This year’s Colloquium was held at Fort Johnson Friday, September 20th through Saturday, September 21st. The Colloquium provides our Marine Biology graduate students and opportunity to develop their scientific presentation skills. We were honored to have Felicia Coleman, Associate Professor of the Coastal and Marine Laboratory at Florida State University, as the Keynote speaker.
The weekend began with a poster session and social, followed by a day full of oral presentations on Saturday. Typically, second years students present posters and oral presentations are presented by students in their third year. Each student is provide with a critique and constructive feedback on their work. The Colloquium ended the award presentations and a Lowcountry Boil celebration. David Coles won for Best Presentation, and Liz Duermit won for Best Poster.
On September 28th, Fort Johnson had another successful beach sweep thanks to George Reikerk, the Beach Sweep Coordinator. Participants included Grice graduate students, students from James Island Charter and Porter-Gaud high schools, as well as DNR and MUSC staff. The area covered included Fort Johnson, Grice Beach, and the south end of Morris Island. All total of 2.3 miles of coastline and 3 boat loads of trash were collected. The trash included 34 bags of trash and usual collection of floats, lumber, boat parts and rope. the This year, Hope Wertz, a Marine Biology graduate student, will be comparing the plastic materials collected with microplastic particles that can be found in our estuarine waters and sediments. You can review a list of what was found: Beach Sweep 2013 summary
Vanessa Bezy is a Grice Marine Biology graduate student studying the impact of microbes on sea turtles in Ostional, Costa Rica. She is attempting to raise money for her research and for hiring research assistants that will assist with the project. Vanessa has set up a campaign online for donations, and she has halfway met her goal. Earlier this year, Vanessa was also awarded the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF GRFP) and will use part of the funding to finish her Masters degree, then will go on to work with Dr. Pamela Plotkin at Texas A&M and work towards her PhD. Donate and read more.
The Grice Marine Lab is in the process of updating our blog and website. However, we hope you enjoy the articles and news we have posted until the process is complete. Thanks for your understanding.
A Sargassumfish joins the CORAL (Community OutReach And Learning) program. Histro histrio is a frogfish of the family Antennariidae. It unique look and prehensile pectoral fins help it hide and cling to sargassum seaweed. This fish is also called the Angler fish. Evolution has modified it’s front spine to a thin growth on the upper lip called the illicium that is tipped with a fleshy bulb known as the esca. This morphological adaptation is used to lure and ambush it’s unsuspecting prey. This creature can change colors rapidly and can consume animals larger that itself. For this reason, our new friend, Fred, will have it own accommodations in the main office.
Oyster reefs have been challenged by overharvesting, land-based development and poor water quality over the last 100 years. But, what did oyster reefs look like several hundresds of years ago? In an attempt to detect these long-term changes in the vitality of oyster reefs in the Lowcountry, our graduate course in Marine Invertebrates embarked on a collaboration with Martha Zierden of the Charleston Museum to quantify the size, shape and condition of oysters from 2000 years ago to the present. Bottom line: oysters are narrower and shallower but also taller today than before. It is likely these morphological changes reflect lower population sizes today than previously. Research study details can be found on the class website.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Shannon Corrigan, is currently studying sharks and their DNA. She uses the information to track movement of sharks and rays, and where their genes are distributed geographically. Her research is further explained in the video below:
Sean Berthrong is a microbial ecologist. He completed his Ph.D. work at Duke University. Since December of 2009, he has been a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University. In 2012, he received a postdoctoral fellowship from the USDA to study how different types of agricultural practices affect soil bacterial and fungal communities and what those communities mean for sustainable agriculture. At Grice, he is working with Dr. Craig Plante continuing his work on agricultural microbiology, as well as mentoring students at the lab. Sean hopes to develop new methods for next generation DNA sequencing that will produce much more in depth insights into the world of soil microbes. This kind of work will benefit US agriculture and potentially reduce the harmful effects that agriculture can have on rivers and coastal ecosystems.
Dr. Erik Sotka was interviewed by the Sun News regarding the algae commonly referred to by anglers as snot grass. The macroalgae, Polysiphonia and Ulva, plagues anglers by sticking to fishing gear during the winter months. Dr. Sotka attributes the winter blooms to reduce feeding by fish and crabs. In the Pawleys Island, Litchfield, Murrels Inlet areas, the high salinity, high light-levels and abundance of hard substrate also contribute to the problem. Read more…
Graduate students enrolled in Marine Invertebrate Zoology generated two on-line resources targeted to scientists and the general public interested in marine biodiversity of coastal South Carolina. First, students in 2011 generated an online guide to invertebrates found in Charleston Harbor. Each invertebrate includes a picture, a brief description on the animal’s morphology, distribution, habitat, and life history, and links to a variety of online resources for that species. Second, students in 2012 documented marine invertebrates at three local sites: the Folly Beach groin, Fort Johnson, and Murrells Inlet. All three of these sites have been surveyed in the past (between 30 and 60 years ago), and the students uncovered changes in the species composition at each location. This “historical ecology” project focused on the effects that climate change and introduced species may play in coastal South Carolina ecosystems.