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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Friends of Oceanography Presentation
Assesses the Risks of Swimming in the Bay

Narragansett, RI -- November 2, 2001 -- Friends of Oceanography at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) will present the fourth in a series of free Sunday afternoon science lectures on November 18 at 3 p.m. To Swim or Not to Swim: How Biologists Assess Health Risks of Swimming in the Bay will be given by GSO biologist Heather Saffert, a biological oceanography graduate student who was the Friends of Oceanography Fellowship recipient last year . The lecture will be held in the Coastal Institute Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett.

Saffert will discuss health risks associated with recreational water use and how scientists identify sewage contamination of coastal waters using biological indicators. She will review monitoring and storm event testing data collected by the Surfrider organization over this summer from RI beaches and discuss the development of future water quality monitoring instruments.

Saffert is pursuing a doctoral degree in biological oceanography. As part of her graduate research, she is developing, with industry partner, SubChem Systems, Inc., of Jamestown, a new remotely-deployed instrument to monitor water quality. The instrument, placed on a mooring buoy, will collect and transmit near real-time data on the abundance of sewage-derived bacteria in marine waters via satellite to the Internet. She plans to test the instrument by conducting water quality studies in Narragansett Bay. Her major professor is GSO biological oceanographer Dr. David Smith.

A native of Burnsville, Minnesota, Saffert attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where she received a B.A. in biology with honors. Prior to attending GSO, she worked for three years as a marine scientist at Science Applications International Corporation in Newport.

All lectures are free and open to the public. For information, call 874-6602.

Established in 1985 to support and promote the activities of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, Friends of Oceanography informs and educates the membership and the general public about the scientific, technological, and environmental research that takes place at GSO. The organization sponsors public lectures, open houses, marine-related mini-courses, science cruises on Narragansett Bay, and an annual auction. The Friends office is located in the Coastal Institute building on URI's Narragansett Bay Campus. For information about Friends of Oceanography, call 874-6602.

Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642,

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