2024 NMFS-Sea Grant Fellowships Opportunity Now Open

October 30th, 2023

The NMFS-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship Program in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics places Ph.D. students in research-based fellowships that provide support for up to three years. The program is designed to fulfill workforce development needs identified by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and since 1999, has provided opportunities for 167 Ph.D. students.

The opportunity to apply for 2024 fellowships is now open. Applications are due to New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium on January 25, 2024.

Learn more about the fellowship program

Get started on your application with:

Questions? Contact Dr. Peter Rowe or the National Sea Grant Office at [email protected] / (240) 507-3712.

Attend the Sea Grant Marine Debris Symposium November 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 9th!

October 13th, 2023

Join the National Sea Grant Program on November 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 9th to learn about the 29 projects awarded across the 2022 Marine Debris Challenge and Community Action Coalition competitions funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. View the agenda here. Register for Week One and/or Week Two. Learn more about the symposium here.


For this project, New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) will partner with Columbia University through its Eco Ambassador program and with New York Sea Grant (NYSG) to develop effective marine debris curricula while expanding environmental literacy outreach to K-12 students from marginalized communities located in New Jersey and New York urban watersheds.

NJSGC Director of Education Diana Burich, adds “We are very excited to be collaborating with our partners to expand environmental literacy and plastic pollution awareness throughout  the NY-NJ area’s urban watershed communities. Through the EcoEmbassadors Program, K-12 students from traditionally underserved and marginalized communities will learn about the pervasive problem of plastics in their local waterways and will become empowered to find solutions and take action to create a more sustainable environment, which will ultimately have long-term effects on human health and the blue economy. We are grateful for the resources to work with the community and to have the opportunity to collaborate with a great group of colleagues in this important effort.” Diana Burich, who is lead principal investigator (PI) on the project, is excited to work with co-PI Radhika Iyengar, Ph.D., Director of Education, Center for Sustainable Development, The Earth Institute, Columbia University.

Become a Knauss Fellow in 2025

September 29th, 2023

The application period for the 2025 Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship is now open. The fellowship provides a one-year, paid experience for highly qualified early career professionals to work on issues related to coastal, marine and Great Lakes science and policy in offices within the executive or legislative branch of government in Washington, D.C. Learn more about becoming a Knauss Fellow from the National Sea Grant website.

Graduate students interested in marine, coastal, and Great Lakes science and policy should explore the information about the fellowship as soon as possible and reach out to New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium at least one month prior to the February 15, 2024 deadline.

To be eligible for the 2025 fellowship (which lasts February 1, 2025 through January 31, 2026),

  • A student must be enrolled towards a degree in a graduate program at any point between the onset of the 2023 Fall Term (quarter, trimester, semester, etc.) and February 15, 2024;
  • The student’s graduate degree program must be through an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or U.S. Territories;
  • Students are eligible regardless of nationality; domestic and international students at accredited U.S. institutions may apply; and
  • Applicants must have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources.

Get started on your application with:

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Applicant Named One of 2024 Knauss Fellowship Class

September 18th, 2023

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant) is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2024 class of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. The 84 early-career professionals selected will be placed in federal government offices throughout Washington, D.C., and join the over 1,600 individuals who have participated in the program since its inception in 1979.

The Knauss fellowship is a one-year paid opportunity for current and recent graduates from advanced degree programs to apply their scientific knowledge and experiences to lasting careers in the sciences, policy, and public administration.

“Knauss fellows over the years have consistently and thoughtfully applied their unique knowledge and skill sets to developing solutions to issues that affect people across the nation,” said Jonathan Pennock, Ph.D., Director of the National Sea Grant College Program. “We look forward to welcoming the incoming class of fellows and have no doubt that they will continue the tradition of serving through science.”

Oluwafemi Soetan, Montclair State University and New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Knauss Fellow

Oluwafemi Soetan, Montclair State University and New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Knauss Fellow

Oluwafemi Soetan also known as “Femi” of Montclair State University is one of the finalists that has been accepted into the 2024 Knauss Fellowship Class. Since 2021, Femi has been working to achieve his Ph.D in Environmental Science & Management. “I am beyond excited to be joining the 2024 Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship cohort. I have spent the last 3 years researching various marine and aquatic challenges for my Doctoral Program and with this fellowship, I have the tremendous opportunity to be directly involved in policy and administration concerning these very matters. Thanks to the National Sea Grant Program and the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium for this amazing opportunity.” Says Femi. 

Dr. Peter Rowe, Executive Director, notes “NJSGC is excited and pleased that Femi has been selected as a finalist for the Knauss Fellowship Class of 2024. Femi is one of the most talented, interesting, and inspiring individuals that has applied for the Fellowship through our organization. I know that he will not only be successful and gain a lot from this experience, but also that his host agency will gain from his presence there.”

