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. Strand Published

Karen K. Martien, Dave Gregovich, Mark V. Bravington,  André E. Punt,  Allan E. Strand, David A. Tallmon, and Barbara L. Taylor recently published an article titled “TOSSM: an R package for assessing performance of genetic analytical methods in a management context” in Molecular Ecology Resources.

Dr. Allan Strand









Abstract: TOSSM (Testing of Spatial Structure Methods) is a package for testing the performance of genetic analytical methods in a management context. In the tossm package, any method developed to detect population genetic structure can be combined with a mechanism for creating management units (MUs) based on the genetic analysis. The resulting Boundary-Setting Algorithm (BSA) dictates harvest boundaries with a genetic basis. These BSAs can be evaluated with respect to how well the MUs they define meet management objectives.

29th Annual Sea Turtle Symposium

Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate studies Dave Owens has returned from presenting an invited paper at “An International Symposium : Reproduction of Marine Life” at the world famous Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium on the Japanese island of Okinawa.  The Owens paper, with Research Associate Gaëlle Blanvillain as a co-author, was titled “Captive Reproduction of Sea Turtles: An Important Success Story.”  He and three CofC graduate students also attended the 29th Annual International Sea Turtle Symposium, held Feburary 17- 19 in Brisbane, Australia.  Steven O’Connell (GPMB) and Melissa Bimbi (MES) gave oral presentations, and Jesse Alderson (GPMB) presented a poster.

Turtle Nursery

Dave and Gaëlle examining turtle with ultrasound