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Urban Coast Institute

Apply Now for UCI Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Summer Research Grants



The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) welcomes Monmouth students and faculty of all disciplines to apply for funding through its Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Summer Research Grant program. Funding is available to support projects proposed by students with a faculty mentor or by faculty members with students conducting research under their supervision.

Grants are provided for research in natural and social sciences, art and humanities, economics, and public policy involving faculty and students from any school or department at Monmouth University. Past grants have supported projects ranging from the creation of a website dedicated to eco-friendly local businesses to the design of a disaster search and rescue training video game.

Proposals should address issues that advance the UCI’s mission and goals. The UCI seeks to fund research projects on topics including but not limited to:

  • Assessing  and communicating coastal community vulnerability and risk
  • The social and economic impact of climate change on communities
  • The “blue” coastal and ocean economy
  • Coastal and ocean ecosystem protection, restoration and management
  • Enhancing community resilience and  adaptation planning in the face of sea level rise and coastal storms
  • Furthering U.N. sustainability goals at the international, national and local levels
  • Coastal community engagement and capacity building to address climate change
  • Enhancing consideration for social justice and equity considerations in a changing climate
  • Coastal and ocean law and policy
  • Marine and environmental  arts and humanities

Proposals must be submitted by March 13. Funding is available for students at University research student rates for up to 10 weeks of work, capped at $2,860 per student. A stipend of $800 is available for faculty mentors.

Students must provide a final report or product summarizing their research at the end of the 10th week. Science Students should apply for summer research support through the School of Science Summer Research Program.

For more details about Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe grants, click here (must have My MU Portal login privileges). Additional questions may be directed to UCI Associate Director Tom Herrington at (732) 263-5588 or

Expert Panel to Discuss Legal Accountability for N.J. Climate Damages March 10 at Monmouth


Members of the public can register now for the free panel event “Accountability for Climate Change Harms in New Jersey: Scientific, Legal and Policy Perspectives,” to be held on March 10 at Monmouth University. The event is being organized by the Climate Integrity Project, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute.

This event is intended to educate the state’s legal and policy communities and the public on local climate impacts and associated costs now facing communities and taxpayers, and to initiate a dialogue on the growing trend of climate damages litigation in the U.S. Panelists will discuss the extent of climate harms in New Jersey as well as the scientific basis for holding the fossil fuel industry accountable for them. Panelists will also offer legal and community perspectives on damages litigation as a means to shift some of the burden from taxpayers to polluters.

Panel members will include Bob Kopp, director of the Rutgers University Institute of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences; Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science with the Union of Concerned Scientists Climate & Energy Program; and Jonathan Abady, a partner with Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP. The discussion will be moderated by Monmouth University Rechnitz Family/Urban Coast Institute Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy Randall Abate. The names of additional speakers will soon follow.

The event will take place from 3:30-5:15 p.m. at the Wilson Hall Auditorium. A free reception will follow.  For more information, contact Aliya Satku at or (732) 263-5662.

National Ocean Service Leader Gives Guest Lecture to Monmouth Class

The Urban Coast Institute welcomed Nicole LeBoeuf, acting assistant administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Ocean Service, to Monmouth University on Jan. 30 to talk with students about the NOS’ work and careers in the agency.

The mission of the NOS is to provide science-based solutions through collaborative partnerships to address evolving economic, environmental and social pressures on our oceans and coasts. It observes, measures, assesses, and manages the nation’s coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes areas; provides critical navigation products and services; and conducts response and restoration activities to protect vital coastal resources.

Guest lecturing to School of Science Assistant Dean John Tiedemann’s coastal zone management (CZM) class, LeBoeuf described her work guiding the strategic vision of the 1,800-member agency.

“We’re small, but we’re scrappy, and we’re doing lots of amazing things,” she said.

LeBouef praised the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 for bringing much-needed consistency to how the states deal with their shorelines and waters. The goal of the act, which is administered by NOAA, is to preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, restore or enhance the resources of the nation’s coastal zone. Currently, 34 states have Coastal Zone Management Programs in place – every state along the shore or Great Lakes but Alaska.

The vast diversity of America’s coastlines presents one of the greatest challenges for NOS’ work, she said. Flipping between PowerPoint photos of a rural bluff overlooking the sea and a densely developed waterfront city, LeBouef noted, “This is every bit as much a coastal zone arena.”

