NOAA Center for Coastal & Marine Ecosystems
Summer 2021 Newsletter
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NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems

To the NOAA CCME Community

Message from the Director

Thank you to all of you who participated in the first phase of the 10th Biennial NOAA EPP/MSI Education and Science Forum. In accordance with current CDC guidelines, Phase One of the Forum was held on a virtual platform. Although we could not be together in person, speakers and panelists provided attendees with engaging content, receiving active feedback from the audience. We heard from NOAA and industry leaders including Benjamin Friedman, the Deputy Under Secretary for Operations Performing the duties of Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, and Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple. We looked back on the successes of the NOAA EPP/MSI program and the Cooperative Science Centers (CSC), and the ways in which programs focused on diversity and inclusion are particularly well suited to face the challenges of the future. If you missed any of the sessions or would like to look back on the presentations they can be found on the Forum website at

FAMU President and NOAA CCME Lead PI Larry Robinson, Ph.D.

Planning for Phase Two of the Forum is already underway, and the Forum Planning Committee looks forward to hosting the second phase of the Forum, planned to take place Spring 2022 in person to allow even wider networking and professional development opportunities for our CSC students. The Forum Planning Committee will continue to monitor CDC guidance on travel recommendations and large gatherings. Any changes or updates will be shared via email and posted on the Forum website We hope you will be able to join us on campus at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL for the second phase as your schedule permits.

At NOAA CCME the Center faculty, students and staff are looking forward to a productive summer. We currently have 13 virtual NOAA Experiential Research and Training Opportunities (NERTOs) scheduled. We also continue to work with eager NERTO mentors who hope to host in-person NERTO internships in the Fall.

This Summer NOAA CCME partner institution Bethune-Cookman University will host our biannual Center-wide Core Competency Course (CWCC) in July at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine, FL. During the CWCC, NOAA CCME faculty will lead a two-week online course and one-week in-person course focused on a problem-based learning activity in the area of hydrological restoration.

Finally, as we close the Spring 2021 term we would like to congratulate the eight NOAA CCME Undergraduate Scholars who graduated this term.

On behalf of the NOAA CCME team, we wish you all a safe and productive summer.

Larry Robinson, Ph.D.
NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems

Upcoming Events

Center-Wide Core Competency (CWCC) Course
July 25th - 30th, 2021

This year's theme, "Restoration of hydrology as a key step in restoring the function of coastal wetlands", will have students participate in more hands-on experiences and field/lab work than previous years. The majority of the CWCC will be hosted at The Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, located in sunny St. Augustine Florida.


Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Timothy Turner Named the IHL 2021 Diversity Honoree for Jackson State University

In celebration of Black History Month, the Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning held its annual Diversity Awards ceremony virtually on February 18th, 2021. Leaders from each of Mississippi's public universities and the community at-large were honored and recognized for their efforts in advancing diversity and supporting underrepresented populations.

Dr. Timothy Turner, Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology was named the IHL 2021 Diversity Honoree for Jackson State University (JSU). Dr. Turner was nominated for this prestigious award by Dr. Alicia Mosley, JSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Over his career, Dr. Turner has contributed to bringing diversity to the field of science through his work with, and mentorship, encouragement and development of numerous undergraduates, graduates and faculty from underrepresented populations in their careers.

Dr. Tomthy Turner


Dr. Paul Montagna Named Among the Top 2 Percent of Scientists in the World for Scientific Impact

Dr. Paul Montagna

Dr. Paul Montagna was named among the top 2 percent of scientists in the world for scientific impact as measured by publication citations, according to a study conducted by Stanford University researchers. The database includes more than 156,000 scientists worldwide whose work has been most cited by peers throughout their careers.

Citation in the scientific world can be an indicator of the relevance of the researcher’s published work, and many published works are only cited once or twice, if ever, making Montagna a scientific influencer among his peers. Dr. Montagna is CCME Faculty member from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where he is the Harte Research Institute Chair for HydroEcology, Environmental Science Professor, TAMU System Regents Professor, and Co-Editor in Chief for the journal Estuaries and Coasts.

