Baird Symposium


Current Events

Past events


The annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium provides a forum for researchers, resource managers, and stakeholders to discuss the most current science in various areas important to Rhode Island coastal communities and coastal and ocean environments.

This forum was formed in 2002 and renamed in 2006 to honor former National Sea Grant Director Ronald Baird and his contributions and continued service to the Sea Grant mission as an advisor to the Rhode Island and National Sea Grant offices.

Current Events

Offshore Renewable Energy in the U.S.

Learning as We Go 



Rhode Island Sea Grant and the Coastal Resources Center are partnering with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Working Group on Marine Benthal Renewable Energy Developments (WGMBRED) and Venture Café & District Hall Providence to offer a 4-part webinar series to share lessons learned from offshore renewable energy development in the United States.

These webinars will explore key issues regarding the potential cause-effect relationships resulting from the construction and operation of offshore renewable energy installations and recommendations for minimizing impacts and promoting opportunities for positive biological outcomes.

This free webinar series takes the place of the Baird Symposium that had been planned for April 24th. These 90-minute webinars will occur between May 19 and July 15 and will cover topics of habitats and ecosystems, noise and energy emission effects on benthic communities, and food web effects


What Have We Learned:
A Regulatory, Industry, and Resource User Perspective

May 19, 2020



Jennifer McCann is the Director of U.S. Coastal Programs at the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center at the Graduate School of Oceanography and Director of Extension Programs for the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program. McCann served as URI’s lead for developing the Ocean SAMP.

Mary C. Boatman, Ph.D., serves as the Environmental Studies Chief for the Office of Renewable Energy Programs within the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). She coordinates the scientific studies funded by BOEM and communication about those studies. She participated in regional ocean planning and support for sharing scientific information in regional data portals.  Her area of expertise is chemical oceanography, but she has worked in a multi-disciplinary capacity at BOEM.

Annie Hawkins is Executive Director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA).  Prior to joining RODA, she provided government relations support to a variety of fishing industry and ocean technology clients with a Washington, D.C. law firm. She previously held positions in fisheries management and marine regulation including at the New England Fishery Management Council and NOAA’s Large Marine Ecosystems program.

Grover Fugate is the Executive Director of the Coastal Resources Management Council.  Fugute has led the development and the implementation of the Rhode Island Ocean SAMP, including leading the permitting process for the Block Island Wind Farm and Vineyard Wind.

John O’Keeffe is Director of U.S. Marine Affairs for Ørsted U.S and previously served as manager of operations and maintenance for the Block Island Wind Farm, before Deepwater Wind’s acquisition by Ørsted.

Erik Chapman  is the Director of New Hampshire Sea Grant and the Associate Director of Outreach for the UNH School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering. He has a Masters in Wildlife Ecology and a Ph.D. in Oceanography and his expertise is in developing and using ecosystem models: an approach he has used to explore factors influencing Adèlie Penguin reproductive energetics and life history characteristics of bluefin tuna. He is currently the Chair of the NH Commission on Coastal and Marine Natural Resources and the Environment, a member of the Sea Grant Association Board, and a member of the NOAA Ecosystem Science Management Working Group


Host and Moderator:

Jennifer McCann is the Director of U.S. Coastal Programs at the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center at the Graduate School of Oceanography and Director of Extension Programs for the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program. McCann served as URI’s lead for developing the Ocean SAMP.

Andrew Lipsky is the Fisheries & Offshore Wind Lead at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA and Narragansett, RI. He is responsible for developing NOAA’s regional fisheries and wind science capabilities. Lipsky also co-chairs the new ICES Working Group on Offshore Wind Development and Fisheries.


Jan Vanaverbeke is a senior scientist at the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences, Operational Directorate Natural Environment, Marine Ecology and Management Group, and a visiting professor at Ghent University, Belgium. His research is directed towards understanding the functional effects of the introduction of artificial hard substrates in the marine environment. Currently, he is acting as one of the chairs of the ICES Working Group on Marine Benthal Renewable Energy Developments (ICES WGMBRED).

