Grice Marine Lab hosted ten students for the 2017 Fort Johnson Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. They arrived May 31st, hit the ground running, worked for ten weeks, and closed the program with exceptional presentations on August 9th. Each intern was paired with a mentor on the Fort Johnson campus to develop and execute a research project on the program theme of “Marine Organism Health: Resilience and Response to Environmental Change.” Along the way, the interns learned how to share their research in weekly workshops on science communication led by Carolyn Sotka. The program also included lectures, field trips and professional training for careers in science.
Here are the interns, their home institution and mentor lab
(click to enlarge)
- Cecilia Bueno (Lewis & Clark College). The effects of salinity on sperm function and fertilization in Squirrel Treefrogs (Hyla squirella).
Mentor: Allison Welch, PhD (CofC)
- Killian Campbell (Eastern Washington University). The role of heat shock proteins 70 and 90 in tolerating abiotic stressors in the seaweeds Gracilaria vermiculophylla and Ulva lactuca. Mentors: Erik Sotka, PhD and Ben Flanagan (CofC)
- Hailey Conrad (Rutgers University). Genetic variation in resistance to ocean acidification during larval development in a northern population of the sea urchin Arbacia punctulata.
Mentor: Robert Podolsky, PhD (CofC)
- Meagan Currie (Swarthmore College). A toxicological investigation of the effects of 4-nonylphenol on the coral Acropora cervicornis.
Mentors: Cheryl Woodley, PhD and Natasha White, PhD (NOAA)
- Christine Hart (Clemson University). Dynamics of benthic diatom communities: patterns in biomass and composition.
Mentors: Craig Plante, PhD and Kristy Hill-Spanik, MS (CofC)
- Deanna Hausman (U. of Texas at Austin). Toxic effects of oil and UV light on the estuarine shrimp Palaemonetes pugio.
Mentors: Marie Delorenzo, PhD and Paul Pennington, PhD (NOAA)
- Melanie Herrera (U. of Maryland, College Park). Comparison of fish populations in dense and sparse assemblages of the invasive seaweed Gracilaria vermiculophylla.
Mentors: Tony Harold, PhD and Mary Ann McBrayer (CofC)
- Kady Palmer (Eckerd College). Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in plasma of the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus).
Mentor: John Bowden, PhD (NIST)
- Emily Spiegel (Bryn Mawr College). Getting in the mood: the effect of environmental stress on the reproduction and productivity of a polar diatom.
Mentors: Peter Lee, PhD and Nicole Schanke, MS (CofC)
- Brian Wuertz (Warren Wilson College). Investigating the potential of dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS) to promote inflammatory response in macrophage.
Mentor: Demetri Spyropoulos, PhD (MUSC)
Visit the blog written by the interns to read about the projects and see their progression over the summer: Marine Organism Health: Resilience and Response to Environmental Change
Many thanks to Bob Podolsky, Director, Ft. Johnson Summer REU Program, College of Charleston and Carolyn Sotka, Science Communication Workshop Series, Ft. Johnson REU Program.
Thanks also go to all the mentors and contributing partner institutions at Ft. Johnson: the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).
This program is supported by NSF Award No. DBI-1359079
Congrats and great job 2017 Fort Johnson REU Interns!
The newest edition of the Grice Newsletter has been mailed out this month, for all of you who are interested in the news and happenings at Grice recently. If you didn’t receive one in the mail you can view the electronic copy here.
As part of the HHMI Science Educations Alliance Phage Hunters Program, twenty-six College of Charleston undergraduate student were published November 27, 2013 in the recent Genome Announcement. This publication includes two published NCBI Genome Accession Numbers. Hyperlinks to genome accession numbers are within attached paper (Genome Announc.-2013-Hatfull-). Many of these students worked with Dr. Ana Zimmerman here at the Grice Marine Laboratory. Dr. Erin Morris-Richard and Dr. Chris Korey from the downtown campus also worked on this project. The project website lists details of the phages found. With phage names like DirtMcgirt (pictured) and FuzzyWuzzy you should take a look at the wonderful research these students are doing.
