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.

2009 REU Interns

Welcome to the 2009 Interns of the Fort Johnson Undergraduate Summer Research Program! The eight undergraduates moved into the Grice lab dormitory on May 27 and will spend the next 10 weeks conducting independent research projects under the watchful eyes of mentors from the College of Charleston, SCDNR, NOAA and NIST.

Loren Danese Joins the Sotka Lab

Loren Danese is a new research technician in the Sotka lab. She is a 2009 graduate of CofC, where she earned a B.S. in Marine Biology and was given the Navy League award for most outstanding junior in Marine Biology. She is the veteran of two Research Experience for Undergraduate summer programs (Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in 2007 and the CofC in 2008). During her stay in Marie DeLorenzo’s ecotoxicology laboratory, Loren published an article from her work with pesticides and larval shrimp. Loren is an avid diver, likes wearing flip-flops to work, and knows where to get the best Philly Cheesesteak in town. Please welcome her when you get a chance.

SICB Meeting

The Grice Lab was well represented at the annual meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in Seattle, Washington, January 3-7, 2010.  Members of the Burnett, Podolsky and McElroy labs were among the more than 1700 attendees at the international scientific conference.  The program included research presentations by undergraduates, graduate students and faculty, as well plenary talks by leading scientists, including Dr. Bruce Alberts, editor of Science magazine.  Representing the Grice laboratory, graduate students Daniel Fernandes, Kolo Rathburn, Nat Johnson and Kris Stover gave oral presentationsof their research, as did Drs. Bob Podolsky, Eric McElroy and Kristin Hardy.  They also took some time before and after the meeting to enjoy the sites of Seattle, including the Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, and even nearby Forks.

James Simmons Elementary Partcipates in CORAL

On January 16th, a group of 12 students from James Simmons Elementary School visited Fort Johnson and participated in the Grice Marine Lab’s CORAL (Community Outreach Research And Learning) program. It was a morning full of marine science education and fun. The students started at the bottom of the marine food chain by examining various plankton and invertebrates through microscopes. Moving up the chain, they watched as the fish in the display aquarium were fed grass shrimp. At the top of the food chain, they viewed a scorpion fish and a hammerhead shark from the Grice Collection. Our collection has about 350,000 specimens of fish and invertebrates used for teaching and research. The Grice tour finished with a touch tank experience in our wet lab.

In a collaborative outreach effort with the SC Department of Natural Resources, the students visited the Marine Resource Resources Institute (MRRI) with Dave Wyanski. In his tour of the MRRI lab, he discussed his work with the Marine Resources Monitoring, Assessment, and Prediction (MARMAP) Program. This project works with NOAA to conduct biological surveys and assessments used to evaluate the size, abundance and life history of reef fishes. The program has conducted ichthyoplankton surveys and trawl-based bottofish surveys in the past.

On Thursday, January 21st, CORAL also participated in the first annual Science Night on location at the James Simmons school. Our touch tank gives students the opportunity to interact directly with marine organisms. It creates a platform for education about marine life and provides discussion opportunities about the ocean and how it affects human health.