R/V Savannah honored for “Best Grub”

R/V Savannah chef Jack Van Dyke was honored with the “Best Grub” award by the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System. The citation reads:

2015-2016 Victual Award

Whereas by our Royal Concession, Our trusty Research Vessel Savannah has been inspected and found worthy by My Royal Staff, we hereby declare to all whom it may concern that it is Our Royal Will and Pleasure to confer upon her crew the National Science Foundation honor of Best Grub. Should any member of the crew or science party grow broad in the beam We do hereby command that all Kraken, Sharks, Whales and other dwellers of the Deep shall abstain from consuming this tasty morsel. We further direct all Sailors, Scientists, Funding Agency Representatives and other ne’er-do-wells of the High Seas to treat them with the respect due to One of Us.

Jack Van Dyke

Jack Van Dyke

Ribbon cutting, education activities draw a crowd to UGA Aquarium for World Oceans Day

As about 60 children and adults looked on, the University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant officially dedicated a covered pavilion at the UGA Skidaway Island campus on Wednesday, June 8th.

Pavilion photo w

The pavilion was made possible by a gift from Gus Arrendale, III and Springer Mountain Farms, which paid for construction materials for the pavilion. Volunteers from The Landings residential community on Skidaway Island, who call themselves the Barn Builders, constructed the facility.

“I want to express deep gratitude to Gus Arrendale of Springer Mountain Farms,” Jennifer Frum, UGA vice president for public service and outreach, told the crowd. “His gift was really the catalyst that allowed us to complete the pavilion. I want you all to go home and eat either wild-caught Georgia shrimp or Springer Mountain Farms’ chicken.”

Frum also acknowledged the contribution of the Barn Builders, led by Lars Ljungdahl, who spoke at the ribbon cutting.

The celebration was part of a day of educational activities that drew nearly 300 people to the aquarium to celebrate World Oceans Day. Visitors were treated to a behind the scenes look at the aquarium, educational programs on reptiles and ocean preservation, and animal feedings. Guests who attended the pavilion dedication were admitted to the aquarium for free from 3 p.m. until closing.

The Springer Mountain Farms Pavilion, named for the company founded and run by Gus Arrendale III, has running water and electricity and provides a much-needed space for outdoor education.

Private funding is critical for further aquarium expansion, said Mark Risse, director of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant.

“It was the local community that really made this happen,” Risse said. “We hope the kids will get a chance to enjoy it. ”

Ruth Bartlett, UGA Alumni Association president, presented an additional gift to Marine Extension from Arrendale for Marine Extension. Bartlett is a long-time friend of Arrendale, who was not available to attend the ribbon cutting.

“The main thing is it helps all these children that come to the summer camps and throughout the school year,” Bartlett said. Gus “was really tickled about that.”

June 8 is designated by the United Nations as World Oceans Day to celebrate conservation of this important resource around the world.

Learn more about the UGA Aquarium at http://marex.uga.edu/aquarium.

R/V Savannah Crew Updates

by John Bichy

John Bichy

John Bichy

Following Michael Richter’s retirement as marine superintendent in late March, the ship has undergone a significant transformation.

First, the ship’s first mate John Bichy was hired as the new marine superintendent. John made the full transition to his new position on June 1st.  His first priority was to stabilize the crew and fill the vacant marine tech, engineer and first mate positions with qualified personnel.

Zach Tait

Zach Tait

In May, Zach Tait joined the crew as the new marine technician.  Zach was a fill-in tech for two years when he previously worked at Skidaway Institute under Aron Stubbins and, more recently, as a self-employed farmer in his home state of North Carolina. Zach’s strong scientific background, combined with his electrical and mechanical skills give him all the tools required to lead the science capabilities on the ship.

Terrell Scarboro

Terrell Scarboro

The ship’s second mate, Terrell Scarboro, was offered the full-time engineer position. Terrell served as the fill-in engineer for more than five months. He brings a strong mechanical skill set, a positive attitude and maturity to this important role on the ship.

