Moore Foundation Grants $1.2 Million to Support Progress on Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal

Coastal recreation and boating.

Screenshot of coastal recreation and boating mapping data on the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal.

Funding will support collaboration by Rutgers, The Nature Conservancy and Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute.

The Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) has received a $1.2 million Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation grant to continue the development of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal (portal.midatlanticocean.org), a free, state-of-the-art mapping and information site focused on ocean areas from New York through Virginia. The funding will support the work of a project team consisting of researchers from Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis (CRSSA), The Nature Conservancy and the UCI.

The grant will enable the UCI and its project partners to add valuable new content to the publicly accessible site in 2016 and 2017, including interactive maps depicting fishing areas, oceanography, tribal ocean uses and a trove of data that will illustrate marine life distributions and trends throughout the East Coast in greater detail than ever before. The Portal was initiated under the guidance of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Oceans (MARCO) with previous funding provided by the Moore Foundation in 2015 and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2012 and 2013.

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Rutgers Researchers Working to Make Shellfish Aquaculture a Priority Economic Activity

Farm raised oysters.

Farm raised oysters.

Many coastal states have developed multi-million dollar shellfish aquaculture industries and sell their shellfish products in markets close to New Jersey. A key to their success has been a top-down mandate from state government to grow the industry. States such as Maryland, Virginia, and Rhode Island have experienced tremendous growth in shellfish production stemming from strong state leadership.

These mandates have established shellfish aquaculture as a priority activity with significant economic value and created a single, lead authority for shellfish aquaculture. In addition, they have expanded acreage that is suitable for shellfish aquaculture and have led to the implementation of science-based regulatory frameworks.

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Climate science, nuclear strategy, and the humanitarian impacts debate

In the wake of research published in the past decade on the long-term effects of nuclear war, a humanitarian impacts movement has formed and become a rallying point for disarmament activists, as well as a source of passionate disagreement among nations… Modeling limitations, however, prevented any robust quantitative studies of climactic effects. Since 2007, Toon and Turco, along with Rutgers University environmental scientist Alan Robock and others, have produced studies that use state-of-the-art climate modeling to update previous estimates. Given the diminished likelihood of full-scale nuclear war between the United States and Russia, they focus their analysis instead on a nuclear conflict in South Asia.

Read the entire article at The Bulletin »

Faculty Focus: Leonard Bielory Researches the Impact of Climate Change on Allergies

Dr. Leonard Bielory at microscope.

Dr. Leonard Bielory at microscope.

For many people, spring’s arrival signifies blissfully longer days, welcome sunshine, and flowers in bloom. But for millions of Americans, it’s also the first sign that dreaded allergy symptoms are on their way, from sneezing and stuffy nose to watery eyes and an overall malaise that can last months or even all year, depending on the trigger.

Ragweed.

Ragweed.

And according to Leonard Bielory, M.D., a specialist in allergy and immunology with the Rutgers Center of Environmental Prediction, allergy sufferers should hunker down for more of the same in the years to come. Bielory’s research focus is the impact of climate change on allergies, and what he found was a discouraging link: the milder winters and warmer seasonal air that accompany climate change bring with them shifts in flowering phenology and pollen initiation—in other words, when it comes to ragweed, for example, climate change is causing the allergy season to start earlier and, in some areas of the northern U.S. and Canada, last up to a month longer than it did in 1995.

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Fluke Management: New Sense Of Urgency

If your fishing logs for five consecutive years show consistent fluke catches along a particular inshore lump for the entire month of July, yet in season six you’re skunked all the way through August, what does this tell you about the fishing?.. "It’s kind of early to figure out what’s going to happen, but it sure gives us a sense of urgency," said Greg Hueth on July 28 at an SSFFF presentation to local stakeholders at the Reel Seat in Brielle. Hueth said scientists are "very interested in what we’re doing" in terms of the current work by researchers at the universities at Rutgers and Cornell, while adding "hopefully we’ll get a seat at the table next summer," where the commissioned research findings can be presented.

