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“The big picture’s fine, but who’s gonna build the cages?”

By Susannah Black
March 11, 2016


…that’s what Dr. Stephen Gosnell wants his conservation biology students to be thinking about– and that’s why he took them away from computer modeling and population genetics for the day and brought them out to Governors Island for a tour of the lab, an introduction to the EcoDock, an overview of BOP, and a round of restoration station building.


Joi Simon, one of these students, was impressed by the level of work going on in the aquaculture lab– “The algae tanks: they had one strain of algae isolated and growing.  And when the oysters are spawning, they check on a microscopic level to see which gametes are eggs and which are sperm.  They do a lot to get it right… The traps are pretty cool too!”

Said her classmate Olivia Steczko, “I was surprised by the amount of commitment that this project requires.  I’m impressed that kids in high school– and middle school are able to contribute in a sophisticated way.  It’s one thing to do a one-day project, but these kids study for several years.”

“And they build boats, too!” added Simon.


Gosnell completed his PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and postdoctoral positions at the UCSB Marine Science Institute and the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory before joining Baruch College as an assistant professor in 2014.   His work focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of ecological diversity using field, lab, and quantitative approaches, and he is especially interested in connecting research to efforts to better manage natural resources.  He’s also committed to connecting with K-12 teachers, and so his interest in BOP is a natural. He’s lectured for our BOP Fellows, and is conducting research in Jeremy’s Aquaculture lab– and now he’s become a source of volunteer labor for us as well: thanks very much to Dr. Gosnell and his students for their work!