Monthly Archives: March 2014

SkIO R/V renamed

Say “good-bye” to the R/V SkIO Explorer and say “hello” to the R/V Jack Blanton. SkIO’s in-shore research vessel has been remained in honor of the long time, but now retired, SkIO scientist.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A physical oceanographer, Jack joined the SkIO faculty in 1976. He was promoted to professor in 1982. He retired and was awarded emeritus status in 2008. Jack remains here in Savannah.



Gray’s Reef MATE ROV Competition seeking volunteers

Have you ever wondered how NOAA researchers discover shipwrecks lost at the bottom of the sea? What story of our maritime history do these vessels have to share and how are they affecting the marine life and ocean chemistry around them?

At this year’s Gray’s Reef MATE ROV Competition student teams from across the southeast region will be challenged to discover simulated shipwrecks and their impacts through underwater cameras and technology that they have integrated into their remotely operated vehicles (ROV) or underwater robots.

The competition will be held on Saturday, March 8, from nine a.m. to  four p.m. at the Chatham County Aquatic Center. The Gray’s Reef staff is looking for volunteers from the campus community.

For additional information: http://



Cathy Sakas retires

It was a warm late summer day in 1998 when then-Gray’s Reef Superintendent Reed Bohne invited Cathy Sakas to lunch and during that auspicious lunch he made her an offer she didn’t refuse. Reed asked that Cathy fill in for the education coordinator for 18 months. That was 15 years ago and Cathy is just now completing that offer.

cathy sakasCathy’s academic training (BS Biology and M Science Ed. both from Armstrong State University) and prior work experiences perfectly meshed with the duties she would take on as Marine Educator for those first 18 months and then in full time federal employment as Education Coordinator in 2001.

“It has been a terrific magic carpet ride and one that I never imagined would be so enjoyable!” Cathy said. “I always thought working for the federal government would be boring with pushing a lot of paper and much to my delight my job has been anything but that!”

The highlights of Cathy’s tenure at Gray’s Reef have been working with educators and colleagues across the country and in some cases internationally. She broadcast a program on marine mammals to a class in Brazil as well as to classes across the country.

on coral reefs (specifically on Gray’s Reef,) technology used in ocean research and exploration, watersheds, North Atlantic right whales, dolphins and manatees.


Cathy forged many strong partnerships for Gray’s Reef that include the Georgia Aquarium, South Carolina Aquarium, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, Tybee Island Marine Science Center, Georgia Southern University Museum and Savannah Visitors Center and Bureau.

Additionally Cathy created workshops with most of these partners that emphasized watershed connections to Gray’s Reef and ocean science technology. The most often requested workshop has been Rivers to Reefs Educators Workshops (R2R). Funding for 2014’s R2R workshop has been recently secured and will become the eleventh year this workshop will be run in partnership with the Georgia Aquarium. Cathy also established the Gray’s Reef Southeast Regional MATE ROV Competition.


A new Bichy on board

John and Michelle Bichy celebrated the birth of their second child, Lydia Ingrid Bichy, on   February 2nd at 8:25 a.m.  Lydia weighed in at eight pounds and two ounces (or 3.69 kg.)Bichy baby w

John reports Lydia was two weeks ahead of schedule but in very fine health as is her mother, Michelle.  Lydia joins her 17-month old brother, Boden, on the Bichy crew. John says, “I am a rich man.”