Category Archives: Skidaway Institute

Kevin Ryan leaving for USGS internship

Stubbins Lab graduate student Kevin Ryan will leave this month for a one-year internship with the U.S. Geological Survey in Vermont.

The internship is designed to engage a motivated NSF Chemical Oceanography-funded graduate student in professional development activities and high quality research within an established freshwater USGS research program. Kevin will work with a USGS host and collaborators in a research watershed in northeastern Vermont to develop transferable job skills and advance understanding of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) dynamics. The project will entail in situ instruments and frequent sampling of stream and terrestrial hydrologic fluxes (e.g. shallow groundwater and overland flow) and will generate a high spatial and temporal resolution record of the quantity and quality of DOC moving off the landscape into the stream.

The expectation is that Kevin will gain valuable skills and experience in the areas of fieldwork, data analysis, and science communication relevant to scientific jobs at USGS and similar organizations.

New Faces on Campus

Trevor “T.J.” Dodge has joined the crew of the R/V Savannah as second mate. Trevor’s background is primarily within the charter and commercial fishing industry along the west coast where he has served as captain, mate, and engineer on various sized vessels. His experience includes small to large recreational fishing charters to lobster and purse seine commercial fisheries. He brings engine room mechanical skills and extensive experience operating hydraulic systems such as winches, cranes, and capstans to complement his more than 10 years of experience operating sea going vessels. Trevor is married and has a one-and-a-half-year-old son.

Ziming Fang is a Ph.D. student from Xiamen University, China, conducting research in Aron Stubbins’s lab. Ziming’s major is marine biogeochemistry with a focus on the black carbon cycle in the open oceans. “I love the kind people here and enjoy the beautiful environment at Skidaway,“ he said.

Brennan Perry is a public relations intern at Gray’s Reef. She graduated from Georgia Southern University earlier this month with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Brennan is originally from Myrtle Beach, S.C.. She rides horses in her free time.


Camille Womack is a summer intern in the Frischer lab. Camille is a rising junior at UGA with a major in water and soil resources. From Suwanee, Ga., she likes to surf in her spare time.

Jacob Mabrey is a summer intern in the Brandes lab. He is also a rising junior with a major in environmental engineering. He is from Richmond Hill. He plays saxophone in the Redcoat Marching Band and enjoys camping and hiking.


New faces on campus

Charlie Rice is Skidaway Institute’s new HVAC specialist, replacing  Neil Mizell, who recently retired from Skidaway Institute. He was  born and raised in Savannah. Charlie is married and has a nine year old son.

Skye Mills is a public relations and communications intern at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. She will graduate from Armstrong State University in May 2017 with a B.A. in English and professional communications. Skye is a native of the Savannah area.

“I enjoy my southern and coastal roots,” she said. “I spend as much time as I can in my kayak, strolling the beach, or immersing myself in Savannah’s rich history.

Skye says she wants to work for something that matters and makes a difference. “I wanted to work for a cause that I can get behind and at Gray’s Reef I really feel like I am accomplishing that.”

UGA Skidaway Institute director search begins

The position of director of UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography has been officially posted on the UGA Web site. It can be seen here:

R/V Savannah crewmate has whale named for him

Marc Frischer and his team went out on the R/V Savannah to hunt tiny doliolids in February, but they made a new and considerably larger discovery.

Just off of Wassaw Sound they saw what they thought was a right whale. They reported their sighting to the North Atlantic Right Whale Project of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The right whale researchers identified the whale as a humpback, and one that had not been previously documented.

Jordy the Humpback Whale

A few weeks later, the Florida whale watchers spotted the same whale again off of Nassau Sound, just south of Fernandina Beach.

“It didn’t match any of our previously identified humpbacks from this season, so we collected photo documentation and a genetic sample from the animal, said Laurie Leech from the North Atlantic Right Whale Project. “On arrival back at our office later that night, we matched the animal to the one that you (the Skidaway team) saw up in Georgia!”

The Skidaway team asked for the right to name the whale “Jordy” in honor of R/V Savannah first mate Jordan Solomon who was the first person to spot him. Although the Florida whale watchers responded that they do not have the right to give a whale an official name, they agreed that as far as Florida and Georgia are concerned, the whale will unofficially be named “Jordy.”

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.


New faces on campus

MERARachel Usher is a volunteer lab technician in Jay Brandes’s lab. She is a Savannah native and a 2016 graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Ecology. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked in both marine and aquatic labs completing an honors thesis with UGA professor Amy Rosemond on carbon breakdown in urban streams. Currently, Rachel is working on a project quantifying the amount of microplastics in coastal sediment samples. In her free time she enjoys cooking in her wok, listening to podcasts and taking her dog on her boat.



Patrick Duffy is a newly arrived masters student in Liz Harvey’s lab. He grew up in the suburban town of Kingston, Pa.

“Coming from a landlocked state, the majority of my ‘interactions’ with the ocean were from watching Nature documentaries,” he said. “Despite this, I knew from a young age that I wanted to become a marine biologist.”

Patrick attended the University of Delaware and graduated with a B.S. in Marine Science. During his time at U.D., he interned in a lab investigating the chemical interactions between predators and their microscopic prey in marine systems.

“I am intrigued by the complexities of the factors involved in the communications between species in the planktonic environment and by their influence in oceanographic processes on both small and large scales,” he said.

He says he likes to spend as much of his free time as possible outdoors, specifically hiking, fishing, and playing soccer.