Sea Grant College Program
The MIT Sea Grant College Program provides funds for research, education, and technology transfer directed toward wise utilization of marine resources. MIT has been a leading participant in the national program since 1969. In 1976 the Institute was designated a Sea Grant College Program. Sea Grant College status offers the potential for greater funding and confers a responsibility to work with marine researchers throughout the Commonwealth.
Funds are distributed among the 30 Sea Grant Programs in a competing grant process by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through its National Office of Sea Grant. Each program is required to match every two dollars of its federal grant with one from non-federal sources. Congress established this matching provision to ensure that Sea Grant universities would be responsive to public and industry needs. Sea Grant provides funds explicitly for technology transfer through its mandate for advisory services and education in addition to its research mandate.
In FY2001 the National Office of Sea Grant awarded MIT over $2 million. MIT, industry partners, the Commonwealth, and other federal agencies provided more than $1.5 million. In all, these funds provided partial support for 14 faculty members, a senior research associate, a senior lecturer, seven post-doctoral and research fellows and 34 graduate students from MIT's Departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Chemical, Civil and Environmental, Mechanical, and Ocean Engineering, the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Biology, and Science, Technology and Society, as well as partial support for faculty, staff and students at UMASS/Amherst, UMASS/Boston, UMASS/Lowell, Boston University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Temple University, Tufts School of Medicine, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the New England Aquarium, and the Quincy and Cohasset Public Schools
A five year $11.6 million award from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) having reached completion last year continues as a no-cost extension to assemble and process data, and prepare reports. This award was intended to further the development of the Autonomous Oceanographic Sampling Network (AOSN) and involved our Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Laboratory in collaboration with WHOI, the University of Washington, the University of California at San Diego (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Last year was also the second year of a two year $2.75 million award from ONR for a new autonomous research vessel to be used in the Atlantic Layer Tracking Experiment (ALTEX). Work continues as a one-year, no-cost extension to prepare reports. The ALTEX project has a number of collaborators including WHOI, MBARI (replacing Florida Atlantic University, an original collaborator) and a few commercial firms.
Research at MIT Sea Grant is guided by the unique intellectual resources of colleges and universities in the Commonwealth and by the needs of the marine community. Our research is divided into two categories. The first category is our core research program, which reflects the ongoing MIT Sea Grant (MITSG) management process and the guidance provided by our two advisory bodies: the State Advisory Council and the Faculty Committee. Within the core research area, we have four theme areas, with quite specific concentrations: Marine Biotechnology; Coastal Management and Utilization; Coupled Ocean Observation and Modeling; and Technology Development and Management for Ocean Uses. The second research category is our Focused Research, intended to address major regional and/or national issues or needs. Projects under focused research are also called Marine Center projects. In addition, Automation in the Manufacture of Marine Systems, now supported entirely from sources outside Sea Grant, continues to be one of Sea Grant's strongest activities. We continue to build upon advances made in these areas and have been able to compete successfully for other grants as a result.
Sea Grant's research objective in Marine Biotechnology is the advancement of technology that can contribute to better use of the biological resources of ocean and coastal ecosystems. Recently completed research has included studies of novel delivery systems for the vaccination of farmed fish and novel and potentially important research in seaweed as a source of compounds having commercial potential in food processing and pharmaceuticals.
On-going research in this thematic concentration included a project completed in February of this year—Tissue Engineered Fish Skin—led by Professor Robert Langer of the Chemical Engineering Department here at MIT with Professor Michael Triantafyllou of the Ocean Engineering Department as co-principal investigator. The objective of this research was to examine the feasibility of developing an artificial version of fish skin using tissue-engineering techniques. This research builds upon successful developments in human skin replacement using polymer chemistry technology to provide a support structure for dermal fibroplasts. These techniques, already approved for human use, could provide for breakthroughs in surface coverings for a new class of aquatic robots. The inclusion of Professor Triantafyllou in this research project recognizes the coupling of Langer's objectives and methodology with that of Triantafyllou's companion project to be discussed under the Technology Development and Management for Ocean Uses theme area—Biomimetic Hull and Actuators for Fast-maneuvering Vehicles—which includes Professor Langer as co-principal investigator.
Our annual solicitation in 1999 for new proposals resulted in a new research project in Marine Biotechnology—Production of High Value Food Proteins from Low Value Underutilized Fish—submitted by Professor Herb Hultin of UMASS/Amherst. This project began in March of 2000 and will run for two years finishing in February of 2002. Recent activity in this research area has focused on a process to produce fish protein isolates free of most insoluble components such as oil, membranes, skin, bones, and low molecular weight soluble impurities based on the solubility of fish muscle proteins. This most recent project delves into the problem caused by proteins of the fish tissues used that may not be easily separable from the desired proteins. These include the heme proteins and proteolytic enzymes. Due to density considerations, some insoluble pigment components are also difficult to remove. This project is viewed as a regional research project in that it involves supporting research by Professor Tyre Lanier of North Carolina State University and Professor Jae Park of Oregon State University-both funded by their respective Sea Grant programs.
Research projects within the Coastal Management and Utilization theme area seek to advance the science and engineering needed to more effectively utilize our coastal and ocean resources and, either as an integral component or separately, increase our understanding of the marine ecosystem and our ability to influence its sustainability.
Completing its second and final year in February of 2001 was a research effort lead by Professor Philip Gschwend, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT—Sediment Quality Criteria (SQCs) for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): Accounting for Pyrogenic Sources. The primary objective in this research was to investigate how the effects of combustion-derived soot can be incorporated into predicting the exposures of marine benthic organisms to associated toxic substances.
Our solicitation for new research to begin March of 2000 resulted in two projects in Coastal Management and Utilization. Combined Wave-Current Flows Over a Movable Rippled Bed—led by Professor Ole Madsen of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT-attempts to extend his research into combined flows over fixed, artificial rippled beds to the more realistic case of beds consisting of movable sediments. These ripples, more closely representative of actual conditions, have the potential to change bottom geometry and hence flow resistance in response to the nature of the flow.
