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.
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 email@example.com. Hope to see you there! http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/openhouse2015.html
On 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.
The 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. It 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.
Graduate Student Alyssa Demko has been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation- Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRFP) which includes a three-year annual stipend and a yearly cost of education allowance. This award allows for many opportunities for networking, also allowing the recipient to slightly alter the project they propose if their interests happen to change.
Alyssa is finishing up her Masters degree with Erik Sotka, looking at the effects of phylogeny and latitude on seaweed palatability. She is studying 50 seaweeds from several different parts of the world testing palatability through a series of feeding assays using emerald crabs and rock boring urchins. For the NSF-GRFP, Alyssa is proposing to expand her Masters work into a Ph.D. Congratulations, Alyssa!
Vanessa Bezy has conducted extensive research on sea turtles, spending much time doing so in Costa Rica. While at Grice, she worked with Graduate Program Director, Craig Plante, starting in Fall of 2011 and graduating in Spring of 2014. Below you can read her original journal article from PLOS ONE based on her Masters thesis research , as well as a summary article that she wrote summarizing the study. Vanessa is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her thesis there will be investigating the sensory and behavioral cues associated with the mass nesting behavior in Olive Ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) at Ostional, Costa Rica. For more information about Vanessa, please visit her personal website (http://www.vanessabezy.com/Vanessa_Bezy/Home.html) or LinkedIn profile (www.linkedin.com/in/vanessabezy)
A new and exciting project will be underway at Grice this month. Groundbreaking will begin on a new wetland and bog garden located on the Southeast corner of the building. This project was spearheaded by graduate students Rebecca Balazs and Sharleen Johnson, with assistance from Lab Manager Greg Townsley. Rebecca and Sharleen wrote a proposal and received a small grant from the ECOllective Fund from CofC’s Office of Sustainability. The Garden will utilize condensation runoff from the HVAC chiller on Grice’s roof. This water will be piped to a small pond, then distributed to a couple of wetland container gardens, including one which will be an acidic bog where native carnivorous plants will reside. The large amount of condensate water was originally pooling on the east side of Grice, which could potentially damage the building. Construction will begin February 14, 2015. You can view the layout below.
Grice Professor, Erik Sotka, and Post-doctoral Fellow, Stacy Krueger-Hadfield, have recently written a short article in The Marine Biologist about the efforts of the Sotka lab studying the evolutionary ecology of an invasive red seaweed, Gracilaria vermiculophylla. They discussed the the mutualism formed between the alga and a decorator worm called Diaptra cuprea in the Southeastern US as well as the work they will be embarking on in 2015 sampling the extant range of the seaweed, both native and non-native. To learn more about their work, you can contact Erik (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Stacy (email@example.com). Also, visit the website for the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) http://www.mba.ac.uk/.
As we do every year, Grice was a part of the 2014 Christmas Parade at Folly Beach. “Octoclaus” made his annual appearance and we won “Best Beach Themed Float”!
Summer is coming to a close as the ten REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) finish up their research experience here at Grice. The students arrived at the end of May from all over the country, as well as one from Puerto Rico, and will depart this week. They had a fun-filled summer working with mentors and graduate students on various projects including topics such as hammerhead sharks, snapping shrimp, sheepshead minnows, and horseshoe crabs. The Colloquium took place in the SCDNR Marine Resources Research Institute Auditorium where each REU got to present their research to Grice and SCDNR employees, staff and faculty.
Thirty students from the Science & Math session of the College of Charleston’s Senior Project visited Grice this month. Their day was filled with a plankton workshop, touch tank, tour of the Collections room, as well as learning about several research projects going on currently with graduate students. Senior Project is a competitive annual college-prep program where rising high school seniors get a chance to experience a week of “college life”. You can read more about it here.