2021 Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum


Third Annual Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum logo


The Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean (MACO) is pleased to host its Third Annual Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum from May 3-6, 2021. This year’s all-virtual event will feature expert panel discussions on ocean planning issues including offshore wind energy in the Mid-Atlantic, climate-induced ocean changes, ocean justice, and emerging technologies for monitoring the ocean. The event will also feature opportunities for public participation, a virtual networking luncheon and a poster session highlighting the work of students and early career professionals.

CLICK HERE to view a PDF of the agenda or scroll down for day-by-day summaries. Please contact Judy Tucker (info@midatlanticocean.org) for more information or if you have any questions.

We hope you’ll be available to join us for the entire Forum. Register for each day below.



(Scroll down for schedule)

Please be sure to register for each day that you would like to attend. Session details and speakers may change as Forum plans are finalized.

Day 1: Monday, May 3 | 12:30-4 p.m.

12:30 – 1 PM

Welcome and Tribal Blessing


Kisha Santiago-MartinezChair, MARCO Management Board, Deputy Secretary of State, New York State Department of State

Overview of Forum

Kevin Hassell, Chair, MACO Steering Committee, Environmental Specialist, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Tribal Blessing

Chief Stephen R. Adkins, Chickahominy Indian Tribe

1:00 – 2:20 PM

Opening Plenary

Federal, State and Tribal priorities for regional ocean planning

Moderator: Kevin Hassell

Federal Perspective

Amanda Lefton, Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (invited)

Tribal Perspectives 

Dr. Kelsey Leonard, MACO Steering Committee, Shinnecock Indian Nation

Chief Stephen R. Adkins, Chickahominy Indian Tribe (invited)

State and Regional Perspectives

Doreen Harris, Acting President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

Shawn M. LaTourette, Acting Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

William Anderson, Assistant Secretary for Aquatic Resources, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Ellen Bolen, Deputy Commissioner, Virginia Marine Resources Commission

Dr. Peter deFur, Council Member (VA), Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council


2:30 – 4:00 PM

Climate-Induced Ocean Changes: The Big Picture

A broad overview of climate-induced observed and potential ocean impacts, especially those we are seeing or anticipating in the ocean waters off the Mid-Atlantic region. 

Moderator: Darlene Finch, Mid-Atlantic Regional Lead, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Dr. Robert (Bob) Halberg, Oceanographer/Ocean Group Head, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

Dr. Denise Breitburg, Scientist Emeritus, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Day 2: Tuesday, May 4 | 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

9:30 – 11:30 AM

Time to Get Real: What We Have Learned and What We Need to Know to Inform Offshore Wind Siting

Moderator: Darryl Francois, Chief, Engineering and Technical Review Branch, Office of Renewable Energy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Part I: Lessons learned about offshore wind energy siting and decision-making 

Dr. Mary Boatman, Environmental Studies Chief, Office of Renewable Energy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

George Detweiler, Marine Transportation Specialist, Navigation Standards Division, Office of Navigation Systems, U.S. Coast Guard

Nick Napoli, Senior Advisor, Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean

Part II: What we need to know to better inform decisions regarding offshore wind siting

Brian Zelenke, Surface Currents Program Manager, NOAA-IOOS

Dr. Lyndie Hice-Dunton, Executive Director, Responsible Offshore Science Alliance

Captain J. Stuart Griffin, Chairman, Mariners’ Advisory Committee for the Bay and River Delaware

12:00 – 12:50 PM

Interact with the Work Groups

BYO lunch to a themed breakout room for an informal opportunity to interact with the working groups and to learn more about current and planned activities, and offer input for consideration in future work planning. 

