Category Archives: Research

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter visits the UGA Oyster Hatchery

By: Emily Woodward

Congressman Buddy Carter toured the oyster hatchery at UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant and met with a shellfish grower who is working with UGA to grow single oysters in an effort to diversify the coastal economy.

Carter, along with Jared Downs, a member of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s staff, spent Feb. 24 at the hatchery on Skidaway Island, learning about UGA’s effort to revive the oyster industry in Georgia.

U.S. Representative Buddy Carter (center in white shirt) tours the hatchery.

“The oyster industry has great potential to bring strong economic benefits to our area,” Carter said, following the visit. “The UGA oyster hatchery is leading this effort and working to strengthen Georgia’s shellfish industry.”

Carter and Downs met with Mark Risse, director of Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant Tom Bliss, director of the Shellfish Research Lab, as well as extension agents at the hatchery, to learn about their efforts to produce spat, or baby oysters, and grow them into single oysters for the half-shell market.

Since its launch in 2015, the hatchery has produced 700,000 spat, which have been given to 10 shellfish farmers on the coast who grow the oysters on sites they lease from the state Department of Natural Resources. The potential harvest value of the oyster is $140,000 to $245,000. By 2018, the hatchery is expected to produce between 5 million and 7 million spat per year, with an annual estimated harvest value between $1 million and $2 million. The goal is to attract a commercial hatchery and businesses related to oyster production to the area, which would provide jobs and greater economic development opportunities on the coast.

During his visit, Carter traveled by boat to see the oysters in Wassaw Sound farmed by John Pelli, owner of Savannah Clam Company, and sample the raw oysters. In addition to hearing about the economic benefit of oyster production, Carter also learned that oyster production improves water quality. A single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day, a benefit to everyone, not just those involved in the seafood industry.

“I am glad to have had the opportunity to see the great work going on at the hatchery and I look forward to seeing the oyster harvesting business grow in our community and state,” Carter said.

UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant also is helping the oyster growers connect with seafood distribution companies and restaurants to raise awareness of the Georgia single oyster, Risse said.

 

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Skidaway scientists attend ASLO

Skidaway Institute was well represented at the 2017 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii,  February 26 – March 3.

Aron Stubbins and Sasha Wagner chaired a two-day session titled “The Biogeochemistry of Dissolved Organic Matter.”

Sasha presented her research on “Stable Carbon Isotopes Offer New Insight into the Biogeochemical Cycling of Black Carbon.” Aron, Jay Brandes and A. Ramapo Goranov, from the College of New Jersey were co-authors.

Former Skidaway Institute intern (Stubbins Lab) Camisha Few presented a poster “Photodegradation of Dissolved Organic Carbon Within the Connecticut River Watershed.” Camisha is a student at Florida A&M University. Her co-authors included Aron, Sasha, Kevin Ryan and K. Haiat-Sasson from the University of Rhode Island.

Camisha Few explaining all about CDOM and FDOM photochemistry at S+ASLO 2017

Aron presented his work on “Tree-Dom: DOM from the Crowning Headwaters of the Aquatic Carbon Cycle.” His co-authors included Sasha, T. Dittmar from the University of Oldenburg, Germany, and J.T. Van Stan from Georgia Southern University.

Thais Bittar presented “Growth, Grazing and Virus-Induced Mortality of Bacterioplankton in the Sargasso Sea.” Her co-authors included Karrie Bulski, Elizabeth Harvey, R. Parsons from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, S. Giovannoni from Oregon State University and C. Carlson from UC-Santa Barbara.

Cliff Buck and Chris Marsay also made presentations. Cliff chaired a session on atmospheric deposition, “Linking atmospheric deposition to the biogeochemistry of aquatic and marine systems.” His co-organizer was Rachel Shelley from LEMAR-Universite de Bretagne Occidentale, France.

Both Cliff and Chris gave talks about data from the Arctic cruise in a session titled “Biogeochemical Cycling Trace Elements and Isotopes in the Arctic Ocean.”  Cliff’s talk was on the aerosol data and titled “Aerosol Concentration, Composition and Fractional Solubility on the US Geotraces Western Arctic Cruise.” In addition to Chris, his co-authors included A. Ebling, P. Morton, B Summers and W. Landing, all from Florida State University. Chris presented melt pond data, “Dissolved and Particulate Trace Elements in Arctic Melt Ponds.” In addition to Cliff, his co-authors included P. Morton, B Summers and W. Landing, all from Florida State University, and S. Rauschenberg and B.S. Twining, both from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

 

Catherine Edwards participates in glider workshop

 

Catherine Edwards was invited to participate in an Interagency Ocean Observation Committee glider workshop in January at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The purpose of the workshop was threefold: to assemble a task force to identify needs requiring funding; to provide an opportunity for  interagency collaboration; and to discuss the formation of an international glider user group to share and exchange information on science and  glider operations.  Catherine was invited to represent the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA.) Her lab is the largest glider operation in the Southeast in terms of experience and the number of days gliders are in operation. More information is available here:

http://www.iooc.us/activities/task-teams/glider-tt/us-underwater-glider-workshop/

UGA Skidaway Institute grad student receives master’s degree

Now-former UGA Skidaway Institute and Savannah State University graduate student Ashleigh Price had a November she won’t forget.

