From the storyboard to the screen by Lisa Tossey

Planning is key for videos - especially when it comes to animated sequences. I enjoyed helping to write this script and storyboard it, then watch it come to life under the graphic magic of my colleague, Jeff Chase.

A few shots of my planning sketches on the script, followed by the final video.


Learn more about this $23 million grant here >

A link between farting termites and cleaner energy? by Lisa Tossey

I have to say, that got my attention…

In reality, it is microbes doing the “farting” - specifically methane-producing microbes who live within the gut of termites. And since these microbes also help termites digest wood, researchers are looking at how they might be put to work “mining” vast reserves of coal that are otherwise difficult to access, since coal is basically compressed wood. By having these deep diving microbes convert coal directly to methane, or natural gas, its energy can be captured and utilized in a cleaner burning form to serve growing energy needs as greener alternative energies come on line.

I worked with Jeff Chase, senior art director at University of Delaware’s Office of Communications and Marketing, to produce this series of videos on the topic to accompany an article by Tracey Bryant. These pieces were designed to work in concert with each other if viewers wanted to dive deeper into the topic and are linked by cards. The wood to coal explainer was also designed to stand alone as educational piece.

A huge shout-out to Jeff for his beautiful graphic work on this!

UPDATE Jan. 16: Cool to see this was picked up by Newsweek!

Termites may hold the key to transforming coal - a big polluting chunk of the global energy supply - into cleaner energy for the world, according to Universi...

#MAMEA18 in Portsmouth, Va. by Lisa Tossey

I always enjoy the annual conference of the Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association (MAMEA) - it’s full of useful sessions as well as a fun weekend to catch up with my peers in the region and see what they have been doing in their own institutions and organizations. This year was especially cool, as I was elected as president-elect for the organization, which means I get to oversee next year’s conference. I have some fun ideas!

I presented a session on the use of VR/AR/MR (virtual, augmented, and mixed realities) in science communication and education and had some enthusiastic participants who also tried out some of the apps and headsets at the close of the session. Here is the Prezi I used during the presentation, as well as links to many examples, resources, and gear.

Spinning Science in 360° - MAMEA 2018 Conference

Direct Prezi link for sharing >

And here’s a Google Doc of all the links below for download >

I’m always happy to answer questions!

Examples & Resources for Communicating Science

Virtual Reality (VR)

360 Video

Augmented Reality (AR)

Mixed Reality

Cameras & Apps

Google Cardboard Camera

FOV 360 camera app (Apple iOS only)

Panorama 360. Camera

Insta360 camera line

Ricoh Theta camera line

GoPro Fusion camera (Note: I haven’t used this one personally & have heard mixed opinions on it)

Others I’ve tried & have not been thrilled with compared to the first two: Nikon KeyMission, 360Fly

Viewers & Platforms

Google Cardboard viewer app

Smartphone-based viewers:

Standalone headsets:


Thinglink - Sign up for their e-news, as they may have another Black Friday sale!

Google Tour Creator

Both YouTube & Vimeo now support 360 video

My Examples

DE Sea Grant on RoundMe


#SUKAYAKSDelmarva by Lisa Tossey

Twenty-one days kayaking and camping around the Delmarva peninsula - not a bad way to start the summer! I was fortunate to spend June assisting with a summer semester course doing just that with the writer Tom Horton and students from Salisbury University. I am currently compiling and editing footage from the journey, but here are a few of the social media posts I made during the trip. 

One year since diving deep... by Lisa Tossey

Hard to believe it's already been a year since I traveled down, down, down to the East Pacific Rise aboard the DSV Alvin! 

One of my favorite images from our research cruise aboard the R/V Atlantis, Photo by Luis Lamar

"Driving" Alvin along the seafloor, 2500 meters deep - unsure if my auto insurance covers this... Photo by PI George Luther

A porthole view on the sea floor.

All I wanted to see down there was an octopus ... wish granted!

