Steamship Portland Explorers

Benjamin D. Cowie-Haskell
Bruce Terrell
Ivar Babb
Anne Smrcina
Allen Gontz
Deborah Marx
Matthew Lawrence

Ben Cowie-HaskellBenjamin D. Cowie-Haskell
Principal Investigator, Steamship Portland Expedition
Operations Coordinator, NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Ben Cowie-Haskell grew up in the Berkshire foothills of north Connecticut and did his undergraduate work at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME. He received his MS in coastal policy from the University of Maryland in 1997. While at Maryland, he co-edited a book on ecosystem health published by Island Press in 1992.

He started with the National Marine Sanctuary program in 1992 as a Sea Grant Marine Policy Fellow. After three years at NOAA headquarters, he served for five years as the science coordinator for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. While there, he designed and implemented an ecological monitoring program to evaluate the performance of the sanctuary’s no-take zones and managed the Tortugas 2000 project to create the nation’s largest marine reserve, which became effective in July 2001.

As operations coordinator for the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Mr. Cowie-Haskell coordinates the marine protected area policy and enforcement program, the diving program, and the submerged cultural resources program. He is currently co-editing a book on the Tortugas 2000 process.

Bruce TerrellBruce Terrell
NOAA, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Bruce Terrell is the maritime historian archaeologist for NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program. His responsibilities include initiating inventory, and managing and interpreting the broad range of unique cultural resources in each of the sanctuaries. He also provides technical assistance to headquarters and field personnel on issues involving submerged archaeological sites and cultural properties within the sanctuaries. He has 20 years’ experience in field research, artifact conservation, cultural resource management, museum curation, and exhibit design and construction. He served as the state underwater archaeologist of Louisiana, where he planned and implemented the Division of Archaeology’s Underwater Archaeology program. He holds a master’s in maritime history and underwater research from East Carolina University.

Ivar Babb
National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut
Avery Campus, Groton, CT.

Ivar Babb has been with the National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut since 1988. He got his start as the regional research coordinator and became its director in 1995.

He is an expert in marine education and underwater technologies, including submersibles and scuba.

In 1988, he co-founded the Aquanauts Program, which exposes high school students and teachers to hands-on oceanographic research aboard the UConn research vessel, Connecticut, to destinations that include the Gulf of Maine and Long Island Sound.

The Aquanauts experience proved so successful for students at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, CT, that Mr. Babb and his colleagues at the Center tailored a program for deaf students called “Classroom of the Sea.” Mr. Babb has been instrumental in developing technology to broadcast from the deck of the Connecticut to schools for the deaf in several states.

He is also a member of the Ocean Technology Foundation’s board of directors.

Anne Smrcina
Education and Outreach Coordinator
NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Anne Smrcina is the education and outreach coordinator of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, where she has worked for the past nine years. She holds a BS in biology from Cornell University, a master's in science journalism from Boston University, and a master's in education from the University of Massachusetts.

Ms. Smrcina serves on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Marine Educators and the New England Chapter of the Marine Technology Society, and is a member of the national education working group of the National Marine Sanctuary Program. Recently, she has been involved in the development of an interactive visitor exhibit in Provincetown. She has served as editor/writer for the sanctuary's outreach publications, including newsletters and press releases, and helped construct its Web page. She is a co-author of the "Whaling to Watching" right whale curriculum package, which includes a book and award-winning video. Prior to her service at the sanctuary, she worked as a public information and education specialist at the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Office, and as a public information officer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Allen GontzAllen Gontz
Graduate Student
University of Maine

Allen Gontz is completing his PhD in Marine and Coastal Geology. Originally from Hershey, PA, Allen gravitated toward marine research as he acquired undergraduate degrees in environmental biology and geology from Pennsylvania's Lock Haven University. He received a master's in geologoy from the University of Maine, and continues his studies there as a doctoral candidate focusing on “sources and implications of shallow subsurface methane in estuaries.” Although the title might imply energy exploration, he is actually looking at the environmental movement of methane and how it may provide evidence of climate change and subsequent implications to benthic habitat. His studies have also led to work in sea-floor mapping, including analysis of sidescan sonar images.

Deborah MarxDeborah Marx
Maritime Archaeologist
Landfall Archaeological Resource Consultants

Deborah Marx is under contract to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to provide submerged cultural resource assistance. She is a graduate of East Carolina University’s program in maritime studies and has an MA in maritime history and underwater archaeology. Her area of specialty includes 19th-century side-wheel steamships, specifically Panama Route steamships engaged in trade between New York and California during the California Gold Rush. Besides work in the sanctuary, Ms. Marx has conducted research and field work on shipwrecks located in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off Washington state and in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary off Southern California. She has also served as a consultant and conservator for the state of California Department of Parks and Recreation and for Indiana University’s Department of Underwater Sciences.

Matthew LawrenceMatthew Lawrence
Maritime Archaeologist
Landfall Archaeological Resource Consultants

Matthew Lawrence is under contract to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to provide submerged cultural resource assistance. He is a graduate of East Carolina University’s program in maritime studies. During the summer of 2002, he participated in sanctuary esearch cruises that confirmed the identity of the Portland and located several new shipwrecks in the sanctuary.