22nd Annual GPMB Student Research Colloquium

Another successful GPMB Student Research Colloquium is in the books! The 22nd Annual GPMB Student Research Colloquium was held on October 13, 2018.

GPMB second-year students gave poster presentations on their research projects and the third-year students gave oral presentations. Student presentations were followed by keynote speaker Dr. Sandra Brooke, Associate Research Faculty at Coastal and Marine Laboratory, Florida State University.

The colloquium continues the tradition as an opportunity for students to present their research in a professional setting while showcasing the research activities of the community and cultivating conversations among students and faculty.

The full program, including presentation abstracts can be viewed here

We would like to thank Dr. Sandra Brooke for being our Keynote Speaker!

2018 Presentation Awards

Congratulations for this year’s presentation winners!

Oral Presentation – 1st Place: Teresa Popp “Relationship Between Temperature Trends and the Temporal Changes in the Larval Recruitment of a Non-Native Crustacean Along the Leading Edge of Its Range”

Dr. Karen Burnett, Sigma Xi and Teresa Popp

Oral Presentation – 2nd Place: Alina Hall “A Lipidomic Approach to Identifying Immune Response in Cetacean Skin to the Attachment of the Tassel Barnacle, Xenobalanus globiciptis

Dr. Karen Burnett, Sigma Xi and Alina Hall

Poster Presentation – 1st Place: Sarah Zuidema “Relating Shrimp Black Gill and Parasite Infections to Population Energetics of White Shrimp Litopenaeus setiferus

Dr. Paul Nolan, Charleston Audubon Society and Sarah Zuidema

Poster Presentation – 2nd Place: Jessica Karan “Captive Populations as a Tool for Wildlife Research: Non-Invasive Methods Asses the Stress Hormones and Condition of Gentoo Penguins in Vastly Different Environments”

Dr. Paul Nolan, Charleston Audubon Society and Jessica Karan


Our thanks and gratitude to all the student presenters, committees, faculty, sponsors and staff who made this event a success!

Keynote Speaker Dr. Sandra Brooke with Oral Presentation students

Keynote Speaker Dr. Sandra Brooke with Poster Presentation students









Food prep for the Lowcountry Boil social which followed the event. Thanks to grill master Dr. Marcel Reichert, boil master Dr. Wally Bubley and sous-chefs Dr. Tracey Smart and Dr. David Owens!

Students, faculty, and guests enjoying the Lowcountry Boil social.

#GradStudentLife – A GPMB Student Profile

Ever wonder what students do while working toward a Master of Science in Marine Biology?
Of course there are the classes, labs, tests, seminars, papers, work, studying, networking, etc…add in sample and data collection, data analysis, etc…oh yeah, and then there’s the thesis and defense!

This installment of our profile series shares the work of second-year GPMB student Graham Wagner.



#GradStudentLife – A GPMB Student Profiles are written and compiled by second-year GPMB student Elizabeth Gugliotti

#GradStudentLife – A GPMB Student Profile

Ever wonder what students do while working toward a Master of Science in Marine Biology?
Of course there are the classes, labs, tests, seminars, papers, work, studying, networking, etc…add in sample and data collection, data analysis, etc…oh yeah, and then there’s the thesis and defense!

Welcome back to our Graduate Program in Marine Biology student profile series! Julia Reynolds is our first student profile for 2018 and is finishing up her thesis following a successful defense on January 12, 2018.

Julia’s research focuses on exploring the use of king mackerel abundance data for use in fisheries management processes and decisions. Julia has been investigating the formulation of the South Atlantic King Mackerel (SAKM) juvenile abundance index in U.S. South Atlantic coastal waters. She hopes the results of her research will lead to better informed and more proactive management decisions for this fish. Julia’s love for the ocean and its creatures was sparked from summer family vacations taken to the beautiful coastal waters of southern Maine. This love for ocean life grew into an interest in fisheries management. Her favorite part of her research is going out to sea to collect data. She finds a peace and tranquility on the open water that can be hard to find in the bustling ports and cities that dominate a large portion of our coastline today. She sees nature’s beauty not only in the ocean, but also in the mountains as she is an avid hiker. She has hiked both the northern and southern terminuses of the Appalachian Trail and the highest peak east of the Mississippi (Mt. Mitchell).

Julia with an adult of her study species, South Atlantic King Mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla)



#GradStudentLife – A GPMB Student Profiles are written and compiled by second-year GPMB student Elizabeth Gugliotti

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