Grad Students Enjoy #OSM20

Nine graduate students shared their research at the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego, California. A total of 22 presentations were given by DMS faculty, postdocs, and students. Besides the science, folks visited the La Jolla beaches and San Diego Zoo, ate delicious Mexican food, and networked with colleagues. We’re looking forward to more conferences and sharing our science!


See the full list of presentations:


  • Mengyang Zhou OSM2020
    Graduate student Mengyang Zhou with his poster.
  • Poster hall OSM2020
    Poster hall at OSM20.
  • San Diego Convention Center
    Outside the San Diego Convention Center.
  • Halle Berger OSM2020
    Graduate student Halle Berger (far left) presenting her research on the Dungeness Crab.
  • La Jolla sea lions
    Sea lions hanging out on the beach in La Jolla, CA.
  • DMS booth OSM2020
    Working the DMS booth in the exhibit hall (left to right: postdoc Martina Capriotti, and graduate students Mengyang Zhou, and Kelly McGarry).
  • Lauren Barrett OSM2020
    Graduate student Lauren Barrett giving her oral presentation.
  • Palm trees and sunshine
    Palm trees and sunshine!
  • Vlahos lab group
    Vlahos Lab looking fierce (seated Penny Vlahos; standing left to right: Lauren Barrett, Emma Shipley, and Allie Staniec).

DMS investigators complete full comprehensive nitrogen balances of LIS

Of the nitrogen delivered to Long Island Sound (LIS) using a 20 year time series, Vlahos, Whitney, and colleagues Found 40% of it is exported as primarily organic nitrogen (70% vs 30% as nitrate). However, 60% of the nitrogen Entering the LIS is either buried in sediments and/or denitrified to nitrogen gas and N2O.

UConn DMS at Ocean Sciences 2020

The Department of Marine Sciences is excited to be well represented at Ocean Sciences 2020 in San Diego next week. With 22 presentations by faculty, students, and researchers and an exhibition booth, there are lots of ways to find out more about our research and opportunities in our department. See the full list of presentations below.

Former Marine Sciences graduate student, Dr. Maria Rosa, named as an Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine

Former Marine Sciences graduate student, Dr. Maria Rosa, named as an Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine ( For the past 19 years, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education has recognized an interdisciplinary group of minority scholars who represent the very best of the U.S. academy. Emerging Scholars are selected from hundreds of nominations, and those professors selected have distinguished themselves in their various academic disciplines and are actively working to make our society more equitable and just. This year, former Marine Sciences graduate student, Maria Rosa was one of fifteen professors nation-wide selected for the honor. Maria completed her PhD degree in 2016 (major advisor: Dr. J. Evan Ward), spent two years as a NSF-funded postdoctoral scholar at Stony Brook University (mentor: Dr. Dianna Padilla), and is currently the George and Carol Milne Assistant Professor of Biology at Connecticut College.

IUCN releases comprehensive report on ocean deoxygenation

9 December 2019. During the COP25 summit in Madrid, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released its latest comprehensive report titled “Ocean deoxygenation: everyone’s problem” that compiles the current evidence for the ongoing, man-made decline in the oceans oxygen levels. The 588 page, 11 chapter wake-up call to these detrimental changes was produced by leading experts in the field. UConn DMS faculty Baumann is one of the co-authors in chapter 6 “Multiple stressors – forces that combine to worsen deoxygenation and its effects”.

From the executive summary:
“The equilibrium state of the ocean-atmosphere system has been perturbed these last few decades with the ocean becoming a source of oxygen for the atmosphere even though its oxygen inventory is only ~0.6% of that of the atmosphere. Different analyses conclude that the global ocean oxygen content has decreased by 1-2% since the middle of the 20th century. Global warming is expected to have contributed to this decrease, directly because the solubility of oxygen in warmer waters decreases, and indirectly through changes in the physical and biogeochemical dynamics.”