The second successful proposal in this theme area—Quantitative PCR Combined with Constant Denaturant Capillary Electrophoresis for the Analysis of Naturally Occurring Pathogens in Coastal Environments—with Professor Martin Polz of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT as the Principal Investigator, intends to develop and apply molecular techniques that allow the quantification of diversity and abundance of pathogenic vibrios in marine environmental samples. PCR or polymerase chain reaction is a laboratory procedure extensively used in molecular biology to isolate a DNA segment for study. This work is of great benefit in that the ability to quantify pathogenic organisms in the environment will aid in understanding patterns of transmission.
These two projects are now in their final year and will be completed in February of 2002.
Our annual call for new research projects to begin in March of this year again resulted in two successful proposals in this theme area. Professor Robert Chen, Environmental, Coastal and Ocean Sciences at the University of Massachusetts/Boston in collaboration with Professor Ana Soto of the Anatomy and Cellular Biology Department at Tufts School of Medicine submitted a proposal—Identification of Endocrine Disrupters in Coastal Waters—representing timely research intended to establish sources and distributions of estrogen, and androgen activity in Boston Harbor.
The second successful proposal was from Dr. Michael Tlusty of the New England Aquarium. His proposal— Environmental Impacts of Lobster Pounds: Monitoring Impacts, Modeling Holding Capacity and Assessing Policy—is concerned with the annual and long-term accumulation of organic matter in lobster pounds, and the modeling of the loading and fate of wastes in these pounds.
Our annual call (issued in February of each year) for new research and outreach proposals to begin in March of 1999 included a new theme area, Coupled Ocean Observation and Modeling, as the newest theme area in our core program. Having now reached completion this past February, Integrated Mapping and Navigation for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, led by John Leonard, Associate Professor of Ocean Engineering, MIT, illustrates the tight coupling of this new theme area with the traditional activities of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) program at MIT. The objective of this proposed research was to develop an algorithm for integrated mapping and navigation (IMAN) for AUVs and to verify its performance with real data. The ultimate aim of integrated mapping and navigation is to enable AUVs to build and maintain feature-based maps of the ocean environment from sonar data and to use these maps to navigate for long duration missions over large areas of the ocean.
In our solicitation for new research to begin in March of last year (2000) there were two additions in the Coupled Ocean Observation and Modeling theme area. Acoustic Sensing of Sediment Properties Using a WWW-Controlled Shallow Water Mooring, led by Professor Henrik Schmidt of the Ocean Engineering Department at MIT, combines the Poseidon distributed oceanographic information system (refer to the Focused Research/Marine Centers section for a description of Poseidon) with a new instrumentation mooring for littoral environments to provide a unique facility for remote small-scale sensing capabilities for sediment characterization.
The second successful proposal in this thematic area represents an interesting melding of two separate activities-one being the continuing development of AUV technology and its applications; the other being the relatively new efforts to incorporate what we have developed as an Autonomous Surface Craft (ASC) for similar ocean related work. This proposal—Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Navigation and Control Using an Autonomous Surface Craft—originally proposed and led by Dr. James Bellingham, Principal Research Engineer and Manager of the MIT AUV Laboratory, will utilize the RF communication capabilities of a surface platform (in this case the ASC) and acoustic communication techniques to further the mission capabilities of the subsurface instrumentation platform (the AUV). Dr. Bellingham left MIT in 2000 to become Director of Engineering at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Professor Schmidt is now the Principal Investigator for this research project.
Current efforts continue to focus on developing the key technologies for Autonomous Ocean Sampling Networks (AOSN). The MIT Sea Grant AUV Lab, sponsored by ONR and, in part, by NOAA through the Sea Grant College Program, led this multi-university research effort. The goal is to further our ability to carry out real-time oceanography over the long term, through the synergistic combination of AUVs, moorings, gliders, and satellites. Collaborators have included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Institute of Ocean Sciences (Sidney, BC), Harvard University, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of Washington Applied Physics Lab, the Smithsonian Institution, MBARI and National Geographic Society. Professor Henrik Schmidt, MIT Department of Ocean Engineering, oversees this research area as Associate Director for Research. During the past year the day to day management and technical direction of the AUV team has passed from Jim Bellingham (Principal Research Engineer and AUV Lab Manager) to Justin Manley (Research Engineer) and continues with support from a number of Research Engineers, Visiting Engineers and Scientists, several Post-Doctoral Associates, Research Fellows, Research Specialists, and graduate students, as well as undergraduate students.
During 1998-2000 the AUV Lab focused its efforts on developing and demonstrating an Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network (AOSN). This effort was funded by ONR and involved numerous collaborators, notably the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). While the MIT AUV Lab continued its vehicle development work, WHOI developed a mooring system that allowed the AUVs to dock for data downloading and battery recharging. Additional moorings and communications systems were developed that provided seamless interface, albeit with low bandwidth, between the AUVs and ship or shore controllers. The components and eventually the entire system were tested and demonstrated in several field experiments ranging from the Labrador Sea to Monterey Bay. This effort was officially concluded with a final field experiment in August 2000.
In parallel to the AOSN work, efforts were conducted to commercialize the MIT AUV technology and make it available to an audience beyond ocean science and research. The primary industrial application envisioned was in offshore oil services, notably exploration and survey. In 1997 Bluefin Robotics was incorporated. Market studies and business analysis led to the opening of Bluefin's design and manufacturing facility in 1999. This large growth of the company, understandably, led many of the AUV Lab's engineers to fully transition to the commercial arena and work for Bluefin. Over the same time period, Dr. James Bellingham, the AUV Lab Manager transitioned to a new position as Director of Engineering at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Dr. Bellingham has established another AUV research group at MBARI that collaborates closely with MIT's AUV Lab and Bluefin Robotics.
