AMHERST, Mass. – The School of Earth and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today announced that Gloucester resident Katie Kahl has been named to a newly created position, extension assistant professor in sustainable fisheries and coastal resilience, at the Gloucester Marine Station. She will bridge the university’s research capacity with ecological, economic and social needs in the area.
Adrian Jordaan, director of the Gloucester Marine Station, says, “We are excited to welcome Katie to our team. She brings valuable professional experience to the station, to Cape Ann and North Shore communities, as well as to Massachusetts and New England coastal and marine partnerships. Hers is a community-embedded position, where she will act as a liaison between community interests and UMass’s research resources.”
He adds, “It can’t be overstated how valuable it is that we have support from Gloucester and the greater region. From elected officials to agencies to marine industries, so many have been so supportive. We look forward to working closely with all of them as things move forward.”
UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy says, “We are delighted to see the Gloucester Marine Station revitalized and now staffed with a full-time research and education representative from our campus. This position will foster valuable relationships with a variety of communities and organizations on the North Shore and Cape Ann.
It is satisfying to see the Commonwealth’s flagship university renewing its commitment to the area, its resources, economy and people.”
Kahl, who will begin work at the Marine Station at Hodgkins Cove in early January, most recently spent six years in Michigan working on climate change adaptation and coastal resilience for The Nature Conservancy with Great Lakes communities, state and provincial governments and others. She has a master’s and Ph.D. in fisheries and wildlife with an emphasis in landscape ecology from Michigan State University. She holds a B.S. in biology from Truman State University in Missouri. Kahl moved to Gloucester last year with her husband, a Gloucester native, and their two children, to be closer to family.
Kahl says she looks forward to meeting with leaders from other Gulf of Maine economic development and research institutions that are helping communities and marine economic interests to develop new and sustainable plans, advocating for fisherman, and launching educational ocean literacy programs.
“I’m excited to find innovative opportunities that we can bring to Gloucester and other North Shore communities,” she notes. “One of the key priorities I look forward to is leading the development of a new vision for the Gloucester Marine Station. I have met so many talented and energized future partners, in Gloucester, the state and the Gulf of Maine region.”
Jordaan adds, “It’s a coast-wide, national and international need. The health and resiliency of the whole ecosystem, from Stellwagen Bank to the Great Marsh, is critical to so many people. If UMass can play a role in going forward in a well-planned way, it will be fantastic.”
Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) says, “The appointment of Kate Kahl is certainly good news for Cape Ann and UMass, signaling a commitment by the university to boost research at Hodgkins Cove that has meaning for, and impact on, important issues such as strengthening the fishing industry and reaching a better understanding of marine ecosystems.The facility has a storied and important legacy of helping the commercial fishing industry. Now we can write a new chapter in that history by working together on shared priorities, and it’s critical to keep that work alive.”
Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester) says, “Sustainable fishing and coastal resilience are critical elements to the well-being and local economy of Cape Ann. I am pleased that UMass has selected Katie Kahl to serve as the extension assistant professor in sustainable fisheries and coastal resilience and look forward to working with her on these important issues.”
Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken says, “The City of Gloucester continues to lead by example by planning around climate change projections, financing infrastructure needs and pursuing regional coastal resilience efforts, all of which benefiting from this new position. Through these amazing collaborations and partnerships, our coastal communities will achieve so much more and we couldn’t be happier to see a local resident earn this title. We welcome Katie Kahl to our collective team and remain grateful to UMass Amherst and Gloucester Marine Station for their ongoing support.”
David Pierce, director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, which shares laboratory and office space at the station with UMass Amherst, says he and the agency are “excited about continuing and enhancing our collaborations with UMass at the Gloucester Marine Station. We share the vision of an exciting and vibrant marine lab with the capabilities to make major contributions to the region.”
Kathryn Glenn, North Shore regional coordinator for the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, says, “CZM is pleased to welcome Katie in her new role at the UMass Gloucester Marine Station, and we look forward to collaborating with her and working together as partners to improve coastal resilience on Cape Ann and across the North Shore.”
Kahl says her immediate plans include organizing an advisory group of community, local, state and federal government representatives as well as seafood, fishing, marine tech and environmental industry leaders to establish a vision and scope of work for the next one to five years. “I hope that UMass Amherst’s Gloucester Marine Station can serve as a vehicle for local and regional stakeholders to engage with the university. This group will help us define the next phase for the station.”