Monthly Archives: November 2015

R/V Savannah cruises Chesapeake Bay

by John Bichy

The R/V Savannah spent the majority of September (23 days) in the Chesapeake Bay participating in the Patuxent River 2015 Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Office of Naval Research Science and Technology Demonstration (ONR S&T Demo). This was the largest demonstration of its kind to ever take place at PAX Naval base.  The purpose of this project was to “accelerate the relevance and utility of emerging technologies by bringing together operators, developers, and stakeholders to jointly explore Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and Unmanned-Surface Vehicle (USV) technologies in a common at sea environment.”

A total of six countries, 20 vessels, and over 50 vehicles (AUV or USV) took part in this effort. The R/V Savannah science crew primarily consisted of members from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City and Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory. Two modified WHOI REMUS 600 vehicles were operated from the R/V Savannah, the Small Synthetic Aperture Minehunter III (SSAM III) and the Laser Scalar Gradiometer (LSG).

Science and ship crew’s dockside at the west basin PAX River Naval Surface Warfare Center with the SSAMIII (foreground vehicle) and LSG (background) AUV’s.

Science and ship crew’s dockside at the west basin PAX River Naval Surface Warfare Center with the SSAMIII (foreground vehicle) and LSG (background) AUV’s.

Vehicles were deployed off the ship and set on daily missions to demonstrate and test their functionality within 3 sample regions (Patuxent River, Main Bay, Potomac River). The vehicles’ mission part was to locate underwater targets that were deployed in each sample area. At the end of the operational period, results from each vehicle were presented to all ONR S&T Demo participants including Navy Rear Admiral M. Winter.

The R/V Savannah spent its last day recovering targets with help from the Navy ship Grapple.  The cruise was successful on multiple levels.  From a science standpoint SSAM III and LSG performed well.  Both the Chief Scientist Tim Molnar (IPS) and lead engineer Andy Girard (WHOI) were impressed with the R/V Savannah as an AUV operational platform and expressed plans to use the ship in the future, including a potential project in Puerto Rico. From the ship’s perspective, this cruise introduced the ship to new user groups and new waters as the ship had never sailed this far up the Chesapeake Bay.


Skidaway Marine Science Day attracts crowds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASkidaway Marine Science Day was another success this year. The campus-wide effort attracted approximately 1,800 visitors. You can view pictures of the event on the Skidaway Institute Web site.

Coastal flooding affects Skidaway campus

The Skidaway campus did not escape the coastal flooding caused by the “king tide” on the morning of October 27. The water level rose over the bulkhead on the Savannah River and inundated the low lying land just inland. All photos credit to Claudia Venherm.


Flooding CV 3 Flooding CV 2 Flooding CV 1


Long time Assistant Director for Services Lee Knight says ‘good-bye’ to Savannah

One of the original team of employees at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography  and long time Assistant Director for Services , Lee Knight, has left Savannah and moved to New York City. He will live with his daughter and son-in-law. Lee’s daughter, the Reverend Laura Whitehouse is a Presbyterian minister there.

Lee was an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Savannah and he was honored with a “Farewell and Well Wishes” ceremony on Sunday, October 25.

Lee Knight (left) in the late 60s or early 70s on board the "Tarbaby" with John McGowan.

Lee Knight (left) in the late 60s or early 70s on board the “Tarbaby” with John McGowan.

Cliff and Shannon Buck welcome second son

Oliver SkIO sqOliver David Buck was born in the afternoon on October 8.  He was 6 pounds and 13 ounces, and 20.5 inches long. He’s named after Cliff’s grandfather Col. Oliver F. Buck and Shannon’s dad Dave Seanor.

“Big brother Cormac is glad to have his ‘baby’,” Cliff says. “And Shannon and I are too.”

The boys

Kevin Ryan new face in Stubbins lab

Kevin Ryan

Kevin Ryan

Kevin Ryan is a new intern in Aron Stubbins’ lab.

Kevin is from Greenville, S.C. and graduated from Winthrop University as an undergraduate in biology and chemistry.  For the past few years he worked for a non-profit in West Virginia implementing acid mine drainage stream restoration projects.

Kevin will be in the Stubbins lab through the end of December. He will be working on a collaborative project studying dissolved organic matter reactivity and transport in the Connecticut River. He plans to start graduate school at UGA next summer.

Kevin likes to run and whitewater kayak. “I’ve never lived on the coast before,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning the ropes of coastal kayaking.”


Justyna Nicinska joins GRNMS as interim deputy superintendent


Justyna Nicinska

Justyna Nicinska joined Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary on a rotation, acting as the Deputy Superintendent, as part of NOAA’s Leadership Competencies Development Program (LCDP). While at Gray’s Reef Justyna will engage in a number of efforts including annual strategic planning and program implementation. Justyna comes from the  NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office, where she provides program management  for a variety of  scientific research initiatives and special projects.

Prior to coming to Gray’s Reef, as part of the LCDP program, Justyna acted as the Deputy Director of the NOAA NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation and prior to that acted as the Deputy CFO for NOAA OAR.  In a previous LCDP assignment with the NOAA/PPI Office of the Chief Economist, she led the Natural Capital Business Team, fostering public-private partnerships for more innovative, resilient and sustainable business practices.

Justyna was a Knauss Fellow in 2005 in the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy and first came to NOAA in 2006, working in OAR’s International Affairs Office. Justyna’s  academic background is in the area of marine biology and  global environmental politics. She completed her PhD in Global Affairs at Rutgers University in 2013.