60-degree days in December? We’ll take them! Faculty, staff, and students enjoyed favorable weather conditions for the Coastal Studies Institute’s two most recent Brown Bag Lunches. During the first December session, Dr. Sid Mitra led a discussion called “Buzz: The Science and Lore of Caffeine, Alcohol, and a Few Other Drugs.” This engaging discussion, that even had the audience participate as water molecules, left listeners informed about how different substances we ingest interact with our body and the environment. Then during the second of the bi-monthly occurrences, Dr. Mike Muglia, a self-proclaimed surf junkie, almost divulged some of his coveted sea secrets in a presentation called “Secret Session: OBX Wave and Water Temperature Observations to Maximize Your Shredding!”. During both the talks we laughed, listened, and learned, all of which are the goals of the Brown Bag Lunches at the Coastal Studies Institute.

“We were looking for an opportunity to come together and learn, without the pressure of a formal presentation,” states Alex Nolte, the University Program Associate on the ECU Outer Banks Campus. “Many of us come from different backgrounds, so there is ample opportunity to learn from one another. We decided to seize it in the best way possible.” Nolte has been working with Dean Reide Corbett to coordinate these lunches.

“I appreciate everyone coming together with the desire to learn. This is at the very center of our mission at CSI,” shares Corbett. Besides the fact that the Brown Bag Lunches offer an opportunity for CSI faculty, staff, and students to dine together outside, the informal talks are also very much in line with the interdisciplinary nature of the Coastal Studies Institute and the Department of Coastal Studies at ECU.

Department of Coastal Studies faculty span several disciplines and the researchers at the Coastal Studies Institute work to address coastal-related topics from a variety of angles. One of the unique features of the truly interdisciplinary research at CSI is that it allows scientists from universities across NC the ability to address the same problem with a variety of solutions. These Brown Bag Lunches are meant to be a way to facilitate this kind of interdisciplinary thinking and create an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to share their current interests with one another.

Although fall and winter weather on the Outer Banks certainly varies from 60 degrees and sunny to 40 degrees and rainy, the attendees of the Brown Bag Lunches are eager to utilize the Coastal Studies Institute’s outdoor classroom whenever possible. The “classroom” is a covered space outside that comes complete with a portable computer for presentations. This space, just one of the many unique features of the LEED Gold-certified facility, acts as the perfect arena for all members of CSI to come together, lunch, and learn.

Led by East Carolina University (ECU), The Coastal Studies Institute is a multi-institutional research and educational partnership of the UNC System including North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, and Elizabeth City State University.


Based at the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI), the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program (NCROEP) advances inter-disciplinary marine energy solutions across UNC System partner colleges of engineering at NC State University, UNC Charlotte, and NC A&T University.  Click on the links below for more information.




ECU's Integrated Coastal Programs (ECU ICP) is a leader in coastal and marine research, education, and engagement.   ECU ICP includes the Coastal Studies Institute, ECU's Department of Coastal Studies, and ECU Diving and Water Safety.


The faculty and staff at the Coastal Studies Institute come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, as well as departments and organizations including ECU Department of Biology, ECU Department of Coastal Studies, NC Sea Grant, the North Carolina Renewable Energy Program, and the UNC Institute for the Environment.


Tour the ECU Outer Banks Campus and learn about the research, education, and engagement projects of CSI and ECU Integrated Coastal Programs through our 360 virtual tour.


The ECU Outer Banks campus is home to the Coastal Studies Institute.
Located on Roanoke Island along the banks of the second largest estuary
in the United States, this coastal campus spans 213 acres of marshes, scrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and estuarine ecosystems.