The CWCC on-site component was an intensive, hands-on course that included field and laboratory activities, lecture and discussion sessions, and completion of a problem-based learning activity.
On-site field and laboratory activities included processing data and samples collected in the field, carrying out GIS mapping and modeling exercises, and participating in simulations that explore policymaking paradigms and the application of socio-economic analysis.
For the problem-based learning activity, students worked in teams to complete a site-specific case study project that integrates learning activities and concepts from all CCME focus areas Coastal Resilience, Coastal Intelligence, Placed Based Conservation, and Social Science (Human Dimensions).
During the 2019 Center-Wide Core Competency (CWCC) Course, CCME Scholars covered the following Focus Area Goals:
CST Biology undergraduate student Linda Mbiza (left), NOAA CCME Researcher Dr. Richard Long (middle), and SoE and NOAA CCME graduate student Ariana Uwaibi participated in Florida State University Schools (FSUS) STEAM night where they helped students and parents swab cell phones and cultivate bacteria on agar plates.
Images of the plates were posted on Flickr so that participants could see their actual plate. There are also plates from the FAMU STEM Day on Flickr. In addition there were activities on learning bacterial shape and infographics on the human microbiome.
The NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME) held its 2019 Annual Meeting at the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) on the campus of the University of California – San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography on April 11-12, 2019. The theme of the meeting was “Expanding Partnerships for Student Training and Workforce Placement”. The main goals of the meeting were to: introduce CCME more broadly to the NOAA scientific community, educate CCME faculty and students about different research opportunities and interests at a variety of NOAA entities, and foster new and expanded collaborations, particularly those leading to student engagement, between CCME and NOAA.
Approximately 22 CCME faculty and staff, seven graduate students, thirteen NOAA personnel, three representatives of the Stakeholder Advisory Board, and the External Evaluator attended in person. Four NOAA personnel attended virtually (via the Zoom web conferencing service), as did other CCME faculty and students.
A pre-meeting informal gathering for introductions and networking was held the evening of April 10 in the Hotel La Jolla. The meeting kicked off with the presentation of posters highlighting research by select CCME graduate students with concurrent networking opportunities. Following the welcome by CCME Director Dr. Larry Robinson and the SWFSC Acting Deputy Science and Research Director Dr. Toby Garfield, the program moved to presentations summarizing CCME and the NOAA Educational Partnership Program (EPP) to familiarize the attendees with the program. Following a networking lunch and tour of the SWFSC, the afternoon of the first day featured talks from representatives of eleven NOAA laboratories, centers and offices. The speakers were selected to represent a mix of those with exiting collaborations with CCME, those with some familiarity but not yet engaged with CCME, and those with no pre-existing relationship with CCME. The second day began with a discussion of collaborative opportunities based on what was learned during the first day. Following the open session, an internal CCME programmatic meeting was held.
NOAA CCME Postdoc Emily Jones, Professor Dr. Michael Martinez-Colon, and CCME Scholars Terrius Bruce and Walter Holmes participated in FAMU's BioBlitz where students and faculty walked around to different spots on FAMU's campus to take photographs which are automatically geotagged with location information. This information can be used to help researchers answer questions or map locations of a certain species.
NOAA CCME Scholar Summer Martinez attended the Science of Oil Spills (SOS) classes at the Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center in Mobile, Alabama on March 24th - 29th 2019. These classes help spill responders increase their understanding of oil spill science when analyzing spills and making risk-based decisions. Below, she shares her experiences of attending the class.
This March 24th- 29th, I attended the Science of Oil Spills classes at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Office of Response and Restoration’s (NOAA ORR) Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center in Mobile, AL. The course was hosted by Katie Krushinski and taught by eleven instructors from multiple related NOAA branches. It was such an amazing experience to gain well rounded knowledge about oil spills and all the work and science that goes into restoration and response to these disasters. I was first amazed to see how often spills occur, and how many people are involved in the cleanup. I have had a chance to network with many oil spill responders such as members of the Coast Guard, oil companies, and state agents from the gulf regions. It is unfortunate that there's still not an effective fix to most spills, even despite the hard efforts of all these various groups and agencies. Restoration and responses are a convoluted process and every situation is completely different.
I learned about many different aspects of oil spills and how they affect response. One topic was the importance of media influence and how responders must adapt to situations depending if media helps or hinders response actions. I also got to learn about the various response scenarios depending on the type of oil, the location, and types of habitats and animals at risk. We went on a field trip to Dauphin Island to apply what we learned into a real-life scenario. Sometimes, a team will choose to do nothing when a spill occurs in various reasons, and I think the least they can do is bioremediate in these circumstances. I now believe even stronger in my research on bioremediation of oil spills using fungi. Maybe I'll be able to do my thesis on this topic, and this course gave me some ideas on different aspects I can test to make this a legitimate option for responders and Shoreline Cleanup Assessment (SCAT) Teams to decide on. Since I got a chance to learn about the complex factors that go into responding and the agencies that may be involved, I can potentially invent valid research projects with these factors in mind.
I also got a chance to connect with the scientists and experts who lectured that may benefit me in the future. I have already reached out to Charlie Henry and Alan Mearns, and both are excited to discuss my research and I believe they will give me helpful insight and resources. Not only did I get to learn basic oil spill information, but now I am able to ask questions to scientists that have done research in this field. At the end of the course I received a certificate of completion of the course, and that will enhance my CV for applications for grad school. I am pleased to have had this experience, and I want to thank NOAA’s Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems for giving me the opportunity to attend this course.