This move opened up the second mate position, which was quickly filled with the rehiring of Jordan Solomon.

Jordan Solomon

Jordan Solomon

Jordan was a crew member for two years before he departed last July. We feel lucky to have Jordan back. He is a hard worker and well respected by fellow crew and ship users.

Last but not least, Skidaway Institute hired another former employee Sean McNulty as first mate.

Sean McNulty

Sean McNulty

Sean left Skidaway in 2011 for a chief mate position on the UNOLS ship R/V Hugh Sharp. Sean is the ultimate professional who brings years of experience operating and maintaining large ships.

After months of uncertainty the ship’s crew is finally stable and one that is as strong as ever.

 

Lots of new faces on campus

Gabe Matthias

Gabe Matthias

Gabe Matthias is a new research technician for Dana Savidge. Gabe has a bachelor’s degree in aquaculture and fisheries science, a master’s in oceanography and an MBA — all from the University of Rhode Island. He grew up in Rhode Island, but lived in North Carolina and Maryland before moving to Savannah four months ago. He has been working as a fill-in crew on the R/V Savannah for the past several months.

Sydney Plummer

Sydney Plummer

Sydney Plummer is an incoming Ph.D. student through the Integrated Life Sciences program at the University of Georgia. She is currently working in Julia Diaz’s lab. Her project involves studying superoxide production by phytoplankton in the presence of grazing predator species. Her hobbies include reading, camping, and going on adventures.

Christine Burns

Christine Burns

Christine Burns is an incoming master’s degree student who will be working with both Clark Alexander and Meryl Alber from the Athens marine sciences faculty. She is originally from “just outside of Philadelphia,” but she’s spent the past two years working up and down the east coast. Most recently she worked as a salt marsh research technician in the Peterson lab at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences. Her hobbies include rock climbing and kayaking.

Karla Haiat

Karla Haiat

Karla Haiat is an REU student with Aron Stubbins’s lab. Karla is originally from Mexico City, but is currently a marine biology and ocean engineering major at the University of Rhode Island. She says her main interest has always been deep water biology and sharks. “So I decided to pursue a degree in ocean engineering as well, giving myself the skills and the tools to work where I want to work,” she said. “I figure that if I can pilot an ROV, I can get involved with the information that ROVs can get for scientists.”

Camisha Few

Camisha Few

Camisha Few is also an REU student in the Stubbins lab. She attends Florida A&M University where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in environmental science with a minor in journalism. “I hope to one day write for a science-oriented magazine or newsletter,” she said. “I’d also like to conduct my own research, inside and outside of the lab,” she said. “My goal is to just make a difference in the world and hopefully inspire the next generation to join in on the ever growing science field.”

Doug Mollett

Doug Mollett

Doug Mollett is an REU student with Julia Diaz. He is a rising sophomore at Georgetown College and is pursuing a double-major in environmental science and Spanish. His work with Julia involves alkaline phosphatase activity in local waters.

They are not entirely new faces since they have been frequenting the Skidaway campus since they were small children,

Kathryn Savidge

Kathryn Savidge

but Kathryn and Helen Savidge are both volunteering here for the summer. Kathryn is a rising junior at Susquehanna University, majoring in graphic design. This summer she is working on data discovery, wind and wave forcing examination, and as a general assistant for her mom, Dana Savidge.

Helen Savidge

Helen Savidge

Helen is also a junior at Susquehanna University where she majors in creative writing. This summer she is interning with Amanda Wrona and The Nature Conservancy, writing conservation news pieces for the organization.

Gray’s Reef presents Rivers to Reefs program

by Chad Larsen

This month, Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary is hosting the 13th annual Rivers to Reefs trip in association with Georgia Aquarium, Gordon State College and the UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Rivers to Reefs is an educational expedition of a lifetime for teachers, focused on Georgia’s Altamaha River watershed.

During the 6-day trip, the teachers will canoe the Oconee, Ocmulgee and Altamaha Rivers into the Sapelo estuary and then travel offshore to Gray’s Reef on board the R/V Savannah. They will learn and explore the connections between the watershed and the ocean. The teachers will then take the knowledge and experiences gathered from the trip and pass it on to their students in the classroom.

