On October 22nd on the island known as South Padre, a gathering of spectacular minds began. This event was the 2013 American Shore and Beach Preservation Association Conference. The ASBPA meets every year to discuss their success in meeting their goals of preserving, protecting, and enhancing the beaches, shores and other coastal resources of America. This diverse, nationwide group was established in 1926 when they realized how valuable of a resource the American coasts can be.
It is this mission and vision that appealed to a research team from Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG), and with funding provided by the Texas Institute of Oceanography the team was able to attend. The Sargassum Early Advisory System (SEAS) has existed for two years, forecasting Sargassum landings and providing advisories for the coastal communities. In 2013, a total of 73 advisories were sent out to coastal managers and other significant stakeholders. Accuracy increased from 85% in 2012 to 97% in 2013. The SEAS Team presented in a poster competition at the conference as well as two oral presentations.
The Team posters were presented by Jeff Frazier and Brandon Hill and were awarded first place as the best posters at the conference. Both Captain Robert Webster and Brandon Hill held well attended oral presentations and received many accolades from the conference attendees. There is something about a practical scientific endeavor, that also results in a useful and accurate monitoring system that people seem to love. The ASBPA members in attendance consisted of engineers, environmental professionals, geologists, government agencies and scientists from nearly every field. Every one of them was enthusiastic about the product that the TAMUG SEAS Team had produced.
On the whole the SEAS Team not only represented Texas A&M University at Galveston well but served as an example of the bright future that lays ahead of the scientific community with intelligent young minds, like the students of TAMUG at the helm.
Photo: The SEAS Team shows off bright minds with big victories and bigger reactions to their science. (from left to right) Brandon N. Hill, ASBPA National President Harry Simmon, Jeff Frazier, and ASBPA Texas Chapter President Jerry Mohn.