ornithologist retrieving osprey from trap

by Tessa  Corsetti

On January 9th, 2024, Great Bay had the opportunity to host our second annual Research Symposium! Students, academic and professional scientists, and partner organizations from in and around coastal New Hampshire came to the Great Bay Reserve for a day of learning, networking, and insightful conversation. This all-day, in-person event drew almost 80 attendees who gathered to discuss research, swap ideas, and connect with colleagues over their shared passion for Great Bay. 

This year’s theme, Innovations in Monitoring, invited participants to learn from a diverse suite of monitoring and analytical approaches used in and around Great Bay, identify datasets to integrate into their work, and meet potential collaborators. A line-up of 24 speakers gave 5-10 minute talks in one of six categories:

    1. Maximizing the potential of monitoring programs.
    2. Monitoring of human dimensions.
    3. Watershed dynamics and water quality.
    4. Expanding our coastal observing system.
    5. Informing habitat restoration.
    6. Fish and wildlife. 

Meeting Materials:

Representatives from 6 different universities and 14 different management agencies and nonprofits were among the many that gathered to improve and advance communication and collaboration between partners and organizations at Great Bay. All talks were recorded and later uploaded to the Great Bay YouTube page where they can continue to be enjoyed and referenced. 

Symposium participants seemed to enjoy attending the event as much as we enjoyed hosting it! When asked for feedback, one person said:

This was one of the most well organized and coordinated workshops I have attended. Big kudos to all GBNERR and all the people who put it together. I was impressed on how much thought went into the organization, structure, topic areas, and logistics.”

Another participant shared:

“Great symposium and felt extremely welcoming to students and new professionals!! Great organization, flow, and I liked the short talk format with lots of time for interactive questions. Short form talks held my interest the entire time….. We got to hear about so many interesting projects and from a large variety of people. Great camaraderie and positive atmosphere, enjoyed that it was a small and intimate setting. Loved being there!”

The symposium concluded with a crowdsourcing activity in which attendees discussed their ideas for increasing the impact of our collective monitoring efforts. See: Ideas for Expanding Impact. Attendees were encouraged to respond to the various research ideas with comments or general interest. Once the symposium wrapped, many headed to Great Rhythm Brewing Company in Portsmouth, NH to keep the conversation going!

It was an honor to host the second annual Great Bay Research Symposium. Thank you to everyone who made this year such a huge success. We are already looking forward to next year’s event! Keep an eye on our GBNERR Science webpage for updates. 

A special thank you to the symposium planning committee:

Brianna Group, the Nature Conservancy
Steve Jones, University of New Hampshire
Jake Kritzer, Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing System
Trevor Mattera, Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership
Chris Peter, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Cory Riley, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Michelle Shattuck, University of New Hampshire
Lynn Vaccaro, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

For more information, please contact Christopher.R.Peter@wildlife.nh.gov!