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Weekly Virtual Venture Café


17th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium

SAVE THE DATE | MONDAY, JUNE 15 | 9:00 - 10:00 AM

Explanation of the change in the biological diversity and ecological interactions resulting from new offshore renewable energy structures at a local scale and consideration of larger ecosystem scale. Panel will discuss the changes associated with installing multiple fixed turbines in terms of altered habitat provision, the development of benthic communities (both sessile and mobile), ecological processes and interactions which are relevant to understanding the effects and potential impacts.




Jennifer McCann is the Director of U.S. Coastal Programs at the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center at the Graduate School of Oceanography and Director of Extension Programs for the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program. McCann served as URI’s lead for developing the Ocean SAMP.

Andrew Lipsky is the Fisheries & Offshore Wind Lead at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA and Narragansett, RI. He is responsible for developing NOAA’s regional fisheries and wind science capabilities. Lipsky also co-chairs the new ICES Working Group on Offshore Wind Development and Fisheries.


Jan Vanaverbeke is a senior scientist at the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences, Operational Directorate Natural Environment, Marine Ecology and Management Group, and a visiting professor at Ghent University, Belgium. His research is directed towards understanding the functional effects of the introduction of artificial hard substrates in the marine environment. Currently, he is acting as one of the chairs of the ICES Working Group on Marine Benthal Renewable Energy Developments (ICES WGMBRED).

Emma Sheehan is a Senior Research Fellow that the School of Biological and Marine Sciences and Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom. Currently Dr. Sheehan leads a research group that utilizes non-destructive techniques to assess the effectiveness of spatial management for species and habitats over large spatial and temporal scales.

Julia Livermore is a supervising biologist with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s (RIDEM) Division of Marine Fisheries. She is the Division’s point for offshore wind matters and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bowdoin College and master’s degree in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University. She serves on the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Intergovernmental Task Force and the New York Fisheries Technical Working Group to provide Rhode Island biological and fisheries context to federal offshore wind planning discussions. During her time at RIDEM, Julia has conducted spatiotemporal analysis of offshore fishing activity and location and value of landings from wind energy areas to characterize how regions slated for development are utilized by Southern New England fishermen, as well as the species they target. These data have been used in project permitting, NEPA reviews, fisheries monitoring survey development, and mitigation discussions between developers and fishermen

David Bethoney serves as the Executive Director of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, David was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, School for Marine Science & Technology where he was a Research Assistant Professor at SMAST and developed a research program on the foundation of practical application and direct engagement with the fishing industry.


Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program is one of 34 programs in the National Sea Grant College Program working to enhance environmental stewardship and long-term economic development and responsible use of coastal and marine resources.  Located at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, Rhode Island Sea Grant supports research, outreach, and education programs designed to foster the resiliency of local and regional communities and marine environments.  

URI Graduate School of Oceanography Coastal Resources Center (CRC) helps communities become more effective stewards of their coastal and marine resources.  CRC partners with stakeholders to apply science and find solutions to societal issues. Working with communities, other universities, industry, and government, we respond to issues that matter and build the capabilities of our collaborators and ourselves. We are fortunate to have excellent partners.  

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and Working Group on Marine Benthal and Renewable Energy Developments (WGMBRED) looks at benthal and renewable energy related research, cause-effect relationships and develops guidelines to aid future research. The aim of the group is to increase scientific efficiency of benthal renewable energy related research, to specify the various cause-effect relationships resulting from the construction and operation of offshore renewable energy installations, and to develop guidelines and an overview of existing data for cumulative impact research by future international collaboration. The outcomes will assist in improving monitoring concepts in the context of offshore renewable energy constructions and will also be set within the context of marine spatial planning strategies and future ecosystem-based management approaches.


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  • Upon completion of the kiosk check in, a new page will load and allow you to access the virtual program via Zoom.

If you don’t yet have a Zoom account, please go to and click on “Sign Up, It’s Free” at the top right corner. Enter an email address you wish to use and activate your account. Once your account is active, go to and download “Zoom Client for Meetings.” Presenters, please note that you need to use the desktop application and not the browser application.

  • Enter the meeting room approximately 15 minutes before your session is scheduled to begin to test audiovisual.
  • Whenever possible, please avoid being backlit; good lighting, is KEY to your video feed looking good to the audience.
  • Test your video and mic in advance to ensure they are in good working order. Please see FAQs for recommended equipment, as needed.
  • One person speaking at a time will help Zoom enlarge the view of the current speaker. 
  • Participants will enter the room on mute. If you would like them to engage verbally, please remind them to take themselves off mute to ask a question and them place themselves back on mute when finished.
  • Encourage participants to ask questions during your session using the chat feature. We recommend pausing every 2-3 slides to answer questions from the Zoom chat. 


The health and safety of our community comes first. Due to ongoing concerns over COVID-19, Venture Café Providence has decided that the best course of action is to go digital for the foreseeable future.

We encourage you to join us on this journey of learning and experimentation!


We have decided to stay on a digital platform for the foreseeable future until COVID-19 has been contained and we get the all-clear from the proper authorities.


Please check out our Event Calendar for a list of all our upcoming events!


To change your virtual background in Zoom, click the up arrow next to the Stop/Start Video button on the lower left of the screen and select “Choose a Virtual Background. From there find the image of your preference and make that your background. 


HD 1080P Webcam

Most laptops do not have HD 1080P webcams built it. We suggest you purchase and use an external webcam that meets these specs. Example: Logitech C920 1080P HD webcam, estimated price $70-$100.

Condenser Microphone

We suggest using a condenser mic to dramatically improve audio quality. Many USB output microphones are available. Examples include: Snowball Mic and Yeti nano, estimated price $60-$100.


Please make sure that you are sitting in a high lighting area. We suggest using lighting, such as a selfie or halo ring light. Estimated price $20-$35.

Please contact our team at with any comments or questions.