Julia Diaz visits China

Julia Diaz recently returned from a visit to Nankai University in Tianjin, China, where she gave a guest lecture and an invited talk.

Julia was invited by a Nankai University faculty member who had been a colleague when they were both post-docs at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

“It was my first time in China,” Julia said. “I didn’t know what to expect.”

She visited Beijing and the Great Wall of China.

“I was surprised how few people speak English there,” she said. “My friend set me up with a tour guide, so I had my baby sitter. She told me what to eat, where to go, how to dress, everything.”

Julia said that teaching the class was a challenge because of the language differences. She presented in English, and, while most of the students knew some conversational English, specialized technical terms presented a difficulty. Julia delivered a guest lecture on “The global phosphorus cycle” and an invited talk on “Marine polyphosphate: linking the global phosphorus cycle over modern and geologic timescales.”

“It was a challenge, but a very interesting experience,” she said. “I learned a lot and will probably go back again.”


Lowe’s volunteers upgrade Roebling House

The Roebling/Party House received a much-needed facelift in early December, courtesy of the Lowe’s community service program called “Lowe’s Heros.”

The project was directed by Molly and Owen Riggs from the Abercorn Street store. The couple said they have done annual projects around town including the Ronald McDonald house but this year wanted to look around for a new recipient.
The work was completed over two days by 15-20 volunteers from the store. Materials were all donated by Lowe’s, the project was free for Skidaway Institute.

The team replaced the kitchen cabinets, counters, sink and installed new vinyl flooring. Upstairs they installed lauan plywood to the railing to screen from below.

They also replaced the flooring in the bathrooms as well as new toilets and vanities. The volunteers also added a fresh coat of bright white paint on the downstairs walls that brightened up the room.

Jay Brandes delivers keynote presentation at regional meeting

Jay Brandes gave the keynote presentation at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Southeastern Region’s 15th Annual Meeting in Brunswick, Ga., in late September. His topic was “Microplastics in Georgia’s estuaries: a preliminary assessment.”

Jay’s presentation focused on how marine debris and associated plastic contamination of the marine environment has become an ever-increasing source of concern for scientists and the public. Over the last decade, focus has been placed on the issue of microplastics and their impacts upon the environment. Jay and his colleagues, including Dodie Sanders from Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, and UGA grad student Jacob Mabrey, have begun a preliminary assessment of the distribution and types of microplastic contamination in Georgia’s estuaries, biota and sediments during the last 2 years. While microplastics are ubiquitous in the environment, their distribution is very patchy,, providing some clues regarding both sources and loss mechanisms.

Skidaway Institute faculty and students visit Paris for Goldschmidt Conference

Skidaway Institute was well represented at the Goldschmidt Conference in Paris in August. Jay Brandes, Julia Diaz, Cliff Buck and Sydney Plummer participated in the annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organized by the European Association of Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society.

Julia Diaz and Sydney Plummer pose by the Eiffel Tower.

Jay was a co-convener of the session: “Tracking carbon from source to sink in modern and ancient environments: the carbon cycle in coastal environments, stable carbon isotope systematics, and the role of photochemical reactions.” His fellow conveners were Jaime Toney, Christian Schröder, Anke Neumann, Songhu Yuan, Leanne Powers (former SkIO post doc), Ying Cui and Xiahong Feng.

Jay was the lead author on one poster presentation and co-author on another with Leanne Powers, Kevin Ryan, Aron Stubbins and Bill Miller.

“What Can Carbon Isotopes Tell Us About the Nature of Photo-Labile Dissolved Organic Carbon?” Jay Brandes, Kevin Ryan, Aron Stubbins & Leanne Powers

Moderate Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DI13C) Isotope Enrichment (MoDIE) for Improved Evaluation of DIC Photochemical Production in Seawater
Leanne Powers, Kevin Ryan, Jay Brandes, Aron Stubbins & William Miller

Julia had four presentations and was a keynote speaker.

Keynote: Marine Polyphosphate: Linking the Global Phosphorus Cycle over Modern and Geologic Timescales
Julia Diaz, Y. Tang, R. Huang, B. Wan, James Sanders, Karrie Bulski & Doug Mollett

Dynamics and Regulation of Extracellular Superoxide Production by Marine Microbes
C. Hansel, Julia Diaz, R. Gast & J. Bowman

Species-Specific Control of External Superoxide Levels by the Coral Holobiont during a Natural Bleaching Event
Julia Diaz, C.M. Hansel, A. Apprill, C.  Brighi, T. Zhang, L. Weber, S. McNally & L. Xun

Unraveling the Eco-Physiological Roles of Phytoplankton-Derived Reactive Oxygen Species
Sydney Plummer, C.M.Hansel, Elizabeth Harvey, Karrie Bulski & Julia Diaz

Cliff gave an invited talk and he was a co-author on another.

