So long, sweet summer

So long, sweet summer

The Fall 2016 semester is rapidly approaching and the Humphries Lab is tying up the loose ends and getting ready for the academic year. The new semester will bring new PhD and MS candidates Paul Carvalho, Elle Wibisono, and Katie Viducic. But before that happens, the current lab crew has a few weeks of their exciting summer seasons to wrap up.

 Austin had a productive few months in Indonesia (with a trip to Hawaii and the Bahamas mixed in there). He spent a lot of time underwater off the island of Lombok looking at coral reefs, fish, and sampling plankton with Chris Lane from the Department of Biological Sciences at URI. Collaborators at Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia) helped make a short video of this work which you can check out HERE. Austin followed up this work with Amelia Moore and Rob Thompson of URI's Department of Marine Affairs. They interviewed fishers and tourism operators around Lombok to better understand the coastal communities who are linked to the coral reef for livelihood. Austin also spent a few weeks in the Spermonde Islands region of Indonesia off of Sulawesi, helping develop a baseline assessment for a large-scale coral restoration and sustainable fisheries project with partners from Hassanudin University (Indonesia), UC-Davis, and Mars Symbioscience. Lastly, Austin returned to Rhode Island in late August to do some kelp monitoring in Narragansett Bay, hitting the water temps at their yearly peak so he doesn't get too cold!

After a successful spring 2016 semester, Evans used the summer period to prepare his research proposal. In addition, he undertook an internship at East Farm with Kathy Castro, Barbara Somers, and Laura Skrobe from the URI Fisheries Center. In this role, Evans was busy collecting and analyzing morphometric data on Jonah crabs and American lobsters. 

Lauren spent the summer on Martha's Vineyard, collecting data for her thesis. She helped in the initial installation of a 'living shoreline' salt marsh restoration project in June, and provided organizational support (read: beds and breakfast) to EPA collaborators for 2nd and 3rd installations in July and August. Lauren spent the remainder of her time surveying island visitors, residents, and local resource users about their opinions on prioritizing restoration efforts for the Vineyard's coastal salt ponds. She also served as public liaison for Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, the Audubon Society sanctuary where the 'living shoreline' was installed, integrating the restoration site into public outreach and education programming.

Diky went to Raja Ampat in West Papua, Indonesia, as a part of the Coremap Coral Triangle Initiative (Coremap CTI), which aims to institutionalize coral reef fisheries management using an ecosystem-based approach. Diky gathered insight from fishermen about their activities within coral reef environments through stakeholder focus groups, resulting in a signed agreement to implement management plans for local reef fish. Following this, Diky visited Meos Mansar Island and Gam Island, which he helped select to serve as pilot sites for the management plan. While there, he gathered information on current fishing practices, such as fishing grounds and seasons, fishing gear, and catch.

The Humphries Lab is now looking forward to getting back together, swapping war stories about their first URI field seasons, and sharing some cozy office space down in the basement of Woodward Hall.

End of our First Year!

End of our First Year!

The Humphries Lab marked the end of its very first academic year last week with a celebratory potluck dinner. A culinary cultural exchange, Austin, Lauren, Evans, and Diky filled the table with dishes from where they grew up – representing Virginia, New England, the coast of Ghana, and the island of Java, Indonesia. And because we take matters of food very seriously, the result was mouth-watering!

In our first year we’ve gone from Austin and lonely grad student Lauren, to 8 official members of the Humphries Lab team. Talk about a serious growth spurt! Evans and Diky joined the team at the start of the Spring 2016 semester, and Paul Carvalho, Elle Wibisono, Katie Viducic, and Aditi Tripathy will be officially jumping on board this Summer and Fall. The research topics of our grad students now include topics such as data visualization of small-scale fisheries, human dimensions of coastal restoration, gear-based management of coral reef fisheries, and stock assessment methods for data-poor fisheries. These projects span geographies: Martha's Vineyard (MA), the North Atlantic Ocean, coastal Ghana, and islands throughout Indonesia. Developing projects in the lab include research on integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (kelp + oysters) in Rhode Island, as well as tourism and fisheries socioecological work in Lombok and Sumbawa, Indonesia. 

We’ve carved out our office space(s) in Woodward Hall, stocked up our laboratory on the third floor, and filled up the gear racks with field sampling equipment. Diky is spending the summer doing field work on the islands in Wakatobi National Park, Indonesia, and Lauren will launch into her first field season on Martha's Vineyard. Evans is on URI campus laying the groundwork for his dissertation proposal, and Austin is busy island-hopping in the Bahamas, Indonesia, and Hawaii. Stay tuned for updates on all of our summer research endeavors!

Living shorelines collaborator meeting

Living shorelines collaborator meeting

On Monday of last week, Austin and Lauren headed to Martha's Vineyard for a meeting with collaborators on this summer's living shorelines restoration project. The Humphries lab members joined US Environmental Protection Agency's Atlantic Ecology Division team, Marty Chintala, Suzy Ayvazian, and Mary Schoell to ferry over to Mass Audubon Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary director Suzan Bellincampi and Oak Bluffs shellfish constable Dave Grunden. The meeting marked the first time the whole team got to sit around the same table and the opportunity was used to hash out details of project installation and plans for sanctuary visitor interviews. The team also got out to the marsh to take some pre-installation measurements. Greeted by unseasonably warm February weather and always thankful for a brief respite from the office, the day marked another exciting step forward in some novel social-ecological research. 

In the upcoming month, project supplies will make their way to the island and Lauren will attend the first of a number of meetings with sanctuary staff and volunteers to develop citizen science programming.