NOAA CCME Researchers at TAMUCC Secure $1,633,845 in Funding for Matagorda Bay Mitigation Projects

Four NOAA CCME faculty at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, received leveraged funding from the Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust (MBMT). The MBMT was established by a final Consent Decree on 2019. One requirement of the Consent Decree requires Formosa Plastics to embark on mitigation projects. The new project will help enhance work by several CCME graduate students. The MBMT manages mitigation projects including research. For 2021, the MBMT announced the following awards:

  1. Colorado River Delta Ecosystem Assessment: Gathering key baseline data to guide future habitat restoration in Matagorda Bay - Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi ($495,991), Greg Stunz
  2. A research and monitoring program to mitigate the impact of harmful algal blooms on the Matagorda Bay and San Antonio Bay ecosystems – Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi ($478,882), Michael Wetz
  3. Mercury and Plastic in Commercial and Recreational Fisheries in Lavaca, Matagorda, and San Antonio Bays: Risk Assessment and Interaction between the Two Contaminants – Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi ($499,917), Jeremy Conkle
  4. Long-term Trends in Lavaca-Colorado and Guadalupe Estuaries – Texas A&M University Corpus Christi ($159,055), Paul Montagna

Student Spotlight

Congratulations to the Spring 2021 Semester's Graduates

Spring 2021 Graduates

  • Erica Brooks - BS in Biology, JSU
  • Aaliyah Brown - BS in Biology, FAMU
  • Rhamira Corbett - BS in Environmental Studies, FAMU
  • Taylor Eddy - MS in Marine Science, CSUMB
  • Derrick Gunn - BS in Biology, JSU
  • Alexis Hamilton - BS in Environmental Science, FAMU
  • Malia Machado - BS in Biology, CSUMB
  • Andria Miller - BS in Biological Sciences, JSU
  • Katia Sanchez - BS in Environmental Sciences, UTRGV

Rhamira Corbett - BS in Environmental Studies, FAMU (top left)
Alexis Hamilton - BS in Environmental Science, FAMU
(top right)
Malia Machado - BS in Marine Sciences, CSUMB
(bottom left)
Andria Miller - BS in Biological Sciences, JSU
(bottom right)


NOAA CCME Awarded NOAA Planet Stewards Stewardship Project

NOAA Planet Stewards


The four living shorelines research projects will be assessed for potential impacts related to:

  1. Sea Level Rise – effects in target areas, effects of proposed shorelines;
  2. Impact on local economies – oyster industry, economic impact, water quality, flooding;
  3. Mitigation – flooding, extreme weather events, erosion; and the
  4. Intersection of these ecological and economic impacts.

The three sub-watersheds within the Nova canal watershed in relation to the Halifax River (image source: St. Johns River Water Management District)

Student activities

With guidance from NOAA CCME faculty and the use of the NOAA Restoration Atlas tool selected student participants will:

  • Investigate local sites for living shoreline green infrastructure
  • Investigate and identify current site-specific physical and social vulnerabilities of thetarget coastal communities
  • Measure local ecological effects of living shoreline green infrastructure
  • Assess potential socioeconomic effects of living shorelines in each location
  • Analyze the effectiveness of living shorelines in mitigation of sea level rise, erosion,nutrient loading, extreme weather event impacts, and assess potential impacts on the localeconomy through modeling and data analysis.

Additional Spotlights

NOAA CCME Alum Alexandra Thomsen Announced as 2021 California Sea Grant State Fellow

California Sea Grant welcomes 23 recipients into the prestigious 2021 State Fellowship. This opportunity provides fellows with unparalleled and hands-on training at the interface of science, communication, policy, and management at either a municipal, state, or federal host agency in California for one year.

The 2021 State Fellows represent 14 agencies and organizations throughout California. The fellowships will continue to be transformed by COVID-19 regulations in different ways based on where they are placed, and many fellows will engage remotely. All will continue to have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in their fields.

“I am excited to see the opportunities awaiting the 2021 State Fellows,” says California Sea Grant Director Shauna Oh. “They bring multifaceted backgrounds and experiences, and the fellowship program will provide them with training and knowledge to jumpstart their careers in coastal and marine policy. Thanks to our growing network of California agencies, this program prepares some of the best young minds to become future leaders in coastal and marine policy.”

