Hurricane Irma

Grice Marine Lab was prepared for the worst and made it through Hurricane Irma safely.
The College shut down at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, 9/8/17 and students were evacuated from campus (including Grice dorms) by 6:00 p.m.

What exactly does “prepared” mean for GML?
This is some of the preparations that were started earlier in the week and completed Friday morning:

  • Data backups completed
  • Files secured
  • All boats secured on higher ground and truck moved to a secure location
  • All outdoor equipment and materials secured
  • Hurricane shutters installed on East side of building
  • All non-essential office and lab computers and electrical equipment unplugged, moved away from windows and off floors and covered with plastic
  • Equipment in classrooms, computer lab and conference room unplugged, covered with plastic and secured
  • Collections Room secured
  • Refrigerators, freezers and equipment holding live animals are verified on emergency power

The storm hit the Lowcountry in earnest on Monday, 9/11/17, bringing wind, rain, and storm surge. The afternoon and early evening brought tornado watches and warnings. Much of Fort Johnson was flooded and lost power, but the GML building did not sustain any damage.

The grounds, specifically the Grice Green Teaching Gardens, will need some care after being flooded in salt water for hours.
The Grice Green Teaching Gardens Facebook page has before-and-after photos of the area as well as explanations of the effects on various plants.

Classes are in session today and we are happy to welcome back students, faculty, and staff!

 

 

2017 Fort Johnson REU Program

Grice Marine Lab hosted ten students for the 2017 Fort Johnson Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. They arrived May 31st, hit the ground running, worked for ten weeks, and closed the program with exceptional presentations on August 9th. Each intern was paired with a mentor on the Fort Johnson campus to develop and execute a research project on the program theme of “Marine Organism Health: Resilience and Response to Environmental Change.” Along the way, the interns learned how to share their research in weekly workshops on science communication led by Carolyn Sotka. The program also included lectures, field trips and professional training for careers in science.

Here are the interns, their home institution and mentor lab
(click to enlarge)

  • Cecilia Bueno (Lewis & Clark College). The effects of salinity on sperm function and fertilization in Squirrel Treefrogs (Hyla squirella).
    Mentor: Allison Welch, PhD (CofC)
  • Killian Campbell (Eastern Washington University). The role of heat shock proteins 70 and 90 in tolerating abiotic stressors in the seaweeds Gracilaria vermiculophylla and Ulva lactuca. Mentors: Erik Sotka, PhD and Ben Flanagan (CofC)
  • Hailey Conrad (Rutgers University). Genetic variation in resistance to ocean acidification during larval development in a northern population of the sea urchin Arbacia punctulata.
    Mentor: Robert Podolsky, PhD (CofC)
  • Meagan Currie (Swarthmore College). A toxicological investigation of the effects of 4-nonylphenol on the coral Acropora cervicornis.
    Mentors: Cheryl Woodley, PhD and Natasha White, PhD (NOAA)
  • Christine Hart (Clemson University). Dynamics of benthic diatom communities: patterns in biomass and composition.
    Mentors: Craig Plante, PhD and Kristy Hill-Spanik, MS (CofC)
  • Deanna Hausman (U. of Texas at Austin). Toxic effects of oil and UV light on the estuarine shrimp Palaemonetes pugio.
    Mentors: Marie Delorenzo, PhD and Paul Pennington, PhD (NOAA)
  • Melanie Herrera (U. of Maryland, College Park). Comparison of fish populations in dense and sparse assemblages of the invasive seaweed Gracilaria vermiculophylla.
    Mentors: Tony Harold, PhD and Mary Ann McBrayer (CofC)
  • Kady Palmer (Eckerd College). Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in plasma of the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus).
    Mentor: John Bowden, PhD (NIST)
  • Emily Spiegel (Bryn Mawr College). Getting in the mood: the effect of environmental stress on the reproduction and productivity of a polar diatom.
    Mentors: Peter Lee, PhD and Nicole Schanke, MS (CofC)
  • Brian Wuertz (Warren Wilson College). Investigating the potential of dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS) to promote inflammatory response in macrophage.
    Mentor: Demetri Spyropoulos, PhD (MUSC)

Visit the blog written by the interns to read about the projects and see their progression over the summer: Marine Organism Health: Resilience and Response to Environmental Change

Many thanks to Bob Podolsky, Director, Ft. Johnson Summer REU Program, College of Charleston and Carolyn Sotka, Science Communication Workshop Series, Ft. Johnson REU Program.

Thanks also go to all the mentors and contributing partner institutions at Ft. Johnson: the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

This program is supported by NSF Award No. DBI-1359079

Congrats and great job 2017 Fort Johnson REU Interns!

 

Forensic Scientist Brings CSI to GML

Grice Marine Lab recently hosted forensic microbiologist Sarah Seepaulsingh, PhD candidate from Fordham University.

Here is a summary from Sarah about her study:

“I am a forensic microbiologist using the necrobiome, specifically bacterial and fungal community changes, to estimate postmortem interval. Using swine carcasses as a proxy for human remains, I am analyzing epinecrotic community succession (microbial communities residing in or living on the surface of decomposing remains) at various sites along the coast of the eastern United States. Ultimately, my goal is to compare the temporal changes of microbial surface communities during decomposition along a gradient from tropical south Florida to continental southern New York. In addition to a latitudinal study, I will also look at seasonal differences by comparing between winter and summer. The purpose of my research is to add to the growing collection of postmortem microbial studies thus contributing to the ultimate goal of reliably determining postmortem interval in human death investigations. ”

Sarah used three locations on the grounds and hopes to return in the summer for another round to add to her data.