Faced with a large departure of engineering talent and transitioning leadership the MIT AUV Lab has chosen to consolidate its efforts. AUV development and production will be left to Bluefin, located conveniently close to the AUV Lab. With a reduced staff, and a smaller fleet of vehicles, the MIT AUV Lab is now focused on enhancing AUV technologies and pushing the application of AUVs into new scientific areas. The primary area of future technology research is adapting the AOSN concept to yield a mobile network for ocean observation. The initial focus of AUVs is marine archaeology in deep water (below SCUBA limits).
During the July 1, 2000-June 30, 2001 period the AUV Lab has completed its transition phase and is poised to begin its new research agenda. The later half of 2000 was dedicated to completing the prior obligations of the lab to Professor Henrik Schmidt of the MIT Department of Ocean Engineering. Professor Schmidt required the support of the lab to complete his Generic Oceanographic Array Technology Sonar (GOATS) experiment. Consequently two MIT AUVs were dispatched to participate in the joint research effort with the NATO SACLANT Undersea Research Centre in La Spezia Italy. These AUVs and the MIT operations team joined two other AUV teams on the R/V Alliance and successfully completed the experiment. A dedicated report is available describing this intense field effort and the new technologies developed and deployed in GOATS 2000. At the end of the experiment one of the AUVs was decommissioned to provide spare parts for the other. The age of the Odyssey II platform and their long service life led to this reduction in fleet size to one operational vehicle.
During the first half of 2001 the MIT AUV Lab has focused on rebuilding its capabilities to be a leader in the autonomous vehicle field. The lab's Autonomous Surface Craft has been rebuilt and is now available to support AUV efforts. The lab's staffing has also stabilized. As of July 1, 2001 a full team is available. This team provides a spectrum of expertise to support future research. To complement this team, our spin-off company Bluefin Robotics is building a new AUV for the lab. MIT Staff have supported this new AUV construction from the outset and will be well equipped to deploy this new asset in future research efforts. Our close collaboration with Bluefin was also the highlight of our first major field deployment for 2001. During June, the MIT AUV Lab and a small team from Bluefin deployed two AUVs (the MIT Odyssey IIc and the Bluefin BPAUV) to Nisyros, Greece. The vehicles were used to collect sonar and video imagery of a shipwreck. The effort was hosted by EKTHE (the National Centre for Marine Research) and included the Greek marine archaeologists who first studied this wreck. In addition to EKTHE and MIT the Nisyros expedition was supported with the participation of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and the Marine Archaeological Agency of Greece.
The MIT AUV Lab continues to host numerous UROP students and currently provides facilities and guidance for two graduate students (Course XIII and II). One UROP and one graduate student joined the lab on the Greek expedition.
Lastly is a theme area we have traditionally included in our proposal solicitation that is deliberately broad in focus and title-Technology Development and Management for Ocean Uses. This theme area is meant to serve as an avenue for new and exciting ideas, and has, on occasion, yielded successful proposals that have evolved into continuing research theme areas. Our solicitation for new research to begin on March 1, 1997 did indeed result in a successful proposal in this theme area. This research—Development of Particle Tracking Equipment for Flow Visualization Around Live, Unrestrained Fish—led by Professor Michael Triantafyllou as Principal Investigator with Dr. Thomas Consi as Associate Investigator—both of the Department of Ocean Engineering was completed in February of 1999. This work followed a previous Sea Grant project that provided valuable insight as to how fish are able to display accelerations and sustained velocities that seem impossible from the viewpoints of available energy and conventional understanding of locomotion processes. Later research focused on better visualization and analysis of the flow of fluid through which live, unrestrained fish swim. This required development of sophisticated instrumentation and software to allow individual water particles to be illuminated and their motions precisely measured in space and time. The objective of this research was twofold: to better understand the mechanisms fish employ in their natural habitat is important to our appreciation of them as a species; secondly is the benefit to be gained in applying this knowledge to man-made vehicles to make better use of energy. Although this background was provided in last year's research summary it is referred to again because of the sound basis it has provided for current funded research projects and even more provocative potential research involving fish physiology. Attention should be drawn to the research being led by Professors Langer and Triantafyllou, completed in February of this year, and reported on elsewhere in this report.
In response to our solicitation for projects to begin in March of 1999 a proposal submitted by Professors Michael Triantafyllou of the Ocean Engineering Department and Professor Robert Langer of the Chemical Engineering Department—Biomimetic Hull and Actuators for Fast-Maneuvering Vehicles—received favorable reviews and was included in the Omnibus Proposal sent to the National Office in November of 1998. This project developed and tested multi-pressure sensors to detect vortical structures, and novel muscle-like actuators first using motors and then shape memory alloys to reproduce fish movement and control. The process is now underway to complete an evaluation of a synthetic skin structure with installed flow sensors on the hull of a robotic vehicle, the Robotuna, and study the use of such a biomimetic skin for use with a flexible hull form.
The following year Professor Triantafyllou again was successful in submitting a proposal—Robotic Virtual Simulation Platform for Ship Maneuvering and Control—that continues to evolve our understanding of what it takes to function in the ocean realm and the opportunities in robotic systems for ocean adaptability. The objectives of Professor Triantafyllou's most recent research in this area are to improve the maneuvering capability and marine safety of conventional merchant and naval ships by providing a robotic virtual testing platform, a combined simulation and experimental platform that can simulate realistically any prescribed unsteady ship motion, and test the effectiveness of novel control schemes. This project will reach completion in February 2002.
In our solicitation for new research in this theme area for projects to start in 2001 there were three successful proposals-all of which support and enhance the overall AUV program.
