Close Close
  • Watch: Monmouth Student Researchers Present Posters at Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum

    Three Monmouth University student researchers presented posters at the Sixth Annual Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum, held May 13-15 in Lewes, Delaware. Hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO), the Forum is the region’s premier annual event dedicated to ocean planning, gathering ocean professionals and stakeholders representing federal and state agencies, Tribal entities, marine industries, nonprofit research and advocacy organizations, and the public. The poster session was organized in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS).

    Presenting were Diederik Boonman Morales, a rising senior in the Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy (MEBP) program; and May graduates Marie Mauro and Ivy Norton, who were also MEBP students. Watch their presentations below.

    Microbial Community Composition Analysis in Coastal Lakes of New Jersey as an Indicator of Harmful Algal Bloom Formations

    Student Researcher and Major: Diederik Boonman Morales, Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy

    Faculty Mentor: Endowed Professor of Marine Science Jason Adolf, Department of Biology

    Abstract: Coastal lakes are unique and important ecosystems, providing numerous benefits ecologically, and to the local communities. However, the health of these ecosystems is threatened and facing gradual degradation due to human activities, polluted water runoff, and Harmful Algal Bloom formations. HABs are complex phenomena that impact waterbodies and can have ecological and anthropogenic impacts. Genomics approaches of microbial community composition can improve our ability to monitor and understand HAB dynamics. Here, environmental DNA (eDNA) samples collected from three coastal lakes in 2021 and 2022 were analyzed by 16s meta-barcoding to examine the spatial and temporal distribution of microbial community composition. Through NMDS (Non-parametric Multi-Dimensional Scaling) ordinations and K-means clustering, the composition can be reduced to a single variable that can more easily be analyzed and spatially represented. A pipeline was created to seamlessly run the same process to analyze future samples. This study will contribute to the conservation and management of these critical ecosystems, providing a better understanding of the roles of microbial communities in coastal lake ecology.

    Assessing Policy Measures for Managing Climate Induced Fish Habitat Shifts

    Student Researcher and Major: Marie Mauro, Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy

    Faculty Mentor: Rechnitz Family/Urban Coast Institute Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy Peter Jacques, Department of Political Science and Sociology

    Abstract: Marine fisheries play a crucial role for both nutrition and economic prosperity in the United States. Anthropogenic climate change has been pressuring critical fish species to shift their habitats due to rising ocean temperatures. As a result, fisheries have to adapt which include relocating to alternative locations. The Magnuson-Stevens Act is the primary federal law that governs fisheries in the United States. The goal of this research was to analyze if the federal policies of the United States are adapted to accommodate the shifting habitat of fish which is necessary for maintaining the integrity of fisheries. A policy analysis method was employed to identify if federal policies have taken the shifting habitats of marine fish due to climate change into account with the most recent editions. Results indicate that climate change has not been directly addressed in most federal policies regarding fisheries management. The impacts of climate change already have induced changes in fisheries which is why it is necessary for federal policies to be updated.

    Current Paradigm Affecting the World’s Fisheries

    Student Researcher and Major: Ivy Norton, Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy

    Faculty Mentor: Rechnitz Family/Urban Coast Institute Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy Peter Jacques, Department of Political Science and Sociology

    Abstract: In the contemporary world, the status of our fisheries emerges as a paramount concern, besieged by overfishing, pollution, and dwindling biodiversity. This poster confronts the critical issue of fisheries mismanagement by investigating its core values. To answer the question, “What are the dominant values that manage world fisheries?” I use a quantitative content analysis of one of the more important international fisheries documents published every two years by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, The State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA Reports), using a proven dictionary from prior publications on this very issue in (Lobo and Jacques 2017 & Jacques and Lobo 2018. The publication’s data ended in the 2016 SOFIA report, and this work extends to the 2022 report to measure changing values across time. In particular, I analyze whether the economistic paradigm those prior papers found is still dominant, or if other paradigms have displaced the drive for economic growth. Thus, central to our inquiry is the exploration of alternative frameworks that challenge the economistic paradigm, emphasizing principles of sustainability, equity, and ecological resilience. By investigating and analyzing values in these documents, I can theorize the root causes of overfishing and environmental degradation. Early indications are that economism has not been displaced, indicating a need for a shift in policies and decision-making pertaining to fisheries management. Ideally one day we will have access to fisheries that are healthy and abundant while still being able to rely on them as a source of food around the world.

