Faculty and Alumni News

Professor Receives 2016 Provost Research Award

UM Rosenstiel School Associate Professor Oleksiak Marjorie Oleksiak in the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology is a recipient of a 2016 Provost Research Award for her work on marine genomics. Oleksiak is using a new model organism for natural aging in vertebrates, an annual killifish with a three-month lifespan.

“The award will allow me to expand my research and develop tools to enhance my current research goals,” said Oleksiak, who won for her research project titled, “Live fast, die young: oxidative phosphorylation function in a rapidly aging fish.”

Marine Genomics is genome biology applied to marine organism. Oleksiak’s research is about the genomics of how animals work, evolve and adapt. She uses evolutionary approaches to gain a better understanding of physiology, toxicology and human health and disease.

The Provost’s Research Awards are administered by the UM Office of the Vice Provost for Research to provide salary support and direct research costs to faculty for research. Oleksiak is one of 61 recipients of this year’s award.

Alumna Named 2016 Mujer Legendarias by Ford Motor Company

KarinaIn March 2016, UM Rosenstiel School alumna Karina Castillo (BS ’09, MPS ’12) was chosen by Ford Motor Company and Ford en Español as a 2016 Mujer Legendarias. Each year, Ford chooses four Latina women in five cities across the country to represent each of their four pillars: Intelligence, Green, Efficiency, and Security.

The 20 women selected represent the over 22 million Latinas across the country. Castillo was chosen for her work in addressing climate change to represent the green pillar. She is honored and humbled to be recognized for her work.

Castillo received a B.S. from the UM College of Arts and Sciences in 2009 and a Master of Professional Science in 2012.

New Book on Old Florida at RSMAS Library

A_PioneerSonIn a new book, A Pioneer Son at Sea: Fishing Tales of Old Florida, celebrated marine biologist Gilbert Voss posthumously recounts his early days of fishing on both coasts of the peninsula during the Great Depression and World War II. Voss (1918-1989) was professor of biological oceanography at the UM Rosenstiel School and author of several books, including Seashore Life of Florida and the Caribbean.

The book was edited by Robert S. Voss, the author’s son and a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Long before tourism dominated Florida’s coastline, the state was home to dozens of commercial fisheries and ethnically diverse communities of rugged individuals who made their living from the sea.

Oversized personalities inhabit the pages, including Voss’s brothers, who were themselves seminal figures in the early days of Florida big-game fishing. Voss’s anecdotes feature Crackers, rum runners, murderers, Conchs, wealthy industrialists, now-legendary charterboatmen, Greek spongers, and Cuban viverocaptains.

The book was published by the University Press of Florida and an e-book is available and a print copy is currently on display at the RSMAS Library (non-circulating).

 

 

Faculty and Alumni News

The Oceanography Society Honors Professor Fine

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Rana Fine

UM Rosenstiel School Professor Rana Fine was elected a 2016 Fellow of The Oceanography Society (TOS) for her outstanding contributions to the field of oceanography. She will be honored along with other 2016 Fellows during the TOS breakfast on Feb. 23, 2016 at the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Meeting.

Fine’s scientific interests include ocean circulation processes and their role in climate using chemical tracers. Fine is a fellow of the AGU, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Meteorological Society.

A graduate of the UM Rosenstiel School, Fine has received the highest honor attainable at the University of Miami, induction into the School’s Iron Arrow Honor Society. Fine also received a Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity from the University of Miami.

TOS was founded in 1988 to disseminate knowledge of oceanography and its application through research and education, to promote communication among oceanographers, and to provide a constituency for consensus building across all the disciplines of the field.

Alumna Heads to Washington, DC as 2016 Knauss Fellow

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Erica Towle

UM Rosenstiel School alumna Eric Towle was awarded a 2016 NOAA John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship through the Florida Sea Grant Program for her outstanding achievement in marine and coastal policy research. Towle will relocate to Washington, D.C. for one year to work with the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for the majority staff, focusing on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries, and the Coast Guard.