Emma Sheehan is a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Biological and Marine Sciences and Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom.  Currently Dr. Sheehan leads a research group that utilizes non-destructive techniques to assess the effectiveness of spatial management for species and habitats over large spatial and temporal scales.

Julia Livermore is a supervising biologist with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s (RIDEM) Division of Marine Fisheries; she serves as the point person on offshore wind for the Division. During her time at RIDEM, Julia has reviewed biological monitoring data from the Block Island Wind Farm and has conducted spatiotemporal analysis of offshore fishing activity and location and value of landings from federal wind energy areas to characterize how regions slated for development are utilized by Southern New England fishermen, as well as the species they target.

David Bethoney serves as the Executive Director of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, David was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, School for Marine Science & Technology where he developed a research program on the foundation of practical application and direct engagement with the fishing industry. As part of that program he studied benthic animal communities and habitats in areas of meters to tens of thousands of kilometers, regions as different as mid-coast Maine and off the coast of Argentina, and topics as varied as sea cucumber fisheries management and the impact of offshore windfarm development.

Lessons from Block Island:
Acoustical and Benthic Habitat Data 

July 21, 2020


Presenters & Summary Notes

Researchers presented findings about acoustical and benthic habitat data from the area of the Block Island Wind Farm. Both kinds of information are important for building our understanding about how offshore renewable energy efforts may both impact and coexist with the marine environment upon which we depend.

Summary Notes >>


Jennifer Amaral earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in ocean engineering from the University of Rhode Island and is currently studying towards her Ph.D. in the same discipline. Her doctoral research involves the study of impact pile driving sounds during the installation of offshore wind turbines. She is a lead scientist and engineer with Marine Acoustics, Inc. in Middletown, Rhode Island, where she implements modeling strategies and develops acoustic assessment tools to evaluate underwater sound propagation.

Monique LaFrance Bartley is marine ecologist with the National Park Service in the Ocean and Coastal Resources Branch. She earned an B.S. at the University of Rhode Island, majoring in marine biology and minoring in marine affairs and underwater archaeology. She continued her studies at the Graduate School of Oceanography at URI, earning her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in oceanography. Dr. LaFrance Bartley’s primary research focus is benthic habitat mapping to establish baseline conditions and monitoring to assess change over time, with the purpose of providing results that support real-world management applications.

Discussion Participants:

James Boyd is a coastal policy analyst for the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and has been with the agency for 20 years. He is primarily responsible for the development and implementation of the CRMC’s coastal policies and regulations, and he manages and develops the CRMC’s federal consistency decisions for offshore renewable energy projects. Prior to working for the CRMC, he was a commercial fisherman for a decade.

Dave Monti is a charter captain, fishing writer and fish advocate.  He is vice chair of the RI Marine Fisheries Council, 2nd vice president of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association, a board member of the American Saltwater Guides Association and a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association. He is the Providence Journal’s fishing writer and writes for 12 other fishing related blogs, magazines, and newspapers often writing about climate change and its impact on fish, offshore wind farms, and fish policy at the state and national level. He can be reached at

Lessons from Block Island:
Effects on the Food Web 

September 23, 2020




Andrew Gill, Principal Scientist, Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science, United Kingdom

Jennifer Dannheim, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany

George A. Maynard, Policy and Research Coordinator, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance

Elizabeth T. Methratta, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Dave Stevenson, Fishery Management Council Coordinator, Habitat and Ecosystem Services Division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Host and Moderator: Jennifer McCann, Rhode Island Sea Grant and URI Coastal Resources Center 

Lessons from Block Island:
Effects of Noise and EMF on Benthic Communities 

October 20, 2020



Part 5 of the Baird Symposium Webinar Series on Offshore Renewable Energy Assessment of the influence of noise and EMF (energy emission) on benthic communities at a local and larger ecosystem are necessary during pre-construction, construction, operational phase, and decommissioning of offshore wind structures. The key elements of energy emission that need to be considered are discussed.