  • ‘We’re All Plastic People Now’ Screening at Monmouth U. May 16

    A free screening of the documentary “We’re All Plastic People Now” will be held at 6:30 p.m. on May 16 at Monmouth University’s Young Auditorium. Introduced by actor and environmentalist Ted Danson and directed by Rory Fielding, “We’re All Plastic People Now” investigates the hidden story of plastic and its effects on human health. A panel discussion with New Jersey experts on plastics will follow the hourlong film.

    The event is being hosted by Oceana, the Sierra Club New Jersey Chapter, Surfrider Foundation Jersey Shore Chapter, Save Barnegat Bay, Clean Water Action, Save Coastal Wildlife, Clean Ocean Action, Beyond Plastics, and the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute.

    The Young Auditorium is located in Monmouth University’s Leon Hess Business School (Samuel E. and Mollie Bey Hall). Visitors can park in Monmouth’s main campus lot, accessible via the Larchwood Avenue entrance (click here for map).

  • Watch: Monmouth Researchers Discuss Monitoring Fisheries with eDNA, Community Science

    “Hooked on Environmental DNA: Reeling in Community Scientists for Fisheries Monitoring of Offshore Wind Development” was presented on April 24 by Monmouth University Endowed Professor of Marine Science Jason Adolf, Urban Coast Institute Community Science Coordinator Erin Conlon, and Laboratory Intern Emma Najarian. The webinar was part of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s “Earth Day, Every Day” webinar series, which continues through June. Click here to view a schedule of upcoming sessions.

    Environmental DNA (eDNA) provides a non-extractive method of monitoring fish community composition that can be done by community scientists and professionals alike. The presentation covered a fisheries monitoring program, run by Monmouth University and funded by the New Jersey Research and Monitoring Initiative (RMI), that employs eDNA analysis and includes a role for community scientists.

  • Watch: ‘Catalyzing Party and Community Action on Ocean, Climate and BBNJ’

    The Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) and the Global Ocean Forum (GOF) co-hosted the webinar “Catalyzing Party and Community Action on Ocean, Climate and BBNJ” on April 18. The webinar focused on addressing the ocean-climate nexus across the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Sustainable Development Agenda, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), and the Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) agreement. It also highlighted the significance of the BBNJ agreement to ocean and climate action, encouraged incorporation of ocean-climate actions in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and fostered collaboration and collective engagement on the road to the U.N. Ocean Conference in 2025.

    The discussion was moderated by UCI Director Tony MacDonald and GOF Executive Director Miriam Balgos. Presenters and topics included:

    • Independent international expert and former U.N. Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea Director Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli: “The BBNJ Agreement: The Race to Ratification by 2025 and Implications on Climate Targets”
    • Ocean Conservancy Senior Manager of Climate Policy Whitney Berry: “Tracking Ocean-Based Mitigation and Adaptation in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)”
    • Ocean and Climate Platform Project Officer Cyrielle Lâm: “Mobilizing Civil Society on the Road to UNOC 2025”

    The webinar was the first installment of an Ocean and Climate Action webinar series that the UCI and GOF are jointly organizing in alignment with the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Vision 2030. The webinars aim to mobilize civil society around critical ocean and climate action identified in the report on Assessing Progress on Ocean and Climate Action 2022-2023 (“ROCA” report). The ROCA report reviews progress made on climate and ocean initiatives, making it a useful tool for discussion of strategies for achieving climate goals moving forward.

    Speaker Bios

    Miriam Balgos, Ph.D.