Professor John Leonard of the Ocean Engineering Department at MIT submitted a proposal to expand the autonomous navigation capabilities of the AUV. His proposal—In-water Validation of Concurrent Mapping and Localization Using Sonar—intends to pursue the in-water validation and performance analysis of a new algorithm for feature-based navigation of autonomous underwater vehicles using sonar. The goal of concurrent mapping and localization (CML) is to enable AUVs to build and maintain feature-based maps of the ocean environment from sonar data and to use these maps to navigate accurately for long duration missions over large areas of the ocean.
Propfessor David A. Mindell, Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT, submitted a proposal that will apply autonomous robotic systems to an as yet untried task. Precision Sub-bottom Profiling for Deep Water Archaeology will develop technology to collect high-resolution volumetric data below the sea floor for local areas such as shipwrecks, waste sites, or construction areas. It will also develop techniques for volumetric rendering of sub-bottom structures, similar to those used in other fields such as medical applications and geophysics. The specific proposed application is in the field of deep-water archaeology, but has applications for any area of geography that requires precise characterization of sediment layers over local areas.
Lastly, Professor Harold F. Hemond of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT submitted Deployment of an Odyssey AUV Compatible In-Situ Mass Spectrometer. Hemond proposes to field a membrane inlet mass spectrometer (MIMS) capable of operating autonomously, or on board an Odyssey class autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and providing the vehicle with a powerful new suite of measurement capabilities. The new instrument will be capable of real-time, in-situ, high-resolution measurement of dissolved gases and volatile organic compounds in the marine environment. The immediate objective of this project is a successful underwater demonstration of the functioning instrument packaged in a pressure sphere and compatible as an Odyssey payload.
These three new projects will reach completion in February 2003.
The objective of the Focused Research/Marine Center concept is to plan and conduct research programs in collaboration with, and jointly sponsored by, industry and government agencies in order to attack major problems of broad interest to the marine community, and to foster industrial competitiveness by transferring the resulting technology to users. Focused Research projects have a six-year duration with the initial years heavily supported by Sea Grant Program funds. By the end of these multi-year projects the funding is expected to come entirely from non-Sea Grant sources.
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles: Basic Technologies, our second Focused Research project concluded in 1996. It served to develop robotic multi-use platforms, the Odyssey class of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) for coastal as well as deep-ocean applications. Lessons learned from these vehicles have been incorporated into Odyssey II, which was built under the third Focused Research Program project, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles: Scientific and Industrial Applications, completed in July of last year. This Focused Research Project had also been supported as a Tactical Research Project of the National Sea Grant Office, entitled Rapid Response to Seismic Activity on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. A recent Focused Research project, Development of Autonomous Surface Craft, resulted in a prototype and field studies conducted in local waters. We have decided that this research effort more appropriately belongs within the broader research focus of the AUV program where the field infrastructure better exploits its anticipated capabilities.
The Autonomous Surface Craft (ASC) has concentrated on establishing a useful function in coastal survey and exploration activities. These efforts have mostly been confined to hydrographic surveys. Laboratory developments and fieldwork have produced a prototype system adequate for actual survey trials. These have produced both hardware and software components that provide a solid basis for the next stage of activity. A new mission for the ASC has been added. This involves using our prototype as a mobile communications station for our AOSN project.
As a consequence of the success of the Focused Research Programs that addressed AUV technologies and applications we have been able to capture additional funding. Today ONR and others support the AUV Laboratory at an annual rate of approximately $1.0 million. This illustrates the intent of our Focused Research theme area and further demonstrates how early funding of well thought out research areas can establish the soundness of more specific research and development objectives.
On August 1, 1996 the initial, first year work began on the fourth Focused Research/Marine Center, Behavior of Capped Contaminated Sediments, under the leadership of Senior Research Associate, Dr. E. Eric Adams of MIT. This research is intended to address theoretical analysis and field studies to determine the processes occurring in a capped contaminated sediment site. It follows a recently completed Focused Research Marine Center, Contaminated Sediments in Boston Harbor, led by former MIT Professor Keith Stolzenbach. A full history, results, and recommendations are now available in an MIT Sea Grant publication by the same title. This work will allow a fuller understanding of the site selection criteria, transport processes of contaminated material through the capping material and further aid in predicting benthic impacts. The University of Massachusetts/Boston and the School of Public Health, Harvard University are collaborators on this project.
A more recent Focused Research/Marine Center, Poseidon: A Coastal Zone Management System via the World Wide Web, initiated work in March of 1998. This project is a consequence of the high availability of raw ocean data, the various modeling approaches one can apply to large, multi-parameter data sets, and extensive uses such data-derived knowledge make possible (weather forecasting, fisheries management, environmental impacts, etc.). We have presented the vision supporting this research, and the results as they evolve at the Collegium symposia and workshops recently. There is a growing interest in this area as evidenced by the requests for more detailed information from our colleagues outside of MIT. This research program now enjoys the required financial support and can point to considerable endorsement. A companion proposal to the National Science Foundation has resulted in a $1.4 million award to implement and conduct field experiments. The field experiment is based on a series of observation system situation experiments (OSSEs) with the Harvard Ocean Prediction System for three regions of the near coastal Northwest Atlantic which exhibit coastal upwelling events, spring and tidal mixing plankton blooms, and sub mesoscale eddy injection of nutrients into the upper ocean. The data streams for assimilation will include acoustic tomographic data and acoustical and optical backscatter data for biological variables.
The following year we again included the opportunity for new Focused Research proposals in our program solicitation for new research and educational proposals. We received one such proposal, Distributed Observatories for the Coastal Environment (Jim Bellingham, MIT AUV Lab. Manager). This project received favorable peer reviews and was included in our recent Omnibus Proposal to the National Office. With the departure of Dr. Bellingham the leadership of this project has been assigned to Professor Henrik Schmidt of the Ocean Engineering Department. The notion of distributed coastal observatories reflects the latest addition to our core research theme areas in that it is specifically oriented to the coastal regime and embodies an integrated approach to a real-time multi-disciplinary network for advanced study of a complex marine environment. This represents a unique opportunity to involve a network of advanced research tools such as the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, in-situ observation platforms and remote sensing methods in a two-way telemetry system for use by many, possibly unrelated, researchers. This project is now in its third year with a completion date of February 2005.
