On Wednesday June 24, 2009 the Upward Bound students came to the Grice Marine Laboratory to learn about the career field of marine science. Students were able to tour the historic site of Fort Johnson, talk with undergraduate and graduate students in the marine biology program, view marine life under microscopes, and get hands on experience with the GML’s touch tank filled with live marine life from Charleston Harbor. The Grice Marine Laboratory staff hope to inspire the Upward Bound students to make marine science a future career choice.
The Multicultural ExCEL Awards were established to honor members of the College of Charleston community for their efforts to diversify and improve the campus. The Presidential Legacy Awards are a major part of this annual event and acknowledge the legacy and vision of former presidents of the College of Charleston. Charles Kolo Rathburn was awarded the Leo I. Higdon, Jr. Presidential Legacy Award for Outstanding Leadership on March 31st, 2009. Kolo, a marine biology graduate student, is founder member and presiding President of the College of Charleston Graduate Student Association. He is dedicated and passionate about making CofC and his community a better place for graduate students. Under his leadership the GSA participated in the 3rd annual CofC Dance Marathon which generated over $75,000, almost double the previous years amount, for the Children’s Miracle Network, specifically MUSC Children’s Hospital.
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.
On January 24th, we participated in the Lowcountry MESAS (Middle / Elementary School Academy of Science); a one day opportunity for students in grades 4 through 8 to engage is hands-on activities with local scientists. Our marine touch tank exhibit was titled “Estuaries: Nurseries of the Sea”. There were microscopes available for students to examine a variety of organisms found in Charleston Harbor. They also learned how to distinguish between a male and female blue crab and developed an understanding about what it means to be a marine scientist. For more information on this program, visit the SC Academy of Sciences.
If you happened to be on Folly Beach on December 13th, you may have seen a giant blue octopus wearing a red Santa hat and riding on top of a boat. New species? Mutant genes you ask? Turns out it was part of a float entered by GML in the Folly Beach Christmas Parade. Graduate students dressed as sea critters danced around the boat as it was pulled along the parade route and threw candy canes to the delight of the many children. OCTOCLAUS was a huge success, finishing in 2nd place and winning a prestigious trophy and $200 for the Marine Biology GSA. Click here for more photos and video clips.