In this webinar, three researchers discuss the impact of noise and electromagnetic waves from offshore wind infrastructure on benthic communities.

Hosts and Moderators:

Jennifer McCann, URI Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea Grant

Sofie Van Parijs, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center


Louise Roberts, Postdoctoral Research Associate, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University.

Zoe Hutchinson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island

Sherryll Huber Jones, New York State Ocean Coordinator, Cornell University, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Marine Resources

Peter Sigray, Research Director and Professor, Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), Stockholm, Sweden


These webinars are free but preregistration is required.  For more information please contact Jennifer McCann at

Past Events


Changes in Narragansett Bay: A Conversation Among Citizens and Scientists

16th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, December 6, 2017

Is Narragansett Bay Too Clean?


The Social Dimensions of American Offshore Wind Energy: Towards a Research Agenda

15th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, October 24, 2016

Speakers & Presentations

This invitation-only event was hosted by the Coastal Resources Center and the University of Rhode Island Marine Affairs Department, with support from the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences and the Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration at the University of Delaware. Its primary purpose was to help inform Rhode Island Sea Grant’s next research RFP, which will include a call for social science proposals on the issue of the impact of offshore wind energy development on society.


Jeremy Firestone, CCPI: The Nature of Offshore Wind Energy Concerns

Grover Fugate, CRMC: Rhode Island’s Offshore Wind Experience: The Block Island Wind Farm

Brian Krevor, BOEM: Regulator Perspectives on Offshore Wind Energy & Social Research Needs

Robert O’Connor, Decision, Risk and Management Sciences, National Science Foundation: Trends in Environmental Social Science

Martin Pasqualetti, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University: Public Acceptance of Wind Power

Bonnie Ram, CCPI: Lessons from Denmark

Experience with Offshore Wind Energy: Community and User Perspectives

Speakers: Jessica Willi, Block Island Tourism Council; David Monti, Rhode Island charter boat operator/fishing columnist, Providence Journal; Richard Getchell, Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians/All Nations Global; facilitator Nick Battista, Island Institute

  • David Monti, charter boat operator and fishing columnist

New Wave of Research to Focus on Social Dimensions of American Offshore Wind Energy


International Marine Spatial Planning

14th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, October 6, 2015


Staying Afloat: Adapting Waterfront Businesses to Rising Seas and Extreme Storms

13th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, December 10, 2014


The Future of Shellfish in Rhode Island: Sustainable seafood, economic opportunities, and ecosystem benefits

12th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, November 14th, 2013

Speakers & Presentations

The current and the potential future value—economic and environmental—of shellfish to Rhode Island. 

Summary Notes


Bob Rheault
Carl LoBue
Boze Hancock
Michael A. Rice
Rich Langan
Bill Dewey
John Kraeuter
Lisa Kellogg
Thomas Uva
Peter Ramsden
Perry Raso
Jeff Mercer



The 2013 Baird Symposium is funded by Rhode Island Sea Grant, the URI Coastal Institute, and the Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan.

This event is being coordinated in partnership with representatives from the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, University of Rhode Island, Roger Williams University, R.I. Department of Environmental Management, R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council, The Nature Conservancy, East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, and the local shellfishing industry.


    International Marine Spatial Planning: Sharing Practical Solutions

    11th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, May 16th, 2012

    Speakers & Presentations

    Planning for who gets to do what (and where, when, and how) in a nation’s coastal and ocean waters falls to a state or country’s coastal managers, and over 75 of them from across the U.S. and around the world gathered in Providence, R.I., on May 14-16, 2012, to discuss how their efforts-known as “marine spatial planning; (MSP) – are faring.


