CMS News

CMS News

Message from the Executive Director

Dear Colleagues,

We’ve put another fall semester in the books and have begun our next spring adventure. I want to say thank you, again, to all of you who pour so much of your time and talent into supporting marine science in so many ways.  With that in mind, I want to offer a note of particular gratitude to Rob Deanes who is retiring at the end of this month after 20 years at CMS. Rob’s craftsmanship is visible throughout our wet labs and across the entire CMS campus; he will be sorely missed. 

If you’ve been looking at your schedules, you’ll know that we have a number of marine science-related events this spring. The Coastal Community Resiliency Seminar Series has a full slate of seminars and panel discussions.  Planet Ocean seminars will continue in February. And I can’t count the number of research seminars and faculty searches that are ongoing across the academic departments. UNCW Marine Science is vital and vibrant, and our future is looking very strong!

Best wishes for a productive spring!


Chris Finelli

CMS & Partners 

CMS Events: Save the Date!

The Global Marine Science Summit was a huge success! Thank you to everyone involved.

The next CMS Planet Ocean Seminar is planned for February 11, 2020.

The next installments of the interdisciplinary research seminar series on coastal community resiliency will be on the following dates: January 30, February 18, March 19, and April 23. 


What was so great about 1980? Well, the Rubrik’s Cube and Pac-Man arcade hit the toy market. The personal computer and Walkman changed everyday life. Post-it Notes were invented and Ted Turner launched CNN.  Mount St. Helens erupted and the Empire Strikes Back premiered. Carl Sagan released Cosmos and the US defeated the Soviet Union in ice hockey. And best of all, MarineQuest was founded! This year MarineQuest turns 40 and we couldn’t have done it without the support of faculty and staff at CMS. We are grateful to be a part of the CMS family and can’t wait to see what the next decade brings. Happy Anniversary MarineQuest

Outreach, Recognition & Other Notables

Global Marine Science Summit 2019

The second UNCW Global Marine Science Summit was held October 9-11th at the Center for Marine Science and was attended by nearly 200 registrants from 25 countries. The 2 ½ day event included a Pre-Summit Symposium on Marine Natural Products, Drug Discovery, and Harmful Algal Blooms (organized by Drs. Williamson and Strangman), an outstanding keynote address given by our own Dr. Joe Pawlik, and two full days of invited talks given by academic researchers, industry experts, agency representatives, and policymakers from around the globe. This year’s event also included more than 50 poster presentations given by international delegates, regional stakeholders, and UNCW faculty and students. Attendees also had the opportunity to informally share experiences and perspectives at the CMS Oyster Roast Welcome Social, the Chancellor’s Reception at the Kenan House, and during several special interest group meetings led by UNCW faculty. Based on the feedback received, our guests were not only impressed by UNCW and the great working being done by our faculty, staff, and students but also are too keen to return in 2021. Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s event possible!


UNCW’s Bachelor of Science in marine biology is ranked 1st on a list of Top 20 Values in undergraduate marine science degree programs for 2020, as selected by College Values Online. (more)

Students Soaring

Dr. Joseph Covi (BMB) secured funding from the Korea Polar Research Institute for another Antarctic Expedition, which will commence on November 29, 2019. Katie Reed (Ph.D. student in Covi lab) will lead the expedition, and Yanina Ciriani (of Dr. Emslie’s lab) will assist. During their 35 day stay at King Sejong Station on King George Island, Katie and Yanina will conduct daily excursions to cut through lake ice in order to collect zooplankton and water quality data. They will also retrieve temperature and light sensors that were deployed on the last expedition. All expenses for travel and sample collection are covered by KOPRI, and return shipping of zooplankton samples is covered by a SURCA grant supporting undergraduate Jamie Thomas. Based on previous expeditions, the total award value is approximately $26,000. (more)

Blame it on charismatic megafauna, but CMS undergraduate researcher Karen Woodworth’s study of a new seaweed species growing on Manatees was both a cover headline and selected for the cover photo of the most recent print issue of Journal of Phycology. The photo below was taken by Cathy Beck of USGS.

Wilson Freshwater Manatee Research


NASA Workshop

Dr. Sara Rivero-Calle (PPO, CMS) was selected to participate in the first "PI Launchpad Workshop: From Science Idea to NASA Mission" in Tucson, Arizona (November 18-20, 2019). This workshop was organized by NASA, the University of Arizona, and the Heising-Simons Foundation in an effort to train the next generation of NASA space missions Principal Investigators and increase the diversity of applicants. Participants learned how to develop a pitch to sell their mission concept idea, find partners, write a proposal, work with engineers… things that you do not learn in the classroom and are key to submitting a successful proposal to launch a spaceflight mission. (more

NC Lake Management Society

Mike Mallin (CMS) presided over the fall 2019 North Carolina Lake Management Society meeting in Huntersville, along the shores of Lake Norman. The incoming president of that society is Maverick Raber, currently of Duke Energy Environmental Sciences. Maverick is a UNCW alum, with a 2004 MS in Geology.