Monthly Archives: October 2014

Gray’s Reef staff participates in phytoplankton monitoring workshop

Gray’s Reef staff and volunteers participated with the University of Georgia’s Marine Extension and Aquarium and Burton 4H Center staff and volunteers in a NOAA Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) Workshop on Friday, September 26th.

The refresher workshop, hosted by NOAA’s Center for Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research-Marine Biotoxins Program, included an overview of the expanding Citizen Science program which contributes water quality monitoring and harmful algal bloom screening from marine areas across the country, updated on volunteer data sourced by government organizations, and new initiatives presented by the PMN coordinators. An effort to include marine debris and interior watershed monitoring is being established at select sites and the program would like to include use of the UGA developed Marine Debris tracker app by PMN volunteers. The purpose of the volunteer driven program is to:

–Monitor and maintain an extended survey area along coastal waters throughout the year

— Create a comprehensive list of harmful algal species inhabiting coastal marine waters

— Identify general trends where harmful algal blooms (HABs) are more likely to occur

— Isolate areas prone to HABs for further study by Marine Biotoxins Researchers in effort to assist state managers in mitigating the affects of HABs

— Promote an increased awareness and education to the public on HABs

— Create a working relationship between volunteers and Marine Biotoxins researchers

— Increase the public’s awareness of research conducted by federal workers on HABs provide the data for researchers to investigate regional trends, provide notification to fishery managers concerning harmful algal blooms
For more information, visit


The newest PhD, Dr. Leal

Former Skidaway Institute grad student Miguel Leal graduated with is PhD from the University of Aveiro in Portugal last month. He successfully defended his dissertation on September 4. The title of the PhD was: Trophic plasticity in the cnidarian-algal symbiosis. This work resulted from the collaboration that Miguel started with Marc Frischer and Jens Nejstgaard four years ago. A total of 4 papers were published from Miguel’s work at Skidaway.

Marc, Jens and Stella Berger attended his defense.

Miguel (2nd from left) after his defense, with (l-r) Marc Frischer, Jens Nejstgaard and  Miguel’s primary Portuguese supervisor, Ricardo Caldo

Miguel (2nd from right) after his defense, with (l-r) Marc Frischer, Jens Nejstgaard and Miguel’s primary Portuguese supervisor, Ricardo Caldo


Miguel’s primary Portuguese supervisor, Ricardo Caldo

Tenants wanted — small, furry and winged

If you are wondering what those strange-looking boxes are on the side of some campus buildings, the answer is “bat houses.”

A bat house on the side of the flume building at the north end of the campus

A bat house on the side of the flume building at the north end of the campus

The bat houses were the Eagle Scout project for Garrison Ferris, a Life Scout in Troop 57 (Assistant Scout Master – Chuck Hartman.) The houses are intended to attract a colony of resident bats to aid in insect control. There are six houses all together

Aron returns from Siberia

SkIO’s Aron Stubbins is back on campus after spending several weeks in eastern Siberia. Aron was studying the release of carbon from thawing permafrost and its fate in the Kolyma River and Arctic Ocean. The closest town was Cherskiy (which, in turn, is not really close to anything.) Ask Aron about his trip, or visit his Facebook page.

Siberia 1 w Siberia 2 w Siberia 3 w

New faces this month

There are plenty of new faces on campus this month, including four new staffers at Gray’s Reef.

???????????????????????????????Abbigail Rigdon Murphy has joined Gray’s Reef as a temporary outreach program assistant. A former education intern at Gray’s Reef and current educator at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, Abbigail received her Master of Professional Science Degree in Marine Conservation last December from University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. She will assist with outreach and education activities, including support of competitions and events, education materials requests, scheduling and providing community presentations, and assisting with website updates.

Kathleen jamison 1 wKathleen Jamison is working with Gray’s Reef as Acting Deputy Superintendent through a NOAA leadership development program rotational assignment. Kathleen came to the Sanctuary from NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she prepared budget scenarios for different funding levels, developed performance metrics, managed environmental compliance and worked with interns on geographic information systems projects. Originally from the Washington, DC area, Kathleen joined Coast Survey as a nautical cartographer in 2006 before moving into managing hydrographic survey projects, primarily in the Gulf of Mexico. Before coming to NOAA, she had a different career altogether as a grant writer for a non-profit supporting DC Public Charter Schools and as a division assistant for the National Endowment for the Arts. Kathleen received her B.A. in Humanities from University of Maryland and her M.S. in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences from George Mason University. In her spare time, Kathleen enjoys fair-weather camping, exploring Savannah, and walking the trails on Skidaway Island.

???????????????????????????????Gabriella Burns is a student-intern from the Savannah Arts Academy who will be volunteering at Gray’s Reef for the duration of the academic school year. Her program major is in communication arts and this internship is facilitated by a work-based learning program at her school. Gabriella hopes to study environmental science and possibly environmental law in college. While at Gray’s Reef she will be helping out with community outreach programs and assisting with administrative tasks.

Allison Scott wAfter graduating from Emory University in May 2014, Alison Scott began interning at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She is working on the acoustic telemetry project and is particularly interested in the detections of visiting species from all along the east coast. She is also helping topside of the R/V Sam Gray and R/V Ferguson. Alison is trained as a rescue diver and is preparing for her NOAA diver certification. Her interest in marine biology and environmental management stems from numerous education and work experiences. These include research of iron acquisition and carbon metabolism in Vibrio fisheri at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, and the biogeography of corals, sponges and algae in Discovery Bay, Jamaica with Stony Brook University.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatricia Furman has joined the MAREX team as a maintenance worker. Her primary duties are to keep the dorm and public spaces in top shape for student groups and daily visitors.

Morgan Linney will be interning this fall in Aron Stubbins’ lab at Skidaway Institute. She is a 2014 graduate of MountMorgan Linney 1 w Holyoke College. While still a student, Morgan spent a semester at the Duke Marine Lab and also conducted research at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Lab. She just returned from her first research cruise with the Zehr Lab from the University of California—Santa Cruz. It began in San Diego and ended in Honolulu. Morgan is originally from Efland, N.C.

“Choose Your Own Adventure” makes debut in classrooms during the fall

Students will get a chance to participate in a new University of Georgia joint SKIO-MAREX STEM activity as the “Choose your Own Adventure” education team (Catherine Edwards, Mare Timmons, and Mary Sweeney-Reeves) visit middle schools in Chatham County.

Catherine Edwares (r) explains the workings of the glider to Mare Timmons (l) and Mary Sweeney Reeves.

Catherine Edwards (r) explains the workings of the glider to Mare Timmons (l) and Mary Sweeney Reeves.

The activity draws on the operations of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Modena and the oceanic conditions she faces while deployed to missions collecting data, including water temperature, salinity, density, and concentrations of dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, and organic matter. Students will act as scientists who solve problems while navigating through currents and storms to reach a destination in the Atlantic Ocean. The Choose Your Own Adventure AUV project will reach 500 students in Chatham County. The Choose Your Own Adventure program will begin in the classroom and eventually evolve into an outdoor giant board adventure activity to be used at schools.

For more information, contact Mary Sweeney-Reeves