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. The 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.
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.
Visiting scientist, Dr. Darwin Jorgensen (from Roanoke College in Virginia), and two of his undergraduate students, Vicki Brings and Micah Spruill, have been looking at the physiological support of underwater walking in lobsters and blue crabs. This lobster, walking at a speed of about 2 km/hr, is instrumented to measure hemolymph (blood) pressure in the circulatory system and hydrostatic pressure in the two gill chambers (located on either side of the thorax). The acrylic mask mounted at the head end of the animal collects the seawater exiting the two gill chambers. The yellow piece in the mask is an electromagnetic flow probe and is used to measure the amount of seawater being pumped through the gill chambers per minute. This work is designed to help us understand how the gills work in concert with the cardiovascular system to support migratory activity in these commercially-important crustaceans. Learn more about the lobster on a treadmill below.
Grice Marine Laboratory’s REU students are sparking the Charleston community’s interests in marine science with their ongoing summer research. One REU student, Claire Hancock, is acknowledged for her work with coral bleaching. This bleaching technique in coral occurs from various stresses in the marine environment and is fatal to coral. For more information, visit the recent article printed in Charleston’s Post and Courier on July 26, 2009.
Jeremy Goldbogen, a Summer 2001 Intern in the Fort Johnson REU Program, has made some stunning discoveries regarding the mechanics of foraging behavior in rorqual whales. Jeremy related the story of his research exploits to the 2009 Fort Johnson REU Interns as part of the new Summer Program lecture series Fort Johnson REUs Reporting Home. Jeremy’s findings form the basis for his soon-to-be defended PhD dissertation at the the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. His work has received extensive coverage in the popular press, such as the New York Times. Listen to the CBC radio podcast.
In a newly published article in the journal Biological Bulletin, Hannah Giddens (a former CofC undergraduate) found that elevated seawater temperatures can cause herbivore to alter their feeding preferences, in some cases toward consuming foods that are of poorer quality even when higher quality foods are available. This is the first demonstration of temperature-dependent shifts in feeding preference, and provides another example of how global increases in seawater temperature may alter the dynamics of nearshore ecosytems in surprising ways.