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation chair Cathy Sakas, a leader of the Rivers to Reefs program, explains that Rivers to Reefs helps teachers learn just how much we touch our watersheds and that our watersheds influence our great global ocean.

The "marsh crawl" is a memorable part of the Rivers to Reefs program.

The “marsh crawl” is a memorable part of the Rivers to Reefs program.

“The watersheds here in Georgia give us the sediment that creates the coastal plains. It gives us the nutrients for us to have rich and beautiful environments like Gray’s Reef, which is full of creatures ranging from seahorses to whales,” Sakas said. “As they become educated about the watersheds and the consequences of man’s actions on the environment, Rivers to Reefs participants are incentivized to teach their students about conservation and protection of natural resources.”

Editor’s Note:  Skidaway Institute professor Marc Frischer is also involved in the Rivers to Reefs project. Marc’s doliolid project is providing the R/V Savannah ship day as part of the broader impacts component of the project.  He will be going out with the group on the cruise and conducting a follow-up session the next day.

For NSF purposes: Collaborative Research: The cryptic diet of the globally significant pelagic tunicate Dolioletta gegenbauri (Uljanin, 1884.) Project number: OCE 1459293

 

Alexander lab busy on the coast

The Clark Alexander lab is busy mapping the bathymetry and benthic habitats of Ossabaw Sound and will be starting to map Sapelo Sound this fall, with funding from Ga. Department of Natural Resources.

Clark anticipates more work examining shoreline change at Ft. Pulaski and other islands in the Savannah River to better understand current erosional patterns before the ongoing harbor deepening is completed. That project would be funded by the National Park Service and Ga. Department of Transportation.

The ongoing assessment of sand resources in Federal waters will get a boost, as new funding has been made available through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The work will be to fill data gaps identified in the first round of studies and to build capacity on the state level to manage nearshore and offshore sand resources.

Teachers join UGA Skidaway Institute research cruises

A Frischer lab cruise on board the R/V Savannah to hunt and collect doliolids had a pair of extra passengers in May. Two K-12 teachers joined the cruise. JoCasta Green is a pre-K teacher from Decatur, Ga., and Vicki Albritton is a middle school teacher at the STEM Academy here in Savannah. The two  were the second group of teachers to join a cruise this year, as part of a cooperative program between UGA Skidaway Institute and Georgia Southern University’s Institute for Interdisciplinary STEM Education (i2STEM). The goal of the i2STEM  program is to improve the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics at all levels from kindergarten through college throughout coastal Georgia.

“I was hoping to see science in action, and I did that all day long,” Albritton said. “I got to participate and learn what was going on and to take many pictures. Now I have a wealth of information to take back to the classroom.”

(l-r) Mike Sullivan, Aurea Rodriguezsanti (Hampton Univ), Natalia Lopez Figueroa (Hampton Univ), Lauren Lamboley, Vicki Albritton, Nick Castellane, JoCasta Green, Marc Frischer, Tina Walters

(l-r) Mike Sullivan, Aurea Rodriguezsanti (Hampton Univ), Natalia Lopez Figueroa (Hampton Univ), Lauren Lamboley, Vicki Albritton, Nick Castellane, JoCasta Green, Marc Frischer, Tina Walters

Albritton says an experience like the cruise raises teachers’ credibility in the classroom, because the students see the teachers going out to learn more themselves. “If I want them to be perpetual learners, then I need to demonstrate that same trait,” she said.

Although Green admitted she was nervous about the cruise initially, she credited the scientists with making her comfortable. “They were great teachers,” she said. “I understood what we were doing and why we were doing it.”

The partnership between UGA Skidaway Institute and i2STEM is expected to grow. Five additional doliolid cruises are scheduled this year with space available for as many as four teachers on each cruise. UGA Skidaway Institute will also offer two half-day cruises this month as part of i2STEM’s summer professional development workshop for teachers.