Kristy Hill is the new lab manager for Grice Marine Lab’s Molecular Core Facility. She is originally from Greensboro, NC, and she and her fiancé are new to the Charleston area. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Policy and Music at Duke University, she was a technician at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
She is excited to be at Grice and is looking forward to assisting faculty, staff, and students apply molecular methods to explore their various research questions. Please call or email her if you are interested in finding out how the Molecular Core Facility might be able to help you. After she finished her Masters, she was a research assistant in the Fisheries Genetics Lab with Drs. John Graves and Jan McDowell, where she worked on the population genetics of fishes, such as rays and spearfishes, using microsatellite markers. She most recently worked at the Smithsonian Institution on a project exploring the diversity of marine bivalve parasites along a latitudinal gradient—from Panama to the Mid-Atlantic, US—using standard molecular diagnostic methods as well as metagenomic methodology Lab with Drs. Gene Burreson and Ryan Carnegie. This experience sparked her interest in using molecular tools to answer ecological questions. After three years, she went back to school and completed her Masters in Marine Science at The College of William and Mary, where she was advised by Drs. Gene Burreson and Kimberly Reece. Her thesis project involved assessing the diversity, molecular phylogeography, and dispersal of a genus of protistan parasites of oysters (Bonamia spp.).
This year’s Colloquium was held at Fort Johnson Friday, September 20th through Saturday, September 21st. The Colloquium provides our Marine Biology graduate students and opportunity to develop their scientific presentation skills. We were honored to have Felicia Coleman, Associate Professor of the Coastal and Marine Laboratory at Florida State University, as the Keynote speaker.
The weekend began with a poster session and social, followed by a day full of oral presentations on Saturday. Typically, second years students present posters and oral presentations are presented by students in their third year. Each student is provide with a critique and constructive feedback on their work. The Colloquium ended the award presentations and a Lowcountry Boil celebration. David Coles won for Best Presentation, and Liz Duermit won for Best Poster.
On September 28th, Fort Johnson had another successful beach sweep thanks to George Reikerk, the Beach Sweep Coordinator. Participants included Grice graduate students, students from James Island Charter and Porter-Gaud high schools, as well as DNR and MUSC staff. The area covered included Fort Johnson, Grice Beach, and the south end of Morris Island. All total of 2.3 miles of coastline and 3 boat loads of trash were collected. The trash included 34 bags of trash and usual collection of floats, lumber, boat parts and rope. the This year, Hope Wertz, a Marine Biology graduate student, will be comparing the plastic materials collected with microplastic particles that can be found in our estuarine waters and sediments. You can review a list of what was found: Beach Sweep 2013 summary
Vanessa Bezy is a Grice Marine Biology graduate student studying the impact of microbes on sea turtles in Ostional, Costa Rica. She is attempting to raise money for her research and for hiring research assistants that will assist with the project. Vanessa has set up a campaign online for donations, and she has halfway met her goal. Earlier this year, Vanessa was also awarded the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF GRFP) and will use part of the funding to finish her Masters degree, then will go on to work with Dr. Pamela Plotkin at Texas A&M and work towards her PhD. Donate and read more.
Oyster reefs have been challenged by overharvesting, land-based development and poor water quality over the last 100 years. But, what did oyster reefs look like several hundresds of years ago? In an attempt to detect these long-term changes in the vitality of oyster reefs in the Lowcountry, our graduate course in Marine Invertebrates embarked on a collaboration with Martha Zierden of the Charleston Museum to quantify the size, shape and condition of oysters from 2000 years ago to the present. Bottom line: oysters are narrower and shallower but also taller today than before. It is likely these morphological changes reflect lower population sizes today than previously. Research study details can be found on the class website.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Shannon Corrigan, is currently studying sharks and their DNA. She uses the information to track movement of sharks and rays, and where their genes are distributed geographically. Her research is further explained in the video below:
Dr. Erik Sotka was interviewed by the Sun News regarding the algae commonly referred to by anglers as snot grass. The macroalgae, Polysiphonia and Ulva, plagues anglers by sticking to fishing gear during the winter months. Dr. Sotka attributes the winter blooms to reduce feeding by fish and crabs. In the Pawleys Island, Litchfield, Murrels Inlet areas, the high salinity, high light-levels and abundance of hard substrate also contribute to the problem. Read more…