Invited: Aerosol Deposition and Fractional Solubility of Trace Elements in the Remote Ocean
Clifton Buck, W. Landing, A. Aguilar-Islas, Christopher Marsay & D. Kadko

Evaluation of Labile Iron Processing in Atmospheric Models
A. Ito, S. Myriokefalitakis, M. Kanakidou, N. Mahowald, A. Baker, T. Jickells, M. Sarin, S. Bikkina, Y. Gao Y, R. Shelley, Clifton Buck, W. Landing,  A. Bowie, M. Perron, N. Meskhidze, M. Johnson, Y,  Feng & R. Duce

Research papers accepted for publication

Two Skidaway Institute faculty had papers accepted for publication recently.

Dana Savidge:

“CASPER: Coupled Air-Sea Processes and Electromagnetic (EM) ducting Research”
Bulletin of Atmospheric Sciences Journal Article accepted (peer-reviewed) Nov. 3, 2017 (BAMS-D-16-0046)

Author List: Qing Wang; Denny P. Alappattu; Stephanie Billingsley; Byron Blomquist; Robert J. Burkholder; Adam J. Christman; Edward D. Creegan; Tony de Paolo; Daniel P. Eleuterio; Harindra Joseph S. Fernando; Kyle B. Franklin; Andrey A. Grachev; Tracy Haack; Thomas R. Hanley; Christopher M. Hocut; Teddy R. Holt; Katherine Horgan; Haflidi H. Jonsson; Robert A. Hale; John A. Kalogiros; Djamal Khelif; Laura S. Leo; Richard J. Lind; Iossif Lozovatsky; Jesus Panella-Morato; Swagato Mukherjee; Wendell A. Nuss; Jonathan Pozderac; L. Ted Rogers; Ivan Savelyev; Dana K. Savidge; R. Kipp Shearman; Lian Shen; Eric Terrill; A. Marcela Ulate; Qi Wang; R. Travis Wendt; Russell Wiss; Roy K. Woods; Luyao Xu; Ryan T. Yamaguchi; Caglar Yardim

Catherine Edwards:

“Detecting Abnormal Speed of Marine Robots Using Controlled Lagrangian Particle Tracking Methods”
IEEE Proc. Workshop on Underwater Networks (WUWNet) 2017, accepted Oct. 12, 2017.

Author List: S. Cho.*, F. Zhang, and Catherine Edwards

New grants to fund Skidaway Institute research

A series of new research grants will support UGA Skidaway Institute research projects for the coming years.

Julia Diaz is the lead scientist on a $852,906 three-year grant from the National Science Foundation titled “Collaborative Research: Assessing the role of compound specific phosphorus hydrolase transformations in the marine phosphorus cycle.” Julia and her colleague, Solange Duhamel from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, will study how phytoplankton cope with shortages of phosphorus in the ocean, and if phytoplankton in phosphorus-rich environments also exhibit some of the same strategies. Skidaway Institute’s share of the grant is $296,831. The grant began on Sept. 1, 2017.

Cliff Buck has been approved for two new grants.

The first is a four-year, $350,412 award, beginning on January 1, 2018, from the NSF Arctic System Science Program. Cliff will work as part of an international team on the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) program in the central Arctic Ocean. The team plans to lock an icebreaker into the Arctic ice cap for a year and use it as a base of operations to study a wide range of Arctic processes. Cliff’s specialty will be studying the atmospheric deposition of trace elements.

The second is a three-year grant, for $466,135 from the NSF Ocean Section – Chemical Oceanography. It is titled “US GEOTRACES PMT: Quantification of Atmospheric Deposition and Trace Element Fractional Solubility” and will focus on atmospheric deposition to the Pacific Ocean. The grant will fund participation in the planned U.S. GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional Transect (PMT) from Alaska to Tahiti scheduled for September – November 2018 which is the dusty period in the Gulf of Alaska.

Sasha Wagner, Aron Stubbins and Jay Brandes have received an NSF grant totaling $577,082 to study oceanic dissolved black carbon. The project is titled “Constraining the source of oceanic dissolved black carbon using compound-specific stable carbon isotopes.” The grant will begin on February 1, 2018 and run for three years.

Grad students clean Tybee Island beach

Grad students from both the Skidaway and Athens campuses teamed up with volunteers from Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant to clean the beach at Tybee Island and to assist with a dune restoration project.

The project happened during a “bonding weekend” in late September. The students coordinated a beach clean-up with the Tybee Clean Beach Volunteer group. Once there, they also joined forces with the Tybee Beach Task Force that had a dune restoration project at the North Beach. This included putting up dune fencing, placing wrack and planting vegetation. The students’ specific jobs were to clean the beach and wrack.

They collected more than 20 pounds of trash. “Our biggest source of trash was cigarette butts,” Christine Burns said. “We easily had more than 400 cigarette butts. We also found a kite, a bunch of beach toys and umbrella pieces.”

The students also recorded more than 500 pieces of very small pieces of plastic and styrofoam that were broken up and sprinkled throughout the wrack.