Our most recent Focused Research project began this past March. Biomimetic Rigid-Hull Vehicle with Flapping Foils for Enhanced Agility in the Surf Zone and Cluttered Environments was submitted by Professor Michael Triantafyllou of the Ocean Engineering Department at MIT with Professor Dick Yue, also of the Ocean Engineering Department as the Co-principal Investigator. The long-term goal of this research is to develop a new class of rigid-hull autonomous underwater vehicles, best adapted to environments that require continuous maneuvering. The specific tasks are to design, build and test a biomimetic rigid-hull underwater vehicle utilizing flapping foils for its propulsion and maneuvering. Rigid-hull vehicles equipped with flapping foils can emulate some of the basic abilities of fish, including energy recovery, without requiring extensive hull actuation schemes. Fish and other animals that rely principally on flapping foils rather than hull flexure, such as trigger fish, which "flies" in water, the stingray that has long outstretching wings, and the penguin and sea lion, provide useful examples and opportunity for biomimetic application of unsteady flow control. This project began in March of this year and will be completed in February 2007.
In the competition for new funded research as part of the 1999 National Strategic Initiative we were fortunate to receive favorable reviews for our proposal, MIT Sea Grant Technology Program in Sea Scallop Mariculture, with Professor Chrys Chryssostomidis and Cliff Goudey as co-principal investigators. The objectives of this program are to develop, refine and foster the commercialization of several innovative technologies needed by the Northeast sea scallop industry for its conversion to a sustainable, more economically viable industry. The technologies include improved harvesting systems for scallop seed and market-sized scallops, scallop bed monitoring, predator control and seed transport. This project enjoys significant collaboration with a number of experts and practitioners in the industry. The project began in March of 2000 and has an eighteen-month duration.
The proposal solicitation for National Strategic Initiatives during the 2000 yielded a number of interesting preliminary proposals, which were reviewed, and rank ordered by panels at the National Office of Sea Grant. Our program was fortunate to have received funding for two of the proposals submitted: Environmental Marine Biotechnology: Development of Oligonucleotide Gene Chips as Sensors for Diverse Marine Pathogens with Professor Martin Polz of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at MIT and Professor Ee Lin Lim, formerly associated with MIT and Professor Polz, and now with Temple University; and Environmental Marine Biotechnology: Mussel Plasma Histidine-rich Glycoprotein (HRG) - Biomarker, Key to Metal Transport, Novel Natural Product submitted by Professor William Robinson, Professor Manickam Sugumaran and Professor Gordon Wallace all of UMASS/Boston.
Professor Polz's proposed research addresses the early detection and monitoring of pathogens in coastal ecosystems using DNA microarrays and sophisticated quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis for enumerating gene copy number as a proxy for cell abundance. The ultimate goal of this research is to establish a technology to permit assessment of global distribution as well as the local variation of a variety of pathogenic populations in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
The research proposed by the UMASS/ Boston team led by Professor Robinson proposes to establish a biomarker of metal exposure and toxicity. Prior research by this team has succeeded in isolating and purifying histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG) from an invertebrate-the musselmytilus edulis. This protein has been shown to strongly bind to metals such as cadmium. This proposed research involves advanced molecular/cellular biology and metal analytical techniques in the study. The team of three represents aquatic toxicology, molecular biology/protein biochemistry and inorganic geochemistry.
Sea Grant is committed to providing learning opportunities for students, professionals, and the public. Support for graduate students is included in almost every research project. In addition, the program continues to provide major support for marine-related Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) projects. Sea Grant UROP directly provided $25,000. A substantial contribution from the Department of Ocean Engineering and the MIT UROP itself raised this to a total of $50,000. Ten UROPs were supported this year.
Completed in February of last year was a one-year educational project proposed by Cliff Goudey as Principal Investigator assisted by Brandy Moran as Associate Investigator-both members of the MIT Sea Grant Advisory staff. Aquaculture Courses for Massachusetts High School Students recognizes the need to view aquaculture in terms of its potential for economic benefits and the support necessary from a well-informed citizenry. The specific objectives of this project were to focus on the educational needs of the general public and the methods best used to provide it. Course offerings aimed at high school students that actually exposed them to a prototype marine finfish recirculating system located on Boston Harbor coupled with the development of course materials is seen as the essential first level of involvement in this activity.
As curriculum developed it was to be made available to local high schools through the contacts obtained from the New England Board of Higher Education, AQUA (the New England Aquaculture Educators Network) organizers, and the Boston National Historic Park special events coordinator. The focus of the curriculum, directed towards grades 6 through 12, is to develop a mock hatchery in their classroom. Course materials include instructions on the design and implementation of an aquaculture facility, routine maintenance, and laboratory procedures. This curriculum is currently being piloted at three schools: Essex Agricultural High School, Upper Cape Cod Technical High School, and the Sound School in Connecticut. Today the curriculum has been published through the MIT publication service as well as being available on the MIT Sea Grant Program web page. Our involvement at this stage is to assist the teachers as necessary.
Due to the extraordinary enthusiasm of those participating in this educational experiment and the resulting commitment from the three schools we have provided additional funding for Brandy Moran to develop Grants for Education in Marine Science as a seed project. This project solicited proposals from interested teachers to develop similar classroom curricula in marine sciences. We are able to support seven of the proposals submitted. At the end of the grant period we plan to host (in June 2002) a symposium to report the results and plan further activity in this educational area.