Towle is a double alumna of the UM Rosenstiel School earning her B.S. in marine and atmospheric science in 2010 and her Ph.D. in marine biology and ecology in 2015.  Her Ph.D. research was completed in Chris Langdon’s Corals and Climate Change Lab, focusing on identifying indicators of resilience to climate change stress in corals of the Florida Reef Tract.

The National Sea Grant College Program created the Knauss fellowship in 1979 to provide educational experiences to students that have an interest in ocean and coastal resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources.

Towle hopes the fellowship will teach her more about how science is translated and used in policymaking.

Alumna Elected Chair of Beach Preservation Association

Leanne Welch

Leanne Welch

UM alumna Leanne Welch was elected chair of the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association (FSBPA) at their annual meeting in September. Her tenure as chair began Jan. 1, 2016 and runs through Dec. 31, 2016. As chair, Welch directs the board meetings and serves on the planning committees for the statewide meetings, which will be held in Jacksonville and Naples in 2016. She works closely with the president and executive director of FSBPA, as well as with other member counties and cities, to promote effective beach management throughout the state.

Welch graduated from UM in 1994 with a double major in marine science and biology and is currently an environmental manager with Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management. She manages many coastal issues in Palm Beach County, including coastal construction (beach and dune nourishment, artificial reef construction, inlet management, and living shorelines), coral reef ecosystem monitoring, sea turtle nesting, manatee protection, and a variety of estuarine management and monitoring programs in Lake Worth Lagoon.

Since its inception in 1957, the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association has functioned as a league of coastal cities and counties on behalf of Florida’s beaches. FSBPA provides information to the Florida Legislature and Congress on beach preservation issues and funding.

Welch has been on the Board of Directors of FSBPA since February of 2012.

RECOVER Launches New Website

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The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) consortium RECOVER recently launched their new website at www.miami.edu/recover. It will act as a centralized hub for information regarding the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science led consortium focusing on the effects of crude oil on fish. Visitors to the site can expect to learn about new findings, classroom and virtual learning activities, hatchery tour information, and videos relative to the ongoing work.

Watch an introduction video to the RECOVER project.

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RECOVER (Relationship of Effects of Cardiac Outcomes in fish for Validation of Ecological Risk) is a consortium comprised of seven researchers from four institutions. Led by Professor Martin Grosell, the team is studying the impacts and toxic effects of crude oil on ecologically and commercially important fish from the Gulf of Mexico. Two species that are currently being examined are the pelagic mahi-mahi and the coastal redfish. Studies will range from molecular, cellular, organ level and whole animal physiologic as well as behavior analyses at different life stages. Previous findings by team members have already shown that fish embryos and larvae exposed to crude oil during early development results in malformation of hearts, resulting in mortality or reduced cardiac and swimming performance in surviving individuals.

To learn more about RECOVER and their current findings please visit www.miami.edu/recover and follow them on social media.

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Dan DiNicola

RECOVER Outreach Coordinator

Coral Metabolism and Climate Change

A team of Rosenstiel School researchers and alumni published a new study on the intra-and inter-specific variation of metabolic factors of corals in Florida. Their study is important to better understand if some coral will be more resilient than others to climate change.

“Knowing which coral species will be ‘winners’ on reefs of the future will help people be aware of what reefs might look like in the coming decades,” said UM Rosenstiel School alumna Erica Towle.

Mustard hill coral. Credit: Johnmartindavies/wikicommons

Mustard hill coral. Credit: Johnmartindavies/wikicommons

For the experiment, Towle and her team from the UM Corals and Climate Change Lab collected three common species of corals from the Florida Reef Tract, which extends from the Florida Keys to Stuart in Martin County, during two seasonal points (winter and summer).

The species mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) great star coral (Montastraea cavernosa) and mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata) were analyzed for growth rate, lipid content, algal symbiont density, and chlorophyll content. The surface area of the corals were also measured using a 3-D scanner supplied by UM Alumnus Derek Manzello at the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories.

