The newest edition of the Grice Newsletter has been mailed out this month, for all of you who are interested in the news and happenings at Grice recently. If you didn’t receive one in the mail you can view the electronic copy here.
The annual Grice Marine-ival festival took place on Saturday, May 3rd this year and was a great success. Over 100 students, faculty, staff and family members attended, and nearly $300 was raised for the Marine Biology Graduate School Association (MBGSA)! The students won the student vs. faculty volleyball game, and the faculty won the student vs. facutly kickball game. Other events at the festival included a cookout, bake sale, cornhole tournament, fiddler crab races, face painting, water balloon fight, and digging for sharks teeth.
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
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…
The DiTullio Lab is on their way to the McMurdo Station, Antarctica to TRace the fate of Algal Carbon Export in the Ross Sea (TRACERS). Aboard the RVIBNathaniel B. Palmer, they will be sampling seawater to access its biogeochemical properties to evaluate algal carbon export in the Ross Sea. Read TRACERS blog
The Owen’s Lab and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (Dr. Al Segars and GPMB alumni Jeff Schwenter) recently resumed long term collaboration with researchers from the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. They captured and did ultrasound as well as laparoscopic evaluations on approximately 20 adult size sea turtles. Only four of the sea turtles were sexually mature and ready for reproduction out of the 20 turtles examined. These turtles were fitted with new generation GPS enhanced satellite transmitters. Their migrations can be checked daily at this website.
Dr. Allan Strand received a Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This is a collaborative grant aimed at engaging undergraduate students with answering genomic questions in an environmental context. Research will be focused on building a database of complex phenotypes for plant knockout mutants.
The Grice Marine Lab had a high profile at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB), held January 3 – 7, 2011, in chilly Salt Lake City, UT. Fourteen faculty members, postdocs, grad and undergrad students presented their research findings and mingled with more than 1400 other conferees at the Salt Palace Convention Center. New faculty member Dr. Andrew Clark chaired a well-attended afternoon session on “Adhesion and Locomotor Substrate Effects.” In other sessions, Dr. Alison Welch reported on body condition in gray tree frogs, while Dr. Agnes Ayme-Southgate linked molecular biology to the biomechanics of insect flight muscle and Dr. Eric McElroy revealed the impacts of tail autonomy on locomotion in grass lizards. Dr. Bob Podolsky, graduate student Sammi Smoot, and undergraduates Diego Castro and Gabe Segarra presented their data on antimicrobial and antipredator defenses and tether strength in molluscan egg masses. Graduate students Nat Johnson, Kris Stover and Casey Darling discussed their work with Drs. Lou and Karen Burnett on antimicrobial and antioxidant defenses and on locomotion in crustaceans. Burnett lab postodoctoral fellow Dr. Kristin Hardy summarized recent studies on molecular adaptations to hypoxia in blue crabs. Outside the formal sessions, the Grice group took advantage of opportunities to network and discuss the research with their peers and enjoy some of the local sites and even, for some, a little skiing.
South Carolina Aquarium’s very first rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle was recaptured this summer off the Georgia coast; this is only the second recapture out of over fifty releases. Loggerheads are endangered sea turtles and each summer many large females visit Charleston’s beaches to nest. The adult male loggerhead recaptured was considered healthy and ready to mate. Dr. David Owens, professor and researcher at the College of Charleston, considers this recapture after a decade to be remarkable. Nicknamed “Stinky,” this loggerhead is proof that rehabilitation does indeed work. Read more about Stinky’s story or track other sea turtle’s travels.