Students shine on research cruise by Lisa Tossey

I'm still processing all the amazing experiences I had on the R/V Atlantis last month, diving on the East Pacific Rise in DSV Alvin. I am currently finalizing a highlights video for the cruise that will showcase some of the amazing sights we saw 2500 meters under the sea, but one of the favorite parts of my work out there were the student pieces. 

I chatted with a couple of the undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a postdoc, about their expectations before making their first dive in DSV Alvin, and then again afterwards to hear about their experience. They expressed their thoughts so clearly and with such enthusiasm it was hard not to get stoked with them! Here's Ph.D. candidate Kristin Yoshimura speaking about her dive. The other videos can be seen on the trip blog or the college's Facebook page

The ship's crew and staff also remarked on the quality of the students we had with us - they were all fantastic and did University of Delaware proud!

Test run with the GoPro Karma grip by Lisa Tossey

I was a carrying a new tool on our research cruise aboard the R/V Atlantis - GoPro's handheld stabilizer, the Karma grip. We had a few days at sea as we were underway from Costa Rica to our station at 9 North along the East Pacific Rise, so I decided to put it to the test by carrying it completely through the ship to provide a quick video tour.

I'm impressed by the results, which you can see below. The video is from one take, walking through doors, in and out of different work areas, and up steps on the vessel, which was moving at about 12 knots at the time. I can't wait to put it to use on some other projects soon! 

Project VIDEO Virtual Reality work recognized by Lisa Tossey


I’m thrilled to have just been notified that Project VIDEO, the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) grant work I’ve been collaborating with Christopher Petrone on, just won the Audiovisual division of the 2016 Delaware Press Association awards. Chris is the education specialist for Delaware Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Service and PI on our project, and I assist him on the educational components and do all the video and virtual reality shooting and production. It will now go on to the national communications contest held by the National Association of Press Women (NFPW). 

Across Delmarva via an ARCGis Story Map by Lisa Tossey

I assisted Chris Petrone, the education specialist for Delaware Sea Grant, with a series of teacher workshops this summer that had us transecting the Delmarva Peninsula from the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware Bay, exploring various watersheds along the way. It made for quite a fun and educational road trip for participating teachers! 

I decided to test out Esri's new story map template called Cascade, which is still in beta release, to document the workshops. It's been a bit glitchy at times, and although it promises to optimize images, it can take some time to load. However, I love how it allows you tell an immersive 'story' beautifully by combining images, video, and data! 

OceansOnline - Leading a discussion on digital storytelling at the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress in Newfoundland by Lisa Tossey

I was thrilled to be invited to the OceansOnline conference, which was held in conjunction with the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress in St. John's, Newfoundland in August. I led a discussion on Incorporating digital storytelling in marine science outreach and communication, and spoke about my current work with Delaware Sea Grant, including Project VIDEO, our joint work with the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations

We had an enthusiastic group for our discussion! 

We had an enthusiastic group for our discussion! 

We touched on everything from social media platforms, to using images and video in outreach efforts, to embracing new technologies such as virtual reality. 

Here are a few ideas and tips from the session that I pulled together after the session for the newsletter of Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM):

  • When it comes to social media, you don’t have to do it all! Take some time to “lurk” on various platforms to see how they’re used and what audiences tend to use them, then experiment on a few to see what might be the best fit for your field or organization.
  • Social media isn’t a one-way street – that’s why “social” is in its name! Don’t just use it to push out information – engage with other users and your followers, share information that’s relevant to your field or community, and have fun with it!
  • Images are truly worth 1,000 words online. Images drive engagement and an eye-catching photo, animated gif, or video clip can serve as a great “hook” to grab users’ attention in a sea of social media posts. Photos showing action, hands-on activities, or a detailed view of a critter or landscape can be particularly effective.
  • Post with purpose. You should always be able to connect your social media posts, whether they are a photo, link, or shared information, back to your work or organization’s mission. This helps to build your reputation as a trusted resource in your field.
  • Short format videos that are popular on platforms like Instagram are perfect vehicles for bite-sized, sharable science pieces. Use them to share fun “Did you know…” facts, highlight specific areas of work or critters being studied, or show scientific techniques.
  • And most importantly – don’t be afraid to experiment online. Try something new, assess how it works, tweak your approach if necessary, and try again!