This group of fellows brings diverse experience in the realms of environmental policy and management, marine and watershed science, biology and ecology, fishery and aquaculture regulation marine biodiversity and conservation, sustainable seafood, resource management, environmental systems, stormwater runoff management, sea-level rise adaptation, and coastal climate change adaptation.

Source: California Sea Grant


NOAA CCME Scholars and Faculty present at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Symposium

  • Bayrón-Arcelay, M., Bourke, E., Garwood, J., and Martinez-Colon, M., Seasonal Assessment of Benthic Foraminifera in Apalachicola Bay, Florida.
  • Martinez-Colon, M., Overview of ongoing projects to assess the environmental health condition of Apalachicola Bay.
  • Morey, S.L., Impacts of river discharge variability on coastal and shelf water properties in and near Apalachicola Bay.
  • Del Angel D., Yoskowitz, D., Bilskie M., and Hagen S., Economic Impact Analysis of Storm Flooding under Sea Level Rise.

NOAA CCME Scholar Angelique Rosa-Marín Awarded a McKnight Doctoral Fellowship for 2021-2022

Angelique has been accepted for her Ph.D. in Marine Science at the University of South Florida. Along with her acceptance to USF, she has also been awarded a McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (MDF) for 2021-2022.

To date, the MDF has produced 827 Ph.D.s in disciplines historically underrepresented by minorities, and at a time-to-completion rate nearly two years less than the national average.

NOAA CCME Efforts Recruit Two Scholars for Educational Partnership Program's Undergraduate Scholarship Program 

Kyra Freeney, Environmental Science, Florida A&M University and Devynn Gately, Marine Science, California State University, Monterey Bay have been recruited to the Undergraduate Scholarship Program (USP) for NOAA's Educational Partnership Program.

The EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship provides funds for two years of undergraduate study to rising junior undergraduate students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields that directly support NOAA's mission. Participants conduct research at a NOAA facility during two paid summer internships. Since 2001, 219 students have completed the program and over 75% go on to graduate school.

Leveraged Funding Received

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada , $168,458 CAD (approx. $134,135 USD). Co-PI Owen Temby (CCME UTRGV). “Understanding trust, risk and control dynamics as the ‘Architecture of Collaboration’ within Canadian and US transboundary fisheries governance networks,” Funds a postdoctoral fellow to co-supervise NOAA-CCME students working on fishery governance projects and introduces CCME students to faculty and students at McGill University.
  • JSU Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Center for Health Disparities Research (CHDR) Pilot Project Program (PPP), $169,000. PI R.W. Kulawardhana (CCME JSU). “Developing geospatial modeling framework for uncovering health disparities during COVID 19 Pandemic”. Provides research and training opportunities for students in geospatial analysis.
  • National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program (UGOS-1). $35,800 (FAMU subaward amount – 1-year project extension). Institutional PI Steven Morey (CCME FAMU). "Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current -- Numerical Modeling". Provides support for CCME Distinguished Research Scientist to remain engaged in NOAA CCME activities and student training during the summer months.
  • Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust. $159,055. PI. Paul Montagna (CCME TAMU-CC). “Long-term Trends in Lavaca-Colorado and Guadalupe Estuaries”. Provides potential research project opportunities to future CCME scholars.
  • National Science Foundation. $399,863 PI. Wenrui Huang (CCME FAMU).” Dynamic modeling of hurricane wind-wave-surge loads on buildings and resilience analysis”. Provides potential research project opportunities related to coastal resilience to future CCME scholars.
  • National Science Foundation. $300,000. PI: C. Garza. and Co-PI L. Good (CCME CSUMB). “Building a diverse ocean science community through collaboration: Reframing the R1-MSI research partnership model”. Provides collaborative research and training opportunities for CCME scholars.
  • NOAA IOOS. $125,000. PI C. Garza (CCME CSUMB). “CeNCOOS renewal grant”. CCME students will help support the development of communication strategies with the public around the value of ocean observing systems.