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We are pleased to announce some exciting new projects for which we have received funding.  Recently, the CaPE Lab (Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies) was awarded two grants: one for the study and removal of derelict fishing gear and other marine debris, and the other to study and map storm tide pathways.

Marine Debris

NOAA's Marine Debris Program offers funding each year to projects that are committed to the removal and study of marine debris.  This year, The Center for Coastal Studies was one recipient of this award, for the removal of 16 tons of gear in both Cape Cod Bay and the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Our part in this project involves the removal of derelict fishing gear (DFG) in both marine (sonar) and terrestrial (UAS) settings. We locate, identify and characterize DFG in both environments, and lead recovery teams will retrieve it. As such, an important part of these efforts will include community outreach and engagement.

NOAA Marine Debris Program 2018 Funding Awards

Storm Tide Pathways

As sea level rises, water will find its way into an increasing number of previously unreached spaces onshore.  This will occur during episodic events such as storms (see the blog post regarding January's storm).

According to the state of Massachusetts press release:

"The Cape Cod Cooperative Extension [Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies] will enable the protection of coastal businesses, homes, property and infrastructure by precisely identifying and mapping “storm tide pathways,” the lowest elevation where water will begin to flow inland during a flood event. This project will provide field-verified data on where, when, and how storm surge and floodwaters approach and then inundate coastal communities."

Read the full press release on

As you may know, Boston faces a serious dilemma with sea level rise, and is one of the American cities predicted to be most affected by rising water levels.  Read this article from WBUR for more information on Boston and sea level rise. 

Recently, the UMass Boston Sustainable Solutions Lab, a cross department and interdisciplinary collaboration among the schools of UMass Boston, released a report titled Feasibility of Harbor-wide Barrier Systems Preliminary Analysis for Boston Harbor.  Dr. Mark Borrelli of The CaPE Lab is one of the authors of this report.

The key recommendation of the report urges the City of Boston to focus on shore based solutions.

You can download the report below, and check out the UMass Boston News article on this report.

Report: Feasibility of Harbor-wide Barrier Systems

UMass Boston News:  UMass Bostons Report: Boston Harbor Barrier Costs Would Outweigh the Benefits

CaPE Lab members Mark Borrelli, Theresa Smith, and Bryan Legare contributed an article to the June 2018 edition of Sea Technology Magazine!  Sea Technology is a leading publication in the marine science technology sphere.  You can learn more about them here.

The article is titled "Mapping Seafloor Shallows: Vessel-based, Nearshore Surveys Using Phase-Measuring Side Scan".  It highlights the Lab's use of side scan sonar to measure bathymetry in extremely shallow water, between 0 and 5m depth.

The article can be accessed online here (Flash is required, so make sure to use a browser that supports flash).  Skip to page 14 to find the article:

Sea Technology Magazine, June 2018

We are very proud of our colleague, Bryan McCormack, for winning 3rd place at the UMass Boston School for the Environment's 6th Annual Environmental Research Colloquium.  He was the only undergraduate from UMass Boston to win an award for his oral presentation.

Bryan has worked tirelessly on his undergraduate research at the Balston Beach overwash fan in Truro, Cape Cod.  Having worked with him in the field for many long days, I can personally attest to Bryan's tireless work ethic.  We are very proud of his accomplishment.  Click the link below to view Bryan's presentation.


On Saturday, April 28th, Dr. Mark Borrelli will be giving a presentation at the New England Estuarine Research Society's 2018 spring meeting, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  His presentation, titled "A New Method for Calculating Rates of Shoreline Change in a Coastal Embayment With Fringing Salt Marsh" will happen at 10 am.

Click the link to learn more about NEERS.

We hope to see you there!

We are excited to announce, that with the continued growth of the CaPE Lab, we are now seeking a new graduate student for research in the field of Benthic Ecology.

Please click below to read more about this opportunity, and for correspondence details.

Graduate Opportunity for Benthic Ecologist: UMB CaPE Lab

On Monday, April 23rd, Dr. Mark Borrelli will give a presentation at the Informational Forum “The Economics of Coastal Infrastructure:
Traditional and Innovative Finance Options” at the Massachusetts State House, room 428.

Please click the links for the Agenda and Invitational Poster to find out more!

When: Mon, April 16, 6pm 8pm

Where: Ted Moorhead Lagoon House, 3275 Dixie Hwy NE, Palm Bay, FL 32905, USA (map)

Date: Monday,April 16, 2018    Time: 6:00 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Location: Ted Moorhead Lagoon House, 3275 Dixie Hwy NE, Palm Bay, FL 32905.

Audience: Open to the general public.

Fee: Free, attendees must register.

...continue reading "Earth Day 2018 Celebration: Educational Seminar & Social Fundraiser with the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS)"

Integrated Sciences Complex, UMass Boston. Source: UMass Boston

We are pleased to announce that Bryan McCormack will be giving an oral presentation at the UMass Boston 6th Annual Environmental Research Colloquium.

The Colloquium will be held in UMass Boston's brand new Integrated Science Complex on April 18th, 2018, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.  Bryan's talk, titled "Elevation Changes from Overwash at Ballston Beach, Truro MA: System Evolution and Management Implications", will be given at 10:30 am.

Click to register or to find out more.


Bryan Legare and Shark
Bryan Legare with Blacktip Shark, Coral Bay, St. John

Our very own Bryan Legare, with colleagues from Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, the Nature Conservancy and NOAA, used acoustic telemetry to track the presence, movements and habitat use of juvenile and young-of-the-year blacktip and lemon sharks in the US Virgin Islands.  We are pleased to announce that Bryan has recently published a paper on this research, and it appears in the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes:


The blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) is a common coastal species in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. To examine the fine-scale movement ecology of this species in a Caribbean nursery, 17 neonate blacktip sharks were acoustically tagged in May, 2012 and tracked for one year in Coral Bay, St John, USVI. By quantifying linear movement and shifts in position from a fixed Inner harbor location, we identified a diel movement pattern where blacktip sharks spend daylight hours within core habitat of Inner Coral Harbor and move each night to the central and outer portions of the Bay, a linear shift of 174–934 m. When compared to standard home range calculations applied to the overall movement data, these nightly positions were outside of the 95% activity space and, therefore, undetected using traditional space utilization methods, despite their predictable daily occurrence. Cluster analysis and nonmetric multidimensional scaling indicated distinct movement periods and locations: daytime (sun up) within Inner Coral Harbor; nighttime (sun down) in the center of the Bay; and brief periods approximately six hours after sunset at the mouth of the Bay. This diel shift in habitat use is likely associated with nocturnal foraging because it coincides with similar shifts in potential prey species. Habitat and resource management that incorporates the blacktip shark movements described herein is critical to the protection of these vulnerable life stages. The findings of this paper advance the understanding of blacktip shark behavior and acoustic telemetry experimental design.

Follow the link below to read Bryan's paper (journal subscription required).  To read more about Bryan Legare, check out his bio and CV in the People section of this blog.

Diel movements of the blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) in a Caribbean nursery

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