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Oceanography Department

Virtual Capstone Day

Welcome to the 2021 USNA Oceanography Department Virtual Capstone Day!

In previous years we've held an in-person poster session, but due to the on-going pandemic, the event is virtual this year. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding. While this format is not ideal, the research and accomplishments of our students this past year are inspiring. We are excited to celebrate their research with you at the 2021 USNA Oceanography Department Virtual Capstone Day!

The USNA Oceanography Department Virtual Capstone Day will held on May 5th, 2021.  The posters below are arranged by topic and Poster #, with a specific Google Meet link assigned to each poster. During the appropriate times listed below, guests are asked to join the specific Google Meet link to talk to the Midshipmen researchers about their projects. Abstracts and posters can be viewed virtually anytime before, during, or after the live event. Clicking on a poster or presentation title will allow for poster viewing in full size (PDFs). We appreciate your support of Midshipmen research within the Oceanography Department, and hope you will visit these posters and engage with the Midshipmen researchers during this live event!

For a list of presentations in chronological order, please visit the 2021 USNA Oceanography Department Virtual Capstone Day Program.

Event Schedule:

0730-8000 Open Poster Viewing
0800-0845 Posters 1-6: Midshipmen researchers presenting Posters #1-6 will be in their assigned Google Meet to virtually engage with guests about their research. Guests are encouraged to visit posters presentations #1-6 during this time. See Program for posters in Session 1 (0800-0845).
0845-0900 Open Poster Viewing
0900-0945 Posters 7-13: Midshipmen researchers presenting Posters #7-13 will be in their assigned Google Meet to virtually engage with guests about their research. Guests are encouraged to visit posters presentations #7-13 during this time. See Program for posters in Session 2 (0900-0945).
1230-1245 Open Poster Viewing
1245-1320 Posters 14-19: Midshipmen researchers presenting Posters #14-19 will be in their assigned Google Meet to virtually engage with guests about their research. Guests are encouraged to visit posters presentations #14-19 during this time. See Program for posters in Session 3 (1245-1320)

Questions? Please contact CDR Allon Turek by email at turek@usna.edu

Capstone Presentations Listed By Topic

Coastal Oceanography

Poster #1. Relic Oyster Reef Surveys in the Lower Severn River, Maryland

Researchers: MIDN Addison Hamiliton, 1/C Maya White, and 1/C Alexandria Vallancey-Martinson
Advisors: Instr. Brianna Tracy, CDR Shawn Gallaher
Link: https://meet.google.com/cfx-rfuu-bpr
Presentation Time: 0800-0845
Abstract:
 In this study, sonar imagery and bathymetric data were coupled with sediment analysis to identify the location of a relic oyster reef and associated restoration site in the Severn River. The location of the reefs was identified and laboratory results suggest that the majority of substratum appears conducive to adult oyster seeding, however fine sediment input and environmental conditions are not optimal for larval settlement or reproductive success.


Poster #2. Distribution of Microplastics and Synethic Particles in the Severn River and Annapolis Harbor

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Mary-McClellen Hess
Advisors: Instr. Brianna Tracy, Assoc. Prof. Joseph P. Smith, and Mr. Benjamin Hickman
Link: 
https://meet.google.com/tax-kxsv-wxv
Presentation Time: 0800-0845
Abstract:
Standardized field sampling and laboratory analytical methods were used to quantify concentrations of microplastics and synthetic particulates in the Severn River and Annapolis Harbor from September-December, 2020. Results suggest the spatial distribution of these particulates is a function of local watershed land-use, non-point source inputs, and local scale circulation and mixing. Future research will aim to identify sources and determine the transport, fate, and impacts of these materials.


Poster #3. Characterization of Mid-Winter Upper Chesapeake Bay Water Column Structure

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Lakayla Deshields, 1/C Karina Martinez, 1/C Jessica Mogavero, and 1/C Will Ryan
Advisors: CDR Shawn Gallaher, Mr. Benjamin Hickman, and Instr. Brianna Tracy
Link: 
https://meet.google.com/vff-wjdn-ekx
Presentation Time: 0800-0845
Abstract:
In this study, winter season vertical water column structure is sampled from the Oceanography department’s research vessel (YP-686) to investigate changes in physical parameters. Parameters include temperature, salinity, pressure, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity as well as total suspended solids (TSS) from water samples. The primary goal is to assess the evolution of summer-to-winter stratification, thermodynamics and suspended particulates in the top 25 meters of the upper Chesapeake Bay.


Poster #4. Acoustic Detection of Small Vessels in the Severn River

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Samuel Cho and 1/C Robert Lee
Advisors: Mr. Benjamin Hickman
Link: 
https://meet.google.com/dnc-djei-mrf
Presentation Time: 0800-0845
Abstract:
Security forces are constantly expanding detection and classification technology to increase installation security. The autonomous detection and classification of waterborne vessels, submerged or on the surface, has traditionally relied on sophisticated and expensive instrumentation. The main objective of this capstone project is to construct an underwater acoustic detection device using sophisticated, yet inexpensive technology.