    Summary Notes
    Practitioner Biographies
    Practitioner Contact Sheet
    MSP Survey Document


    Organizing the Process through pre-planning

    Marine Planning in England Organising the process through pre-planning. Paul Gilliland, Marine Management Organisation, United Kingdom

    Oregon Marine Spatial Planning Overview and Update. Paul Klarin, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, Oregon 

    Applying Decision Support Tools

    Marine Spatial Planning Decision Support Tools Development in Canada. Darren Williams, Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada

    Frameworks for the Processes & Outcomes of MSP. Stephen Olsen, University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources

    Formal Adoption and Final Products

    Implementation of the ecosystem approach through Marine Spatial Planning: the Norwegian case. Erik Olsen, Institute for Marine Research, Norway

    Formal Adoption and Final Products 30 Years of Transnational Cooperation. Harold Marencic, Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, Germany

    Regulatory Results

    BOEM’s Renewable Energy Program Philosophy and Lessons Learned. Maureen Bornholdt, Bureau of Ocean Energy Managemen

    Economic and Social Results

    Marine Spatial Planning for Ocean Resources. Grover Fugate, R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council

    Deepwater Wind.  Bill Moore, Deepwater Wind, Inc.

    Potentials of Multi-Use Concepts within a MSP Process. Bela Buck, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany

    Enviornmental Results

    Marine Spatial Planning: a tropical perscective. Vera Agostini, The Nature Conservancy, Florida 

    Marine Spatial Planning in Support of Environmental Protection in Canada’s marine waters. Danna Campbell, Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada

    Capacity to Implement

    Massachusetts Ocean Management: Capacity to develop and implement plan. Bruce Carlisle, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone, United States

    Capacity to implement; experiences from the Dorset C-SCOPE Project. Ness Smith, Dorset C-Scope, Project UK, United Kingdom

    May 16th, 2012

    Marine Spatial Planning: What’s the Big Deal

    Marine Spatial Planning: What’s the Big Deal? Jake Rice, Fisheries & Oceans Canada.

    U.S. Strategy for Promoting MSP

    Ocean planning in the Northeast U.S. John Weber, Ocean Planning Director, Northeast Regional Ocean Council.

    The European MSP Experience: What are we Learning

    30 Years of Dutch-German-Danish Cooperation on the Protection of the Wadden Sea. Herald Marencic, Deputy Secretary, Common Wadden Sea Secretariat

    Marine Planning in England What are we learning? Paul Gilliland, Marine Planning Development Manager Organization: Marine Management Organization.

    A Race for Space in the Begain Marine Waters: Marine Spatial Planning in Belgium. Charlotte Herman, Belgium, Directorate-General for Environment.

    More MSP Experiences from Abroad

    Canada’s Approach to Marine Spatial Planning – an ecosystem based approach. Darren Williams & Danna Campbell, Ocean Policy and Planning Unit, Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

    Marine Spatial Planning of the Azores. Frederico Cardigos, Regional Director of Sea Affairs, Government of the Azores.

    Maritime Spatial Planning in France. Denis van der Putten, Chief of the Mission for Coordinator for Maritime Policies, Mache Est Mer du Nord, France.

    Multi-Use Concepts as a Potental Solution for the Overcrowded Marine Realm. Bela H. Buck, Marine Aquaculture Specialist, Alfred Wegener Institute.

    MSP in the United States: What Are the Main Results?

    Massachusetts Ocean Management: Implementation Progress and Results. Bruce K. Carlisle, Office of Coastal Zone Management, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

    Oregon Marine Spatial Planning Progress Report. Paul Klarin, Marine Affairs Coordinator, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.

    Marine Spatial Planning For Ocean Resources. Grover Fugate, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council.

    The Next Generation of MSP in the US

    MARCO Mapping & Planning Portal. Laura Mckay, Manager, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program.

    Marine Spatial Planning in Washington State. Jennifer Hennessey, Ocean Policy Associate, Department of Ecology.

    The Next Generation of MSP in the U.S: Future Challenges and Opportunities. State of Hawaii and the Pacific Region. Jesse K. Souki, Director, State Office of Planning.

