Twenty-six CofC Undergraduate Co-authors

DirtMcgirt phage

As part of the HHMI Science Educations Alliance Phage Hunters Program, twenty-six College of Charleston undergraduate student were published November 27, 2013 in the recent Genome Announcement.  This publication includes two published NCBI Genome Accession Numbers.  Hyperlinks to genome accession numbers are within attached paper (Genome Announc.-2013-Hatfull-). Many of these students worked with Dr. Ana Zimmerman here at the Grice Marine Laboratory. Dr. Erin Morris-Richard and Dr. Chris Korey from the downtown campus also worked on this project. The project website lists details of the phages found. With phage names like DirtMcgirt (pictured) and FuzzyWuzzy you should take a look at the wonderful research these students are doing.

New Molecular Core Facility Manager

Kristy Hill

Kristy Hill is the new lab manager for Grice Marine Lab’s Molecular Core Facility. She is originally from Greensboro, NC, and she and her fiancé are new to the Charleston area. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Policy and Music at Duke University, she was a technician at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

She is excited to be at Grice and is looking forward to assisting faculty, staff, and students apply molecular methods to explore their various research questions. Please call or email her if you are interested in finding out how the Molecular Core Facility might be able to help you. After she finished her Masters, she was a research assistant in the Fisheries Genetics Lab with Drs. John Graves and Jan McDowell, where she worked on the population genetics of fishes, such as rays and spearfishes, using microsatellite markers. She most recently worked at the Smithsonian Institution on a project exploring the diversity of marine bivalve parasites along a latitudinal gradient—from Panama to the Mid-Atlantic, US—using standard molecular diagnostic methods as well as metagenomic methodology Lab with Drs. Gene Burreson and Ryan Carnegie. This experience sparked her interest in using molecular tools to answer ecological questions. After three years, she went back to school and completed her Masters in Marine Science at The College of William and Mary, where she was advised by Drs. Gene Burreson and Kimberly Reece. Her thesis project involved assessing the diversity, molecular phylogeography, and dispersal of a genus of protistan parasites of oysters (Bonamia spp.).

Student Research Colloquium 2013

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.

Successful Beach Sweep 2013

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

 

Graduate Student Studying Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVanessa 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.

Have You Ever Held a 2000 Year Old Oyster?

oystersOyster 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.

 

Algae Expert Queried

erik-gracilaria-smallDr. 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

Marine Invertebrate Zoology

nemerteanGraduate 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.