Category Archives: Uncategorized

Two NOAA staffers honored

Two Skidaway Island-based NOAA staffers were recently recognized with prestigious awards from NOAA. Reed Bohne and Marybeth Head were presented the awards on May 23rd in Washington, D.C.

Bohne was awarded the NOAA Distinguished Career Award for “exceptional contributions to the management and growth of the National Marine Sanctuary and National Estuarine Research Reserve systems.” Bohne supervises six of the system’s 13 national marine sanctuaries, including Gray’s Reef.

NOAA Corps Ensign Head, who also serves as the Vessel Operations Coordinator at Gray’s Reef, received the NOAA Bronze Medal Award, the highest award granted by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Ensign Head was recognized for “rapid integration and deployment of Autonomous Surface Vessels for hydrographic use aboard the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson.”

Gray’s Reef joins GPB for “Live Exploration”

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, in collaboration with Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), created a livestream virtual dive event on May 10th from the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium. More than 35,000 viewers from as far away as Romania tuned in from their homes, schools and offices to dive into a 30-minute virtual field trip of Gray’s Reef.

GPB host Ashley Mengwasser, GRNMS Superintendent Sarah Fangman and UGA research scientist Scott Noakes discuss Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary during the livestream. Photo M. Riley/GRNMS

The virtual expedition included underwater surgery on a fish to insert a tagging transmitter and beautiful views of the vibrant and abundant marine life found at Gray’s Reef. Viewers learned how Gray’s Reef was formed, how the seafloor serves as a habitat and how they can help protect the reef from major threats.

The sanctuary’s communications coordinator, Michelle Riley, worked with GPB’s Education division in Atlanta to create the event using underwater footage of Gray’s Reef and featuring sanctuary superintendent Sarah Fangman and UGA researcher Scott Noakes as experts. Emily Woodward and her colleagues at UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant provided substantial support to the event, and aquarium staff updated the tanks with a colorful new interpretation of Gray’s Reef. UGA’s Skidaway Institute of Oceanography provided technical assistance, utilizing the expertise of senior system administrator Wayne Aaron.

Targeted to students, the livestream included a question-and-answer session with Fangman and Noakes, during which viewers submitted more than 1,000 questions. The event was accompanied by supplemental materials tailored to Georgia Department of Education standards for K-12. GPB had hoped for an audience of 3,000 – 5,000, and was pleased that the participation level was substantially higher than originally expected.

To view the archived event, go to

NOAA’s Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary seeks advisory council applicants

marine-sanc-logoNOAA’s Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary is seeking applicants for one citizen-at-large seat on its advisory council. The council ensures public participation in sanctuary management and provides advice to the sanctuary superintendent.

“The sanctuary advisory council provides a vital place for the community and sanctuary management to exchange ideas, discuss issues and share information,’’ said Sarah Fangman, sanctuary superintendent.

Candidates are selected based on their expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying, community and professional affiliations, and views regarding the protection and management of marine resources. The applicant who is selected should expect to serve a two-year term.

The advisory council consists of 11 primary, non-governmental members representing a variety of public interest groups, including fishing, diving, education, research and conservation. It also includes eight governmental seats representing state and federal agencies.

Applications are due by Tuesday, Feb. 28. To receive an application kit, or for further information, please contact Chris Hines, deputy superintendent, via email at; by phone at 912-598-2397; or by mail at 10 Ocean Science Circle, Savannah, GA 31411. Application kits can also be downloaded from the sanctuary’s website at

Skidaway Island shredding event, Saturday April 16

A shredding event in honor of recently deceased Skidaway Island resident Flip Boggs will be held on Saturday, April 16, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church. The shredding services will be provided by Savannah Shredding. Donations will benefit the local SAFE Shelter for victims of domestic violence. For additional information, contact Ray or Diane Krstolic at 598-8303.

Gray’s Reef to host MATE ROV competition

The Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary will host the Southeast Regional MATE ROV completion on Saturday, April 30, at the Chatham County Aquatic Center on Sally Mood Drive.

The theme of this year’s event is “ROV Encounters in Inner and Outer Space – NASA’s mission from the Gulf of Mexico to Jupiter’s moon Europa.”

ROV Pic w

The primary mission of the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center is to provide the marine technical workforce with appropriately educated workers and to use marine technology to create interest in and improve STEM education.

The participating teams are typically students from middle school through college. There are four classes of competition, the winner of the RANGER-class (intermediate competition aimed at middle and high school teams) will move up to the MATE International Competition at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Organizer Jody Patterson is looking for volunteers to help with the event. Contact her at 598-2431.


Butts for Mutts!

Butts for Mutts Flyer 2015 w

Wagner joins Stubbins’ lab as post-doc

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASasha Wagner is a new post-doc in Aron Stubbins’s lab.

Sasha recently earned her doctorate in environmental chemistry from Florida International University. Her research interests include the reactivity and transport of fire-derived carbon (“black carbon”) in freshwater systems.  Initially considered to be a stable and refractory component of the organic matter pool, black carbon is actually quite dynamic and can be readily mobilized to surface waters where it is highly susceptible to photodegradation.  Sasha also characterizes dissolved organic matter on the molecular level using ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry.  This method reveals unique molecular “fingerprints” which allow for the assessment of environmental effects on dissolved organic matter composition.

Sasha likes to decompress outside of the lab by running or cooking or trying a new type of beer. “ I am also on a quest to find a decent bagel in Savannah,” she says. “Suggestions are welcome!”