    Other Resources

    Integration of Marine-Related Data and Information in Foreign Countries. Tomohiko Tsunoda and Masanori Muto. Science and Technology Group. Mitsubishi Research Institue, Inc. (Presentation)

    C-Scope Combining Sea and Coastal Planning in Europe: (Website Link)


    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation 
    RI Coastal Resources Management Council 
    Bureau of Ocean Energy Management 
    URI Coastal Resources Center 
    Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program 
    The Nature Conservancy 
    The Ocean Conservancy 
    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
    The University of Rhode Island 
    American Mussel Harvesters Inc.
    Matunuck Oyster Bar


    Developing the Rhode Island Seafood Knowledge Economy: Perspectives on Seafood Sustainability

    10th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, June 26-28, 2011

    Speakers & Presentations

    The symposium brought together an international group of scientists, chefs, the seafood industry, and others to share perspectives on topics such as sourcing sustainable seafood, consumer preferences, and health. Participants got to prepare—and taste—sustainable seafood dishes under the guidance of chefs at the Johnson & Wales University campus in Providence. The symposium was sponsored by JWU, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and the University of Rhode Island.

    Celebrating Sustainable Seafood, the video of the 2011 Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, highlights the best of the symposium, “Developing the Rhode Island Seafood Knowledge Economy: Perspectives on Seafood Sustainability.”


    New Approaches to Understanding Emerging Marine Diseases

    9th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, August 10-11, 2010

    Speakers & Presentations

    Researchers trying to understand disease emergence are dealing with complex, multi-scale, and variable systems. Traditional approaches using cause-and-effect methods are difficult to apply when systems are at ecosystem levels and risk factors are non-linear.

    New techniques to examine diseases are being used to explain disease outbreaks. Triangulation is a process of gathering information about a system through field, laboratory, model, and historical investigations facilitated by a cross-disciplinary research group.

    This new approach has been used in the investigation of shell disease for American lobster by researchers and their staff and students from 14 institutions.

    As one team, experts in the fields of crustacean endocrinology, genetics, veterinary medicine, behavior, microbiology, lobster biology, chemistry, environmental science, and epidemiology have worked together with fishermen and managers for three years to uncover the dynamics of shell disease.

    This symposium will include a special workshop on shell disease in American Lobster.


    Research Results

    New Information and Tools


    The Ecology of Marine Windfarms: Perspectives on Impact Mitigation, Siting, and Future Uses

    8th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, November 2-4, 2009

    Speakers & Presentations

    The development of offshore renewable energy systems is an international priority driven by the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and decrease human impacts on the global climate. At the same time, the increasing demand for high-quality seafood, marine products, and recreational opportunities is accelerating worldwide.

    The purpose of this symposium is to develop opportunities and document progress toward a new vision of designed, permitted, offshore ecosystems that have wind power energy systems as their focus to provide mutual benefits for multiple uses of ocean space and many new opportunities to develop the “green economy.”

    This symposium will bring together international experts in wind energy, biotechnologies, seafood, fisheries, aquaculture, and leading legal and policy experts to discuss innovative methods for the integration of these future uses into wind farm marine areas.

    Symposium Speakers

    Dr. Bela Buck, Head of the Marine Aquaculture, Maritime Technologies and ICZM Work Group at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, will provide the symposium keynote address.

    Willett M. Kempton, of the College of Marine and Earth Studies at the University of Delaware, is one of the lunch speakers. Leon Cammen, National Sea Grant College Program Director, will also address participants.

    Sound Connections: The Science of Rhode Island and Block Island Sounds
    7th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, October 20-21, 2008

    Creating Vibrant Waterfronts in Rhode Island
    6th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium, October 19-21, 2007

    The Evolution of Ecosystem Based Management: From Theory to Practice
    5th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium. October 19-20, 2006

    Lobsters as Model Organisms for Interfacing Behavior, Ecology, and Fisheries
    4th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium. July 14, 2005

    State of Science Knowledge of Nutrients in Narragansett Bay
    3rd Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium. November 17-18, 2004  More.

    Shallow Marine Ecosystems of Southern Rhode Island
    2nd Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium. December 9, 2002, and January 2003. Part I: Hydrology, nutrient & bacteria dynamics. Part II: Sediment dynamics, habitat changes & fish resources.

    Urban Aquaculture
    1st Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium

    Get In Touch

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This