URI students appointed coastal fellows

Two area URI students experience coastal learning KINGSTON, R.I. — October 22, 1998– Neil Marcaccio and Adam Sykes from North Kingstown, R.I., were recently appointed as Coastal Fellows for the University of Rhode Island’s Partnership for the Coastal Environment. Each is spending eight months as part of a team working with professors and other research staff on projects related to the coastal environment. The URI Partnership for the Coastal Environment combines a structured, prestigious undergraduate experience with the resources and talents of the public and private sectors. While gaining the skills as well as the contacts that will ensure their success, students build the confidence needed to perform on the job before they enter the job market. Fellows also received a stipend for their work over the summer. Here’s what Marcaccio and Sykes have to say about their research experiences so far: URI senior spends his second summer studying seafood Marcaccio, who first participated in the Partnership in ’97, is perhaps the best example of the advantages of the program. “After the first fellowship, my experience helped me to better relate to new concepts in the classroom,” he says, “and now I have another year of aquaculture classes under my belt to apply to new experiences.” “Last year I learned a tremendous amount about the culture and biology of summer flounder,” says Marcaccio, a senior studying aquaculture at the University. This summer he is helping to work out statistics that may be used in the creation of optimum rules for the handling of the fish. Specifically, Marcaccio is trying to determine the amount of light, or photoperiod, to be used when keeping the flounder in an artificial environment. “It’s a relatively new species in aquaculture,” he says, “so these numbers need to be worked out in order to ensure proper growth development and production at all life stages from larvae to adult.” In the fall, Marcaccio will try to determine the safe concentration of ammonia, the natural waste product of fish, that can be tolerated by the flounder. He is working with David Bengtson of Wyoming, R.I., an associate professor from the Department of Fish, Animal, and Veterinary Science in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences. URI graduate student filters the alternatives of waste If Adam Sykes comes knocking on your door it’s not for something that’s gone wrong, but to help do something right. “Several state and federal grants have allowed us to install and monitor alternative and innovative wastewater treatment systems in the homes of people who are environmentally conscientious or have failing systems that they need to replace anyway,” he says. By testing the proficiency of the systems in the removal of nutrients and bacteria, Sykes, a soil science master’s candidate, hopes to provide data that will be used in the establishment of state and local land use and management policies. More efficient systems will help to minimize the amount of pollutants that escape into the surrounding terrain and tributaries. “Part of what I love about kayaking is that you have the freedom to journey away from larger bodies of water,” says Sykes. He intends to prevent toxins from squirming in the opposite direction. “This program is allowing me to conduct valuable research in support of my graduate degree and receive a stipend at the same time,” says Sykes. More importantly, however, it is giving him the opportunity to have a direct impact on shaping future environmental policies. He is working with George Loomis, a research associate from the Department of Natural Resources Science in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences. x-x-x For More Information: Jhodi Redlich (401) 874-2116