This year’s class features students and recent graduates from 66 universities, including 12 minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The 84 finalists represent 30 of the 34 Sea Grant programs across the country and have completed years of coursework in fields ranging from zoology, oceanography, and marine science to environmental management, public policy, and engineering.

The 2024 class can look forward to sharing similar experiences with current and former fellows. In the 2023 class, executive appointments included placements throughout NOAA as well as with the Department of Energy, the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies. 2023 Legislative fellows have supported the House Space and Technology Committee, Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation (Majority), the House Natural Resources Committee on Water Oceans and Wildlife, and several placements in both majority and minority personal offices (House and Senate).

Former and current hosts share that fellows are exceptional additions to their offices, often leading the charge and making lasting impacts on their focus areas. Knauss fellows have been described as invaluable, essential, and integral—they not only gain experience from this opportunity but also provide valuable perspectives as experts in their fields.

In the following months, the 2024 finalists will participate in the placement week process to get to know each other and interview with potential host offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowships in February 2024. The 2024 Knauss finalists will become the 45th class of the fellowship and will join a group of over 1,600 professionals who have received hands-on experiences transferring science to policy and management through one-year appointments with federal government offices in Washington, D.C.

We’re Hiring

August 18th, 2023

NJSGC is looking for a K-12 Program Coordinator to ensure quality and growth of our K-12 Program. The K-12 Program consists of “The Coastal Experience,” NJSGC’s on-site seasonal field trip offerings for school-aged children in grades kindergarten through high school. The K-12 Program Coordinator is responsible for all clerical, customer, and teaching support for the K-12 Program, state and national standards-aligned curriculum development to enhance program offerings and maintaining a safe and effective work environment. The candidate serves as lead educator for other NJSGC programs (summer camp, in-school programs), represents NJSGC at outreach events and assists in the development and implementation of educator professional development workshops. The K-12 Program Coordinator will directly support the Director of Education to further NJSGC’s vision and goals, and also plays an integral role in carrying out other grant-funded education projects. As a member of the Education Program at NJSGC, the K-12 Program Coordinator will collaborate with the National Sea Grant College Program’s nationwide network of educators to further ocean and climate literacy and foster environmental stewardship.

Job application period CLOSED. 

Sea Grant Projects Provide $3.3M in Support of Seafood Industry Workforce Development Including Funding for NJSGC Apprenticeship in Shellfish Aquaculture Program (ASAP)

August 18th, 2023

NOAA Sea Grant is pleased to announce the selection of 10 projects through two competitions aimed at bolstering workforce development efforts in both the wild-caught fisheries and aquaculture sectors. 

The FY2023 Young Fishermen’s Career Development Projects competition was offered in direct response to the 2021 Young Fishermen’s Development Act and the FY2023 Aquaculture Workforce Development Support Projects competition was targeted to aquaculture. Both were open to all Sea Grant programs. For the AWF (spell out?) twelve proposals were received requesting $3.7M in federal funding. The seven selected projects will receive a total of $2.4M and will support aquaculture workforce projects in California, Connecticut, Hawaiʻi, American Samoa, Guam, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Washington. 

“Supporting the training and development of seafood professionals is a priority for Sea Grant and a key component of ensuring sustainable U.S. fisheries and aquaculture,” said Jonathan Pennock, Director of the national Sea Grant College Program. “We look forward to seeing the positive impacts the 10 selected projects will have across the country.”

NJSGC’s Apprenticeship in Shellfish Aquaculture Program (ASAP) students learning about oyster aquaculture at Cape May Salt Oyster Farm.

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s Project, entitled “Expanding the New Jersey Apprenticeship in Shellfish Aquaculture Program (ASAP)” led by Diana Burich, Director of Education, seeks to introduce high school students to aquaculture as a viable career path. This project aims to foster a skilled workforce to support and meet the needs of New Jersey’s growing and vibrant aquaculture sector. 

Diana Burich comments “NJSGC is looking forward to the opportunity to work with students, shellfish farmers, aquaculture facilities as well as local and state agencies to not only introduce students to aquaculture but to also meet the needs of this growing industry. We appreciate the support of Sea Grant and NOAA, and are confident that we will inspire the next generation of aquaculturists  .”

This program will include activities that nurture the development of core aquaculture workforce skills through a week-long shellfish aquaculture “bootcamp,” providing opportunities for high school students to gain hands-on experience in the aquaculture field through placement on local shellfish farms for a paid eight-week apprenticeship, and supporting student apprentices with biweekly cohort meeting and networking opportunities.