Poster #5. Satellite Imagery to Detect the Depletion of Mangroves in the Gulf of Kutch India over 34 Years

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Calla Hilliard
Advisors: Prof. Peter Guth
Link: 
https://meet.google.com/bge-hzqt-mqm
Presentation Time: 0800-0845
Abstract:
Mangroves in India are disappearing due to urbanization and farming methods. Landsat and Sentinel-2 satellites document the losses since the 1980's. These mangroves are located in the Gulf of Kutch and are home to the rare swimming camels. These camels are now facing extinction due to the destruction of their habitat.


Poster #7. Determining Tidal Discharge on the Severn River

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Ellie Lecker, 1/C Erik Prudil, 1/C Lillianna Perez, and 1/C Harlie Stone
Advisors: CDR Shawn Gallaher, Mr. Benjamin Hickman, and Instr. Brianna Tracy
Link: 
https://meet.google.com/nfb-xcig-yuq
Presentation Time: 0900-0945
Abstract:
Conduct tidal discharge analysis of the Severn River using a variety of methods to determine the typical flood, ebb, and slack water flow rates, as well as establish the most effective method of data capture. Project will also characterize the structure of the current to determine if certain portions of the cross-sectional area have higher/lower velocities than the bulk mean current and relate the findings to the Severn River Watershed Observatory ADCP current data.


Poster #8. Spectral Characterization of Severn River and Upper Chesapeake Waves

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Ian Bramblett, 1/C Jaclyn Pabalan, and 1/C Joseph Giannini
Advisors: CDR Shawn Gallaher and Mr. Benjamin Hickman
Link: 
https://meet.google.com/gor-jrkc-ezg
Presentation Time: 0900-0945
Abstract:
In order to assess the spectral characteristics of estuary surface gravity waves under variable environmental conditions, RBR pressure sensors were deployed at three moorings across the Upper Chesapeake Bay over a 30-day period. These data were compared to standard prediction nomograms to determine the differences between open ocean and estuary waves. Additionally, data were compared to the Severn River Watershed Observatory sensors to determine the effect of USNA infrastructure on these waves.


Poster #9. Application of Machine Learning Methods to Better Quantify Water-Level Anomalies in Annapolis, MD

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Forest Wan
Advisors: Assoc. Prof. Joseph P. Smith, Instr. Alexander R. Davies
Link: 
https://meet.google.com/fnt-dhow-xfa
Presentation Time: 0900-0945
Abstract:
The drivers of water level anomalies (WLAs; observed-predicted WLs) are generally a superposition of global, regional, and local influence that occur across spatial and temporal scales. Sustained wind forcing relative to the orientation of the coast and other meteorological factors (e.g. precipitation, barometric pressure) can alter WLs. This study utilizes machine learning methods to better predict WLAs in Annapolis, MD using locally available water level and meteorological oceanographic data.


Poster #18. Seasonal Change in Microplastics in Severn River Oysters

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Allison Taylor
Advisors: Prof. Cecily Steppe, CDR David Durkin
Link: 
https://meet.google.com/nzy-emui-tma
Presentation Time: 1245-1320
Abstract:
Caged oysters were collected from the Severn River in May, August, November 2020. The samples were digested in nitric acid at 60/100 degrees Celsius and filtered through 1.2 micron filter. Microplastics were identified and counted via microscopy. Significant differences in number of plastics were seen among months, with highest concentrations in August.

 

Earth Sciences

Poster #6. Using Environmental Remote Sensing to Determine the Effects of the Yosemite Rim Fire

Researchers: MIDN 1/C  Caroline Thiel
Advisors: Prof. Peter Guth
Link: https://meet.google.com/fff-rweq-tvr
Presentation Time: 0800-0845
Abstract:
 The Yosemite Rim fire burned an area of 647 square kilometers of land in the Sierra Nevada range from August 17, 2013 to October 24, 2014. Using environmental remote sensing data of the area, the damage can be observed as well as the eventual recovery of the area. This information can provide insight to the long term effects of fires and the ways that an area recovers. 


Poster #14. The Effect of DEM Resolution on Calculated Slope Data

Researchers: MIDN 1/C  Morgan Kane
Advisors: Prof. Peter Guth
Link: https://meet.google.com/fgp-biwf-qvv
Presentation Time: 1245-1320
Abstract:
 DEMs from six locations are used to analyze the relationship between latitude, DEM resolution, and calculated slope values. The locations include areas in Utah, Canary Islands, Slovenia, Guam, California and Virginia. Each of the locations contain a variety of landforms, land cover, and vary in latitude. The DEMs will be used to produce slope maps at 0.4?, 1? and 3? resolution. Histograms of elevation versus slope are used to illustrate the relationship between computed slope and data spacing. 


Poster #15. Tracking Water Levels in Lake Nassar Using IceSat-2 Laser Altimeter

Researchers: MIDN 2/C Megan LaMendola and 2/C Isabelle Ross
Advisors: Prof. Peter Guth
Link: https://meet.google.com/csg-njxi-axn
Presentation Time: 1245-1320
Abstract:
Analyze data from the IceSat-2 laser altimeter to track the water levels in Lake Nasser in the past two years. We will focus on the comparison of the water levels last year to now to see the impact from Ethiopians filling up the GERD. 