We again requested new educational proposals in our annual solicitation issued in 1999 for projects to begin in March of 2000. The Quincy Public Schools submitted an excellent proposal—Develop and Implement Local Marine Curriculum for Quincy Public Schools—in collaboration with a commercial partner, Photography by Michelson, Inc., owned by Mr. Robert Michelson. Previously our Program had supported Mr. Michelson with seed funding to develop and test a grade school classroom approach to marine science education. Michelson had established the efficacy of such an approach as evidenced by the strong endorsement his preliminary efforts enjoyed. The goals and objectives of this current project are: firstly to establish a clear and comprehensive awareness and understanding of the marine ecological environment for teachers and administrators; and secondly to develop and field test course units. A long-term goal of this project is to establish a process whereby high school, middle and elementary students continue their appreciation of the marine realm, and awareness of the career paths available to well educated and prepared young men and women. This two-year program with considerable participation by teachers is now in its second and final year.
In March of this year we had two new educational programs start. Guide to Marine Hitchhikers, submitted by Judy Pederson, Manager of the MITSG Center for Coastal Resources, is a one-year project extending Dr. Pederson's work in bringing much needed discipline to the problem of nonindigenous marine organisms spreading throughout the world. Certain vectors have long been recognized as mechanisms for transport of these nonindigenous species but with increased ocean traffic others are suspected and it is the intent of this project to address this issue. The project will focus on developing identification guides for the public to use, integrate the current efforts of several state agencies and others, and develop a database for collating information gathered.
The second educational program begun this year was submitted by John C. Buckley, a teacher with the Cohasset Middle-High School, Moving Beyond "Just Another High School Research Project": Designing and Implementing Coastal Community Research that Meet Rigorous Professional Review Standards. Mr. Buckley's proposal evolved out of an environmental education program, the Cohasset High School Summer Institute, partially supported by the Cohasset Education Foundation. The Summer Institute is focused on certain very timely concerns of the local community by engaging students in a program of involvement with the stewardship of the marine environment. This Sea Grant supported effort is designed to bring more scientific discipline to the program by instilling in the teachers and the students the need for well structured data taking and reporting. The participating students are expected to prepare reports along established scientific guidelines.
Every year the National Office of Sea Grant issues a solicitation for a program intended to fulfill its broad educational responsibilities and to strengthen ties between academia and industry- the Sea Grant Industry Fellowship. This program is available to graduate students who are pursuing research and development projects on topics of interest to a particular industry/company. A full partnership needs to be in place with a faculty advisor, the Sea Grant college or institute, the industry partner and, of course, the student. Professor Nicholas Patrikalakis as Principal Investigator, Douglas Webb, President of Webb Research Corp. and our Sea Grant program submitted a proposal to involve Ocean Engineering graduate student Robert Damus in a two year project—Sea Grant Industry Fellow: Communication Protocol and Technologies for Low-Power Untethered, Mobile Ocean Platforms.
The communication infrastructure necessary for truly multi-level broad spatial and temporal ocean study must be approached at the protocol conceptual level. Actual physical links in such a system exist in vastly dissimilar realms. The measurement nodes, within and on the ocean, tend towards being both numerous and remote. Control and system maintenance exist in links that encompass the ocean surface in relatively close proximity to the deployed instrumentation but typically are expected to function autonomously. Use of the data, its processing and eventual dissemination of the information resulting from the data occurs at user sites that could be thousands of miles from the instrumentation. The cost of the instrumentation coupled with the expected number of users of the same instrumentation suite to investigate dissimilar ocean phenomena places a high premium on data availability, modeling convenience and immediate user interaction. This Industry Fellowship permitted Robert Damus to work closely with the Poseidon team led by Professor Patrikalakis while having the advantage of real-life hardware software engineering with the Webb Research activity. Mr. Damus' thesis, The Remote Interaction, Planning and Visualization Tool, was submitted in June of this year and points up very well the conceptual approach to this timely issue in ocean understanding. This proposal was successful and having begun in September of 1999 will run through August of 2001.
The MIT Sea Grant Marine Industry Collegium promotes the active transfer of marine research and technology through the sponsorship of workshops, the distribution of publications and research reports, and direct interaction with members. Since 1975, the collegium has provided member organizations with the opportunity to attend several technical workshops and symposia per year. The collegium program collaborates with Draper Laboratories and other campus organizations in sponsoring symposia and workshops.
The most recent event in the collegium calendar occurred in October 2000—Marine GIS Technology Conference/Workshop—organized and hosted in collaboration with the Woods Hole office of the United States Geodetic Service (USGS). This two-day workshop was held in Providence, Rhode Island as a session of the FISH EXPO/Workboat Atlantic Conference and Trade Show. The collegium organized a program to focus on the use of geographic information systems (GIS) coupled with geographic positioning systems (GPS) to aid the commercial fishing industry in the Northeast. The program included presentations from Geoff Meaden, Senior Lecturer, Marine Fisheries GIS Unit, Department of Geography, Canterbury Christ Church University College, UK, and Professor Chuck Helsley, University of Hawaii, former Director of the Sea Grant Program in Hawaii.
To commemorate the retirement of Professor Koichi Masubuchi of MIT's Department of Ocean Engineering a festschrift was published based on an international conference held in his honor. Professor Masubuchi is a recognized authority on welding technology and has seen many of his former students move on to prominent positions in industry and academia. Along with the Sea Grant Collegium, sponsorship for the conference held in 1996 included the MIT Industrial Liaison Program and the American Welding Society. The festschrift, New Horizons in Welding Fabrication: A Festschrift for Professor Koichi Masubuchi, published in October 2000 is now available.
A new program to encourage and fund cooperative research between commercial fishermen and ocean researchers has been started with an FY2000 appropriation to the Northeast Consortium funded through the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service with the assistance of New Hampshire's Senator Judd Gregg.
The Northeast Consortium is managed by the University of New Hampshire and overseen by Sea Grant member institutions in the northeast (New Hampshire, MIT and Maine) having a common goal of assisting the establishment of partnerships among stakeholders in the management of commercial fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. A number of projects have been funded as a result of a solicitation for proposals encouraging the use of commercial fishing vessels in ocean research, monitoring and management, education, and to conduct research leading to the development of selective fishing gear. MIT Sea Grant is the lead institution on two projects that began this June—Adopt-a-Boat: Commercial Fishing Vessels in K-12 Education and The Development and Demonstration of a Whale-Free Buoy for Commercial Fishing.
