Update to PCB Video and an unexpected project.

My host agency, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, has posted my video to their YouTube Channel here!

Additionally, I became involved in developing media for DEQ’s 25th anniversary soon after the completion of the seminar. I created story map detailing some of the accomplishments of the agency during its 25-year history.

Final Outreach Documentary: Role of Wetlands in Coastal Resilience


Ali M Rezaie is currently pursuing this multidisciplinary research as part of his PhD in the Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering Department at the George Mason University (GMU). For more information, contact at arezaie@gmu.edu.

Special thanks to:

GMU Flood Hazards Research Lab

Virginia Sea Grant 

Resources For the Future 

Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center

All field footage were captured during the field campaign led by the Flood Hazards Research Lab.

Concept, Narration & Direction: Ali Mohammad Rezaie

Videography & Production: Chelsea Gray

Updated Final Product: What are polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBS)?;

I thought I updated my previous post, but I guess not since the changes aren’t on it…


I recorded the voiceover again in iMovie, which was nice and easy  in addition to making a couple changes to images. Here is the video:

I’ve shared it with DEQ and VDH staff, and will reach out to the James River Association, which has said they are interested in using it when working with students (somewhere between 2000-4000 students). DEQ staff can use this for public meetings on PCBs and VDH staff may link to the video on their website.

What are polychlorinated biphenyls? (Final product, whiteboard animation)

Here is a link to my whiteboard animation video:

After the December meeting, I reduced the script to a single page. The video is just over 3 minutes. The voiceover needs to be redone as there are 2 obvious pauses that make it awkward. Videoscribe’s voiceover tool has the user do it in 1 take. However, I realized I can export the video to iMovie sans voiceover and then record the voiceover in as many takes as I need. So, I am going to redo the voiceover this week and repost the video to Youtube. But for now, enjoy!

First Draft: What the heck is a polychlorinated biphenyl?

The most significant steps I have made with my outreach product are a script (see link below) and that I have begun to develop vector images using Inkscape (see the giant, cute ‘redbreast sunfish’ below). I have accessed a whiteboard animation software, but I am holding off on purchasing the monthly plan until I have a much larger image library to work with.

The basic idea of my video is to introduce people to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), how they are useful, how they are downright awful, and what actions we can take. Noticeably I’ve left out all mentions of ‘TMDL”  and even remediation as I’ve tried to approach in a way that helps you steer clear of PCBs versus how we reduce them in the environment.

The left-hand column is the script that will accompany the images and text (the right-hand column): VASG_ASC_VidOutline_11272017-Kirk

Outreach Proposal: Role of Wetlands in Coastal Resilience

VASG Advanced Science Communications Seminar Outreach Plan

Abstract :

Natural lands in coastal areas provide a variety of ecosystem services such as water purification, carbon sequestration, and flood mitigation. A service that is gaining increasing attention is protection from hurricane storm surge and waves. Coastal wetlands can attenuate the impact of storm surge by reducing wave energy, erosion and currents velocity thus reducing the landward propagation of surge and lowering flood levels and property damages. As the climate warms, sea levels rise, and hurricanes become more frequent or severe, these protective services provided by wetlands are likely to become more valuable and yet at the same time more threatened. Therefore, in order to disseminate the significance of wetlands and marshes for sustainable coastal resilience, the outreach plan focuses on preparing a documentary video. The video will mostly focus on delivering the key scientific outcomes of how these natural lands are protecting coastal communities from both engineering and economic perspective. Additionally, a set of academics, scientists, economists and practitioners will be interviewed as part of the outreach product. The interviews will not only render the importance of the ecosystem service of wetlands but also portray the intrinsic human relationship with nature. The humane display of the scientists will also exhibit the compassionate research that are carried out behind the concrete walls on a day-to-day basis. Moreover, the documentary will promote George Mason University’s (GMU) growing contribution to the society and environment at both a local and a national level. As a perfect fit to the context of the research, the flood hazard research lab (FHRL) in the Civil Engineering department at GMU will provide necessary logistic support. Finally, motion captures from coastal marshes and wetlands will be used in the documentary to show the physical environments in coastal marshes.

Objectives of Outreach

  • Showcase the capacity of wetlands and marshes to attenuate storm surge and waves from scientific background
  • Sharing outcome of the recent scientific studies to valuate($) the wetland flood protection service and restoration strategies as an adaptation technique
  • Displaying the humane side of the scientific communities. And depict the limitations and advancement of relevant scientific methods
  • Advocating GMU’s role in advancing coastal and estuarine research to improve societal resilience

Tentative Take home Message of movie documentary:

Encourage people to understand these four points using my previous and ongoing research outcomes:

  1. Wetlands have the capacity to reduce the impacts of flooding – we need to demonstrate/ quantify the rate of reduction through scientific methods
  2. Regardless of the capacity to attenuate storm surge, wetlands provide ecosystem services which are threatened and likely to be valuable in future ( Walls and Rezaie, 2018)
  3. Policy and actions should be tailored to locally preserve/restore wetlands and marshes (video should make clear how/why) (Bigalbal and Rezaie, 2018)
  4. Wetland has the potentials to be a sustainable ecosystem adaptation strategy – impacts of sea level rise are severe and has disproportionate impact on coastal properties (Rezaie et at al 2018)



Email: arezaie@gmu.edu, rezaie@rff.org;

Website: Research; GMU Lab 

Social & Professional Network: Twitter; Linkedin

First Draft

The Cost of Sick Oysters

ASCS Infographic First Draft

Lauren Huey

Rough draft of layout:


The images that I made of the oyster, the oysterman, and the shucking house represent the change from historical statuses. The full oyster image represents how many bushels of oysters there were in the Chesapeake Bay before their decline with the red portion representing the oysters present in the Bay today, which is about 1% of historical populations (Newell 1988). The oysterman represents the 50,000 oystermen working in the Bay at the peak of harvest in the 1880’s, with the 1000 people with oyster harvest licenses today represented by the red portion (Chesapeake Bay Program 2010). Lastly, the building represents the 136 shucking houses that were in operation in 1974 with the red portion signifying the 6 that were still operating as of 2010 (Chesapeake Bay Program 2010). There will be text to accompany the images but I haven’t written it yet. It will likely be a more concise version of the explanation of the images above. The size of the red portions was calculated based on the percent of the historical status of each factor today, with this percentage applied to the height of the figure and the resulting height being colored red. Through these images, I want to show the effect that the collapse of the oyster fishery had on the local economy and jobs.

A and B are small info bubbles. A will be about the debate on whether or not to introduce a non-native oyster to the Chesapeake Bay that occurred for over a decade. B will state that an estimated $4 billion was lost to Virginia and Maryland’s economy due to the oyster decline (Chesapeake Bay Program 2010).

The bottom portion of the infographic will discuss the causes of decline and bring oyster disease to the forefront. I will include a graph of Perkinsus marinus prevalence over time to show that it is still present at high levels in the Chesapeake Bay. I will end with the light at the end of the tunnel: oysters are recovering, with scientists trying to understand this recovery (which is what I’m doing) so that we can harness the natural resilience of oysters to improve fishery management and restoration efforts.


Chesapeake Bay Program. 2010. On the Brink: Chesapeake’s Native Oysters. Annapolis. https://www.chesapeakebay.net/

Newell, R.I.E. 1988. Ecological changes in Chesapeake Bay: Are they the result of
overharvesting the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). In M.P. Lynch and E.C.
Krome, editors. Understanding the Estuary: Advances in Chesapeake Bay Research.
Solomons, Maryland: Chesapeake Research Consortium Publication 129. CBP/TRS
24/88. pp 536-546.

Updated Layout: