Monthly Archives: July 2014

Greetings from Pt. Townsend

by Debbie Jahnke

(Editors note: For those have been part of the Skidaway Campus community for only a few years, Rick and Debbie Jahnke were long-time researchers at SkIO. Rick served as interim director in the early 2000s. Debbie was his research coordinator. They retired to Pt. Townsend, Wash. several years ago.)

This time last year, our retired lives didn’t feel so relaxed. We found ourselves in the middle of a ballot measure asking for more than $3M in property taxes to tear down the youngest city-owned building in town, the public library annex, and build in its place a behemoth suited only to the grandiose visions of a select subset of our population.There are substantial unmet needs here; just check out the line at the food bank and other social services. None of those needs would be met by a bigger library building.

We got involved in the ballot campaign – ‘Be Fair – Vote No’ – not against a library but against an ill-conceived effort to expand a 19th century vision of a library. Modern libraries aren’t about bricks and mortar, they’re about access and technology, and a giant building in the wealthiest part of town wouldn’t provide access or technology to folks struggling to make ends meet in the neighborhoods that aren’t wealthy or well-served.

Developing the campaign message required research, and in that research I stumbled across the most most modern of concepts, the Digital Public Library of America. It is a vision to provide electronic access to the collections of libraries and museums. DP.LA was just getting its legs under it at that time, and the list of collaborating institutions was fairly short. There was the Smithsonian, Harvard, the Library of Congress, the National Archives…GALILEO? University of Georgia’s libraries were among the first public academic institutions into the DP.LA. GALILEO served as one of the first DP.LA hubs in the country.

Rick sitting next to the Jahnke Little Free Library, registered as #10403, our personal response to a lack of library branches in town.

Rick sitting next to the Jahnke Little Free Library, registered as #10403, our personal response to a lack of library branches in town.

Given our history at SkIO, we’ve had some trepidation about the changes anticipated when SkIO joined UGA. Both the state of Georgia and its University System have been incredibly good to us. I must admit that having an emeritus household member who can still use GALILEO for research is an exceptional benefit. But I still got a little choked up when that familiar acronym greeted me as an inaugural participant in the implementation of a visionary idea.


Roeblings honored by cattle breeders

The family whose gift made the Skidaway Institute campus possible was honored recently by the state’s Red Angus Association.

Robert and Dorothy Roebling’s 1968 gift of their Modena Plantation prompted the State of Georgia to establish the Ocean Science Center of the Atlantic, of which Skidaway Institute was the first, and, ultimately, the only component.Roebling 1 wThe Georgia Red Angus Association and national Red Angus Association president Tim Whitley gathered in Rome, Ga., last month. Robert and Dorothy Roebling’s granddaughter-in-law Catherine Cundiff accepted a plaque on the family’s behalf that honored Roebling for his lifetime of service, and his role as Georgia’s first “Super Angus Promoter.”

MAREX Update

MAREX receives funding to support a Coastal Bird Education Program

MAREX has been awarded a grant from the Savannah Presbytery M.K. Pentecost Ecology Fund to support a bird education program at the UGA Aquarium on Skidaway Island. The funds will be used to purchase equipment for birding programs offered on site and in the field. The goal of the program is to make the public aware of coastal bird species and their declining populations. Destruction of coastal habitats due to development is one of the main reasons Painted Buntings, American Oystercatchers, and Least Terns are declining in populations. For more information, contact Mary Sweeney-Reeves at

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASanders presents to Southeastern Atlantic Marine Debris Strategy Working Group

Dodie Sanders was invited to present and showcase Project SORT, and the June 18-20 regional meeting in Charleston SC organized by SEAMDI (NOAA’s SE Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative).

Olenderski attends Georgia Sea Turtle Conservation Teacher Workshop

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAssistant Curator Lisa Olenderski attended and represented MAREX at the workshop held June 16-18 on Sapelo Island, Georgia. Hosted by Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, the professional development workshop included sea turtle related topics such as life history, anatomy, morphology, threats, rehabilitation, current projects relevant to marine turtle and estuarine research, epibiont lab, stranding necropsies, potential adaptations in response to climate change and classroom activities.

More new faces on campus

There are more new faces around campus this summer.

Candy v w  Candilianne “Candy” Serrano-Zayas is a rising junior at Universidad Metropolitana, Puerto Rico. She is interning at SkIO in the Frischer lab.

This is her first research and marine sciences experience, but says it has opened her eyes to the important contributions of the marine world to the science. “I’ve been working for over two years on a veterinary clinic back at Puerto Rico and on a bioinformatics research with my mentor at my university,” Candy said. “Both experiences will potentially help me with my current research, ‘Identification of bacterial communities associated with bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncate’ as I will have to apply bioinformatics and necropsy experience for this project.”

Candy enjoys singing, sports and travel.

Cheyenne Coleman is an undergraduate student from Savannah State Cheyenne v wUniversity (SSU) interning at the UGA Aquarium under curator, Devin Dumont, as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program at SSU.

Cheyenne will be conducting a series of experiments to investigate optimal environmental parameters for captive cannonball jellies, Stomolophus meleagris, currently on display at the aquarium.

Alyssa v wAlyssa Griffin is the most recent addition of the summer camp program staff. She is from Kennesaw State University and one of three academic interns who worked this year at the aquarium. The Academic Internship Program allows students from Georgia universities to gain experience and earn three credit hours towards their undergraduate degrees. For more information about the Academic Internship program, email Mary Sweeney-Reeves at