Monthly Archives: July 2015

Upcoming Gray’s Reef events

Life’s a Beach Free Family Day!

Jepson Center – July 11 @ 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The day celebrates the exhibition Life’s a Beach, which features works by British photographer Martin Parr. During Free Family Day, guests can transport themselves to exotic beaches by having their photo taken in front of a beach chair green screen. Other activities include gallery games, flip-flop decorating and kite making. As participating organizations, the Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary and the Tybee Island Marine Science Center will set up activity tables in the Jepson Center atrium.

NOAA ship Nancy Foster Open House tour

July 26, 2015 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Joinhe Gray’s Reef expedition crew aboard the NOAA research vessel Nancy Foster, charged to explore the underwater wonders protected in the sanctuary found offshore of Georgia. The ship will be docked on River Street’s Rousakis Plaza with guided tours on Sunday July 26, 10AM – 2PM. Activities dockside will include a photo booth, cornhole toss, t-shirt sales and more! Come hear all about the research mission scheduled for July 27 – August 5 and follow the ship’s log at

Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting

August 19, 2015 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The next quarterly meeting of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary’s Advisory Council is scheduled for Wednesday, August 19, 2015 from 10:30AM to 4:30PM. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Beaufort County Library 311 Scott St. Beaufort, SC 29902.

For more details about the council, please visit


Survey season for Alexander lab

Surveying season is now officially here for the Clark Alexander lab.  After the successful completion of Wassaw Sound last year, Mike Robinson, Claudia Venherm and Lee Ann DeLeo will be surveying Ossabaw Sound for bathymetry and benthic habitat this summer.

During June, the lab team (Alexander, Jennifer Colley, Robinson, Venherm) were busy on Sapelo Island working within the context of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems – Long Term Ecosystem Research (GCE-LTER) program.  They collected cores near sediment-elevation monitoring sites to compare seasonal/annual sediment accumulation rates to 100-y average rates.

“This comparison highlights the relative importance of daily and episodic sediment input to marsh accretion,” Alexander said. “In addition, we probed and augered transects from the upland out into the marsh to gather stratigraphic information for an upland runoff manipulation experiment.”

This experiment will modify the flow of groundwater from the upland to the marsh over a period of years to detect changes in salt marsh community structure, as a proxy for drought and development impacts to natural groundwater flows.

Summer interns at Gray’s Reef

Three new interns are working at Gray’s Reef National  Marine Sanctuary this summer.

McIntyreNicole McIntyre is a senior at Georgia Southern University. She is a biology major with a focus on fisheries management. Her previous experience includes interning at Reef Relief in Key West where she produced weekly videos; created lesson plans for 250 Coral Campers; lifeguarded at the reef; and worked on conservation efforts and clean ups throughout the summer.

Yeckley wSean Yeckley is a graduate research intern. He is pursuing a masters in marine science degree at Savannah State University. He also has earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Georgia, a master’s in health science from John Hopkins University and an M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia (currently Georgia Regents University. His research interests include ocean acidification and climate change impacts on tropical and deep coral reefs; deep coral reef ecology; and surveillance and prevention of toxic algal blooms.

JonesJhalael Jones is a high school intern with a focus on marine technology. He is a student at Savannah Arts Academy, a public high school focused on the liberal arts. His program of study is communications. He is interning at Gray’s Reef because of his interest in robotics and film. His project there includes building ROVs for use at public festivals and education events.

Modena is cruising the Gulf of Mexico

Catherine and Georgia Tech grad students Sungjin Cho and Dongsik Chang, adjust Modena's buoyancy in 2014.

Catherine and Georgia Tech grad students Sungjin Cho and Dongsik Chang, adjust Modena’s buoyancy in 2014.

Catherine Edwards’ Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, nicknamed “Modena,” is working in the Gulf of Mexico this month.  The activity is part of a three-year, $18.8 million to continue studies of natural oil seeps and track the impacts of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

Known as ECOGIG-2 or “Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf,” the project is a collaborative, multi-institutional effort involving biological, chemical, geological and chemical oceanographers led by the University of Georgia’s Samantha Joye. The research team has worked in the Gulf since the weeks following the 2010 Macondo well blowout.

Modena has been at work collecting data since June 25th. It takes Modena about an hour to collect each profile (up+down cast), and she sends her data to shore every 6 hours. You can follow Modena’s progress at: