Green Teaching Garden

Many different groups at the College will be able to take part in the different stages of the project including: Master of Environmental Studies Student Association (MESSA), Urban Agriculture (UA), GML Community Outreach Research and Learning (CORAL) Program, CofC Grounds Department, Clemson Extension and Ashley Cooper Stormwater Education Consortium. The composter provided by this grant will be supplied with organic material from the on-site kitchen and grounds maintenance. The first crop will consist of native plants, vegetables and herbs. The produce collected from the garden will be donated to a food shelter to benefit the local community. The garden will serve as an educational tool for the public and students and as a potential research resource for lab-based instruction or research projects.

Planting the Green Teaching Garden at Grice will serve to strengthen the ties between the marine lab’s remote location and the downtown campus. It will provide unique opportunities to expand existing educational and outreach efforts. In addition to GML hosting hundreds of visitors annually, the Grice CORAL program works to educate more than 2400 people about marine biology each year. Multiple student groups have expressed interest in helping with GTG construction, upkeep, and outreach efforts. Faculty members of the School of Science and Mathematics have expressed interest in incorporating the GTG into their teaching curriculum.

GML and the MBSGA have a history of using interdisciplinary approaches to science education. During the recent SEWE event, we partnered with a local gallery to provide an aquarium exhibit featuring both live animals from local estuaries as well as the artwork of select Lowcountry wildlife artists. This innovative platform offers many possible collaborative opportunities with other schools at the College including Art, Business, Education, Humanities and Social Sciences.


Dr. Sotka Studies Invasive Seaweeds

Dr. Erik Sotka at the College of Charleston’s Grice Marine Laboratory is documenting how two invasive seaweeds appear to be negatively impacting our economy and health of our ecosystem. Over the last decade, Gracilaria vermiculophylla has become extremely common along the mudflats in several South Carolina estuaries, including Charleston Harbor, St. Helena Sound and Port Royal Sound. A second species, Polysiphonia breviarticulata, undergoes a ‘boom-and-bust’ cycle that is poorly understood. Its blooms occur largely outside of the estuaries within a few miles of the shoreline. The Sun News, the Island Packetand the Post and Courier have published articles addressing the impact of these algal species on coastal South Carolina.

Dr. Wiseman on the Water with BIO 209

web100_9723The marine biology course students (Biology 209) peregrinated nearly 1400 miles up and down the Carolina coast from the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC to the eastern tip of Kiawah Island, SC, mucking through and seining in tidal marshes, diving on rocky jetties and floating docks, and trawling in Charleston Harbor. Some of the field experiences were shared with the Drs. Burnetts’ summer REU students. Dr. Wiseman has been offering the course for 30 years, and reminds his students that there are no teachers just different degrees of learners.

Molecular Core Facility Integrated Into Curriculum

The Molecular Core Facility (MCF) located in room 210 at the Grice Marine Laboratory provides Molecular Biology services that support onsite research and varying curriculum needs here at the College of Charleston. One class in particular, Dr. Erik Sotka’s Marine Molecular Ecology Course (Bio 503), become regular visitors to the MCF throughout the Spring semester. The goal of the course is to introduce graduate level students to the genetic tools that can be applied to a wide variety of ecological topics. This semester projects included identifying cryptic species of Blackbelly Rosefish (Helicolenus dactylopterus), determining the primary reproductive mode (asexual vs. sexual) of the invasive alga Gracilaria vermiculophylla, and quantifying the degree of genetic differentiation among populations of the tropical reef-building coral Porites asteroides and the mudflat periwinkle Illyanassa obtusa. The students became proficient on several instruments within the MCF including a thermocycler and a digital imagining system as their projects progressed. Additionally, they received demonstrations and personal reviews of their DNA sequencing, microsatellite, and applied fragment length polymorphism data as it was generated by the Genetic Analysis System housed at the MCF. Results from these projects have spurred several individuals to continue their working relationship with the MCF in regards to their thesis research and additional side projects.

Former GPMB Graduate Awarded Teaching Honors

A former College of Charleston Marine Biology Masters graduate has received great honors for her work in Charleston County School District. Katherine Lee Metzner-Roop, a teacher at Academic Magnet High School, has been named the South Carolina Academy of Science’s 2009 Teacher of the Year. Metzner-Roop was recently honored in Columbia, SC at the Academy of Science and Junior Academy of Science meeting. Not only has she been named 2009’s Science Teacher of the Year, but she was also named Teacher of the Year (2003-04) at her school as well as the Junior Science Academy Sponsor of the Year (2004-05). She has been making a difference teaching in Charleston County Schools for seventeen years and has been shaping lives at the College of Charleston for nine years. Congratulations Katherine!

Wet Lab Renovations Complete

Wet labThe Grice aquarium room is designated for holding living organisms. College of Charleston faculty, staff and students use these marine specimens for teaching and research.  Recently, several improvements were made to increase the room’s safety and functionality.  All the air lines have been replaced and the workbenches have been painted. The electrical services have been upgraded to include additional circuits and emergency outlets.  A notification system was installed to alert staff members of emergency power outages.