Friday, May 2, 2014

ATP Research Symposium at Bridgewater State University

ATP Research Symposium - April 28, 2014 at Moakley at Bridgewater State University. 

Dawilmer talking with another students about his research poster. 
Mani with her poster on dolphins and porpoises off Cape Cod. 
This past Monday, Biology students at Bridgewater State University presented their research at the annual ATP Research Symposium. Each poster presentation was a culmination of their activities conducted over the course of the semester under the guidance of Professor Krill Carson and Dr. John Jahoda.

Data used in these research projects was collected by NECWA staff and interns working on beaches as well as on boats offshore. NECWA also collaborates with a number of local businesses and organizations in southeaster MA, including Captain John Boats and Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay. Much of the data collected offshore is accomplished through NECWA's Internship Program established with Captain John Boats.

Christine and her poster on aging in ocean sunfish. 
Three different projects on marine wildlife were highlighted during this symposium. Christine Fallon was continuing her work on aging and growth in ocean sunfish. Dawilmer Castillo presented on cold-stunning in sea turtles in the New England area. And Manpreet Kaur investigated the occurrence and distribution of toothed whales (dolphins and porpoises) in the waters of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Christine talking with BSU students about her ocean sunfish research. 
Data collected on stranded ocean sunfish was obtained from NECWA's research and rescue project of ocean sunfish strandings on Cape Cod. The New England Basking Shark and Ocean Sunfish Project (NEBShark) is a community-sighting network for both live and stranded ocean sunfish. Check it out at

Dawilmer explaining his research on cold-stunned sea turtles. 
And information from Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay was used to provide an overview on cold-stunning in sea turtles. Cold-stunning is a hypothermic reaction experienced by sea turtles exposed to prolonged cold water temperatures. These individuals became trapped in the arm of Cape Cod as they migrate south. Unable to function, they strand live or dead on the shores of the Cape in the fall and early winter.
Mani who is studying toothed whales off Cape Cod. 
And data used to investigate the occurrence and distribution of toothed whales (dolphins and porpoises) in the waters of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary was collected by NECWA staff and interns aboard Capt. John Boats. Mani used this data to learn what species utilize these waters and during what seasons. Mani is also learning how to plot this sighting data using ArcView and Google Earth.

Mani with her poster on toothed whales. 
Seeing NECWA's data being used for education, research and conservation makes us feel good about the work we do on behalf of coastal marine wildlife in the New England area. And we love working with these young professionals who are passionate and enthusiastic about the animals that they study and the research they are involved with.

Dawilmer in action!
To learn more about NECWA go to our website at and our sighting network at And donate today if you want to help support our activities like this research symposium. NECWA is a volunteer nonprofit for all donations go directly to the projects that we oversee.