    Miriam Balgos is executive director of the Global Ocean Forum and concurrent project manager-capacity development specialist of a GEF-funded project on Building and Enhancing Sectoral and Cross-Sectoral Capacity to Support Sustainable Resource Use and Biodiversity Conservation in Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. Formerly associate scientist at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, University of Delaware and the program coordinator of the Global Ocean Forum, Balgos led the Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy team in the organization and conduct of multi-stakeholder dialogues in integrated ocean and coastal management. Her research focused on integrated ocean and coastal management, marine protected areas, marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, and climate change adaptation. She co-authored and contributed to various publications including “A Comparative Analysis of Ocean Policies in Fifteen Nations and Four Regions” and co-edited the Routledge “Handbook of National and Regional Ocean Policies.” Miriam received a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and master’s in marine biology from the University of the Philippines, and a master’s in business administration and Ph.D. marine studies at the University of Delaware.

    Whitney Berry

    Whitney Berry

    Whitney Berry is a senior manager of climate policy at the Ocean Conservancy. Berry helps research, formulate, and advocate ocean-climate policy at the international, federal, and state levels. Her portfolio includes ocean-based mitigation and adaptation solutions to combat climate change. Previously, she worked for the State of California’s Natural Resources Agency as a cabinet-level climate change policy manager within the office of the Ocean Protection Council. Prior to her position with the California Natural Resources Agency, Berry was a California Sea Grant Fellow for the California Ocean Protection Council. She graduated from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies with a master’s degree in international environmental policy and a concentration in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. She received her bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University in Natural Resource Conservation and Environmental Analysis.

    Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli

    Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli has been working in the field of ocean affairs and the law of the sea, including on issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, for most of her career. She was director of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations from 2013-20 and Secretary of the BBNJ Intergovernmental Conference from 2018-20. Before that, she worked in the division for 23 years, including as deputy director and chief of the Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs. Goettsche-Wanli is an alumnus of the National University of Ireland, Galway, and of Columbia University, New York.

    Cyrielle Lâm

    Cyrielle Lâm

    Cyrielle Lâm works as an international mobilization and communication project officer. She also assists the head of mobilization and communication regularly. Lâm holds a master’s degree in international relations with a specialization in international programme management from the University Jean Moulin Lyon 3. Since her studies ended, she has been working for non-governmental organizations in environmental protection.

    Tony MacDonald

    Tony MacDonald

    Tony MacDonald is director of the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI). He was previously the executive director of the Coastal States Organization (CSO) from 1998-2005. CSO, based in Washington, DC, represents the interests of the governors of the nation’s 35 coastal states and territories on coastal and ocean policy matters. Prior to joining CSO, Tony was the special counsel and director of environmental affairs at the American Association of Port Authorities, where he represented the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) at the International Maritime Organization on negotiations on the London Convention. Tony also practiced law with a private firm in Washington, DC, and served as the environmental legislative representative for the Mayor of the City of New York.

  • The Urban Coast Institute 2023 Annual Report

    Cover of the Urban Coast Institute 2023 Annual Report, showing an aerial view of a marina at sunset.

    Take a look back at a year of student and faculty partnerships, community engagement, and impactful coastal and ocean research in the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute’s (UCI) 2023 Annual Report. The document offers a concise overview of the UCI staff’s expertise and activities over the last year, including an infographic on pages 6-7 that effectively answers the question, “What does the UCI do?”

    The report is available in digital flipbook and PDF formats:

    Hard copies of the report are also available upon request. To obtain a copy, email uci@monmouth.edu.

  • Long Beach Twp. Tide Gauge to Improve Info for Mariners, Aid Research on Bay Island Restoration

    UCI Marine Scientist Jim Nickels lowers equipment to UCI Associate Director Tom Herrington, standing in the water.

    A new tide gauge installed for Long Beach Township by the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) is now collecting round-the-clock data for conditions in the southern reaches of Little Egg Harbor.

    UCI Associate Director Tom Herrington and Marine Scientist Jim Nickels recently assembled the instrument and mounted it to the bulkhead behind the Long Beach Township Marine Education & Field Research Field Station, located in Holgate. The tide gauge will improve the availability of real-time information for boaters, fishers and others using the waters for recreation, while also collecting data that will help determine how climate change is influencing water levels in the area over the long term. It was purchased with a grant from the National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF).

    A red star marks the tide gauge location in Holgate. Clam Cove is seen to its south, with a stream bisecting the marsh island.

