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”!

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  Hope to see you there!

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.


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.

Alyssa Demko Receives Prestigious National Science Foundation Award

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!

Grice Professor and Post-doc Article Gets Published in “The Marine Biologist” Magazine

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 ( or Stacy (  Also, visit the website for the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA)

Coral Display

Coral Tanks

The Woodley Lab, located at the Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research (CCEHBR) donated a collection of hard and soft corals for display. Carl Miller provided a variety of different types including mushroom corals that are often referred to as false anemones. All of the corals are in a miniature display tank in the main office, and are fed shrimp on a weekly basis. See the chart below for details.

Scientific NameDescription
Pocillopora damicornissmall, bushy and pink
Seriatopora hystrixsmall green/yellow/brown branching
Stylophora pistillata bright pink, branching
Fungia sp."Disc" corals

Green Garden Fall Workday

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.

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.

Remembering Clifford R. Davis

webcliffdavisM/SGT Clifford Ridgeway Davis, USAF (RET) passed away on December 11th, 2009 from pancreatic cancer. He donated his shell collection to the Grice Marine Laboratory in 2000 for display, enjoyment and study.

During his outstanding military career, he served throughout the world, including Okinawa, Vietnam, Japan, Guam, Hawaii, Turkey and several other locations in the Mediterranean. A decorated combat veteran, his assignments included being a combat medic and a member of the U.S. Air Force Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team during the Vietnam War as well as serving in the Special Operations/Delta Force. He collected all of the shells while enjoying one of his many professional responsibilities, Dive Master and underwater photographer for the USAF from 1966 to 1977. Most of the shells in his collection are from the western Pacific, especially Okinawa.

Mr. Davis also served as the Manager of the College of Charleston Motor Pool from 1992 to 1996. After his retirement, he was an active volunteer in the Charleston community and Veterans Affairs. Grice Marine Laboratory has lost a dear friend and he will be deeply missed.

Post & Courier Obituary