Read the entire article at The Fisherman »

Woodinville firm builds death trap for mosquitoes that spread Zika

Seattle has spawned several high-tech efforts to combat Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases, from research on vaccines and drugs to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s vision of genetically engineering mosquitoes or infecting them with microscopic bugs to block viral transmission. But there’s also a low-tech battle under way, led in part by a local company that specializes in simple devices to trap and kill insects, usually without pesticides… "We’re certain these traps can kill mosquitoes," said Karl Malamud-Roam, manager of the Public Health Pesticides Program at Rutgers University. "What we’re not sure of is if we can kill enough of them to be below the threshold of disease transmission."

Read the entire article at The Seattle Times »

Rutgers Scientists Breeding Turfgrass That Can be Irrigated with Treated Wastewater

William A. Meyer and Stacy Bonos are researchers at the University who are developing an ideal form of turf grass.

William A. Meyer and Stacy Bonos (GSNB’97) are Rutgers researchers who are working to develop an ideal form of turfgrass.

Clean water is a valuable limited resource and water conservation is a priority in arid and drought-stricken regions. While people require clean water for survival, some plants are able to grow without perfectly clean water, leaving more potable water for drinking. One water conservation strategy is to use treated wastewater, which contains salt left over from the cleaning process, to irrigate large areas of turfgrass, which include athletic fields and golf courses. In arid regions, golf courses alone use approximately 750 billion gallons of water annually.

As most plants cannot tolerate high levels of salt, plant breeders are trying to breed plants that are more salt-tolerant. This would conserve clean water while maintaining healthy turf.

Associate professor Stacy Bonos (GSNB’97) in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology and members of her lab are conducting a series of experiments to study salt tolerance in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Perennial ryegrass is a popular wear-tolerant turfgrass used in mixtures and as a popular seed to repair disturbed and weak turf areas. Bonos’ team has found that tolerance is strongly controlled by additive genetic effects rather than environmental effects. This knowledge is good news for breeders, making it easier to breed for salt tolerance. [Read more…]

Metabolic Profiling Yields Insight Into OCD

Researchers are using the complex science of metabolic profiling to determine why some young horses develop osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) while others of similar breeding and management do not… Dr. Sarah Ralston, VMD, PhD, an equine nutritionist at Rutgers University, and Dr. Istvan Pelczer, Ph.D., a pioneer in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy-based metabonomic analyses at Princeton University, have spent the past 10 years analyzing and graphing blood samples from Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds with and without OCD to see how their bodies’ metabolic profiles differ. Armed with the spectroscopy data, the researchers have uncovered potential abnormalities in metabolic pathways that they believe can be manipulated to reduce the risk of developing OCD.

Read the entire article at The Paulick Report »

Perfect New Jersey tomato matter of taste — and science

Out in Upper Deerfield Township in Cumberland County, surrounded by hundreds of acres of corn, are a few acres where Rutgers University researchers are growing the tomatoes of tomorrow… "We started breeding tomatoes that resist bruising," said Jack Rabin, associate director of farm programs for Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. "That’s where the train ran off the track. We were so good at what we were doing, we forgot that people wanted to have a sloppy, juicy thing that left juice running down their chin." "If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there’s no such thing as the perfect tomato, said Extension Specialist Tom Orton as he stood among rows of tomato plants at the station’s field.

Read the entire article at The Press of Atlantic City »

New York City’s Chief Zika Hunter, Dr. Jennifer Rakeman (CC’94)

Dr. Jennifer Rakeman, director for the New York City Public Health Laboratory,

Dr. Jennifer Rakeman, director for the New York City Public Health Laboratory,

When the Zika virus emerged in the U.S. this year, Dr. Rakeman faced different demands than she did with the Ebola crisis in 2014.  She had to quickly training staff to probe for signs of a little-understood virus that lurks for only a short time in urine samples and even more briefly in blood. Public health laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are among the only facilities equipped to test for the Zika virus, which is spread by a certain species of infected mosquito and it is Rakeman’s job to make sure every test result is 100% correct. “We’ve gone from getting zero Zika specimens to getting hundreds a day,” she said.

Originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2016