2011 Rhode Island Sea Grant Research
Mini-Conference: Coastal and Ocean Research Serving Rhode Island
March 11, 2011
University of Rhode Island
White Hall Auditorium, Kingston Campus
Download the agenda
Presentations are available in pdf. See below.
1:30 p.m. Welcome
Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program Director Dr. Barry Costa-Pierce will provide an overview of
Sea Grant and opportunities available to both students and faculty.
1:45 p.m. Special Guest Dr. Theodore Smayda
"Ecological Change In Narragansett Bay from a Long-term Water Quality and
Dr. Smayda, professor of oceanography at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, will
provide a historical look at ecological change in Narragansett Bay based on a 50-year record of
water quality and plankton. This continuously recorded data set is considered to be the oldest
of its kind for a temperate estuary in the world, creating a record of the Bay and its responses
to change from post-World War II-era development up through today where nutrient reduction
programs and climate change are having an impact on Bay ecology.
2:05 p.m. "The use of natural agents to protect larval oysters from bacterial infection"
Murni Karim, Rhode Island Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellow working with Dr. David Rowley of the
University of Rhode Island Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, will discuss utilizing
microbe-to-microbe interaction as a way to prevent bacterial diseases in marine organisms. This research
is extremely topical to Rhode Island's growing oyster aquaculture industry.
2:25 p.m. "Nitrogen Cycling from Upper Narragansett Bay to Rhode Island Sound:
Impacts of Changing Climate and Human Nutrient Input"
Dr. Robinson Fulweiler of the Boston University Department of Earth Sciences, will discuss the
complexities of nitrogen cycling in a system undergoing change from climatic warming, as well as
regulatory reduction of nitrogen inputs. Nitrogen is a critical element in the productivity of marine
ecosystems; this research will help us better understand the overall ecological functioning of Narragansett
Bay, and its reaction to climate change.
This project is a collaborative research endeavor involving Dr. Fulweiler, Dr. Scott Nixon (URI Graduate
School of Oceanography) and Dr. Jeremy Rich (Brown University Center for Environmental Studies).
2:45 p.m. "Circulation and the Health of Narragansett Bay: The Complexities and Benefits
of Modeling Shallow-water, Urban, Marine Ecosystems"
Dr. Christopher Kincaid, professor of oceanography, URI GSO, will discuss modeling circulation patterns
of marine water in the highly complex urban environment of Upper Narragansett Bay. Shallow water,
urban ecosystems are some of the most complex to model, but are critically needed to manage these
ecosystems for good water quality and a healthy ecology.
3:05 p.m. BREAK with Refreshments
3:25 p.m. "Adapting to Climate Change: Crossovers of Natural, Behavioral, and
Pamela Rubinoff, associate coastal manager at the Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea
Grant coastal extension program, will present an innovative approach to changing behaviors in order to
improve engagement and management practices that will promote adaptation to a changing climate in
coastal regions. As coastal regions are predicted to be severely impacted by sea level rise, the results of
this research could be essential in developing a timely human response to a changing climate.
3:45 p.m. "BayMap: Assessing and Mapping the Benthic Habitats of Rhode Island's
Coastal Marine Ecosystems"
Dr. John King, professor of oceanography , URI GSO, will discuss a six-year endeavor mapping the
entirety of Rhode Island's coastal marine benthic habitats. In any assessment of coastal marine
environments, knowledge of benthic habitat is critical. Outcomes of this research are proving useful to
industry, resource managers, fishermen, and scientists.
4:05 p.m. "The Environmental History of Narragansett Bay: Insights
from sediment record"
Jeff Salacup, Rhode Island Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellow and EPA STAR Fellow working with Dr.
Warren Prell and Dr. Tim Herbert of the Brown University Department of Geological Sciences,
will discuss how they are using sediment core analysis techniques to look backwards into the ecological
history of Narragansett Bay. Results can be used to better understand ecological change due to human
induced impacts, and from changing climate.
4:25 p.m. "Science for Ecosystem-based Management: Narragansett Bay in
the 21st Century"
Dr. Barry Costa-Pierce, Director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program, will highlight some of
the major findings presented in the first scientific treatise of Narragansett Bay undertaken in 25 years.
Q&A and Refreshments