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Urban Coast Institute

UCI Launches Faculty Advisory Council

The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) has formed a Faculty Advisory Council to provide it with guidance and new perspectives for enhancing academic and student engagement at Monmouth University. The inaugural council includes 13 members representing a broad spectrum of academic disciplines and departments across campus.

Among its roles and responsibilities, the council will assist in integrating the UCI more fully into Monmouth’s academic programs to initiate high-impact opportunities for teaching, scholarship, research and service, and to aid in student recruitment. The council will also serve as a liaison with Monmouth schools, departments, faculty and programs to increase understanding and support of the UCI mission.

It is anticipated that council members will help the UCI identify opportunities to contribute to program and course development, support in the delivery of academic programming and assist in identifying support for student research, internship/externships, service learning, community service and employment opportunities. The council will work with UCI to create, host and promote symposia and events on campus.

The faculty members below will join the council along with the UCI’s three current affiliated faculty members: Randall Abate, Rechnitz Family/UCI endowed chair in marine and environmental law and policy, Department of Political Science and Sociology; Jason Adolf, endowed associate professor of marine science, Department of Biology; and Eric Fesselmeyer, associate professor of economics, Department of Economics, Finance, and Real Estate.

  • Kimberly Callas, assistant professor, Department of Art and Design
  • John Comiskey, assistant professor, Department of Criminal Justice
  • Michael Cronin, associate professor, School of Social Work
  • Geoffrey Fouad, assistant professor, Department of History and Anthropology
  • Jeanne Koller, assistant professor, School of Social Work
  • Golam Mathbor, professor, School of Social Work
  • Tiffany Medley, lecturer, Department of Biology
  • Lindsay Mehrkam, assistant professor, Department of Psychology
  • Claude Taylor, director for academic transition and inclusion, Center for Student Success
  • Laura Turner, assistant professor, Department of Mathematics

The council was formed through an open process that encouraged all interested faculty to submit letters of interest in the spring of 2021. For more information about the Faculty Advisory Council, contact UCI Associate Director Thomas Herrington at therring@monmouth.edu.

Adolf Pens Primer on Harmful Algal Blooms in Summer Issue of ANJEC Report

Monmouth University Endowed Associate Professor of Marine Science Jason Adolf contributed the article “What is a harmful algal bloom (HAB) and why do they form?” to the summer issue of ANJEC Report, published by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions. The piece offers a scientific explanation of the types of phytoplankton that cause HABs and how these organisms can harm wildlife and humans who come in contact with them. Click here to read the article or here to view the full issue.

Adolf’s piece leads off a series of articles exploring the growing problem of HABs in New Jersey’s freshwater lakes, which has received increased attention statewide in recent years. The section includes a spread of photos provided by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection that shows what HABs look like.

Analysis of Pitch Data Shows Climate Change May Strike Baseball Umpiring

It’s hard enough to reach base when pitchers like Aroldis Chapman and Jacob deGrom throw the high heat. But what about when Mother Nature does?

A study by Monmouth University Associate Professor of Economics Eric Fesselmeyer finds that Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires call pitches less accurately in uncomfortable temperatures, with performance at its worst in extreme heat conditions. The analysis shows that the pitch-calling error rate is about 1 percentage point worse when temperatures are above 95 degrees, while accuracy is highest in games played in 80 to 90 degree weather. The results raise the prospect that America’s pastime could be impacted by climate change, as warming temperatures and more frequent heat waves threaten to cause a further decline in officiating.

“The drop in accuracy may seem small, but it is nontrivial for this high-revenue, high-stakes industry,” said Fesselmeyer, an affiliated faculty member of Monmouth’s Urban Coast Institute. “Moreover, high temperatures cause an even greater decrease in accuracy on close call pitches along the edges of the strike zone.”

The research was possible because MLB uses pitch-tracking technology that measures whether non-batted pitches are strikes or balls as they cross home plate.

When Fesselmeyer examined the accuracy of calls for 18,907 MLB games played between 2007 and 2017, he discovered a clear inverted U-pattern. Umpire accuracy was 86.3% when the temperature was below 50 degrees; 86.4% for temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees; 86.6% for temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees; peaked at 86.9% accuracy for temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees; and fell to 86.5% for temperatures between 90 and 95 degrees. Accuracy was lowest, 85.9%, when the temperature was higher than 95 degrees.

Could umpires have an unconscious bias toward calling strikes when it could end the game faster in uncomfortable weather? Fesselmeyer studied critical late inning situations when incorrect calls could shorten the duration of the game but found no significant difference. He also analyzed the data to see whether factors such the experience level, workloads and age of umpires, game attendance and duration, and other meteorological conditions could have been responsible, but found that they did not affect how umpires respond to heat.

Give that umpires err on over 15% of non-batted pitches, some might wonder why baseball hasn’t automated its pitch calling. According to Fesselmeyer, “MLB is indeed considering robo-umps, which would have the added benefit of eliminating the effect of high temperatures on pitch calling. But it is not clear whether the technology will be adopted because baseball purists prefer to preserve the human element in the game.”

Fesselmeyer’s research has implications beyond baseball. If workers as experienced and well-versed in their craft as MLB umpires are susceptible to the heat’s influence, the results are especially worrisome for industries that rely on less-experienced and lower-skilled workers such as agriculture, construction and manufacturing, which are likely less capable of mitigating the impact of rising temperatures.

A paper summarizing Fesselmeyer’s work will be published in a forthcoming edition of the Southern Economic Journal.

WATCH: June 11 Talk on Legal, Policy Responses to Climate Change and Harmful Algal Blooms

The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) hosted the virtual lecture “Climate Change and Harmful Algal Blooms: Legal and Policy Responses to Protect Human Health, Marine Environments, and Coastal Economies” with Professor Eric V. Hull of the Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law on June 11.