Room #1

Marine Debris: Laura McKay, Program Manager, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program

Ocean Mapping and Data Team: Laura McKay and Nick Napoli, MARCO Senior Advisor

Room #2

Ocean Acidification/Mid-Atlantic Coastal Acidification Network: Mary Ford, Director of Engagement & External Relations, Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System

Non-consumptive Recreation: Kevin Hassell, Environmental Specialist, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Room #3

Maritime Commerce and Navigation Safety: Jerry Barnes, Marine Planner, U.S. Coast Guard Fifth District

Offshore Wind Regional Collaborative: Michael Snyder, Ocean and Great Lakes Program Manager, New York State Department of State

1:00 – 3:00 PM

Science, Knowledge, Equity and Justice for Regional Ocean Planning

Hear from scientists and other professionals about how their work contributes to justice in regional ocean planning and discuss best practices for achieving ocean equity and justice.

Moderator: Whitney Tome, Executive Director, Green 2.0 & Principal, The Raben Group

Symone Barkley, Manager of Education Programs, National Aquarium

Dr. Kelsey Leonard, MACO Representative, Shinnecock Nation

Jeff Payne, Director, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Breakout Discussions – What does Ocean Justice mean in the context of: 

(1) science priorities and research (science)

(2) community engagement and outreach (knowledge)

(3) equitable benefits from ocean resources (justice)

Day 3: Wednesday, May 5 | 9:15 a.m.-1:45 p.m.

9:15 – 11:15 AM

Innovative Technologies and Approaches for Understanding Ocean Changes

The ocean is currently undersampled and there is insufficient support for sustained observations to fill data needs for informed ocean management. This session will focus on new and/or innovative technologies and techniques for understanding ocean changes in a busy ocean, and examples of how these approaches can be applied. 

Moderator: Dr. Josh Kohut, Professor, Rutgers University/MARACOOS

Part 1: What are innovative tools and technologies with potential management applications?

Dr. Matt Oliver, Distinguished Professor, University of Delaware

Dr. Catherine Edwards, Associate Professor, University of Georgia

Dr. Ruth Perry, Marine Science and Regulatory Specialist, Atlantic Shores/Shell

Part 2: Case studies to address data needs and management

Dr. Grace Saba, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University

Dr. Thomas Noji, Chief, Ecosystems and Aquaculture Division Director, James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, Northeast Fisheries Science Center – Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Dr. Jennifer Miksis-Olds, Director, University of New Hampshire Center for Acoustics Research and Education

Dr. Christian Reiss, Research Fishery Biologist, NOAA Fisheries Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division

Part 3: Panel discussion with all presenters

11:30 AM-12:30 PM

Public Listening Session to Inform MACO

Stakeholder input on ocean planning issues and opportunities for MACO collaboration

Moderator: Michael Snyder, Ocean and Great Lakes Program Manager, New York State Department of State

12:45 – 1:45 PM

Poster Session

Featuring the research of students and early career professionals on topics relevant to ocean science, policy and socioeconomics in the Mid-Atlantic. CLICK HERE for more details.

Day 4: Thursday, May 6 | 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

9:30 – 11:20 AM

Conservation and Living Marine Resource Management in the Face of a Changing Climate

Learn about ongoing research designed to help managers understand the changes species are experiencing in the marine environment and explore how ocean mapping tools and data tools support planning and management.

Moderators: Jessica Coakley, Fishery Management Specialist, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Megan Treml, Geospatial Consultant, Lynker at NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Part 1: Helping Managers Understand the Changes

Caleb Spiegel, Marine Bird Biologist, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Dr. Peter Corkeron, Senior Scientist, New England Aquarium

Dr. Malin Pinsky, Associate Professor, Rutgers University

Part 2: Policies, Data, and Tools to Support Ocean Planning

Dr. Sarah Gaichas, Research Fishery Biologist, NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Chris McGuire, Marine Program Director, The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts

Mimi Diorio, GIS Manager, NOAA Marine Protected Areas Center

Video from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 

11:30 AM-12:30 PM

Closing Plenary

Perspectives on the Forum and moving forward offered by governmental, academic, environmental representatives