2022-2023 Academic Year

News and Highlights in August 2023

Book Cover Kennish

Climate Change and Estuaries is the first comprehensive volume of its kind on this topic and is edited by RCI Affiliate Professor Emeritus Michael Kennish. Other Rutgers contributors include Professors Ken Able, Joanna Burger, Bob Chant, and Fernando Pareja. The book is 663 pages with 150 color and 46 B/W illustrations.  

Climate change is having an increasing impact on coastal, estuarine, and marine environments worldwide. This book provides state-of-the-art coverage of climate change effects on estuarine ecosystems from local, regional, and global perspectives. With editors among the most noted international scholars in coastal ecology and estuarine science and contributors who are world-class in their fields, the chapters in this volume consist of comprehensive studies in coastal, estuarine and marine sciences, climate change, and coastal management and provide an extensive international collection of data in tabular, illustrated, and narrative formats useful for coastal scientists, planners, and managers. Comprised of three sections: (1) physical-chemical aspects; (2) biological aspects; and (3) management aspects, the book not only examines climatic and non-climatic drivers of change affecting coastal, estuarine, and marine environments but also their interactions and effects on populations of organisms, communities, habitats, and ecosystem structure and function. Effects of climate change on coastal built communities and their remediation are also examined.

Pulling together today’s most salient issues and key literature advances for those concerned with coastal management, it allows the reader to see across direct and indirect interactions among disciplinary and ecosystem boundaries.

According to Professor Kennish, climate change and estuaries meet the research needs of climate scientists, estuarine and marine biologists, marine chemists, marine geologists, hydrologists, and coastal engineers, while students, professors, administrators, and other professionals will also find it an exhaustive reference.  

Book Table of Contents

  Here is more complete information about this title.  



EnvironmentalMinorCropIn Fall 2023, Rutgers undergraduates in the Mason Gross School of the Arts, the School of Arts and Sciences, and School of Environmental and Biological Sciences are eligible for the new minor in Creative Expression and the Environment.  This is a multidisciplinary program in which students gain familiarity with fundamentals of environmental issues and learn to respond to them through creative expression in a variety of disciplines and media in the arts and humanities. Students gain the flexibility to develop their skills as readers, writers, musical performers and composers, visual artists, designers, theater artists, filmmakers, dancers, choreographers, and more, even as they see how those skills can contribute to the communication and creation of knowledge in environmental science and social science. Based on the notion that the arts and humanities have the capacity to engage, promote reflection and empathy, demonstrate care, and inspire action, the minor in Creative Expression and the Environment will empower students to imagine and help to build a future that is rooted in environmental knowledge and the quest for environmental sustainability and justice. 

Details on the minor can be found here with additional information available through the links provided on this flyer. Read more about this model of collaborative engagement across Environmental Science, Environmental Humanities and Environmental Arts in this July 2023 Op-Ed by RCI Affiliates Mary Nucci (Human Ecology and Assistant Dean in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences) and Jorge Marcone (Spanish and Portugese and Associate Dean Humanities in the School of Arts and Sciences), along with Rebecca Cypess (Music and Associate Dean, Academic Affairs in the Mason Gross School of the Arts). 




USA Today published an article fact-checking a recent claim made on facebook that the smoke seen in NYC has been due to “sun-dimming” geoengineering technology. This technology would consist of tiny particles being released to reflect some of the incoming sunlight in order to cool the planet. The claim has been debunked by multiple agencies confirming that the smoke is coming from Canadian wildfires. However, the article called upon a few scientists, including RCI Affiliate Alan Robock, to explain that this type of geoengineering technology is in the process of being studied and developed. 





Rutgers University introduces a new minor, "Creative Expression and the Environment," offering students a multidimensional approach to address climate change challenges. The program combines Environmental Science, Environmental Humanities, and Environmental Arts, creating a collaborative environment. Through art, music, and theater, students learn to communicate and build empathy around environmental issues. The program serves as a model for interdisciplinary collaboration, emphasizing the importance of collective efforts in tackling climate change.





PrincetonInfo has recently published an article discussing the challenges scientists face when communicating with the public and with policymakers. RCI affiliate, Robert Kopp, explains that with such complex information, it is hard to clearly and effectively relay the important parts, without confusing readers, especially when some processes are not entirely understood by scientists. Kopp states, “The challenge is that, for some of those processes we understand the physics quite well — for example, how the ocean takes up heat and expands in response to that — and so can quantify and convey those risks. But other processes, particularly some of those acting on ice sheets, involve factors we don’t understand that well and that are difficult to put into quantitative terms, but might nonetheless be able to cause rapid sea-level rise.” 







A recent article, published by NJ Spotlight News, notes urban heat island effects being felt in Newark, NJ.. These effects have been shown to increase mental health issues in residents of urban areas, as well as poor community health. Such health impacts can also be linked to historically racist urban planning measures such as redlining. In an attempt to mitigate these effects, introduced federal legislation calls for grants to allow cooling centers to purchase or repair HVAC systems and passive cooling systems, a grant program to develop and improve high quality urban green spaces and a tree planting grant program.  RCI Affiliate, Patricia Findley, stated trees are “really a great way” to affect physical and mental health “in our environment” and for kids to see how people can work together as a community to build gardens, forests or parks. 




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A recent article published by Chesapeake Quarterly, examines the challenges faced by Maryland oyster growers due to regulations and expense. Oyster growers are required to spread a minimum of six inches of oyster shell on their lease as a base to grow their oysters, but with rising costs and limited supply of oyster shells, this has proven to be difficult. The article explores alternatives such as recycled concrete for substrate in order to increase oyster growth potential. However, researchers believe that to mimic the breakdown of oyster shells over time, a concrete-based product would need to break down gradually over time as well. RCI Affiliate, Dave Bushek, explains that Asking concrete manufacturers to make a product designed to break down may seem counterintuitive. “Their first reaction is usually, ‘Why would you even want to do that?’ So we have to talk about ecology, natural systems, and resilience,” Bushek says. Maryland's Aquaculture Coordinating Council and Governor's Task Force aim to find alternative substrates to boost oyster farming.




A recent article published by Inside Climate News explains the Army Corps of Engineers’ $61.5 billion plan aimed at protecting the New York and New Jersey Harbor region from coastal storms, as well as the drawbacks to this plan. Concerns about potential effects on ecosystems have been voiced by environmental activists as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over the development of storm-surge barriers. Stakeholders stress the need for environmentally friendly solutions and a comprehensive strategy to address climate hazards beyond large storms. The current proposed solutions include floodwalls, seawalls, and permanent storm gates along streams. RCI Affiliate, Judith Weis, expresses concern about storm gates due to the insufficient elevation growth of marshes in the face of sea level rise. Weis states, “The marshes in Jamaica Bay, as in many other places around here, are not growing in elevation anywhere near as high as they need to keep up with sea level rise.”