    Herrington has been working with Long Beach Township, the New Jersey Bay Islands Initiative (NJBII) and several other external partners to develop a restoration plan for the region’s marsh islands, which provide critical ecological benefits and protect nearby communities from flooding, coastal storms and climate threats. Much of Herrington’s work has focused on Clam Cove Island, located just south of the tide gauge. Natural restoration strategies piloted there will inform approaches taken at marsh islands throughout Barnegat Bay and other estuaries in New Jersey.

    Until about five years ago, Clam Cove Island wasn’t an island at all, but a small hook that visitors could walk across to go fishing. Today a small stream bisects the tract and is causing it to erode.

    “I think Hurricane Sandy tipped it over,” Herrington said. “It didn’t create the breach, but it removed a lot of the sand that surrounded it and made it much more vulnerable.”

    Herrington (l) and Monmouth students Tyler Barkey and Nicole Cappolina deploying current meter equipment last summer at Clam Cove.

    Over the last year, Herrington has worked with Monmouth University marine and environmental biology and policy students Tyler Barkey, Alexis Baumgartner, Nicole Cappolina, and Brooke van de Sande to collect data on waves, tides and currents at the island to determine how sediments move within the system. The findings are informing a plan for the island’s restoration, which will be released in the spring. Herrington said the goal is to repair the breach, make the beach accessible again, and stabilize the hook through methods including replanting marsh grasses and installing oyster reefs off its shore that will help control erosion.

    According to the NJBII, 13 bay islands have succumbed to sea level rise since the 1970s and those remaining have lost 7 percent of their acreage from wave action produced by storms, wind and boat wakes. The organization estimates that Long Beach Township alone has lost nearly 40 acres of its bay islands to erosion since 1977.

    Herrington said the gauge will fill important knowledge gaps for tide intervals in the Long Beach Island area. Although gauges were already in place at the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve in Tuckerton (5 miles south of the field station) and the Manahawkin Bay Bridge in Ship Bottom (8 miles north), the tides can actually peak and ebb 1.5 to 2 hours apart, respectively, at the two sites.

    “We’re learning that the tides in Tuckerton are heavily influenced by waves, but not Ship Bottom,” Herrington said. “But we don’t know yet whether they will be at the new station in Holgate.”

  • Apply Now for 2024 Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars Summer Research Grants

    Researchers deploy equipment on a marsh island.

    *Note: This post was updated April 8 to reflect extension of deadline*

    The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) invites Monmouth University students of all majors to apply for 2024 Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars Summer Research Grants. The deadline for submissions is April 30.

    Funding is available for projects proposed by undergraduate and graduate students that will be completed under the guidance of a faculty mentor, or projects proposed by a faculty member that will be completed with the support of student researchers. All proposals relevant to the mission of the UCI will be considered. Some specific topics of interest to the UCI include:

    • Enhancing consideration for social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion as coastal communities adjust to a changing climate
    • Impacts of sea level rise on coastal environments and communities
    • Environmental and social issues related to offshore wind development
    • Social impacts of coastal disasters
    • Coastal ecosystem adaptation planning
    • Financing resilience
    • The blue economy and blue tech
    • Marine and environmental arts and humanities
    • Furthering the UN Decade of the Ocean Sustainable Development Goals at the international, national and local levels
    • Urban ocean issues and opportunities
    • Sustainable fisheries in a changing climate

    Proposal applications, instructions and more information can be found on the Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars Summer Research Grants application site (Monmouth student/staff login credentials required). Completed applications should be submitted to UCI Associate Director Tom Herrington at therring@monmouth.edu. Science students should apply for summer research support through the School of Science Summer Research Program. For additional questions, email therring@monmouth.edu.

  • UCI Recognizes Four with State, Coastal and Ocean Leadership Awards

    From l-r: Dave Golden, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Virginia Rettig, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge; Tony MacDonald, Urban Coast Institute; and Genevieve Clifton and Scott Douglas, New Jersey Department of Transportation.