The discussion was moderated by Rechnitz Family/UCI Endowed Chair in Marine Environmental Law and Policy Randall Abate. An audience Q&A session followed Hull’s presentation. Scroll below for a presentation abstract and biography of the speaker.

Abstract

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) pose an increasing threat to human health, marine environments, and coastal economies. Warming, acidification, nutrification, and other human-mediated changes to marine systems work synergistically with naturally occurring environmental factors to increase the incidence, severity, and geographic range of HABs. This talk will address ways to mitigate the anthropogenic drivers of HABs using practical solutions and statutory tools available under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

About the Speaker

Eric V. Hull currently serves as a visiting professor of law at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law. Professor Hull has published widely on animal law, environmental law, ocean and coastal law, and maritime law topics, with an emphasis on climate change and the impacts of pollution on ocean and coastal systems, human health, and the environment. His scholarship has been published in many of the leading environmental law journals and his work on the management of marine resources in U.S. waters is included in an international text on ocean and coastal governance. His article on ocean acidification was peer-nominated as one of a top environmental and land use law articles and was included in the seminal text on ocean acidification. Professor Hull teaches courses in administrative law, animal law, civil procedure, climate change law and policy, environmental law, environmental and toxic torts, environmental justice, ocean and coastal law, property law, and zoning. He has taught internationally in Costa Rica, France, and Korea. In addition to holding a juris doctor degree, he holds an undergraduate degree in biology, and graduate degrees in marine biology and coastal zone management. He also holds an LL.M. degree in environmental and land use law.

Transcript of Monmouth IGU Climate and Energy Roundtable Published in Environmental Law Reporter

an image of a flyer with the letter ELR in large font followed by the text The Enviromental Law ReporterAn edited transcript of the Climate and Energy Justice Roundtable from the Monmouth University Institute for Global Understanding’s (IGU) spring symposium has been published in the June edition of the Environmental Law Institute’s Environmental Law Reporter. The discussion was moderated by Rechnitz Family/UCI Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy Randall Abate, who also serves as director of the IGU. Panelists included University of Windsor (Canada) Faculty of Law Assistant Professor Patrícia Galvão Ferreira; Seoul National University (South Korea) School of Law Professor Jae-Hyup Lee; University of Bergen (Norway) Center for Climate and Energy Transformation Visiting Professor Esmeralda Colombo; and Hamad Bin Khalifa College of Law (Qatar) Associate Professor of Energy and Environmental Law Damilola S. Olawuyi.

Watch videos of this and other sessions from the three-day symposium.

With Pandemic Waning, Herrington Previews Updates to #BEachSAFEly Campaign

What it means to #BEachSAFEly is changing rapidly, and that’s good news. Urban Coast Institute (UCI) Associate Director Thomas Herrington, who serves as the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s (NJSGC) resilient communities and economies specialist, announced updates to the award-winning social media campaign at the State of the Shore media event, held May 27 at McLoone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park.

Now in its second year, #BEachSAFEly was developed by the New Jersey and New York Sea Grant programs at the height of the pandemic to build awareness of precautions that visitors should take while at the beach. The 2020 campaign featured nine bilingual (available in English and Spanish) illustrated messages, which stressed standard ocean hazard tips such as “Break the Grip of the Rip” as well as messages related to the pandemic such as, “Stay social, be distant”; “Don’t let your mask become marine debris!”; “Stay dry when waves are high”; and “Grab your sunscreen and sanitizer.”

The 16-week-long second season will include many of those scenes, though with adjustments to account for revised federal and state COVID-19 guidance. Look for new messages every Wednesday this summer on Facebook and Twitter, with a special campaign on Instagram in August.

“This year, you’ll notice that our illustrations won’t have masks on every person,” Herrington said. “Maybe one or two will have masks to remind people that until you are fully vaccinated, you should continue to abide by mask wearing and social distancing when you can’t be safe.”

This summer, NJSGC will build on the success of the virtual campaign by printing postcards and posters with the images and distributing them to beach communities. The UCI, the Jersey Shore Partnership and the Northeast Shore & Beach Preservation Association are providing support for the creation of the materials.

“I’m sure everyone is looking forward to a much more normal and enjoyable summer, with just some little reminder that we really haven’t beat this pandemic fully yet, but if we continue to do what we have been doing, we hope to have no masks on our characters by the end of the summer,” Herrington said.

Additional speakers at the event included New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, NJSGC Acting Director Peter Rowe and NJSGC Coastal Processes Specialist Jon Miller.

For more on the campaign, search the hashtag #BEachSAFEly on social media or check the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium website throughout the summer. The 2021 State of the Shore report can be viewed here.

Monmouth Alumni Weekend Beach Cleanup June 13

Register Today

Help keep our shore clean by registering for a Monmouth University Alumni Beach Cleanup on Sunday, June 13, in Long Branch. The event is being hosted by the UCI in celebration of World Ocean Month and Monmouth Alumni Weekend. Show your Hawk pride and wear your Monmouth gear!

The cleanup will take place from 9-10 a.m. at the beaches near the University Bluffs student apartments. Volunteers can sign in at our table in front of University Bluffs, located at Brighton/Ocean Avenue near the boardwalk, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Cleanup Details

  • Garbage bags will be available. Volunteers may also choose to bring their own reusable buckets/receptacles.
  • Disposable gloves will not be supplied. To eliminate single-use plastics, we encourage volunteers to bring their own gardening gloves or other reusable gloves.
  • Participants should take appropriate social distancing measures and not attend if feeling ill.

Click here for a full schedule activities taking place on Alumni Weekend. For any questions, contact Kristin Waring at kwaring@monmouth.edu.