South Carolina Aquarium’s very first rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle was recaptured this summer off the Georgia coast; this is only the second recapture out of over fifty releases. Loggerheads are endangered sea turtles and each summer many large females visit Charleston’s beaches to nest. The adult male loggerhead recaptured was considered healthy and ready to mate. Dr. David Owens, professor and researcher at the College of Charleston, considers this recapture after a decade to be remarkable. Nicknamed “Stinky,” this loggerhead is proof that rehabilitation does indeed work. Read more about Stinky’s story or track other sea turtle’s travels.
Dr. Louis and Karen Burnett presented their research findings at the Global Change and Global Science: Comparative Physiology in a Changing World conference of the American Physiological Society this August in Colorado. The Burnett Laboratory studies the effects of high carbon dioxide and low oxygen levels on marine organisms. Organisms with environmental stresses as these have been shown to display a decrease in their metabolism and are unable to efficiently fight off infections. The marine organisms they study are accustomed to environmental stresses such as these and are still showing compromised immune systems. Therefore, it is shocking to think of the stresses deep water organisms could be facing with decreased oxygen levels coupled with high carbon dioxide. With scientists focusing their attention on the risks of ocean acidification, the Burnett laboratory’s research may provide a peak into these possible dangers the animals and their environments may face. For more information please visit the full article.
Dr. Scott Harris, a Geology professor at the College of Charleston, was interviewed by the ETV program The Big Picture. On Friday, August 5th, they discussed the Oil Spill in the Gulf and highlighted drilling for oil off the coast of South Carolina. According to Scott, the structure of the ocean floor off the South Carolina coast suggests that it would not supply substantial deposits of oil or natural gas. Therefore, it would be not economically viable to extract such energy sources from South Carolina’s outer shelf.
Dr. Erik Sotka received a 2010 Fulbright Senior Scholarship and will conduct a study at the University of New South Wales in Australia on seaweed-herbivore interactions for the next four months. Please click here for more information about his study.
When will the oil make it to South Carolina’s coast? Nobody knows. Dr. Jack DiTullio, College of Charleston professor and oceanographer, communicated the difficulty of predicting which way the oil may travel. He explains how the physics of the ocean’s currents are erratic and quite complicated. Numerous scientists are working around the clock in order to predict different scenarios of oil travel. Dr. DiTullio believes that the winds would have to shift and come from the north in order for the oil to make it to South Carolina’s coast.
Dr. Louis Burnett, director of Grice Marine Laboratory and College of Charleston professor, has been named one of the College’s leading experts on the oil spill crisis. On May 18, 2010 he attended the Senate Commerce Committee in Washington, DC regarding this environmental catastrophe. Dr. Burnett expressed his concern for Charleston’s fragile marsh ecosystem, if the oil makes it further north.
Iris Kemp is a graduating senior in the College of Charleston Honors College, with a marine biology major and a double minor in chemistry and psychology. She was recently presented with two South Carolina Academy of Science (SCAS) Sigma Xi Awards; one award for best oral presentation and the other for best poster presentation in the topics of Field Biology and Environmental Science and Biological Oceanography. She is the first SCAS participant to be given two awards in different topics within a single year.
Iris works on the systematics of the marine hatchetfish, Polyipnus tripanos, under the guidance of Dr. Antony Harold. Their analysis of this group produced strong evidence of a new species. She also completed an independent study based on data she had collected over the course of a previous summer research experience. That project focused on the effects of urban structure on fish distribution and density in the Hudson River and was mentored by Dr. Gorka Sancho.
GPMB adjunct faculty member, Dr. A. Frederick Holland, received the 2009 Environmental Awareness Award on Wednesday, March 31, 2009. Mr. Scott English, Governor Mark Sanford’s Chief of Staff, presented the award on the Governor’s behalf at the Harbison State Forest Environmental Education Center. This award recognized Dr. Holland’s outstanding contributions toward the protection, conservation and improvement of the state’s coastal environment. Fred Holland was the director of the Marine Resources Research Institute (SCDNR) before he became the director of the Hollings Marine Laboratory (NOAA) in 2001. During his presentation, Mr. English said, “Fred Holland is not just a steward of natural resources in South Carolina, he is a pioneer and in some cases, a national trend-setter for protecting and preserving our coastal resources. Fred’s legacy is important for two reasons. He has been able to translate in-depth scientific research for policymakers and the average person in making decisions that affect our communities. At the same time, he has mentored a new generation of marine scientists who will carry on his work in marine sciences.”
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.
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.
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.