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Change at the Helms

Acting director, Jeff Gunderson.

Although I have enjoyed my second opportunity to serve as Minnesota Sea Grant’s acting director, I’m anxious to get back to my fish and aquaculture projects. So, I hope you will join me in warmly welcoming Steve Bortone, our new director, to the state and our offices.

Professor Bortone is defying the typical autumn migration route by coming to Minnesota from Florida; specifically the Marine Laboratory at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation on Sanibel Island. Bortone, who has directed the Marine Laboratory since its inception, is Minnesota Sea Grant’s fifth director. He brings an impressive array of research and leadership achievements to our program and also to the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Department of Biology, where he is a tenured faculty member.

Steve Bortone

Steve Bortone

Bortone has a Ph.D. in marine sciences from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and spent most of his career as a faculty member in the biology department at the University of West Florida. His research has focused on the biology of fish and seagrasses living in salty estuaries. Before becoming the director of Sanibel’s marine laboratory, Bortone wrote or co-authored over 100 publications and collaborated with researchers in Germany, the Canary Islands, and Ireland. While directing the lab, he led a study that used the growth patterns of an economically important sportfish (the spotted seatrout) to monitor estuarine trends.

He has told me he’s excited about getting to know the Great Lakes better but will miss the friends and colleagues he is leaving after 30-plus years in Florida. He’ll probably miss Florida winters, too, but being Boston-born, he’s no stranger to snow. Bortone is enthusiastic about teaching again and about Sea Grant, a program that funded some of his early research.

Bortone will inherit international, national, and regional responsibilities along with the Minnesota Sea Grant director title. Over the 15 months that I have served as acting director, Minnesota Sea Grant has engaged in four particularly noteworthy endeavors:

  • The Great Lakes Regional Research and Information Network: Canadian and U.S. representatives are developing teams for each Great Lake and an overall network to tackle pressing research, outreach, and education problems.
  • Great Lakes Research and Outreach Consortium: Sea Grant programs of the Great Lakes are uniting to develop proposals, to accept and distribute funds for the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, and to advise CILER (below).
  • The Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER): This institute involves universities throughout the Great Lakes Basin and augments the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) internal research capabilities.
  • Minnesota Sea Grant’s research projects: We have completed the process of requesting, evaluating, and selecting research projects for the 20072009 funding cycle. Seven are expected to be funded out of the 21 we received.
Leon Cammen

Leon Cammen

Sea Grant also has a new commander at the national helm. Leon Cammen has officially been appointed as the director of NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program, based in Washington, D.C. He has been acting director since February. Prior to this post, Cammen was the program manager for NOAA’s ecosystem research program. Cammen holds a Ph.D. in zoology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Before joining Sea Grant, he conducted marine research along Maine’s coastline.

Best of success in your new roles, Dr. Cammen and Dr. Bortone! Now, where have those aquaculture projects been hiding for the last year?

Jeff Gunderson
Minnesota Sea Grant
Acting Director

By Jeff Gunderson
October 2006

Return to October 2006 Seiche

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