Dr. Peter Rowe, NJSGC Executive Director said “NJSGC is excited that Diana Buich is able to improve and expand the ASAP pilot program. We know that the student apprentices will not only further their  knowledge and skills associated with shellfish aquaculture, but will gain important insights into their future careers in the industry.” 

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Selected for NOAA’s Sea Grant and Disaster Preparedness Programs

August 8th, 2023

For the second time, NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program and Office of Response and Restoration’s (OR&R) Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP) have partnered to competitively solicit and select projects to support innovative all-hazard preparedness, response, and recovery initiatives for coastal communities.

A total of $ $634,936 in FY23 federal funds will support four projects in New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, and South Carolina. Each project takes a different approach tailored to local needs regarding disaster preparation.

“The partnership initiative brings together the goals and expertise of NOAA’s Disaster Preparedness Program together with Sea Grant’s on the ground, innovative approaches to community support. The local knowledge and relationships of each selected Sea Grant program is a vital part of successful planning and collaboration to prepare for and respond to disasters,” commented Jonathan Pennock, Director of the National Sea Grant College Program.

Photograph of flooding in neighborhoods surrounding Jamaica Bay, New York City, including flooding on 2022 Dec 23 which was the second highest in 20 years.

The four Sea Grant-based projects will assist NOAA, partners, and coastal communities to effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from all hazards, including coastal disasters. The projects focus on several aspects of the shared goals of the two partnering programs. 

“The Office of Response and Restoration Disaster Preparedness Program is pleased to support the implementation of four new projects in vulnerable coastal communities. We believe that they will directly benefit the public by providing them with additional resources to help mitigate the impacts of coastal disasters”, said Kate Wheelock, Director of the Disaster Preparedness Program.

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, alongside colleagues at New York Sea Grant and Stevens Institute of Technology, will be working on “Co-developing ensemble flood forecast products to improve communication and preparedness across diverse populations.” This project leverages the The Stevens Flood Advisory System (SFAS) and its large user base to study ensemble forecast communication and to co-produce an improved forecast website and set of decision-support tools. The Stevens Flood Advisory System (SFAS) is a unique and widely-used academic coastal total water level forecast system that has provided ensemble forecasts year- round since 2015. 

Dr. Peter Rowe, NJSGC Executive Director and PI of the project states: “We are pleased that NJSGC can support Dr. Orton and Stevens Institute of Technology in their evaluation and improvement of the SFAS so that it is more accessible and more utilized by both current and new users, especially by individuals and agencies from New Jersey’s overburdened communities.”

Inequalities in coastal risk management have led to disparities in exposure to extreme events, social vulnerability and recovery outcomes. An important step in addressing this inequity is to create flood forecast systems and communications with an approach that is inclusive of underserved and underrepresented (UU) communities.

Our nation’s coasts include many estuarine areas with major cities and diverse communities facing a high level of flood risk. When projects are created in partnership with populations that have been historically underserved, these entire communities can benefit. Here, we propose a project that leverages SFAS and its large user base to study ensemble forecast communication and to co-produce an improved forecast website and set of decision- support tools. The primary objectives are: (1) gather end-user feedback and input on the SFAS forecast website, (2) to create an improved forecast website and set of options for viewing flood metrics, and (3) to expand the user base, including different geographic areas and UU populations. 

Coastal Health Initiative Grant Awardees for 2023 

August 1st, 2023

Earlier this year, New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC), The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries James J. Howard Marine Sciences Lab (Howard Lab), Congressman Frank Pallone, and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center formed a partnership to fund opportunities for a faculty mentor and their trainees/students from a New Jersey college or university to conduct a research project related to New Jersey coastal health. The teams will receive up to $70,000 for a 2- year project or $35,000 for a 1- year project.

Awardees have been selected for the 2023 Sandy Hook Partnerships in Coastal Studies Research Opportunity. The three projects observe multiple coastal studies, including biodiversity in living shorelines, hard substrate impacts on benthic infaunal communities, and filth fly’s functional biodiversity at wastewater and coastal sites.

The teams will work with the NOAA Fisheries Howard Lab and New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium to accelerate our coastal health research and bring novel ideas and solutions to regional challenges in conservation, management, and sustainability of our coastal marine resources.  They will use the Howard Lab’s facilities and contribute to diversity in marine science while working side-by-side with NOAA Fisheries scientists. The students will learn about careers at NOAA Fisheries and receive mentorship to support their development into early career researchers. 

Dr. Peter Rowe, Executive Director of New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium notes, “It is important to the Consortium’s core mission to serve New Jersey’s coast and coastal communities through science and research, and even more significant to contribute to workforce development and diversity within the field. NJSGC is excited to aid in supporting these projects and furthering the important relationship between students and their mentors to expand students’ careers into future STEM professionals.” 