Poster #16. Influence of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Researchers: MIDN 2/C Camille Volk and 2/C Katie Payne
Advisors: Prof. Peter Guth
Link: https://meet.google.com/rhc-djxz-suw
Presentation Time: 1245-1320
Abstract:
 The project investigates the impacts of the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Egyptian and Ethiopian water levels within the Nile. It will analyze the changes that Egypt has already experienced and look at future implications of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Observations of geographical changes will use SENTINEL-2 imaging and data analysis, also speaking to the effectiveness of using satellite imagery for analysis of the environment. 


Poster #17. Water Level Changes in Toshka Lakes from 2015-2019

Researchers: MIDN 2/C Keelan Allan
Advisors: Prof. Peter Guth
Link: https://meet.google.com/sgv-dxts-nvm
Presentation Time: 1245-1320
Abstract:
 Throughout the years the Aswan High Dam has contributed to the formation of the Toshka Lakes in southern Egypt bordering Sudan. The lakes have been at relatively High levels since the 80's, but as agriculture and infrastructure improved more water from the lakes had to be drawn. This caused the lake's water levels to drop significantly from 2015 to 2019. This presentation will show the relationship between the lake's water levels and agriculture/infrastructure development during this time period in the surrounding area. 

 

Meteorology

Poster #11. Subseasonal Variability of Surface Ocean Currents in the Bay of Bengal

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Cody Spedero
Advisors: Instr. Alexander R. Davies, Assoc. Prof. Joseph P. Smith, and Dr. Bradford S. Barrett
Link: https://meet.google.com/rsw-qogz-ttg
Presentation Time: 0900-0945
Abstract:
 Anomalies of surface currents and 10-meter winds derived from satellite and global reanalysis data were used to identify sub-seasonal modulation of atmosphere and ocean circulation in the Bay of Bengal related to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). Results suggest that MJO modulates atmospheric convection and ocean current response specifically during transitional months of the Indian Monsoon. Future research aims to link MJO-related variability to biophysical response in the Bay of Bengal.


Poster #12. Estimating Wet-Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) Using Readily Available Meteorological Data

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Austin Pierce and 1/C Potter Seibles
Advisors: Instr. Alexander R. Davies
Link: https://meet.google.com/wmk-mnmw-nms
Presentation Time: 0900-0945
Abstract:
Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) is used operationally by the U.S. Navy to determine if outdoor conditions are safe for physically strenuous summer activities. However, WBGT is often measured manually (not in real-time). In this study, we will estimate WBGT using an empirical model with local weather data (KNAK-ASOS). Estimates will be validated against WBGT data collected by the NHC-Annapolis. The WBGT estimates in this study will be used to develop operational heat stress products at USNA.

 

Polar Processes

Poster #10. Connecting Antarctica to the Tropics via the Madden Julian Oscillation

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Mick Zimmerman (Bowman Scholar)
Advisors: Assoc. Prof. Gina Henderson, Dr. Bradford S. Barrett
Link: https://meet.google.com/xfd-prcq-iqm
Presentation Time: 0900-0945
Abstract:
This research connects existing areas of tropical Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) – sea ice modulation scholarship to test the following hypothesis: Antarctic sea ice varies sub-seasonally in response to forcing from the MJO, and that response is different by geographic sector and dependent on both season and pre-existing state of the Antarctic atmosphere.


Poster #13. Early Melt Season Variability of Fast Ice Degradation Due to Small Arctic Riverine Heat Fluxes

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Grace Santella
Advisors: CDR. Shawn Gallaher, Assoc. Prof. Joseph P. Smith
Link: https://meet.google.com/pnh-gyxg-oht
Presentation Time: 0900-0945
Abstract:
The rapid influx of heat to the Arctic Ocean via Alaskan North Slope riverine systems results in landfast sea ice degradation independent of ice breakup seaward of the shear zone. Utilizing MODIS imagery from NASA and discharge data from USGS, the timing of coastal sea ice breakup is compared to early summer transitional tundra warming. Early removal of landfast sea ice has important implications for coastal erosion and affects industrial, ecological, and humanitarian infrastructure.


Poster #19. Quantifying the Impact of Moisture Transport during Extreme Blocking events in the North Atlantic

Researchers: MIDN 1/C Tyler Bradley
Advisors: Assoc. Prof. Gina Henderson, Dr. Bradford S. Barrett
Link: https://meet.google.com/obu-qbiw-efj
Presentation Time: 1245-1320
Abstract:
Atmospheric blocking is a disruption of mid-latitudinal circulation characterized by a slowing of synoptic-scale Rossby waves. Blocking is a suggested driving force of increased melt and discharge from many outlet glaciers of the Greenland ice sheet in recent years. This study identifies and categorizes blocking events over the North Atlantic Arctic using a predicted Greenland Blocking Index, and takes a quantity-based look at the connection of these events to moisture transport.

 

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