If you’re interested in learning more about this, my Prezi presentation from the session is full of examples >> 


Going virtual by Lisa Tossey

A new grant related to my work with Delaware Sea Grant has provided an opportunity to delve into 360 imagery, virtual reality, and the use of Google Cardboard for education, which is exciting in many ways! Much more to come, but here are a couple of immersive examples from early tests with our new equipment to explore!

While setting up the 360 camera on a beach in South Africa, an unexpected guest came down the stairs to investigate the equipment! 

And here is a "behind the scenes" capture of a recent filming we did with Maryland Sea Grant along the waterfront in Baltimore's Inner Harbor!

Behind the scenes: Talking microbes and water quality with Maryland Sea Grant along the waterfront in downtown Baltimore - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

NAIINZ - Presenting overseas for the first time by Lisa Tossey

I was both thrilled and honored when my session proposal was accepted for the International Conference on Interpretation in Wellington, New Zealand, this month. It was hosted by Interpretation Network New Zealand (INNZ) and the National Association of Interpretation (NAI), of which I am a member. NAI is an organization that focuses on the art of engaging instruction, and works with historical and natural heritage educators who work in nature centers, zoos, aquariums, parks, museums, and historical and cultural sites.

Nearly all of the delegates present at the conference.  Image courtesy of NAI  

Nearly all of the delegates present at the conference. Image courtesy of NAI 

This was truly an international conference, drawing in more than 130 delegates from over 12 counties. I was fortunate enough to be invited to present a 90-minute mini-workshop on my work using digital tools in informal science education. My session, Digital Storytelling – Engaging Others Using the Technology in your Pocket, drew over 25 participants who were eager to start incorporating social media and videos into their institution’s educational outreach plans.

My presentation focused heavily on the work I have been doing with the Delaware Sea Grant College Program and the related research I have undertaken as part of my Ed.D. portfolio work. In the days following my workshop I had several constructive follow-up conversations with participants, which progressed into email correspondence.

Shortly after the conclusion of the conference, I heard back from one participant, who works for the Department of Conservation in New Zealand, which manages about 40 percent of the country’s land and serves a similar function as our National Parks Service in the U.S. His role includes leading planning for their investment in storytelling in over 500 historic heritage sites throughout New Zealand, and he informed me that he was now looking at adding a digital outreach position due to what he learned in my session. That news and his kind words about my workshop really made the trip worthwhile for me.

Exploring a protected marine reserve during our field trip day along the southern coast of the North Island

Exploring a protected marine reserve during our field trip day along the southern coast of the North Island

In addition to concurrent sessions at the venue, the conference also offered a day of offsite sessions in several tracks. I was thrilled that one track was focused on marine science education, and joined the “Fishy Tales” field trip to a university coastal ecology laboratory, a local marine education center and aquarium, and a coastal interpretive site in a protected marine reserve. These site visits not only provided a chance to get out in the field and experience different educational venues in the region, but also offered excellent networking opportunities and a nice break mid-conference from being confined in the official venue.

I had visited New Zealand once before, and was awed by its natural beauty and welcoming people then, so I was eager to return. This conference both reinforced that first impression and built upon it, allowing me to experience its environmental wonders firsthand, but more importantly, make genuine connections with other educators and administrators who are working tirelessly to educate others about, and protect, the country’s rich heritage and natural resources.

Here's a short video of the traditional Maori ceremony that opened the conference. I shot snippets of audio and video throughout with my phone and pieced them together using iMovie as an example of editing video on the fly for my workshop >

The Prezi I used during my workshop to highlight examples of what we were touching on >