Welcome Dr. Tina Bell

This fall, Dr. Tina Bell joined the Sotka lab as a postdoctoral researcher.  Tina received her Ph.D. in September 2009 from the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia.  Her dissertation focused on the population genetics and evolution of feeding behavior in an herbivorous isopod Idotea baltica.   Tina will use a newly-funded National Science Foundation grant to generate a phylogeny of herbivorous amphipods in the family Ampithoidae.  This phylogeny will help clarify the taxonomic uncertainties within this group of important herbivores and to elucidate constraints on feeding preferences for chemically-rich seaweeds.  Tina loves the color ‘rainbow’, she makes a mean pumpkin-chocolate brownie, and is now spending a lot of time with little cups of amphipods.  Please welcome Tina when you get a chance.

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.

Dr. Kristin Hardy Joins the Burnett Lab

Dr. Kristin Hardy completed her Ph.D. in Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington in 2009. Her dissertation research investigated the effects of diffusion on skeletal muscle metabolism and fiber design in Portunid swimming crabs. Her current research will focus on immunologic and metabolic response to anthropogenically induced environmental stressors in marine oyster, shrimp and crabs. She is an NOAA Oceans and Human Health Postdoctoral Scholar at theHollings Marine Laboratory. As part of her training, she will develop an OHH curriculum directed to Minority Serving Institutes.

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)

GPMB Student David Shiffman Interviewed by NPR

David Shiffman, a second year student in the Graduate Program in Marine Biology at the College of Charleston, was recently interviewed by NPR. As co-author of the blog Southern Fried Science, his article “The Ecological Disaster that is Dolphin Safe Tuna” raises questions about the impacts of this fishing technique on other marine species, including sea turtles, sharks, and billfish. The interview titled “Do We Care Too Much About Flipper?” was conducted by Patt Morrison on July 29, 2009. David also wrote an article on this topic featured in Beyond Blue magazine.

REU Gets Hands-on Research Experience

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.

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.