Just before Thanksgiving, the Marine Biology graduate students collected 10 bags of trash and 8 bags of recyclable materials along Fort Johnson Road. The Grice Marine Laboratory has been leading this effort for 12 years.
The Marine Biology Graduate students gathered at Grice last weekend for a successful garden workday of planting and garden maintenance. Although the weather was a little overcast, a lot was accomplished. Projects that took place included planting sweetgrass around the cistern and dune sunflowers around the front sign. The sweetgrass plants were donated by Kim Counts of Carolina Clear. Paty Cowden, the College’s Supervisor of Grounds, donated the dunes sunflowers. Our Green Garden Coordinator, Sharleen Johnson, germinated the seedlings romaine lettuce and komatsuna for planting in the vegetable bed. After harvesting the existing the sweet potatoes, the group also emptied the compost tumbler and used this to amend the soil. They planted purple coneflower and brown-eyed susans in the perennial flower bed and replaced the turf grass with fogfruit, a ground that provides nectar and larval food source for butterflies.
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.
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.
During the Seventh Annual Graduate Student Research Poster Session, Leslie Wickes received an award for her poster, “Growth and Distribution of Lophelia pertusa Under ‘Acidified’ Conditions in the Southern California Bight.” Wickes was one of three presenters that received honors from the four judges. At least 250 people turned out to view the 22 projects in the session. Read more at the Graduate School blog.
Grad Program in Marine Biology alum, Amanda McLenon (2010), was named the Griffith/Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year and will receive a $5,000 grant to produce 20 new pieces. McLenon’s paintings highlight marine life images on glass window sashes and antique picture frames. You can view images of her art at her website Circle the Stream. “My hope is that my artwork will bring a greater appreciation for both the history and natural beauty of the Lowcountry, as well as inspire active participation in their preservation.” In addition to art, McLenon works part-time for the DiTullio Lab. She will be assisting in the research cruise to Antarctica this spring. Read more…
The 15th annual Marine Biology Student Research Colloquium was held on September 23 and 24, 2011. The colloquium featured keynote speaker Dr. John Bruno, a marine ecologist and Associate Professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Bruno’s research focuses on marine biodiversity, coral reef ecology and conservation, and the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. Thirteen marine biology and environmental studies students gave oral presentations of their research at the colloquium. Kristin Stover received the best oral presentation award for her talk “Performance changes when exposed to varying oxygen levels in the Atlantic blue crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun.” Additionally, seventeen students presented posters of their thesis research this year. Timothy O’Donnell received the best poster presentation award for his research “Characterizing the genetic population structure and genetic influences of winter-kill events in spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) in South Carolina.” The colloquium concluded with a cookout and Lowcountry Boil for students, professors, and attendees at the SCDNR outdoor classroom.