Dr. Beth Phelan, Chief of the Howard Lab’s Fisheries Ecology Branch, explained, “At NOAA Fisheries, our key values are people, science and service as we carry out our mission to provide the scientific information needed for productive, sustainable and healthy marine ecosystems and coastal communities. Our lab is unique in the mid-Atlantic. We value inclusive partnerships and aim to serve our diverse population equitably. These grants are hopefully the beginning of a bright future.

Project 1: It’s not just oysters! The importance of biodiversity in restoration studies.
PI Mentor: Dr. Allison Fitzgerald [email protected]  

Mentees: Isabella Soures-Souzam, Lupita Coate, Sonali Rajukar, David Labagais
Oysters are an important part of shallow estuary ecosystems along the Atlantic coast. However, in Raritan Bay and up through the Hudson Estuary in New Jersey, these oyster reefs were decimated by years of overharvesting and pollution. Climate change has led to stronger storm surges along the NJ coastlines, and successful oyster reefs function as a ‘living shoreline’, protecting the shoreline from flooding and damage. Artificial oyster reefs, created with cement structures and living oysters, have been used in NJ successfully; however, after 2-3 years the living oysters die off and recruitment of new oysters is very low. One reason for this could be other organisms growing on the artificial shoreline structures preventing the oysters from coming back. 

In order to investigate, the team from New Jersey City University will do a lab and field experiment this summer at Sandy Hook. Oyster castles®, blocks that are used to build artificial reefs, will be placed underwater at Sandy Hook for 2 weeks – 2 months to accumulate colonizing animals and algae on them. Then, these castles will be brought into the NOAA Howard Lab and baby oysters will be placed in the tank. We will observe the castles for 5 weeks to count how many of the oysters attach to the castles. 

This project will connect several New Jersey City University undergraduate biology students with the greater marine science community of Raritan Bay and NJ. It will provide an opportunity to work in a government lab using equipment that the students would not have access to at NJCU. The students will learn about experimental design and data collection and analysis techniques. They will also work alongside restoration and aquaculture scientists. This project is also funded by a grant from the NOAA Office of Aquaculture.

Project 2: How do benthic infaunal communities respond to the insertion of hard substrates?

PI Mentor: Dr. Daphne Munroe [email protected]

Mentee: Sophia Piper

Most of the ocean bottom is composed of soft sediment such as sand or mud. When a hard surface is placed there by humans, animals that prefer to live on hard surfaces like mussels and barnacles are quick to colonize the area, creating an artificial reef. This displaces the animals in the soft sediment. Most research on these interactions focuses on the animals inhabiting the hard structure, but not the soft sediment. Thus, our team from Rutgers University will conduct a field experiment to evaluate the response of the soft sediment community to the insertion of hard surfaces by comparing the community of an existing artificial reef and associated soft sediments with a newly placed hard surface and surrounding soft sediment habitat. 

Project 3: Filth fly (Diptera; Muscidae, Calliphoridae) functional biodiversity at wastewater and coastal sites to explore impact on water associated industries

PI Faculty and Mentor Contact Info: Dr. Nicole Fahrenfeld, [email protected], Michael Monzon [email protected] and Dr. George Hamilton, [email protected] 

Mentees: Jakub Nikscin and Emily Sullivan

A collaborative team from Rutgers University’s Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Entomology, and Plant Science will study the potential role of filth-associated flies within the ecology of human and fish diseases. We will sample and test flies from the Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area and a municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in New Jersey. Our project merges the study of fly biodiversity with studying the microbes like viruses or bacteria in the guts of flies from different locations to learn whether wastewater flies have the same gut microbes as flies from the beach. The main human pathogens of interest are: 

  • the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, 
  • seafood-borne pathogens like bacteria in the genus Vibrio, and 
  • the bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila, which are a threat to commercial fish farms.

This project will allow us to draw conclusions about how quickly filth flies become associated with new pathogens found in human waste and provide information about environmental health to people who raise and catch fish in New Jersey.

The ‘COASTodian’ Newsletter – Spring 2023 Edition

July 13th, 2023

It may be summer, but don’t forget to read all about our work from over the Spring season in our Spring 2023 ‘COASTodian’ newsletter! Stay up to date on what we’ve been up to during the season! New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s ‘COASTodian’ newsletter Spring 2023 is now available online here.

Check out some highlights from this edition of the COASTodian:

– NJSGC held it’s annual State of the Shore Media Event

– Celebrating 20 Years of Ocean Fun Days: Through Rain and Shine, We Had A Good Time!

– Research spotlight: New Jersey Response of Salt Marsh Methane Emissions to Sea Level Rise

– Coastal Health Initiative Grant Awardees Selected for the 2023 Sandy Hook Partnerships in Coastal Studies Research Opportunity

And much, much more!