April 2018 Promotions

April is promotion month for faculty at Rutgers and we are proud of Daphne Munroe, Malin Pinksy, and David Bushek all of whom received promotions this year.

Daphne Munroe was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. She arrived at Rutgers from Vancouver Island University in 2010. She has distinguished herself as a critical member of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory with her research focused on understanding the processes and mechanisms that underlie how fisheries adapt to change. This is an especially important research focus given the accelerating change observed in marine systems locally and globally. Daphne has also focused on developing sustainable shellfish aquaculture. This is a challenge in regions that need to balance interactions between aquaculture systems and natural environments, to ensure that detrimental impacts on the environment remain low. Congratulations!

munroe daphne award

Congratulations to Malin Pinsky who was promoted and received tenure. His research is focused on global change ecology and evolution in the ocean. His work is filling a critical void in understanding how human activities are (or are not) transforming the ocean, the key processes involved, and the actions that could make a difference. His laboratory is integrating tools from statistical ecology, population genomics, and mathematical modeling. Malin’s research aims to understand the consequences of these differences for global change in the ocean and land as well as the implications for developing more sustainable ocean uses.

pinksy malin award

Congratulations to David Bushek who has been promoted to Full Professor. Since 2011, David has been the Director of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory. His major focus is tracking the long-term trends in Delaware Bay and using the data to gain insight into relationships and mechanisms that structure marine ecosystems. David is a leader in monitoring disease and mortality of oysters in Delaware Bay. What is particularly commendable is there is no boundary between basic and applied research for David. Congratulations to David!

bushek dave award

Bravo Zulu to Dr. Chris Free

Congratulations to Chris for the successful defense of his PhD thesis!

ChrisFree defense

And if that wasn’t enough, he has also just been awarded the Rutgers Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. This is the highest award bestowed on graduate students at Rutgers involving 75 PhD programs. Below is a picture from the awards ceremony, where he is being handed the award by Jerry Kukor, the Dean of the Rutgers Graduate School:

ChrisFree award

Chris will continue his stellar work in Olaf's lab as a post-doc (1) determining whether the productivity of marine predators such as tuna, whales and seabirds are influenced by the abundance of their prey or whether the ability of predators to move and switch prey negates this expected link, and (2) developing a data-limited stock assessment model that will be useful in assessing multi-species fisheries commonly targeted in developing countries. Check out his webpage for more information.



Scientific Diving Class Opens Doors for Rutgers Undergraduates

By Ken Branson and Cameron Bowman April 5, 2018

Breathing through their scuba gear, Ailey Sheehan and her classmates dropped a new and improved lionfish trap – a hinged net that will help scientists study that invasive fish in the Caribbean – into the dive pool at Rutgers.

Sheehan, a junior marine science major, discovered the opportunity to help design, build and conduct underwater testing of the fish-snaring device through Rutgers-New Brunswick’s scientific diving class, created through collaboration between the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences and Rutgers Recreation.

Led by Rutgers Recreation’s scuba coordinator Debbie Miller, a veteran diver, scientific diving is one of the few such classes open to undergraduates in the United States. The class leads to certification as a recreational diver, a rescue diver and – by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences – a scientific diver.

“Scientific diving is essential to oceanographic research, an area in which Rutgers is a worldwide leader,” Miller said. The students in her class learn advanced open water and rescue diver skills, as well as the use of scientific methods underwater. That they can acquire these skills and attain this certification while still undergraduates opens more doors, and opens them sooner, than would be the case if they had to wait until they entered graduate school as in other institutions.

“You can apply for graduate programs. You can apply to do research. You can be a citizen scientist. The course sets all the groundwork, so if you want to go into professional diving or be a dive master, you can do that as well,” Miller said.

Rutgers sends its faculty and student scientific divers around the world. For example, they help deploy, recover and repair the submersible robot gliders whose use the university has pioneered as ocean-observing instruments. Right now in the Philippines, a team led by environmental sciences professor Malin Pinsky is using scientific diving to research how anemone fish – better known as clownfish – disperse their larvae in coral reefs.

For Julian Maheu, a junior marine science major, the scientific diving class also teaches confidence. “In high school, my grades were very good, but in college I was losing confidence. Having scuba diving, and being very good at it and improving with my peers, has taught me that school is not just about the grade you get on your exam but about the experience you build.”