Aboard GSO, Fall 2023

Close up of Zinnia bloom

At the annual Shirting Ceremony, GSO congratulated and welcomed its latest alumni. 15 Master of Oceanography (M.O.), seven Master of Science (M.S.) and seven Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees were awarded. In a special first, this class included M.O. recipients (6) who earned their degrees entirely through GSO’s online program.

Group photo outdoors of the 2023 graduates

Contractors begin work on Phase 1 of Project 1—Site Work for the Ocean Robotics Laboratory.

In Quarter Three of Fiscal Year 2023, GSO received $17.4 million in research funding. In addition, GSO researchers submitted and/or participated in almost $13.7 million in proposals.

R/V Endeavor conducts EN700, “Deepwater Coral Collection in the Gulf of Maine.” The mission is sponsored by the Rhode Island Endeavor Program and directed by co-principal investigator and professor Brennan Phillips, B.S. ’04, Ph.D. ’16.

At the Ocean Race stopover’s Exploration Zone in Newport, R.I., students, faculty and staff welcomed thousands of visitors and shared several ocean-science activities throughout the nine-day festival.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Oceanography (SURFO) Program begins. 12 undergraduates from 11 states and Puerto Rico arrive on campus for a 10-week research experience designed for rising seniors majoring in science, math and engineering disciplines.

Water quality monitoring at South Ferry Beach begins. Every other Wednesday, a volunteer brings a water sample to the URI Watershed Watch Lab, which is tested for levels of Fecal Coliform and Enterococci bac­teria. Testing will continue throughout summer and autumn.

Five master’s theses and one doctoral dissertation are defended. Titles include: “Blue Carbon and Microplastic Sequestration in Coastal Habitats of the Philippines,” “Evolution of Coastal Barrier Systems in Southwestern Rhode Island in Response to Storms and Anthropogenic Forcing,” “Effect of Wind-Wave Misalignment on Drag Coefficient,” “Probing the Anoxic World of Coastal Marine Sediments in New England,” “Investigating the Adaptive Potential of Southern Ocean Phytoplankton” and “Evaluating the Ocean State Ocean Model for Studying Coastal Dynamics of Rhode Island Sound.”

GSO prof. Rainer Lohmann and asst. research prof. Jitka Becanova discuss their research into toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) with professors Art Spivack and Martha McConnell in the online roundtable, “The Forever Chemicals: PFAS Exposure and Impacts.” PFAS compounds contaminate coastal and freshwater systems, as well as our drinking water and have been linked to various health issues, including malfunctions of kidneys, liver and immune system.

The new parking lot on West Side of campus is being paved.

Campus renewal continues. A contractor prepares to receive and install the electrical transformer at the new pier. Meanwhile, installation of a new parking lot and site utilities to support the Ocean Robotics Laboratory and the future Ocean Frontiers Building (OFB) progresses as design of the OFB develops. The new lot will include 14 EV charging stations.

In the largest student social event of the year, Chowder & Marching sponsors the annual Boat Burning and welcomes the new cohort of students to the Narragansett Bay Campus. GSO professor Hongjie Wang is the special guest speaker.

GSO announces it received $12.8 million in research funding during Quarter Four of Fiscal Year 2023. The total of all GSO research awards in the year reaches a high-water mark—$70,805,274.

The third Student-Alum Career Speed Networking event is made possible by seven alumni volunteers and is attended by 30 current GSO and Ocean Engineering students.

The carbon footprint of campus operations is reduced. By partnering with the private sector to get capital assets replaced without impacting existing URI funds, GSO completes nearly $1.4 million in energy management projects. Reductions in energy consumption— 740,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and 14,000 therms of natural gas—will be realized throughout the life of the new equipment.

Student representatives on the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) committee conduct a listening session at the new Student and Wellness Center. Fellow students are invited to share ideas for better supporting friends and colleagues.