Ivar Babb

(MS, University of Maine

MMA, University of Rhode Island) Research Scientist of Marine Sciences, emeritus

As the Director of the University of Connecticut’s Northeast Underwater Research, Technology and Education Center (NURTEC) my research interests focused on supporting ocean exploration and research and developing new technologies to enable ocean discoveries.  Much of this work was supported through long-standing partnerships with programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) including the National Undersea Research Program, Office of Ocean Exploration, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Connecticut Sea Grant.

The majority of my research has focused on developing innovative ocean science education programs with a focus on the role of ocean technologies to engage, educate and inspire.  From the day of my arrival at UConn in 1988 I have been involved with ocean science education working with Dr. Richard “Dick” Cooper to co-found the long-running (1988-2009) Aquanaut Program (AP). The AP provided hundreds of science teachers and their students hands-on research opportunities using a wide variety of underwater and observation system technologies including submersibles, ROVs and acoustics.  An offshoot of the AP was the National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored Classroom of the Sea project that partnered with the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, CT and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf to develop innovative science educational opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing learners.  The NSF-sponsored Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence Technology and Engineering for Knowledge (COSEE-TEK) that I directed from 2011-2015 provided professional development for teachers and engaging technology challenges for high school and undergraduate students.  Most recently the Marine Technologies for Teachers and Students (MaTTS) project, supported be the NSF Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program also focused on the development and assessment of innovative educational programs to link research and education and the development and application of new technologies for education.

I served as the President of the National Associate of Marine Laboratories from 2010-2011, during this time I co-led a Strategic Visioning for marine labs and field stations (Organization of Biological Field Stations) that catalyzed a National Academy of Sciences study of the future investments needed for field stations and marine laboratories.  I have participated as Chief Scientist or scientist on 40 research and education cruises in the Atlantic, Great Lakes and abroad.  Field experience includes underwater imaging and video analysis and digital encoding, fish tagging, side scan sonar, laser line scan, and geographic information systems.

Research Projects

The Long Island Sound Mapping and Research Collaborative – LISMaRC – Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Assessing Ecological Change and Resiliency in Long Island Sound – Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Acoustic data acquisition for seafloor mapping in Long Island Sound – The Long Island Sound Study


Zajac, R.N., Stefaniak, L.M, Babb, I.G., Conroy, C.W., Penna, S., Chadi, D., and Auster, P.J., 2019. An  Integrated Seafloor Habitat Map to Inform Marine Spatial Planning and Management: A Case Study from Long Island Sound (Northwest Atlantic). In Seafloor Geomorphology as Benthic Habitat 2nd Edition. Elsevier. Pp 199-217. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-814960-7.00010-5

Babb, I.G., Scowcroft, G. and A. Gingras. 2018. Marine Technologies for Teachers and Students (MaTTS): A Continuum of Professional Development and Instruction in Ocean Science and Technology.  Marine Technology Society Journal. Vol. 52(1). Pp 33-46.

Stefaniak, L.M., P.J. Auster and I. Babb. 2014. Loss of erect sponges on a rock reef in Long Island Sound (north-west Atlantic).  Marine Biodiversity Records. Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Vol. 7; e115; doi:10.1017/S1755267214001109

Billick, I., I. Babb, B. Kloeppel, J. C. Leong, J. Hodder, J. Sanders, and H. Swain. 2013. Field Stations and Marine Laboratories of the Future: A Strategic Vision. National Association of Marine Laboratories and Organization of Biological Field Stations. Available at http://www.obfs.org/fsml-future.

DeLauer, V., Ryan, S., Babb, I. G., Taylor, P. DiBona, P. 2012.  Linking science to management and policy through strategic communication.  Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Research Symposium: Advancing an Ecosystem Approach in the Gulf of Maine.  Pp. 89-101.

Poppe, L.J., Williams, S.J., and Babb, I.G., 2011, Character and Ecological Importance of Shell Beds Flanking Herod Point Shoal, Southeastern Long Island Sound, New York: Journal of Coastal Research.  V.27(3) 493-501.

Carapezza, E. M., Lombardi, G., Butman, J., Babb, I.G. 2008.  Miniature Optical Turbulence Sensor for Coastal Environmental, Homeland Security, and Military Monitoring Applications.  Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 6736 67360U pp 1-13.

Lang, H.G., Laporta Hupper, M., Monte, D., Scheifele, P., Brown, S., Babb, I. G. 2007. A Study of Technical Signs in Science: Implications for Lexical Database Development. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 12 (1), 65-79.

Babb, I. G., Scheifele, P. M., and D. Tedeschi. 1997.  The Aquanaut Program  In: Internet Links for Science Education: Student-Scientist Partnerships, Karen C. Cohen ed. Plenum Press. pp: 65-82.

Hain, J. H. W., Ellis, S., Kenney, R. D., Clapham, P. J., Gray, B. K., Weinrich, M. T. and Babb, I. G. 1995. Apparent Bottom-Feeding by Humpback Whales on Stellwagen Bank.  Marine Mammal Science. 11(4):464-479.

Babb, I. G., Auster, P. J., Belt, W., Olivier, D., Langton, R. W., Macdonald, I. R., Popenoe, P., and Steneck, R. S. 1994.  Dual Use of a Nuclear-Powered Research Submersible: The U. S. Navy’s NR-1.  Marine Technology Society Journal.  V. 27(4): pp 29-44.

Babb, I.G. and P. Scheifele.  1992.  Marine science education using low-cost ROV technology.  Marine Technology Society Journal. Vol 26(4): pp73-78.

Vadas, R.L., R.W. Elner, P.E. Garwood, and I.G. Babb. 1986. Experimental  evaluation of aggregation behavior of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis: A reinterpretation. Marine Biology: V: 90: pp. 433-448.

Babb, I.G.  1985.  The biomechanics of Maine coast kelps: Their distribution, morphology, and mechanical properties.  M.S. Thesis, University of Maine, Orono, Me.

Ivar Babb
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