LeBouef outlined the critical economic importance of coastal zones in the U.S. About 40 percent of Americans live in coastal counties, and beach tourism and recreation adds over $100 billion to the nation’s GDP annually, she said. U.S. commercial ports alone are responsible for 13 million jobs.

“I would challenge you to find anything in this room that didn’t come through a port,” she said. “So it is very important that our ports are taken care of.”

With a broad network of monitoring stations, ocean buoys, satellite communications, autonomous gliders and other scientific equipment at its disposal, the NOS provides data, tools, and services that help protect the ports and coastal economies and prepare them for future challenges, she said. To learn more about the NOS, visit

AERS Spring Meeting and Coastal Careers Workshop March 26-28 at Monmouth


Registrations and abstract submissions are now being accepted for the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society (AERS) Spring Meeting, to be held March 26-28 at Monmouth University. With a theme of “Estuarine Science in a Changing Climate,” the event will feature expert presentations, networking opportunities, a poster session, field trips and a concurrent Margaret A. Davidson Coastal Careers Workshop on March 26.

AERS brings together students, scientists, managers, and educators from the states of Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C., to discuss estuarine and coastal environmental issues and policies. The group’s mission is to a foster broader interest in our environment by increasing public awareness of current issues.

Among the planned field trips are a walking and birding tour of Sandy Hook, a Cheesequake State Park and Matawan Creek shark attack tour, and a ride aboard Monmouth University’s research vessel Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe in the Sandy Hook Bay area. Keynote speakers include Rutgers University Climate Institute Co-Director Anthony Broccoli, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Senior Science Director Danielle Kreeger, and Monmouth University Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy Program Director John Tiedemann. Participants may submit abstracts until Feb. 18 for oral presentations or poster presentations.

Students are eligible for discounted registration costs and early bird rates are available through Feb. 22. Registration will also include an opening night social and a day two continental breakfast, lunch and evening banquet.

Separate registration is required for the career workshop, which will feature a morning of talks on career options, employment prospects, successful pathways toward local opportunities and opportunities around the nation, as well as inspirational testimonies from coastal professionals. The afternoon will offer a series of smaller group discussions about various skills needed to succeed, such as leadership, networking, mentors, publishing, resumes, and more. Students and young professionals in the coastal and environmental field are encouraged to attend.

To register or for more information on the meeting and career workshop, visit Questions may be directed to Jason Adolf at

Animal Law Scholar to Discuss Moral Implications of Fish Sentience at Monmouth March 25

The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) will welcome one of the nation’s leading scholars at the intersection of animal and environmental law to Monmouth University on March 25 to deliver the guest lecture “Fish Suffering, Climate Change, and the Public Trust Doctrine.” Pace University Professor David Cassuto’s lecture, the latest installment in the UCI’s Marine Science and Policy Series, will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in Bey Hall’s Turrell Boardroom (201).

The talk is free and students and members of the public are welcome. Pizza and light refreshments will be served.

The following is an abstract for the talk: Fish are sentient — they feel pain and suffer. Yet, while we see increasing interest in protecting birds and mammals in agriculture, precious little attention has been paid to the suffering of fish in the fishing industry. This talk will explore fisheries management practices, the effects of anthropogenic climate change on those practices, the moral implications of fish sentience, and the role of the Public Trust Doctrine in enacting meaningful protections for aquatic animals.

Cassuto recently wrote more on this topic in the Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law.

Cassuto is a professor of law and member of the Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies at Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law, where he also directs the Brazil-American Institute for Law & Environment (BAILE). He is also the Class of 1946 Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies at Williams College, a Fulbright Fellow, a visiting professor at law schools in both Brazil and Spain, and the Senior Counsel for International Affairs for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. He has written extensively on the interweaving of environmental and animal law, as well as the larger legal issues raised by industrial agriculture and the human/animal relationship. He holds a J.D. from the University of California,   Berkeley, a Ph.D. from Indiana University, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. Prior to entering legal academia, he was a Professor of English and founder of the Literature & Environment program at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

For more information on the lecture, please contact Randall Abate, Rechnitz Family/Urban Coast Institute Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy, at

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