Surfrider Foundation 2007 Scholarship Recipient
June 02 2008 |
by Surfrider Foundation
Dear Surfrider Foundation-
As a recipient of the 2007 Surfrider Foundation Scholarship, I have been honored by your understanding
and support for my work investigating the transport of the pathogen Toxoplosma gondii to sea otter
populations in the Monterey Bay. I am very proud of this recognition because I have been a part of
Surfrider for more that a decade; Surfrider represents many of the issues that inspire me to continue
working in this field. No other award could have been more personally moving - thank you!
In some detail, I wanted to share with you how the scholarship has contributed to my growth this past
year The following is a summary of how I have applied the funds:
Summer session tuition ($1,100) - By finishing coursework during the summer of 2007 at UC
Santa Cruz, I have been able to accelerate the completion of my degree requirements and more
rapidly focus on my research activities. I am now hoping to finish my Ph D. by mid-2011,
whereas before I'd expected it to be during 2012.
"Surf rig" ($400) - Perhaps one of the most appropriate uses of my scholarship funds was to
rescue a sad 9'0" afflicted with an enormous air bubble on its deck from the used board rack at
a Capitola surf shop and give it a new life. With a few bolts and re-configured oceanographic
instruments, the board's underside is now a surface water sampling unit to be towed alongside a
small boat. Although more elaborate systems can be purchased and mounted on boats, these
are expensive and are not readily transferrable from one vessel to another - my version is
inexpensive, portable, and can be adapted to use the instruments I already have access to- This
permits me flexibility for sampling under variable conditions and questions in my research,
Complete tool set including a power drill, boat gear and computer accessories ($1,400) - I
wanted to invest part of my award in equipment that would continue to support my research in
the years to come- I purchased a good set of Craftsman tools for use in the field when I'm
working on oceanographic instruments and aboard small research vessels. My investment not
only ensures that I will have well-maintained tools available when needed but that I needn't
monopolize the limited resources shared among our lab group. In fact, I am able to share my
resources when needed! I've aiso put together some of my own boat gear (handheld VHF radio,
handheld GPS unit) and computer accessories (adapters, cables) for working with research
Digital camera with underwater housing ($1,000) - I similarly invested in a small digital camera
and an underwater housing to document my work in both still and video formats above and
below the ocean surface. This will be important as I begin to present my work more and more.
Books and software ($500) -As another investment, I added to my personal library a variety of
policy books that will supplement my studies and interest in becoming a more p politic allysophisticated
scientist". Much of this literature focuses on the management of public resources and I am eager to continue learning about this academic avenue so that I can be more effective in what I d o In addition, I purchased several reference books and statistical software for my laptop.
Ocean Sciences Conference 2008 ($300) - In March 2008, I attended the biennial meeting of the
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and The Oceanographic Society in Orlando
(FL) where the theme was "From the Watershed to the Global Ocean". I presented a poster of my
preliminary oceanographic studies (conducted during Summer 2007) as a way to get professional
feedback from other experts. I am enclosing a printout of this poster for you as well Although
my registration, flight and accommodations were covered by another research grant, I used part
of my scholarship to pay for food and miscellaneous expenses during the week-long trip.
Dive insurance ($100) and SCUBA equipment maintenance ($200) -These expenses are not otherwise provided for but are required of all scientific research divers at 1JC Davis. My
regulator and buoyancy compensator received their annual inspection and servicing, and my dive
insurance was renewed.
I'd also like to update you on some of my research progress Some of my Summer 2007 work is
summarized in the poster printout I've enclosed, this mostly emphasizing my nearshore oceanographic
studies Along with the data I continue to collect, it will be merged with the work of other colleagues
who are evaluating watershed transport to build a model that predicts where sea otter exposure to
Joxoplasmo is the greatest This Spring, I have been conducting similar studies at another location, near
the San Lorenzo River mouth in Santa Cruz This coming winter, I will be part of an informal
collaboration with the US Geological Survey and other local academics aimed at more thoroughly
understanding the river's influence on the local coastline. I also plan to extend my studies into the
adjacent kelp forest ecosystems of this region.
Additionally, I have been testing the method for shore-based plume tracking that I'd proposed in my
application. The idea was that we could take temperature-salinity measurements along the shore as a
way to better understand where different water masses were coming from/moving towards and predict
where likely polluted waters were being transported in the ocean environment- Based on preliminary
results for the main beach in Santa Cruz, CA, I am very pleased to say that the method is clearly usable
- I have been able to track water from the San Lorenzo River as it moves alongshore with changing tides
and am beginning to see consistent patterns that appear to reflect those of the Santa Cruz County's
beach advisories- I plan to continue this work in addition to my other studies and will soon discuss
further possibilities with County Health officials. I also hope to eventually initiate a broader program
beginning with my local chapter in Santa Cruz.
Last, I'd like to note that I wrote a short article for the Santa Cruz Chapter's newsletter "The Ocean's
Roar" last fall concerning sea otters and Joxoplasmo - I have enclosed a copy of this.
Thank you again for your generous support - it has meant much to me and I'm certain that as an
activist, I will maintain a life-long relationship with the Surfrider Foundation. I hope that in the coming
years I will also be able to increasingly work with the organization as an academic and professional.
All The Best--
2007 Surfrider Scholarship Recipient