    The Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) recently presented State, Coastal and Ocean Leadership awards to four individuals who have worked for several years to assure both safety and accessibility on state waterways and the protections and restoration of critical coastal habitats, parks and refuges. UCI Director Tony MacDonald honored the recipients at a March 13 ceremony held in conjunction with the New Jersey Coastal and Climate Resilience Conference, co-hosted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the New Jersey Coastal Resilience Collaborative at Monmouth University from March 12-14.

    The 2024 honorees included New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Office of Maritime Resources Manager Genevieve Clifton, NJDOT Dredging Program Manager Scott Douglas, NJDEP Assistant Commissioner Dave Golden, and Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge Manager Virginia Rettig.

    “Many of the pleasures of living and recreating along the New Jersey coast which people take for granted – including boating, maritime commerce, fishing, birdwatching and the conservation of wetlands and coastal habitats – would not be available without the active management, stewardship and leadership provided by these honorees,” MacDonald said. “It is a great pleasure to express our appreciation and publicly acknowledge their work.”

    The State, Coastal and Ocean Leadership Awards are part of the UCI’s Champion of the Ocean Award program, which was established in 2005 to honor national, regional and state individuals who have undertaken actions and demonstrated sustained leadership that ensures coasts and oceans are clean, safe, sustainably managed, and preserved for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. A list of past recipients can be found here.

    Genevieve Clifton

    Genevieve Clifton

    Office of Maritime Resources Manager, New Jersey Department of Transportation

    Genevieve Clifton has managed the NJDOT Office of Maritime Resources since 2008 and has been active in marine transportation issues since she was hired as part of the original Maritime Office team in 1997. In 2023, she was asked to lead the Division of Multimodal Services for the Department. Clifton is currently leading the integration of the Department’s maritime program into the Capital Program Management unit, aligning NJDOT construction functions, while continuing to oversee the Federal Highway Administration’s Ferry Boat Program and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Boating Infrastructure Grant Program. In her expanded role, she is actively advancing maritime freight opportunities that benefit New Jersey’s distinctly multimodal transportation system, is leading the effort toward 100 percent beneficial use of dredged material, and is developing partnerships necessary to implement strategic ecological and resilient coastal benefits, while continuing to lead the strongest state channel dredging program in the nation. She has earned master’s degrees from Seton Hall University in public administration and diplomacy and international relations. Among numerous accolades, Clifton is most proud of having been bestowed a Meritorious Public Service Award from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2021.

    Scott Douglas

    Scott Douglas

    Dredging Program Manager, New Jersey Department of Transportation

    Scott Douglas has served as the Dredging Program manager for the NJDOT’s Office of Maritime Resources since 1997. In that time, he has been a staunch advocate for dredging and the beneficial use of dredged materials. He has been a key player on the milestone deepening projects in the NY/NJ Harbor and the Delaware River, and spearheaded the effort to establish Regional Dredging Teams in both ports. Since 2012, he has been a driving force behind the recovery of the New Jersey marine transportation system from the ravages of Superstorm Sandy. To date, the NJDOT has removed over 2 million cubic yards of sediment from the state’s navigation channels, much of which involved utilization of innovative techniques including marsh enhancement and habitat restoration. As the recovery of New Jersey’s coastal navigation system nears completion, Douglas is working with a group of regional stakeholders to craft a framework for managing dredged material in New Jersey’s back bays in a manner that improves coastal resiliency. Douglas holds degrees in zoology and environmental toxicology and has published widely on the topic of dredged material management in books and journals.

    Dave Golden

    Dave Golden

    Assistant Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

    Dave Golden serves as the NJDEP’s assistant commissioner administering New Jersey’s Fish & Wildlife Program. In this role, he oversees various state programs protecting and managing fish and wildlife resources and works to expand public access for wildlife-related recreation. Golden began his career with the NJDEP in 2001 working for the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program. Since that time, he has taken on various leadership roles and served as the head of N.J. Fish & Wildlife since 2019. He has spent the last decade advancing coastal restoration projects on wildlife management areas along the Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bayshore and has long promoted the beneficial reuse of clean dredge material as one method for enhancing coastal habitats. Golden earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Kutztown University and holds a master’s degree in ecology from Miami University.  

