has been awarded the 2018-2019 STEM Chateaubriand Fellowship supported by President Emmanuel Macron’s ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ initiative. As a Chateaubriand Fellow, Vena will complete a portion of her dissertation research at the Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin (LEMAR) in Brest, France under the advisement of Dr. Ika Paul-Pont. Over 4 months, starting April 2019, she will investigate the interactive effects of UV radiation and titanium dioxide nanoparticles on the early life stages of the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas.
On May 3rd Marine Sciences and Geosciences hosted a joint Climate Modeling Symposium and Workshop at Avery Point. The goals of the symposium and workshop were to build collaborations between individuals in Marine Sciences, Geosciences, and Geography who work on issues related to climate change and foster research and education on this important topic.
26 participants listened to seven faculty from three different departments speak about their current research. After the talks, a discussion session allowed free exchange of questions and ideas regarding climate modeling and research. The event ended with a mini-workshop and plans for future gatherings on the topic of climate change.
Dr. Senjie Lin and colleagues in several countries published a discovery that DNA methylation, an immune like mechanism in unicellular organisms to silence expression of “invading” DNA, has been “hijacked” by a type of invading DNA (retroposon) in dinoflagellates and other eukaryotes. Recently published in Nature Communications, the work suggests that at least in the dinoflagellates, the acquired DNA methylation can potentially help the invading DNA to evade the immune like machinery of the cell. If proven, this will be an intriguing case of “arms race” at the molecular level.
Hannes Baumann, an assistant professor in the University of Connecticut’s Department of Marine Sciences is the co-PI on a project which has received more than $325,000 from the National Science Foundation for a collaborative project to study this perplexing phenomenon with Nina Therkildsen, PI on this project and assistant professor of natural resources at Cornell University. The total funding for this project is $1.2 million over three years.
Baumann and Therkildsen’s project will begin by characterizing genome-wide patterns of differentiation in silverside fish populations. The silverside exhibits a remarkable degree of local adaptation for several traits including growth rates.
Ann Bucklin received an award for service from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Council, Science Committee, and Secretariat.
The Service Award was given in recognition of her leading role in the ICES community, including contributions to ICES as Chair of the Working Group on Integrated Morphological and Molecular Taxonomy (WGIMT, see http://www.ices.dk/community/groups/Pages/WGIMT.aspx and http://wgimt.net/) from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2017. Ann remains an active member of WGIMT and ICES!
Annual 2017 meeting of ICES WGIMT in Bolougne-sur-mer, France. Photo P.H. Wiebe (WHOI).
Building off of her Ph.D. and postdoctoral research in Marine Sciences, Kaylan (Kate) Randolph, from the Dierssen COLORS Lab, was recently awarded a NASA New Investigator Program in Earth Sciences grant to characterize the hyperspectral reflectance of breaking waves with subsurface turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rates, and air entrainment as a function of physical forcing conditions. Kate (pictured on the R.V. Laurence Gould in Punta Arenas, Chile with collaborator Ale Cifuentes-Lorenzen) will be deploying above-water autonomous hyperspectral radiometers from the Air-Sea Interaction Tower at Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (WHOI). These measurements will be paired with subsurface acoustical and optical instrumentation to tackle the physics behind ocean color. Kate’s ongoing efforts to study ocean surface physics also include active collaborations with Chris Zappa at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Ale Cifuentes-Lorenzen at UConn (pending NSF).
Meghan Bartels from Newsweek recently interviewed University of Connecticut professor Heidi Dierssen for an article detailing the potential to use satellite imagery to estimate floating marine plastics. Dr. Dierssen recently published a paper with her postdoctoral student Dr. Shungu Garaba in Remote Sensing of the Environment analyzing the spectral properties and potential for remote sensing of marine macro- and microplastics as part of a NASA-funded project for the proposed hyperspectral satellite mission PACE. Bartels writes: “To know that it’s actually plastic and not something else floating or even a bubble or a whitecap, we have to have more of a sense of the spectral fingerprint and what’s unique to plastics,” Dierssen said. “It’s going to be very challenging.”
Professor Heidi Dierssen and postdoctoral scholar Dr. Kaylan Randolph were coauthors on a new paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society describing a large interdisciplinary experiment airborne campaign in the Southern Ocean. They evaluated satellite and airborne remote sensing measurements to investigate biogeochemical and physical processes driving air–sea exchange of CO2, O2, and reactive biogenic gases in the Southern Ocean.