The Center for Fisheries Engineering Research (CFER) has strengthened its role in regional fisheries and aquaculture through several important initiatives and capacity building. Since its establishment in 1982, CFER project director Cliff Goudey has varied the emphasis depending on the needs of the fishing industry. Early topics included vessel safety, fuel efficiency, and fishing gear selectivity. More recently bycatch reduction, ecosystem effects of fishing, stock enhancement, and aquaculture have become more important.
CFER has established a marine finfish hatchery on Boston Harbor aimed at species and recirculating technology research and outreach. Aquaculture specialist Brandy Moran, hired to manage the facility and develop educational programs, continues to provide an on-going demonstration facility in support of our broad educational goals, and to promote the hatchery as a small-scale example of a potentially viable commercial activity. Brandy was assisted in her continuing work at our aquaculture hatchery in Charlestown by research technician Mark Watson during the past year.
CFER's collaborations with the fishing industry include: developing a low-impact scallop dredge; demonstrating sea scallop enhancement techniques in a nine-square-mile EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) site; and evaluating acoustic techniques for detecting the presence of right whales. As our part of a National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) funded project we are involved in the development of a system for fisheries data telemetry from commercial fishing vessels. Ken Ekstrom, an electronics/software specialist, continues to assist in this NOPP-funded project.
Collaborative work with the Massachusetts Aquaculture Coordinator, Scott Soares, has successfully identified the regulatory environment for aquaculture permitting in the Commonwealth. This activity was supported by a two-year funded project—Aquaculture Permitting Guidelines for Massachusetts—completed in February of last year. Draft permitting guidelines have been developed and are under review. Their production is scheduled to occur shortly together with an interactive web site. Test-case identification awaits the finalization of the guidelines.
The Center for Marine Social Sciences (CMSS) is actively pursuing its goal of applying advances in social sciences to help resolve marine-related issues and to contribute to policy development. CMSS continues to work with state and federal agencies and the public to identify and address local and regional needs in fisheries and coastal zone management. Marine advisory agent Madeleine Hall-Arber continues to track the social impact of new fisheries regulations and is currently working on a project to study fishing-dependent communities in New England. Dr. Hall-Arber works in an extensive advisory capacity with the New England Fisheries Management Council's Social Science Advisory Committee. She has served as the Social Science Editor for the American Fisheries Society's Fisheries journal. Hall-Arber continues as an active member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Committee on Economic and Social Sciences, and as a member of the board of directors of the Women's Fisheries Network. Public education efforts continue through exhibits, participation in conferences and festivals, maintenance of an active e-mail discussion list, and articles in Commercial Fisheries News.
A new web page for Women's Fisheries Network is being developed with the participation of several of the members and the governing board. CMSS has been active in habitat issues, with the goal of helping the New England Fishery Management Council meet a mandate to identify and better manage Essential Fish Habitat. A book chapter and journal article describing the results of this activity will help further researchers' understanding of the significance of different scales of habitat observations to different fishing operations. In addition, Hall-Arber frequently serves as an informal advisor to students and journalists on social science and fisheries issues, and oversees the use of the Zebra Mussel Mania Traveling Trunk.
Zebra mussels, an aquatic species that invaded North America in 1988, have caused serious economic and environmental problems. They are rapidly spreading beyond the Great Lakes region into many waterways in the Midwest, and even into the Northeast (zebra mussels have already been found in the Connecticut River and Lake Champlain). MIT Sea Grant is tuning kids into zebra mussels and other exotic species through a new and exciting teaching aid called the Zebra Mussel Mania Traveling Trunk. Developed by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the Illinois River Project with input from fifth- and sixth-grade teachers who contributed to curriculum development and related activities, the trunk is filled with ten hands-on activities that provide educators with tools to teach about the full range of problems associated with zebra mussels and other nonindigenous species. Use of the trunk encourages students to inquire and discover. What makes the trunk even more effective is the integration of other subjects, including math, English, social studies, and the arts.
Through experiments, games, stories, and a host of other interesting activities, students are able to understand problems caused by nonindigenous species and can learn how to become involved in solutions to prevent the spread of these species through community action projects.
The MIT Sea Grant Communications/Information Service, under the leadership of Andrea Cohen, produces outreach materials for a wide variety of consumers. This includes the newsletter, Two If by Sea, published jointly by the MIT and WHOI Sea Grant Programs. Two If By Sea highlights the research, advisory and outreach activities of Sea Grant programs in the Commonwealth, and provides the public with information about coastal and marine issues in the region. At Sea Grant Week 2001 held in March of this year Two If by Sea was given The People's Choice Award, an award given in recognition of excellence, by a vote of all members of the Sea Grant network.
Communications has revised the MITSG web site, making it more useful and interactive. We created a new comprehensive publications database, that will soon replace our current publications directory on the web. We also created a user-friendly on-line Citizen's Guide to Sources for Marine and Coastal Information in Massachusetts, and a web version of MITSG's aquaculture curriculum. We received funding for a second year for the Northeast Sea Grant web site; this site has been revamped. We have implemented changes so all our web pages meet federal accessibility guidelines.
Communications produces and distributes all of the program's technical reports and distributes and archives all program publications. We maintain a reference center with journals and books, which is available to the community for informational purposes. We also provide information to schools, businesses, government, citizens, media, the MIT community and others on a wide range of marine-related topics. This year we again collaborated with the New England Aquarium in planning the Environmental Writers' Festival.
