“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
- John Steinbeck
It is mid-January and 56oF in Kittery, Maine. If this is winter, I’m not sure I’m ready for summer’s warmth. Last summer was the 10th warmest since 1895 and last winter was the 5th warmest since 1880. Sea level rise is expected to rise between 1.1 to 1.8ft over the next 27 years, which will increase the frequency of “sunny day” flooding by 15-fold. Climate changes are impacting Appledore and around the world. This demands that we understand the impact, find solutions and act now to live more sustainably.
At Shoals Marine Lab, we are lucky to have faculty who are on the front lines of climate change research who both conduct studies, teach our students, and bring sustainable solutions to light. Dr. Jarrett Byrnes and colleagues published a paper in 2022 that explores kelp forest carbon cycling around the globe. They found warming waters increase decomposition rates which can in turn accelerate ocean warming. Understanding the process of decomposition in the ocean could lead to a fuller understanding of carbon cycling, which is critical to our ability to protect carbon sequestration in the ocean which is a tool to fight climate warming.
In another example of amazing SML faculty, Easton White, lead a 2022 study of how marine mammal data to detect populations trends. As top predators, many marine mammals are used as sentinels for ocean health- important to assessing climate change impacts. Of course, this marine mammal data is hard to get and expensive. This study results in specific sampling recommendations which will help set budgets and sampling efforts to improve our understanding of these important ocean indicators.
These are just two examples of the science faculty at SML who are preparing SML students to address environmental health in a changing world. This is the preparation that will create a robust science workforce and science-wise citizenship to enable us to safeguard our environment.
Meet our New director of Operations
Hailing from Maine, Matt Norwood comes to SML with a lot of experience on the water, operational management at marine labs, and in experiential environmental programs. He has a 100-ton Captain’s license sailing on schooners and has captained research vessels around Maine waters.
Matt has an undergraduate degree from Unity College, a Master’s in Natural Resources, Residential Environmental Education from University of Wisconsin, a Master’s in Policy, Planning, and Management from University of Southern Maine, and is working on a Ph.D. in nonprofit leadership. He's here to ensure that SML operates safely, smoothly, and effectively to meet our mission.
SML students Olivia Smith (UNH '21), Willow Dalehite (Princeton '22), and Aliya Caldwell (current UNH graduate student) traveled with research mentor Dr. Liz Craig to Corpus Christi, Texas for the annual meeting of the international Waterbird Society in November, 2022.
Opportunities for in-person science communication have been limited in the COVID-19 era. This was the first in-person meeting of the Waterbird Society since 2019, and the first opportunity for our undergraduate researchers to present in-person to an audience of scientific professionals.
The whole team was thrilled to communicate their research on Isles of Shoals seabirds and to learn from and network with waterbird researchers from around the globe.
Make a Difference at Shoals
Did you know you can show your support for SML all year long by becoming a monthly Shoals Sustainer? As a recurring donor, you’ll be part of the fabric of SML, playing a direct role in reaching long-term goals and advancing our mission. Here are a few reasons why giving monthly benefits you and SML:
Set it and forget it – monthly donations are automatic!
Provides support all year, even during the off-season – we rely on donors for financial stability!
Allows SML to run full speed ahead – your guaranteed donation will help develop our budget, goals, and overall plan for the year!