Ichthyologists Discover a New Species of Tetra

Creagrutus yanatili, a new species of Creagrutus tetra was discovered in southeastern Peru.  Ichthyologists Dr. Antony Harold and Dr. Norma Salcedo successfully published their discovery of this new species in the journal ofIchthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

Tetra fish species are described as small freshwater fishes belonging to the family Characidae.  Due to their hardiness and bright colors, tetra fishes are quite popular with aquarists.  Creagrutus yanatili differs from other Creagrutusspecies in South America due to its well developed papillae (small projections) that extend behind the head and its nearly black pigmentation that covers much of the fins and body of the fish. To view pictures of the expedition click here.

For more information regarding this exciting species description, please see the published journal article:
Harold, AS and NJ Salcedo (2009) Creagrutus yanatili, a new species from the Río Urubamba drainage, southeastern Peru (Teleostei: Characidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 20, pp. 377–383.

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.

Grice Research Featured in the College of Charleston Magazine

In the Fall 2009 edition, a photoessay on the work spaces around campus highlighted Dr. Karen Burnett’s collaborative research with NIST colleagues and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility at the Hollings Marine Laboratory. In the Life Academic section, an article titled A Sucker for the Little Guy focused on our resident parasitologist Dr. Isaure de Buron. She works closely with the SC Department of Natural Resources studying parasitic worms in Southern flounder and spotted sea trout. Another feature story, Guardian of the Sea, profiled GPMB graduate student Courtney Arthur and her work as a research analyst for NOAA. She is studying marine debris and its biological impact on marine ecosystems.

Inside the JEB Features a GPMB Alum Publication

An article recently published by GPMB alum Lindy Thibodeaux in the Journal of Experimental Biology was featured as part of Inside the JEB. The piece highlighting her thesis work was titled Infected Crabs Breathe Easy During Exercise.  Thibodeaux investigated the effects of bacterial infection on physical activity and respiration the Atlantic blue crab.  In collaboration with Dr. Karen and Lou Burnett, she placed infected blue crabs on a treadmill and measured their oxygen consumption. The metabolic differences found between infected and non-infected animals were most unexpected.

Marine Biology Colloquium

The Student Research Colloquium of the Graduate Program in Marine Biology (GPMB) was established in 1998, with the goals of increasing awareness of research activities by students and faculty affiliated with GPMB; providing graduate students with experience in making scientific presentations; and promoting interactions among faculty and students conducting research in marine biology. Dr. Erik Sotka stepped in the give the opening talk for Dr. Scott France of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Previously part of the CofC Department of Biology and Grice Marine Lab, Dr. France was unable to attend. A poster session and the Friday social was held on Septemer 25th, 2009. The poster presenters attended their posters from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and the posters remained on display throughout the Colloquium. Several students received honorable mentions for their posters. On Saturday, student talks ran from 9-3:30, followed by the closing address at 4pm by Dr. Geoff Scott of the Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research and the Hollings Marine Lab. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed Lowcountry Boil and the new students to the GPMB program were introduced to the Fort Johnson community. Melanie Hedgespeth won the award for best oral presentation. Please see theColloquium Program for a detailed schedule and presentation abstracts.

The Colloquium gives the students an opportunity to practice their presentation skills and provides them with feedback to make improvements; it also allows faculty to recruit new students to their labs, and allows new students to review the research going on in various labs and consider their own future research. Also, undergraduates interested in graduate school can get a sense of what graduate school is all about.

Very nearly all marine graduate students, except those in their first year, presented their research this year – as you will see in the abstracts, it is an impressive array of marine research!

Oral Presentation Award

Melanie Hedgespeth

Distinguished Recognition for Colloquium Poster

Lindsey Parent and Joy Gerhard

Distinguished Recognition for Colloquium Poster of Proposal

Ryan Joyce and Tessa Bricke

DiTullio Lab Researches the Effects of Climate Change

Dr. Giacomo “Jack” DiTullio and Dr. Peter Lee recently published two articles in the Marine Ecology Progress Series. The research was conducted with help from former GPMB students Jamie Rudisill, Aimee Neeley and Jennifer Maucher. The first article addresses the effects of global climate change on phytoplankton and biogeochemical cycles, specifically atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature. The experimental results suggest that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature will negatively affect the photoplankton’s ability to sequester carbon. The other article evaulates the CLAW hypothesis which states that phytoplankton-derived dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) can increase the ability of the earth’s surface to reflect solar radiation, thus reducing atmospheric temperatures and combating the effects of global warming.

Dr. Jill Mikucki (UT-Knoxville) standing on the snout of the Taylor Glacier at Blood Falls (photo courtesy of Jill Mikucki)

Dr. Jill Mikucki (UT-Knoxville) standing on the snout of the Taylor Glacier at Blood Falls (photo courtesy of Jill Mikucki)

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. Julian R. Harrison, III (1934-2009)

Julian R. Harrison, III

Dr. Julian Harrison, III (1934-2009) was Professor Emeritus of Biology at the College of Charleston and was fascinated with natural history from a young age. He volunteered at the Charleston Museum where he helped with Nature Trailers, an afterschool program for children. He graduated from the College of Charleston in 1956 and completed a masters degree at Duke University and was awarded a PhD from the University of Notre Dame. In 1963 he became a Biology faculty member at the College of Charleston where he served with distinction until 1994 when he retired. Dr. Harrison remained an active member of the scientific community.

Long-time faculty member at the College Charles K. “Chip” Biernbaum remembers his friend and colleague. “The College of Charleston family suffered a major loss Friday, May 15th with the passing of Julian Harrison. A native Charlestonian and alumnus of the College (class of 1956), Julian joined its faculty in 1963. He was a classical naturalist, beginning his scientific exploration of natural areas of the Carolinas as a ten-year-old with the Charleston Museum, serving as an important volunteer at the Museum up through his college years. He focused his research on amphibians and mollusks of the two regions he loved the most, the South Carolina Lowcountry and the southern Blue Ridge Mountains — he was a highly respected authority on the salamanders of the southeastern US. A quiet, unassuming, hard-working gentleman, Julian was respected and admired by his fellow faculty members and his many students. He and I were very close, frequently doing research together in a variety of habitats. I learned a great deal from him as he served as a very important friend and mentor while I matured as a faculty member at the CofC. Julian was a very special person and will be sorely missed.”

Dr. Sancho and his Research Team in Spain

Dr. Gorka Sancho is currently on sabbatical leave in Spain.  He has been working on two different projects. The first includes coordinating an angler-lead tagging program of dolphinfish in the Western Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic.  This project is done in collaboration with Don Hammond of the Dolphinfish Research Program in Charleston and the anglers from the Confederacion Española de Pesca Maritima de Recreo Responsable. Tagging of dolphinfish will start in August of 2009, and will provide information on movement patterns of this pelagic species in the Atlantic Ocean.  This research will compliment the extensive dataset collected in the Western Atlantic by the Dolphinfish Research Program. His second project has been in collaboration with Courtney Murren and Matt Rutter from the CofC Biology Department.  Dr. Sancho and his research team has been collecting large amounts of field data on the natural history and ecology of Arabidopsis thaliana, a small annual plant that grows in the surroundings of Trujllo. With the help of Laura Ferguson, a marine biology undergraduate student, they have monitored, measured and collected seeds from over 100 plants from two different river basins (Tajo and Guadiana). A lot of preliminary work has been done locating populations of this plant, which will hopefully lead to future intensive studies of this plant species in the years to come.