On November 8, she successfully defended her master’s thesis before her committee and a public audience.

Ashleigh at her dissertation defense.

Ashleigh at her dissertation defense.

She officially received her degree on December 10. Ashleigh did most of her research as part of Marc Frischer’s lab at Skidaway Institute. The title of her thesis was Environmental Reservoirs and Mortality Associated with Shrimp Black Gill.

To cap off the month, Ashleigh gave birth to her daughter, Astra Jean Visconti at 7:10 p.m. on November 30.

Astra

Astra

Astra came into the world at 18.5 inches, and weighting six pounds and 10.6 ounces. Mother and baby are both doing well.

UGA Skidaway Institute scientist authors paper on coral superoxide production

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUniversity of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography researcher Julia Diaz recently co-authored a paper published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science. The paper, titled Dark Production of Extracellular Superoxide by the Coral Porites astreoides and Representative Symbionts, appeared in the journal’s November 24th issue.

The lead authors were Tong Zhang from Nankai University, as well as Diaz. Additional co-authors included Caterina Brighi from the Imperial College London in London, U.K.; Rachel Parsons from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences; Sean McNally from the University of Massachusetts; and Amy Apprill and Colleen Hansel, both from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The paper examines the production of superoxide by the Porites astreoides species of coral. Superoxide is an oxygen (O2) molecule with an extra electron, giving it a negative charge. Scientists believe it may have both beneficial and harmful effects on the coral, ranging from helping it resist disease to damage through coral bleaching. The research team determined the Porites astreoides coral produces superoxide, but that production is not related to photosynthetic activity or the presence of light. This led the team to question whether the superoxide production may play a beneficial role in coral physiology.

The paper can be accessed here: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmars.2016.00232/full

UGA Skidaway Institute associate professor cited for top research articles

Aron Stubbins is one of just a handful of researchers cited in the journal Limnology and Oceanography for authoring two of the journal’s top scientific papers over the past 60 years.

Limnology and Oceanography is an official publication of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography and is considered a premier scientific journal. In its recently published 60th anniversary issue, the journal collected and republished the 10 most cited research papers for each of the last six decades. Aron authored or co-authored two of those papers, one in 2008 and the other in 2010.

“It came as quite a surprise to see two articles show up on the list,” Aron said. “I was at a conference and wasn’t really checking my email when one of my colleagues let me know.”

The journal used the number of times a paper was cited in future studies as the yardstick to determine which papers should be included on the list. It is one commonly used method for measuring the impact of a scientist’s work.

“The list isn’t really about popularity,” he said. “It’s about usefulness. That people have found some of my work useful over the years is rewarding.”

The 2008 paper was titled “Absorption spectral slopes and slope ratios as indicators of molecular weight, source, and photobleaching of chromophoric dissolved organic matter.” The lead author was John Helms. Aron was a co-author along with four other scientists. The research team developed a new method for extracting new information from a relatively common and simple test of the color of dissolved organic matter.

Aron was the lead author, along with nine co-authors, of the second paper, “Illuminated darkness: Molecular signatures of Congo River dissolved organic matter and its photochemical alteration as revealed by ultrahigh precision mass spectrometry.” The study examined organic carbon carried to the ocean by the Congo River — after the Amazon, the second largest river in the world in terms of carbon and water flow. The research team studied how sunlight degrades organic material, including which compounds are degraded, which are not and what new compounds are created when sunlight shines on river water.

“His inclusion in this seminal volume is quite an honor for Dr. Stubbins,” UGA Skidaway Institute Interim Director Clark Alexander said. “This recognition validates what we have always known, that he is conducting groundbreaking and meaningful research that is recognized around the world.”

All 60 papers can be found at http://aslopubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/.

 

Liz Harvey to co-chair ASLO session

Liz Harvey will co-lead a special session entitled “Louder than words: chemical communication structures marine ecosystems” during the 2017 ASLO Meeting, February 26-March 3, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the marine environment, chemical communication mediates species interactions thereby playing a central role in influencing population-level and large-scale oceanographic processes. This interdisciplinary session will include studies from the intertidal to the open ocean that investigate how chemical cues regulate processes such as behavior, reproduction, foraging strategies, settlement, mortality, defense, competition, and the transfer of energy and nutrients within and among ecosystems.

Kristen Whalen of Haverford College will co-chair the session with Liz.