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Community Science

Community Science recognizes the unique expertise and knowledge that comes from scientist-community partnerships. The ability to work together to address challenges by interpreting technical details and providing access to scientific information, can help to inform decision making at a local level and find solutions that benefit all. (From: Scientist Community Partnerships-Union of Concerned Scientists- http://www.ucsusa.org)

Facts do not have an agenda. It’s your responsibility as a scientist, as an organizer, as a community member, to find those facts . . . and figure out what it is you need to do with them to make life better for everybody.

http://www.ucsusa.org/scientistsandcommunities

As an interdisciplinary community scientist, my collaborators include fishermen, veterinarians, engineers, marine mammal stranding organizations, social scientists, economists, NGOs, fishery and marine protected species managers, teachers, artists, land owners and local residents.  The work I conduct centers around marine mammals as sentinels of ocean and human health as well as addresses the often overlooked challenges of rebounding marine mammal populations in the context of health and ecosystem function. The goals of my research and outreach are to be able to provide the knowledge needed to mitigate human impact on marine species, understand risks of these impacts, facilitate effective collaborations, and raise awareness of ocean health and its connection to human health.


Projects


The Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium (NASRC) recognizes that healthy populations of all marine resources including fishes, seals, whales, and other species are important components of healthy marine ecosystems. We are committed to providing answers to questions about seal populations by using comprehensive research data and analysis.

Have you seen a tag? A uniquely marked individual? An interesting behavior? Or maybe you are not quite sure what it is you saw? The Marine Animal Identification Network provides information on tagged animals (primarily seals) and a database of sightings. We hope that YOU will help in recording these reports and invite you to join here. Learn about research on seals and other marine animals and participate in the process of learning about their travels. To report an animal or search for tags, go to MAIN.

Fishing Community Engagement in Research and Public Health

Gaining a better understanding bycatch of and depredation due to marine animals, is an important step to reducing these interactions. The research performed by commercial fishermen, the Center for Coastal Studies and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will allow for a better understanding of the interactions between gillnet fisheries and predators such as dogfish and seals. The study will obtain video documentation of the fish species that seals and other predators consume to better predict foraging behavior near fishing vessels. The data collected will help commercial fishermen understand possible conflicts between gear and predators, including depredation and entanglement. With this knowledge we aim to work together to effectively mitigate these interactions.

Interactions with marine animals can also lead to human health risks. From spines to bites and ink to gurry, fishermen face a very unique and challenging set of health risks. A team of interdisciplinary collaborators are working together to create “Marine Animal Pathogen Risk Guidelines” tailored for fishermen and those working closely with the marine environment. STAY TUNED!

Seals of Duck Island, Isles of Shoals

Maine, USA

Since 2011, the marine mammal internship program at the Shoals Marine Lab has been documenting the changing harbor and gray seal population on Duck Islands and Ledges. This little island is providing big insights into the changing Gulf of Maine ecosystem. The seals here are truly sentinels of ocean health.

Research being conducted with students and colleagues include population counts, photo ID, entanglement prevalence, standardization of data collection for the region, health assessment and site fidelity. For information on data collected, and to use this data, please contact Dr. Andrea Bogomolni: abogomolni@gmail.com

Selected recent research studies from “Seal Team Shoals”

  • Jessica Veo (UMASS Amherst) Shoals Marine Mammal Intern 2018. Characterizing the diet of stranded harbor seals (Phoca vitulina concolor) in the Gulf of Maine. RARGOM 2018, Portland ME.
  • Juliana Berube (UMASS Amherst) Shoals Marine Mammal Intern 2018. Dietary trends of stranded harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and local fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. RARGOM 2018, Portland, ME.
  • Mila Calandrino (UMass Amherst) Variation in minimum Gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) and Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) minimum abundance counts on Duck Island, ME due to meteorological variables. RARGOM 2016, Portsmouth, NH.
  • Mila Calandrino (UMass Amherst) Shoals Marine Mammal Intern 2016 “Environmental and ecological factors affecting gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) and harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) haul-out behavior on Duck Island, ME” Honors Thesis April 28, 2017.
  • Kadie Tommasi (UNH) Shoals Marine Mammal Intern 2017. The Interspecific Interactions and Habitat Preferences of Harbor and Gray Seals on Duck Island and Ledges, ME. RARGOM 2017, Portsmouth, NH.
  • Meg Carr (UNH) Shoals Marine Mammal Intern 2016. Entanglement of Grey (Halichoerus grypus) and Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) at Duck Island ledges, ME RARGOM 2016, Portsmouth, NH.
  • Andrea Bogomolni (for SML Interns 2011-2016) Population assessment of Harbor (Phoca vitulina) and Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) at Duck Island ledges, ME. RARGOM 2016, Portsmouth, NH.