Access to the full report:

Chapter 6. Multiple stressors – forces that combine to worsen deoxygenation and its effects (5.86 MB)

Conservation Physiology publishes DMS study on early life CO2 sensitivity of Northern sand lance

21 November 2019. Members of the Evolutionary Fish Ecology lab ( are excited to announce that Conservation Physiology has just published our ground-breaking research on the unusual, high sensitivity of Northern sand lance embryos to acidification and warming. Dr. Chris Murray, who recently graduated from UConn with his Ph.D. and now pursues his post-doctoral research at the University of Washington, is the lead author of this study, which was funded by a Northeast Regional SeaGrant project and conducted in collaboration with NOAA colleagues from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Our study suggests that organisms that develop slowly in offshore, temperate/subpolar habitats are likely most vulnerable to the combined effects of increasing temperature and acidification in the ocean.

Murray, C.S.*, Wiley, D., and Baumann, H. (2019) High sensitivity of a keystone forage fish to elevated CO2 and temperature. Conservation Physiology 7:1-12
DOI: 10.1093/conphys/coz084

Honoring the achievements of emeritus faculty Dr. Edward C. Monahan

Edward C. Monahan Symposium

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

Monahan Symposium
Colleagues, family, and friends celebrated Dr. Monahan.

In the old-world tradition of a Festschrift, i.e., a celebration and book honoring the life and achievements of outstanding academics, the Department of Marine Sciences celebrated Dr. Edward C. Monahan in a full day symposium. Colleagues from Ed’s many years at UConn and Connecticut Sea Grant recounted entertaining anecdotes and his many accolades. Outside of academia, friends shared stories about his intense love for rowing crew and his involvement in local politics. One of the shining moments of the day included a photo montage of Ed’s facial hair throughout the years. Two beautiful quilts, crafted by Ed’s wife Elizabeth, were displayed throughout the festivities. One quilt captured rolling waves, the pattern being different shapes for different words for white caps. The other quilt displayed every institutional emblem in chronological order at which Dr. Monahan worked.

Dr. Monahan studied at Cornell University as an undergraduate in Engineering Physics, and continued onto his Ph.D. in Oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he focused on the correlation between sea spray, whitecap coverage, and wind speed. His career brought him across the world to Ireland, where he completed another Doctorate of Science at the National University of Ireland. For two decades, he led the Connecticut Sea Grant program at UConn as its Director and initiated international marine sciences exchanges. In his retirement, Ed has not slowed down his scholarly productivity. He continues to publish scientific journal articles, remains active in the department, and stays abreast of all things oceanography by attending weekly seminars and brown bag presentations.

Dr. Penny Vlahos, chair of the symposium organizing committee, commented, “Ed and I have collaborated since I started as junior faculty. I thought it was appropriate to honor him and recognize his achievements and contributions. His work is still being cited today, especially by climate scientists in IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] reports.”

Some wonderful words come from Peg Van Patten, retired communications director for Connecticut Sea Grant, “Ed Monahan was my supervisor as Director of Connecticut Sea Grant for two decades, but he was really more than that.  Ed became my mentor, and friend, and sometimes my co-author. I learned so much from his experience that I was delighted when Professor Vlahos asked me to help organize a symposium in his honor.  The day was a perfect tribute to Ed’s remarkable career and many accomplishments.”

Throughout the symposium, selected guests gave scientific talks on topics related to Ed’s research interests: sea spray, white caps, and air-sea interaction. Other speakers included grant recipients from Connecticut Sea Grant, collaborators, rowing partners, and students. In his retirement, Ed helped organize Coastsweek Regatta, a local rowing competition in Mystic, with 2019 marking the 28th consecutive year. At the closing of the day, attendees, family and friends enjoyed celebratory beverages and birthday cake appropriately decorated with a large wave. Allison Staniec, a current Ph.D. student who works directly with Ed, summarized the day quite well: “The Monahan Symposium (Twixt Wind and Waves) was an enjoyable celebration of Ed’s past and ongoing career with plenty of time for ground breaking science and entertaining anecdotes. And cake!”

The Festschrift book, “Recent Advances in the Study of Oceanic Whitecaps,” edited by P. Vlahos and E. C. Monahan (Honorary Editor) will be published by Springer Nature shortly.