2020 Doyle Fellows

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Victoria Bamford

Tori Bamford, 2020 NH Sea Grant Doyle Fellow, holds the end of a beach profiling stick while taking measurements along the water's edge on a sandy beach in the summerSchool/Major: Eckerd College '20, Environmental Studies and Anthropology

Mentor: Dr. Alyson Eberhardt

For her Doyle Fellowship, Victoria worked with the Coastal Landowner Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) to help identify and address common landowner questions and themes related to the flooding and erosion they experienced on their coastal properties in New Hampshire. She did this by analyzing site visit reports generated by LTAP staff using the qualitative data analysis software, MaxQDA, and was able to use her findings to identify knowledge gaps among landowners. This information helped NH Sea Grant and the NH Department of Environmental Services pinpoint what resources already existed to bridge these gaps and what has yet to be created and implemented as part of LTAP.

She has since developed accessible guides for photo monitoring and erosion monitoring to give landowners a framework for collecting long term data that compliments their observations of these natural occurrences.

Olivia Deblois-Hill

a student wearing purple medical gloves shucks oysters in a UNH lab for Vibrio researchSchool/Major: University of New Hampshire '22, Biomedical Sciences/Medical Microbiology

Mentor: Dr. Steve Jones

Olivia Deblois-Hill, a Biomedical Sciences/Medical Microbiology junior at the University of New Hampshire, spent her 2020 summer working with Dr. Steve Jones. Her project focused on the microbiome of oysters and how Vibrio parahaemolyticus is affecting New England oyster farms and public health.

Before this opportunity, Olivia had little lab experience outside of classes and learned a lot in just a short amount of time. She intends to carrying the lab skills she gained this summer beyond her resume. She also made valuable career connections that will last a lifetime. "This fellowship allowed me to have some sense of normalcy during 2020," said Olivia.

Cameron Flanagan

Doyle Fellow Cameron Flanagan stands on a sandy beach in the summer holding beach profiling equipmentSchool/Major: Saint Anselm College '21, Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies

Mentor: Dr. Alyson Eberhardt

Cameron grew up on the NH Seacoast and was extremely excited to be able to work on such a valuable project so close to home. His Doyle Fellowship allowed him to apply his education to the Coastal Research Volunteers' beach profiling project. The beach profiling project tracks changes to the beaches of the NH Seacoast driven by erosion and accretion from storms, providing data for coastal municipalities concerned about the longevity of their iconic beaches.

Cameron gained professional experience by working with an amazing staff and was able to summarize the findings of the volunteer beach profiling study into publicly accessible fact sheets.

The goal of his work was to get the beach profiling data into the hands of stakeholders and beach managers so that our NH coastline is able to remain as resistant and resilient for the future. The fact sheets Cameron helped create were shared at the NH Sea Grant Biennial Research Symposium in January 2021, as well as directly with resource managers in coastal communities.

Alex Gross

Alex Gross, a summer Doyle Fellow, samples oysters in black, plastic oyster cages in NH's Little Bay. He is wearing waders and a baseball cap and his center consol boat is anchored behind him. School/Major: University of New Hampshire '21, Environmental Science

Mentor: Dr. Steve Jones

During Alex Gross’ Doyle Fellowship, he helped Dr. Steve Jones with oyster sampling and monitoring for the presence of Vibrio spp. bacteria, in particular Vibrio parahaemolyticusV. parahaemolyticus is a naturally occurring bacteria that has pathogenic strains which can cause food poisoning in humans. 

In order to monitor levels of V. parahaemolyticus in NH's Great Bay, Alex took monthly oyster, sediment and water samples from two locations, Oyster River and Nannie Island. These samples were then processed and tested for the presence of Vibrio bacteria. 

In addition to monitoring, Alex also helped Dr. Jones with his ongoing resubmergence study. When farmers sort through oysters for market, the oysters are exposed to high heat while out of the water, which can cause rapid increases in Vibrio levels, leading to food poisoning in humans. This study involved exposing oysters to the summer heat and tracking the change in Vibrio spp. levels over a 10-day period. 

Due to COVID-19, many oyster farmers could not sell their product since restaurants were closed, and many of their oysters exceeded their optimal size range and lost commercial value. Alex assisted with NH Sea Grant’s oyster population enhancement project to provide financial relief to growers affected by COVID-19. Alex communicated with oyster farmers in the Great Bay and Hampton Harbor to help track the relocation of oversized oysters to experimental oyster reefs on each farmers site. The project also includes a yearlong monitoring program for growth, survival, and recruitment. 

Alex was also part of the EPA’s National Coastal Conditions Assessment where a team of UNH staff sampled locations around the Seacoast for different water quality indicators. Throughout his fellowship, Alex learned many new skills in microbiology and gained hands on experience and insight into the research process. 

“Having worked on oyster farms in the past I was really excited to learn more of the science behind why there are so many rules and regulations to mitigate Vibrio. This fellowship helped me take skills I learned in a classroom and apply them to real life research in a field I’m passionate about. It was rewarding to know the research I had done this summer can influence policies and regulations that will help New Hampshire shellfish growers in the future. I’m very thankful for this opportunity, and to have made connections with multiple shellfish growers and many UNH faculty members.”