    Virginia Rettig

    Virginia Rettig

    Refuge Manager, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

    Virginia Rettig began working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Lafayette, Louisiana, Ecological Services Field Office in 1995. She then moved to the refuge division and worked at the Southeast Louisiana Refuges complex, Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, and Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. She spent two years as an assistant refuge supervisor in the Regional Office in Hadley, Massachusetts, before heading to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in 2010. She enjoys creating habitat for wildlife in her garden and traveling to explore natural areas. She volunteers to support teachers and STEM in South Jersey through the American Association of University Women. She received a bachelor’s degree in environmental and forest biology in 1991 from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse and a master’s degree in wildlife biology in 1994 from Louisiana State University working on use of agricultural fields by shorebirds.

  • UCI Director Joins WHOI Marine Policy Center Advisory Committee

    Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UC) Director Tony MacDonald has been appointed as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Marine Policy Center (MPC).

    The MPC, originally established in 1970 as the Marine Policy and Ocean Management program, conducts social scientific research that integrates economics, policy analysis, and law with the Institution’s basic research in ocean sciences. The Advisory Committee is undertaking an assessment of the current status, potential future directions, and providing advice and recommendations regarding the Center’s mission and role at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and how it addresses critical marine and ocean policy problems of our time.

    WHOI is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930, its mission is to understand the ocean and its interactions with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate an understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. Click here for more information.

  • UCI Grants to Support Love Blue Monmouth Beach Cleanups, Humpback Whale Research

    The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) has awarded grants to the Love Blue Monmouth student club to purchase equipment for beach cleanups and to student Brooke van de Sande to conduct research on the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) for monitoring humpback whale abundance in Jersey Shore waters.  

    The UCI offers Faculty Enrichment Grants and Mini-Grants on a competitive basis through its Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars program to support faculty and student researchers of all disciplines whose work advances the UCI’s mission and core elements of Monmouth’s Strategic Plan. The following proposals were approved for the spring 2024 round. 

    Love Blue Monmouth Litter Cleanup Kits

    Several students cleaning litter from a beach.
    Students remove litter from a Long Branch Beach during a Love Blue Monmouth cleanup.

    Student Applicant & Major: Katie Marshall (Love Blue Monmouth President), Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy

    Love Blue Monmouth received a Mini-Grant to purchase 12 Garbo Grabber litter cleanup kits for use by its volunteer members on area beaches. The tool consists of a wide mouth ring (the Trash Bagger) which holds open a net bag that filters out sand when garbage is dropped in. The reusable net also eliminates the need for plastic trash bags.

    The club is the Monmouth chapter of Love Blue Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the ocean through community outreach and beach cleanups. Now in its sixth semester on campus, the group has removed 1,000 pounds of trash from local beaches to date. For more information on upcoming cleanups, visit the club’s Instagram at @lovebluemonmouth.

    Identifying Relationships Between Visual Sightings and eDNA Detection of Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) Along the Coast of New Jersey

    Student Applicant & Major: Brooke van de Sande, Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy

    Faculty Mentors: Endowed Professor Marine Science Jason Adolf and Environmental DNA/Marine Fisheries Senior Scientist Sam Chin

    Last summer, van de Sande worked aboard the Jersey Shore Whale Watch tour vessel, based at Belmar Marina. Each time there was a humpback sighting nearby, she collected a water sample and filtered it for eDNA – genetic materials that are shed in the ocean by marine organisms. This Faculty Enrichment grant will now allow van de Sande to sequence and analyze the eDNA she collected.

    The project will compare the levels of humpback eDNA detected in samples that were taken both when whales were visible and when none were present to help build a better understanding of the method’s potential as a monitoring tool for marine mammal conservation and management. Watch van de Sande discuss her project at last year’s School of Science Summer Research Symposium below. 

    Apply Now for Funding

    The UCI is currently accepting proposals for Faculty Enrichment Grants and Mini-Grants for the summer and fall 2024 terms, as well as 2024 Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars Summer Research grants (due March 29). Click here to learn more (Monmouth University sign-in credentials required).

    These opportunities have been made possible through the generous support of many private and corporate donors. If you would like to make a tax-deductible gift to the Urban Coast Institute, please visit our online contribution form.