This Wider Caribbean Marine Mammal Stranding Guide was created through the Eastern Caribbean Cetacean Network (ECCN). The objective of ECCN is to gain community support for the protection of resident and migratory whales and dolphins and their marine habitat. The network is a regional, volunteer network that records sightings and strandings of marine mammals in the Eastern Caribbean.

Marine Mammal Stranding and Necropsy Trainings

Sharing experiences to advance marine mammal stranding science with local, national and international colleagues, is extremely rewarding and results in a gain of knowledge by all. Whether on Cape Cod, India or the Eastern Caribbean Islands, we continue to learn and share ideas.


Teaching

Education, whether in the classroom or in the greater community, is central to community science.

Shoals Marine Lab
Marine Mammals

Courses and Appointments:

Faculty- Marine Studies Consortium. Introduction to Marine Mammal Biology (2020).

Adjunct Faculty- Massachusetts Maritime Academy (2019-2021). Marine Mammals. This course introduces students to marine mammal biology, conservation, policy and the interdisciplinary nature of the field of Marine Mammal Science.

Instructor- Woods Hole Children’s School of Science (CSS), Woods Hole MA (Summer 2002-2018) Developed coursework and curriculum for several classes for a diverse range of student levels and ages including: Seashore Life (age 7-8), Marine Mammals (age 13-15), Experiments in Woods Hole (age 13-16) and Global Sustainability (age 13-15).

Teaching Faculty- Shoals Marine Lab, Introduction to Marine Mammals, (Summer 2015-2018) Co- Instructor for Marine Mammal Biology with Dr. Nadine Lysiak for undergraduate students from several universities. The course is an intensive 2-week summer course where students and faculty are expected to work 10 hours a day immersed in science, writing, teaching and communicating science. Classes are between 10-20 students. Students and faculty live at the Shoals Marine Lab. Related skills include course development, small boat operation and teaching science to a diverse range of students in an intensive 2 weeks course period. Education program analysis and evaluation is completed for every year of the course.

Adjunct Lecturer- Bridgewater State University, BIOL 408 Marine Mammal Biology (Graduate and Undergraduate Sections) (Summer 2015-2018) Duties include development of curriculum and course work for 10-20 undergraduate and graduate students in this intensive summer science and writing course. Along with this course, lectures are given outside of the normal course time for the “ask the professor” lecture series to promote open public education and outreach. A one -day workshop was also developed on Marine Mammals and Ocean and Human Health for the public.

Senior College- Bridgewater State University-Marine Conservation Challenges (2020). How do we manage the limited resources our ocean provides? What are the biggest challenges we and oceans face? This lecture series course gives an in-depth introduction to some of these big challenges including energy, food production and fisheries, marine mammal conservation challenges and climate change.

Marine Mammal Research Mentor- Shoals Marine Lab, (2011-2018) This mentorship program includes the development of science based curriculum and implementation of a long term education/internship program for Seal Research. This data set has been used for aiding in management of marine mammals and presented at national and international conferences. Grants were written and awarded to support the program and materials for the internship program that supports up to three interns each summer. Skills include boat handling, photo ID, teaching, curriculum development and organizing guest lecturers to the island. Related skills also include writing and obtaining marine mammal research permits as a Principle Investigator for Level B harassment for this research. Skills also include resolving and finding alternative solutions to interpersonal/personnel problems that arise with undergraduate students in a long term field station environment. Strategies are implemented including mindfulness, and stress coping mechanisms that suite each student. Sixteen interns have successfully completed this program.



Community Conversations 

Community conversations are critical. To make a request for Dr. Andrea Bogomolni to guest lecture or participate in speaking engagements, please feel free to fill out the contact form. 

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