Chris Englert ’10 Environmental Policy and Geology Double Major
firstname.lastname@example.org Mellon Award Recipient
Durham, New Hampshire
Organization: The University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping Joint Hydrographic Center (CCOM-JHC)
The Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM)/ Joint Hydrographic Center (JHC) is a program at the University of New Hampshire operating in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Ocean Service. The centers (CCOM and JHC) work to educate a new generation of hydrographers and ocean mapping scientists while also developing and evaluating state-of-the-art hydrographic and ocean mapping technologies and applications. CCOM-JHC provide a successful model for cooperation amongst the private sector, government agencies, and universities, currently having projects underway funded by the US Geological Survey, the Office of Naval Research, the Naval Research Lab, NSF, and a number of private partners.
January 4-28, 2010
The internship experience was designed like a (very) shortened graduate program. I was presented with a new data set collected during a graduate course in ocean mapping at CCOM, and planned a project to process the data. I discussed this project with three senior researchers, all of whom acted as advisors during the internship: Dr. Jim Gardner, Capt. (ret.) Andy Armstrong, and Dr. Larry Mayer. The project we settled upon was for me to remotely classify the types of sediment covering the seafloor by using the software Geocoder. Geocoder is a software designed by researchers at CCOM which is capable of identifying individual sediment types (e.g. clay, medium sand, gravel) based upon properties of the sonar data used in mapping the seafloor (e.g. strength of signal return, angle of return). Remote seafloor classification is still at the front of a new field yet may well become a valuable tool towards marine habitat classification.
In my time at CCOM, I produced the sediment map for the entire data set while also developing a new and faster method incorporating another computer software named Matlab. Originally, the boundaries on the map between the different types of sediments were drawn by hand in Photoshop or similar software, but in my method, these boundaries were defined automatically. This was more accurate and repeatable than painting the boundaries by hand. I compared the results of my sediment distribution map to 33 digital videos of the seafloor taken with an underwater video camera array. These videos provided a kind of ground-truthing for my remote characterization. I found that the method was accurate in its assignment of sediment types.
My internship was an invaluable experience; both in what I learned and in the perspective I gained. Working with state-of-the-art ocean mapping tools enlivened me to complete graduate applications for continuing in the field. Before the experience, I was somewhat in the air about pursuing a graduate degree in marine geology because I had a tough time finding a connection to a broader environmental policy issue, a connection I feel is necessary. But, through this experience, I was introduced to the developing field of remote marine habitat characterization, which ties marine geology into an ocean management environmental policy perspective. Presently, habitat classification is used widely in environmental management on land in forests and elsewhere. With the new push for ecosystem-based management of the oceans, habitat classification will likely become a common aspect of management in the oceans. I desire to work in the marine management field, and was motivated again because of my positive experience during my internship.
Center for Coastal & Ocean Mapping Chris Englert
Joint Hydrographic Center 26 Bell Street
Jere A. Chase Ocean Engineering Lab North Woodstock, NH 03262
24 Colobos Road
Durham, NH 03824 USA email@example.com
Phone: (603) 862-3438
Fax: (603) 862-0839