Great star coral. Credit NOAA

Great star coral. Credit NOAA

The team’s field data agreed with population-level trends that great star coral and mustard hill coral are doing well in the Florida Keys, and may be “winners” on reefs of the future. They point out that future work needed to understand factors driving resilience of “winner” species.

“It’s important for us to start to understand which corals will be dominant on reefs of the future so we can get a better sense of which species to focus stronger conservation efforts on,” said Towle.

regionalstudiesMSThe study, “In-situ measurement of metabolic status in three coral species from the Florida Reef Tract,” was published online in the journal Regional Studies in Marine Science. The work was supported by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. The study’s authors include: Erica K. Towle; UM Rosenstiel School Professor Chris Landgon; and Renée Carlton and Derek P. Manzello of the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories.

Faculty Profile: Dr. Claire Paris

As an ocean scientist at the UM Rosenstiel School, Claire Paris spends days observing the movements of tiny fish larvae in a unique underwater drifting laboratory. She has developed scientific instruments to listen to, and observe these important, but often unnoticed, life forms on the reefs and in the open ocean. Another powerful component to her scientific approach is how she interacts with her research subjects underwater. Paris uses her talent as a certified freediver to minimize any human disturbance to her research subjects.

Claire Paris

Claire Paris

“The bubbles from SCUBA disturbs the pelagic environment,” said Paris, a native of South France who spent a lot of time in the ocean as a child. “Freediving makes you feel one with the environment and promotes a sense of peace and fulfillment.”

Paris, a Rosenstiel School alumna (M.S. ’87), is at the top of her game, both as a scientist and freediver. She has led numerous groundbreaking studies, including one that showed that reef fish larvae can smell the presence of coral reefs from as far as several kilometers offshore, and use this odor to find their way home. She also found that fish larvae communicate by emitting sounds.

She has developed unique scientific instruments and sophisticated computer models to predict how fish larvae, as well other planktonic organisms and pollutants are transported with the ocean currents. These tools were instrumental to help track the behavior of oil during the Deepwater Horizon blowout, and continue to be used to simulate the fate of oil, to predict oil spill impacts and to optimize the first response to future spills.

US Freediving Association Team

US Freediving Association Team

She is a member of the United States Freediving Association (USFA) and an AIDA* International-ranked freediver and was selected for Team USA for the Team World Championships in 2014 and for the Individuals World Championships in 2015. She holds a Performance Freediving International (PFI) certification. Claire’s goal is to promote AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Science) scientific freediving nation-wide with the UM Rosenstiel School as a frontrunner.

Finding her potential and having no fear to dive deeper makes her a better scientist, says Paris.

*AIDA: Association Internationale pour le Development de l’Apnee

CARTHE, Waterlust Team Wins Top Prize in Video Challenge

A team of scientists and filmmakers at the Rosenstiel School won top prize in the Ocean 180 Challenge for their video “Drones on the Beach” and placed in the top 10 for their video about ocean currents, “Bob the Drifter.”

Watch the award-winning video:

To read the corresponding science publication on drone technology used in oil spill research, click here.

The videos were created by the Waterlust team, which includes Ph.D. student Patrick Rynne and alumna Fiona Graham and Jennah Caster. Both videos were based on CARTHE ((Consortium for Advanced Research on the Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment) research. CARTHE is a Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative consortia based at the Rosenstiel School.

37,795 middle school students judges in over 1,600 classrooms in 21 countries selected the top entries. These students were responsible for critiquing and evaluating the finalists based on their creativity, message, and educational value.

Watch “Bob the Drifter”

The Florida Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE Florida) hosts the annual Ocean 180 Video Challenge, which aims to engage non-scientists and students in timely and relevant ocean science research while inspiring scientists to effectively share their discoveries and excitement for research with the public. For more on the Ocean 180 video Challenge, click here.

CARTHE, Waterlust team

CARTHE, Waterlust team