LSU Scientists Help Elevate Coastal Studies Research at Universities in India
By Michelle Watson, College of Science communications intern
LSU’s Sam Bentley and Kenneth Rose visited Kerala, India, September 4 – 13, to establish a collaborative education and research program with the Cochin University of Science and Technology, or CUSAT. Their visit, funded by the Erudite Visiting Scholars Program, was part of an initiative created by the Kerala Higher Education Council to help elevate research activities at Kerala universities.
The Erudite Program is an innovative concept of the Kerala state government to strengthen the research activities of various universities in Kerala. Through the program, eminent scholars from throughout the world are invited to spend three to ten days at Kerala universities to serve as expert lecturers, and to closely interact with university students, teachers and researchers.
As part of the program, Bentley and Rose delivered guest lectures about LSU’s coastal and environmental research and education programs at four universities in Kerala. They also visited with students and faculty and participated in field trips to regional sites of coastal geological and ecological interest, including Punappra Beach where they observed a major landing of sardines in a coastal subsistence fishery.
“This collaboration will have a positive impact on coastal research in Kerala and Louisiana, particularly research efforts vital to the Kerala’s coastal fishery,” said Bentley, director of LSU’s Coastal Studies Institute and Billy and Ann Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology. “The fishery is driven by the seasonal monsoon, which pushes river discharge, coastal currents, waves, and sediment transport, creating easily accessible near-shore mud banks. This region has striking similarities to our own Chenier Plain coast of SW Louisiana, and will offer educational and research opportunities to both CUSAT and LSU to support a more in-depth understanding of these factors.”
As part of the visit, an official collaborative research program between LSU and CUSAT was established. The collaboration was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding with CUSAT’s Vice Chancellor J. Letha.
“The research topics reflected in the MOU will vary from coastal resilience to coastal wetland ecology and coupled human-natural systems,” said Kenneth Rose, associate dean of research in LSU’s School of the Coast & Environment. “This partnership will be beneficial to faculty and students at CUSAT as well as to faculty and students involved with coastal research at LSU. We anticipate joint projects, workshops involving faculty and students from both institutions on topics of mutual interest, and possibly CUSAT students spending time at LSU. We are very excited to be a part of this program.”
Photo: Left to Right: Assistant Professor P. Ajayakumar, CUSAT Department of Marine Geology
and Geophysics; Professor A. N. Balchand, head of the CUSAT Department of Physical;
Professor Sam Bentley, director of LSU's Coastal Studies Institute; P.K. DineshKumar,
senior principal scientist, Indian National Institute of Oceanography; and Professor Kenny Rose, associate dean of research, LSU
School of the Coast & Environment; on Punappra Beach where they observed a major landing
of sardines in a coastal subsistence fishery.