Our Research Cloud-based data applications for streamlining natural resource management

Principal Investigator

Michael Triantafyllou

  • Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor in Ocean Science & Engineering
  • Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering
  • Director, MIT Sea Grant
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering

Michael Triantafyllou is the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor in Ocean Science & Engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the director of the MIT Sea Grant. He has published over 370 journal and conference papers in the areas of biomimetics, dynamics and control of marine systems, cable mechanics, and fluid mechanics. He pioneered the development of science-driven biomimetic robots to study mechanisms of flow control facilitating outstanding agility of fish and cetaceans. He is a life fellow of the American Physical Society and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.  


Can we streamline efforts of natural resource managers and increase transparency of information and decision-making among managers and their stakeholders in order to support productivity of shellfisheries, safe human consumption, and vitality of coastal economies?

Research Strategy

  • Collaboratively develop a user-friendly, web-based system for geospatial analysis, visualization and reporting that streamlines operations and increases accessibility in shellfishing management
  • Utilize cloud-based data services and application programming interfaces (APIs) to increase and streamline data access to the system, share shellfishing data in a timely manner, and reduce duplication of data and data transfer overhead
  • Solicit and translate user needs through focus groups, workshops, and surveys, utilizing the most resonant communications channels
  • Emphasize scalability and flexibility in design to increase system utility within the purview of natural resources management

Project description

Coasts are fertile environments for innovation combining Big Data, natural resources management, and the Blue Economy. In 2020, Massachusetts shellfish aquaculture accounted for 17% of U.S. East Coast production, generating $339 million for fishermen alone. Managing this industry across 7,000 square kilometers of coastal waters is time-consuming, especially since it is subdivided into 801 shellfish growing areas and accessed by thousands of users. Classification and access status of those areas vary due to long- and short-term environmental factors, including climate change. Improved productivity and vitality of coastal economies depend upon efficient management of these areas. 

This project will develop a cloud-based system that streamlines operations in shellfishing management, facilitates sharing of shellfish data, and increases transparency and accessibility to permit holders. This system of web interfaces for administrators and the public will employ relevant frameworks, data services, and application programming interfaces (APIs) for analysis, visualization, and reporting, resulting in a system that is scalable and flexible enough to support other applications within the purview of natural resources management. Using modern methods for cloud-based data dissemination, this project aims to help users understand what areas can be fished, rules behind a decision, and data supporting rules.

Additional Details

Impact Areas

  • Water
  • Food

Research Themes

  • Water Resources & Infrastructure
  • Technology & Commercialization
  • Sustainability & Adaptation
  • Transforming Food Systems
  • Modeling & Data Analytics

Year Funded

  • 2022

Grant Type

  • Seed Grant


  • Ongoing