Monthly Archives: January 2016

New intern joins Harvey Lab

Christopher Kirby 1 wChristopher Kirby is the new intern in Elizabeth Harvey’s lab. Kirby is originally from Worcester, Mass. and is a junior biology major at Northeastern University in Boston. This the second time Christopher has worked with Liz. He interned with her last year at Woods Hole. He will be at Skidaway until July.


Wedding bells for Viola!

Best wishes to Miss Viola and her new husband!

Viola Martin and Neal Jarrett were married on October 9, 2015 at the Sweetfield of Eden Baptist Church. Bishop Thomas J. Sill presided over the vows. The Jarretts now live on Whitemarsh Island.Viola Wedding w

Gray’s Reef sponsors MATE ROV Competition


Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary will once again host the Southeast Regional MATE ROV Competition on Saturday, April 30, at the Chatham County Aquatics Center.

Gray’s Reef competition winners from Carrollton High School at MATE 2014 Internationals held at Thunder Bay NMS.

Gray’s Reef competition winners from Carrollton High School at MATE 2014 Internationals held at Thunder Bay NMS.

Gray’s Reef is partnering with the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center (MATE) to offer underwater robotics as a vehicle to apply STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) education and to prepare students for technical careers. MATE competitions are based on real-life exploration, rescue and research missions that occur throughout the global ocean and specifically in NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary System.

The event in Savannah will include teams of students ranging from K-12 through college from throughout the region.

Event organizer Jody Patterson is looking for an “army of volunteers” to help out on April 30. If interested or need additional information, contact Jody at 598-2431 or

Aron Stubbins co-edits special journal issue


Aron Stubbins co-edited a special issue for the journal Marine Chemistry titled “Biogeochemistry of Dissolved Organic Matter.”

The contents of the special issue included one paper by Thais Beraldo Bittar, one by Leanne Power and five by Aron.

The issue included a collection of papers on the biogeochemistry of dissolved organic matter (DOM). Many of the papers had their origin in a special session on DOM cycling that was convened at the 2014 biennial Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The special issue’s introduction states, “It has long been recognized that “dissolved organics matter” to the microbial communities that inhabit the dilute but complex soup of organic compounds found in all natural waters. The purpose of the special session was to better understand what ingredients are in the soup, where they came from, and how they interact to fuel microbial metabolism, sequester carbon and nutrients, and drive many of the biogeochemical cycles that are of interest to today’s climate science.”

The reminder of the editing team included Daniel Repeta, Craig Nelson, Zhanfei Lui, Lihini Aluwihare and Craig Carlson. The issue can be accessed at :

Dive into the Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival

by Michelle Riley

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary will celebrate the Wonders of the Ocean by presenting the Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival Jan. 29-30 at the Trustees and Lucas Theaters in historic downtown Savannah.

This year, Gray’s Reef will host its first-ever “3D Night” with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s “Secret Ocean 3D,” followed by “Humpback Whales 3D,” directed by two-time Academy Award nominee Greg MacGillivray. Afterwards, whale rescuer Ed Lyman will speak and take questions.

“From Jean-Michel Cousteau's Secret Ocean 3D, Jean-Michel Cousteau & Holly Lohuis address a hammerhead shark.” Copyright: 3D Entertainment Films

“From Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D, Jean-Michel Cousteau & Holly Lohuis address a hammerhead shark.”
Copyright: 3D Entertainment Films

“We can’t wait to show the fantastic movies we have on deck this year,” said Sarah Fangman, superintendent of Gray’s Reef. “We’re especially excited to present 3D films for the first time, and we are grateful to be able to show some stories about the healing power of the ocean, in appreciation of our military men, women and families.”

This year’s festival selections beautifully illustrate the connection between people and the ocean. From the children’s movie to the short films of young filmmakers, the festival offers something for everyone, including a chance to reflect upon the service of military families. “The Current,” in particular, is a short film of perseverance and healing in which Col. Jesse Murphree, U.S. veteran of the Afghanistan war, participates and learns to scuba dive and snorkel.

The festival will wind up with National Geographic’s “Secret Life of Predators,” followed by a session with Emmy-Award-winning cinematographers Paul and Grace Atkins, who will illustrate their talk with film clips. A wrap party on stage at the Lucas Theatre will top off the night.

Suggested donation to benefit Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is $10/day adults and $5/day for children and students.

To reserve seats, visit the foundation website at

2016 Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival Line-Up:

Friday Night, January 29 – First-Ever 3D Night!

7:00 PM:

Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D

Humpback Whales 3D by Greg MacGillivray

After-Movie Honored Speaker:  Ed Lyman, Humpback Whale Rescuer

Saturday, January 30 – Full Day of Film Fun!

10:00 AM:  Children’s Program (kids are free!)

Journey to the South Pacific by Greg MacGillivray

Lost and Found by Philip Hunt

11:30 AM:  Emerging Filmmakers Competition

2:00 PM: Guy Harvey Expedition Films

The Oceanic White Tip Shark

Aliens of the Deep: Lionfish

3:30 PM:  Appreciation of our Military, featuring adrenaline and ocean-healing films:

The Crystal Labyrinth by David Pearson

The Current by Kurt Miller and narrated by Fabien Cousteau

SUDS in Action (Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba)

7:00 PM:  National Geographic Night!

Secret Life of Predators by National Geographic

After-Movie Honored Speakers:  Paul & Grace Atkins, Emmy Award®- Winning Filmmakers

9:30 PM:  Wrap party on the stage!

Sasha Wagner publishes first paper from SkIO

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASkidaway Institute post-doctoral associate Sasha Wagner published her first paper since arriving at Skidaway Institute. The paper, “Associations between the molecular and optical properties of dissolved organic matter in the Florida Everglades, a model coastal wetland system” was published in the journal Frontiers in Chemistry.

Sasha’s co-authors included Aron Stubbins; Rudolf Jaffe from Florida International University; Kaelin Cawley from the University of Colorado;  and Thorsten Dittmar from the University of Oldenburg, Germany.

The article can be read at:

Grad student Lixin Zhu joins Stubbins lab

Lixin Zhu wLixin Zhu has joined the Skidaway Institute family as a joint-Ph.D. student in Aron Stubbins’s group.

Lixin received his bachelor’s degree from the Ocean University of China, in Qingdao, China, majoring in marine ecology and marine life science. Lixin is now a Ph.D. student at the State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research (SKLEC), East China Normal University, in Shanghai. Lixin will be at Skidaway for two years, after which he will return to SKLEC to get complete his Ph.D. degree.

Lixin’s doctoral thesis focuses on the losses of the dissolved organic matter as it transits from rivers to the open ocean. He will quantify concentrations of dissolved black carbon and lignin and their loss rates in waters from the Yangtze River and East China Sea, as well as within Georgia estuaries.