Recent Grice Grad Student Makes the Local Internet

Andrea Margiotta, who graduated May 2015, followed along on her marine science path by taking a job with the SC Aquarium as an Education Interpreter.  Andrea started at the Aquarium right after graduation and as an Education Interpreter, she presents educational shows for guests, leads classroom and outreach programs, and assists with program development. Below is the photo of Andrea that was recently posted on the Aquarium’s Career webpage, holding “Pippen the Barn Owl”!

Sotka Lab Gets One-Year Intern From Brazil

Grice Marine Lab and Erik Sotka’s lab team welcome visiting scientist and intern, Glauco Barreto de Oliveira Machado.  Glauco is a Ph.D. student in Ecology at University of Campinas, from Brazil. He has been studying the association between small herbivores and macroalgae.  Specifically,  he is interested in understanding how and what factors drive this interaction.  IMG_20160125_113758185_HDRWhile getting his Masters, he studied the association of two herbivorous amphipod species with the brown alga Sargassum, and its epiphytes by investigating the importance of these algae as food for those consumers.  Currently, he is interested in understanding the role of predation on that small herbivore-alga interaction, as well as studying the role of nutrition of herbivorous amphipods on their interaction with algal hosts. Welcome, Glauco!

 

DNR To Host Open House October 24th

Come face-to-face with a flatfish, practice your fishing knots, or take a cruise around Charleston Harbor at the upcoming Marine Resources Center Open House, an activity-packed event that’s all about the coast and what we do out here at the Fort Johnson campus.  poster
On October 24, 2015, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Marine Resources Center in Charleston County will open to the community. For the first time since 2008, the public is invited to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the Center, where world-class coastal science, education, and management happen.
The Marine Resources Center is located on James Island and enjoys beautiful views of the city of Charleston, the harbor, and the iconic Ravenel Bridge. Whether your family is brand new to the area or has been in Charleston for generations, we welcome you to come find out more about the water and wildlife that make the coast such a desirable place to live – and the people who safeguard these resources for the citizens of South Carolina. Meet the scientists who study our state’s sea turtles, salt marshes, and shellfish, the law enforcement officers who protect our waterways, and the educators who help schoolchildren discover the beauty of the coast.
  Come have fun experiencing a boating simulator, touch tank, numerous eductiaonal booths on marine science, and much more!  For media inquiries, please contact Erin Weeks at (843) 953-9845 or eweeks@dnr.sc.gov.  Hope to see you there!  http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/openhouse2015.html

CofC Scientist Studies Elusive River Shark

Gavin Naylor of CofC and the Medical University of South Carolina, along with several of his colleagues, is studying a River Shark that lives in the shallow, muddy rivers from Asia to the South Pacific.  Once thought there were three different speices, Naylor has now confirmed that in fact they are all the same family of sharks called Glyphis.  You can read more about his studies here:  http://www.foxnews.com/science/2015/10/14/scientists-go-in-search-elusive-river-shark.html

 

 

Welcome Summer REU’s!

The REU program (Research Experience for Undergradutes) at Grice has officially kicked off.  Ten students from all over the country (and world- one is here from Puerto Rico!) are spending 10 weeks assigned to a mentor who will aid them in doing various research projects.  REUsREUsThe summer will be filled with many exciting experiences for the REU’s which started with a Grice welcome cookout last Friday evening.  Other opportunities will include workshops/lectures, mentor lunches, shark sampling, a weekend trip to the ACE Basin (ACE Basin – Ashepoo, Combahee and South Edisto Rivers), and alligator sampling.   The summer will wind down with the REU’s presenting the outcome of their research projects at a Colloquium on August 5th.

REU UPDATE 7/30:  http://today.cofc.edu/2015/07/30/marine-sciences-research-draws-students-to-charleston/

7th Annual George D. Grice, Jr. Lecture

Mark MartindaleOn April 10, 2015, Dr. Mark Martindale from the University of Florida gave the 7th annual George D. Grice, Jr. Lecture. This special Ft. Johnson seminar honors the contributions of the Grice family to marine science. Mark’s talk, “Developmental Constraints and the Pattern of Animal Evolution,” covered his work on the relationship between genomic and morphological complexity in the evolution of animal form. His research covers the evolution of development, the evolution of novelty and complexity, and the relationship between development and regeneration.

New Seawater Tanks in Grice Wet Lab

pete in tank 1The new tank system in the wet lab is now operational! Our old storage tanks, circa 1980s, were replaced with two new 500-gallon Polyethylene storage tanks. We installed a new filtration system that will make our sea water much cleaner. new tanks 1It will also eliminate some of the issues we had with bacteria, algae and diatom build-up. Water is now filtered through a 10um cartridge filter, activated carbon and a UV sterilization filter.
The wet lab continues to be utilized at near capacity with Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) parasite studies, Blue Crab/Diamondback Terrapin (Callinectes sapidus/Malaclemys terrapin) pot trials, Sea Spider (pycnogonid) sexual selection research, Snapping Shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis) mating behaviors and invasive algae (Gracilaria vermiculophylla) culturing studies.