NOAA ECSC Doctoral Candidate Elena Kobrinski presented at the Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies (COPAS) meeting in Corpus Christi on November 19, 2015. Her presentation showcased her doctoral dissertation research regarding offshore oil rig decommissioning strategies in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to defending her research proposal on October 21st, Ms. Kobrinski also presented in February at the Maritime Museum in Rockport, Texas, and at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Artificial Reef Program 2nd Annual Science and Research Consortium in Corpus Christi. Future speaking engagements with COPAS may take place in January and April of the coming year. Ms. Kobrinski recently passed her qualifying exams in early November, and plans to complete and defend her research in 2016.
Master Student, Darius Bell, internship experience at NOAA-COL in Oxford, Maryland
Bell reflects on his experience this past summer:
"I had the opportunity to intern at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory (COL) in Oxford, Maryland. During my internship, I worked with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) research scientists surveying the health of White perch in the Choptank Habitat Focus Area. The health of the White Perch was assessed by the use of a fish Health Assessment Index which evaluated the presence or absence of internal and external lesions to gain an idea of fish health in a format suitable to track fish health over time. With the fish HAI other assessments for fish health can be integrated such as microbiology, histopathology, hematology, bacteriology, and flow cytometry to gain a deeper idea of relative fish health. The data that I gathered during my time here at COL will assist me in formulating my Master’s thesis. In addition to conducting research at the COL, I had the opportunity to go to the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) in Baltimore, Maryland where I was able to take part in developing a protocol for rapid quantification of White perch blood with the flow cytometer. This summer was a great learning experience. This allowed me the opportunity to do research as well as make a contribution alongside NOAA scientists."
I was fortunate to be one of the few students nationwide selected as an Ocean Science and Mapping Intern for the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) internship program representing the ECSC. The internship allowed me to sail aboard Exploration Vessel Nautilus, a 64-meter research vessel operated by the OET, while investigating biologic, geologic, and archaeological sites, and exploring and characterizing a variety of seafloor habitats across various depths in the Gulf of Mexico and California coast. Research activities on Nautilus were streamed live to the public, who were then able to interact with the crew on-board. My internship allowed me to travel in two different locations, the first being in the Gulf of Mexico, and the second off the California coastline.
In July, Maria Cooksey, an ECSC Masters student from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley joined a mapping cruise as the 2015 NOAA EPP Intern on the R/V Okeanos Explorer. The 15-day cruise was the first leg of NOAA’s Hohonu Moana expedition, where ridges and seamounts near the Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean were mapped around the clock in order to support future deep sea exploration operations. As a mapping intern, she was able to learn how to acquire and process multibeam sonar and sound velocity data to create bathymetric images of an ocean floor that had never been mapped before.
This position provided Maria with the opportunity to understand the physical science aspect behind her own Master’s thesis, which aims to characterize benthic invertebrate communities on mesophotic reefs on the continental shelf of South Texas.
With the experience that Maria gained on the R/V Okeanos Explorer, she hopes to be able to continue her work in habitat mapping and ocean exploration. Maria would like to thank NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research and Office of Education – EPP for this wonderful and unique opportunity!
Graduate students from across the globe were given the opportunity to embark on a research experience at the University of Maine - Darling Marine Center (UM-DMC) in Walpole, Maine. With its location along the coast of the Damariscotta River estuary, students endured rigorous training within ocean optics. Our very own Kevin Williams, II, was among the few selected to take part in the 2015 Ocean Optics: Calibration and Validation for Ocean Color Remote Sensing, a seldom offered course sponsored by the partnership of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Maine.
Over the 4-weeks, students were mentored by revered professionals within the oceanography field most notably Ocean Optics Coordinator and Creator respectively, Dr. Emmanuel Boss and Dr. Mary Jane Perry. Summer 2015 marked the center's 30th anniversary celebrating a new generation of oceanographers trained in ocean optics exploring light within the ocean. Williams and twenty fellow graduate students were exposed to the biological components encompassing ocean optics, radiometry and remote sensing to prepare them for field collection and analysis aboard the DMC's research vessel, the Ira C.
His thesis research focuses on the effectiveness of eco-WEIR (patent pending), an activated green infrastructure ecosystem technology currently being developed by a laboratory group associated with Dr. Jennifer Cherrier. This technology could potentially reduce agricultural runoff into aquatic ecosystems thereby mitigating harmful algal bloom (HAB) events. Williams emphasizes that the benefit is not only for mitigation but rather early detection. Williams says, “Ocean color remote sensing has the potential to facilitate early detection HAB outbreaks, allowing for rapid response and mitigation of their impacts all of which would enhance oceanic and coastal resource management programs.” Kevin reflects, "My participation at DMC allowed me to hone my skills in the mechanics and calibration of instrumentation while adding depth to my master's thesis." Kevin plans to further his knowledge in ocean optics as ocean color remote sensing continues to make advancements.
This past summer, I was able to travel the University of Southern California (USC). I was picked among fifteen undergrad students to participate in the Global Environmental Microbiology (GEM) Summer Course funded by the National Science Foundation. The Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) offers this GEM course in microbiology and microbial ecology allowing for a field-based, hands-on experience.
NOAA-ECSC is funded under the NOAA/EPP Cooperative Agreement Award# NA11SEC4810001
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