The goal of the MITSG Center for Coastal Resources (MITSG CCR), under the leadership of Judy Pederson, is to serve as a link between scientific and technical research, and information, and the user community, such as state and federal agencies, local government, non-government organizations and citizens. The MITSG CCR provides outreach and educational activities in three general areas; water and sediment quality, marine bioinvasions and biodiversity, and impacts of fishing on communities. Specific activities have included publication of a set of abstracts for the Conference on Dredged Material Management: Options and Environmental Concerns held in December 2000. This publication, Abstracts from the Conference on Dredged Material Management: Options and Environmental Concerns, edited by Dr. Eric Adams, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Judy Pederson, includes abstracts covering a range of issues regarding the dredging and disposal of materials, environmental and safety concerns, and regulatory concerns. Dr. Pederson coauthored four of the abstracts. A volume of conference proceedings is planned for future publication.
MIT was the venue of a significant conference on invasive marine species held in January 1999. The papers presented are available as Marine Bioinvasions, Proceedings of the First National Conference published in February 2001.
In April 2001 the MIT Sea Grant Program participated in the Second International Conference on Marine Bioinvasions hosted by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program at Louisiana State University. Judy Pederson was cochair of this conference with Marilyn O'Leary, compiler of the abstract booklet. The conference papers are being reviewed for publication later this year in the peer reviewed journal Biological Invasions.
The MITSG CCR maintains a web site at http://massbay.mit.edu/ that highlights research by the marine center on behavior of capped contaminated sediments, marine bioinvasions, and general linkages to other organizations, including those with data on water and sediment quality. Many of these projects are undertaken with state and federal agency support. Future activities include preparing a report on the recent Rapid Assessment Survey of Fouling Organisms on Floating Docks, convening a task force to prepare an Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan for Massachusetts, and summarizing the scientific and technical information from the Marine Center studies on the use of Confined Aquatic Disposal Cells.
The joint educational program established with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) some twenty-five years ago has grown in terms of the educational/training needs it addresses and in its participation. During the past year MMA continued to expand a series of seminars oriented towards their traditional constituency of recreational and commercial users of coastal waters. Recent offerings have begun to address aquaculture and fisheries issues.
MMA's annual Saltwater Sportfishing Seminar is now in its 21st year and continues to draw large numbers of participants every year. Shellfish Farming Forum and Aquaculture Symposium events held during the 2000-2001 winter drew considerable interest. Recently the Massachusetts Shellfish Wardens Association requested the Sea Grant/MMA program to develop a training program for the more than 60 shellfish wardens in the Commonwealth to better prepare them for managing local town shellfish resources.
In addition, the MMA Fisheries Program has coordinated and participated in a variety of aquaculture workshops in conjunction with the Southeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center (SEMAC), Barnstable County Extension Service, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Sea Grant Program. These include the Scallop Workshop, and two Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) workshops.
The program director is Professor Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis, Department Head, Ocean Engineering. Associate directors for research are Professor Henrik Schmidt and Dr. E. Eric Adams. Richard Morris continues to serve as Executive Officer for the program. Timothy Downes continues as the program's Administrative Officer.
MIT Sea Grant administers the Doherty Professorship endowed by the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Foundation. In the competition for both of the past two years there were two outstanding nominees for consideration so much so that in each of these years both competitors were awarded the two-year Professorship.
In 2000 Assistant Professor Martin Polz of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department submitted a proposal—Quantitative Ecology of Harmful Microorganisms in Coastal, Marine Environments—addressing the need to improve our ability to detect and characterize the causes of marine related illnesses and harmful algal blooms before they are manifested in major outbreaks. His research continues its focus on the use of quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques for detection and quantification of microbial populations. This research project concentrates the fieldwork in the New England waters.
The second Doherty Professorship for 2000 was awarded to Professor Nicholas Makris of the Ocean Engineering Department. His proposal for the Doherty award—Monitoring Natural and Manmade Noise in Massachusetts Bay—now in its second year, continues its study of whale vocalizations. This work is expected to lead into additional research involving a series of field experiments in high-resolution real-time spatial and temporal measurements of both natural and anthropogenic ocean noise. Stellwagen Bank, a National Marine Sanctuary with a variety of marine species, located in Massachusetts Bay, is both a convenient local for this fieldwork and a known habitat of marine mammals including the nearly extinct northern right whale. This research attempts to establish a firmer analytical understanding in order to distinguish populations of marine life in terms of species identification, abundance and behavior. It, coupled with other anticipated research, will also determine the impact of the manmade ocean noise on various marine life-in particular the mammals present on the Bank, and in many cases threatened with further population declines.
Our call in 2001 for nominees for the Doherty Professorship in Ocean Utilization resulted in four proposals, two of which were again outstanding in their individual scores. Assistant Professor Julian Sachs of the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Department has proposed the development of two benchmark sea surface temperature (SST) records from the Southern Hemisphere. SST records for the last 150,000 years for the Northwest Atlantic are nearly complete. This record for the Northwest Atlantic taken in the Bermuda Rise shows high similarity to the isotope paleo-temperature record from a Greenland ice core. It remains unknown whether the large and very rapid SST fluctuations documented in the North Atlantic are confined to the Northern Hemisphere or are they associated with similar events in the Southern Hemisphere. Professor Sachs' research will go a long way to answer this question.
Professor Bernhardt Trout of the Department of Chemical Engineering is the other successful nominee for the Doherty Professorship in Ocean Utilization. His proposal—Formation and Dissolution of CH4-Hydrates and CO2-Hydrates in the Ocean—involves two important materials in ocean utilization. CH4-hydrates, practically ubiquitous on the ocean floor and in its seabed are potentially an enormous source of clean-burning fuel. CO2-hydrates could be important in their ability to sequester and store CO2 in the ocean. Both of these opportunities are being considered in pilot projects to explore their respective potential for commercial practicality.
The Doherty Professorships for Professors Sachs and Trout will run for two years.
More information about the Sea Grant College Program can be found online at http://web.mit.edu/seagrant/www/.