Skidaway grad students participate on glider team cruise 

From May 31st to June 5th, Skidaway Institute graduate students Kun Ma and Lixin Zhu joined a science cruise on the R/V Savannah off Cape Hatteras, N.C. The cruise was led by Jeffrey Book from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The main objective of this cruise was to test and demonstrate the use of gliders together in teams and assimilate the data into ocean forecast models. The cruise was 22 days in total, divided into 3 legs. Kun and Lixin were part of the third leg.

Kun Ma cocks Niskin bottles on the CTD.

Kun is a new Ph.D. student at Skidway, working mainly on the MoDIE project with Jay Brandes and Aron Stubbins. This was her first science cruise and she collected some particular organic matter and dissolved inorganic carbon samples. She also helped Skidaway Institute researcher Bill Savidge by collecting some chlorophyll samples in order to calibrate the chlorophyll sensor on the CTD instrument.

Lixin Zhu in immersion suit during safety trainning

Lixin is a visiting Ph.D. student in Aron Stubbins’ lab. He collected filtered water samples on the cruise. He will analyze the color/fluorescence dissolved organic matter, and dissolved black carbon concentrations. In addition, Lixin performed solid phase extraction aboard and collected high-resolution real-time CDOM data using a S::CAN sensor coupled with the underway SCS system on the ship. Eventually, he will combine these data with other field data collected in the South Atlantic Bight area to see the overall dynamics of dissolved black carbon.

Four of the six gliders

“I really appreciate Dr. Jeff Book for having us on this amazing cruise,” Lixin said. “I am glad that we overcame seasickness, and it’s really cool to see that the glider team controlled six gliders at the same time aboard.

(l-r) Pierre-Yves Passaggia from UNC, Ian Martens, Ana Rice, Silvia Beatriz Gremes and Jeffery Book from NRL, Lixin Zhu, Santiago Carrizosa from the Navy, and Kun Ma

“Furthermore, their working approach and decision making process, based on real-time data, modeling and satellite results, impressed me a lot. Getting some samples from such a dynamic area definitely made me really excited.”

 

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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.”

Harvey lab spends May in Norway

Elizabeth Harvey and her research team traveled to Bergen, Norway in early May for a month’s worth of experiments at the Norwegian National Mesocosm Centre at the Espegrend Marine Biological Station.

l-r Kyle Mayers (Univ of Southampton), Thais Bittar, Sean Anderson and Karrie Bulski

In addition to Harvey, the team included Thaiss Bittar, Karrie Bulski, Patrick Duffy and Sean Anderson. They and their colleagues blogged about their adventures at: https://fjordphytoplankton.wordpress.com/

Kneeling (l-r) Anna Schrecengost (Haverford College), Patrick Duffy, Sean Anderson. Standing (l-r) Kyle Mayers (University of Southhampton), Karrie Bulski, Thais Bittar, Elizabeth Harvey, Kristen Whalen (Haverford College)

Symposium highlights UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant impacts

When Hurricane Matthew washed away 30 percent of Georgia’s sandy coastline last October, UGA was ready.

With funding from Georgia Sea Grant, the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography already was studying sand resources and creating an inventory of sand deposits along the coast. Researchers are using that inventory to identify areas where sand was available to replenish the coastline that was lost during the storm. Replacing the lost sand is important to protect lives and property, as well as critical habitats, from coastal hazards.

Clark Alexander presents at the symposium.

“The sand resources in our state waters are the most poorly known of all the states along the east coast,” said Clark Alexander, interim director of Skidaway Institute. “This research enables us to create maps identifying offshore areas that are suitable for beach nourishment and habitat restoration projects. With these data, we can know where suitable sand exists if we need it in the future after major storms.”

Alexander was one of many researchers across Georgia who presented a project during the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant Research Symposium in Athens on June 1.

Marc Frischer discusses his research into black gill in shrimp.

The annual symposium provides an opportunity for researchers to share their Sea Grant-funded work, network with others in the scientific community and look for collaborative ways to tackle the latest issues impacting the coast.

“Case studies presented during the symposium aptly illustrated Georgia Sea Grant’s success in elevating awareness of coastal issues, increasing local communities’ resilience to the effects of a changing climate and developing models that can be replicated to improve conditions on a global scale,” said Paul Wolff, chair of the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant Advisory Board.

Jay Brandes discusses his work with microplastics on the Georgia coast.

From projects that look at how to get local seafood into inland markets to those that measure the productivity of Georgia’s expansive salt marshes, Sea Grant-funded research spans a variety of topics and emphasizes the importance of multidisciplinary, collaborative research and outreach to effectively enhance coastal communities and ecosystems.

Research proposals submitted to Georgia Sea Grant are expected to include an education and outreach component to ensure that results reach beyond the research community and are delivered to a diverse audience. Education and extension faculty and staff at Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant work to incorporate Sea Grant-funded research into public programs, workshops and curricula targeted to pre-k through college age students, resource managers, decision makers, the seafood industry and beyond.

Kayla Clark describes the Georgia Sea Grant intern program.

“We received a record number of research funding preproposals this year and many of those submitting full proposals attended the research symposium,” said Mark Risse, director of Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. “Being able to learn from projects that have proved successful should strengthen research efforts and allow us to support projects that move rapidly to application and impact.”

Other presenters from the Skidaway Marine Science Campus included Jay Brandes, Marc Frischer, Anne Lindsay and Kayla Clark.

 

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 http://www.gpb.org/education/explore/grays-reef.

New faces on campus

Douglas Love is the newest face in Skidaway Institute’s plant operations. Douglas was born and raised in Savannah. After high School, he joined the navy, spending four years in uniform with two tours in the Persian Gulf. Douglas has been married for 17 years and he is an avid outdoorsman

Silvia Falco is an assistant professor at Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain. She will spend the next two months at Skidaway Institute collaborating with Cliff Buck as they study atmospheric inputs of elements to coastal ecosystems. Her research is on marine biogeochemistry with a focus on eutrophic processes in sediment and coastal and estuarine waters.

Cacinele Rocha is a Ph.D. student from Federal University of Rio Grande, southern Brazil, who also came to collaborate with Cliff Buck in the Trace Element Chemical Oceanography Lab. Cacinele’s major is submarine groundwater discharge with a focus on the geological deposition influence.

Kun Ma is a UGA doctoral student in Jay Brandes’s lab. Kun is from Inner Mongolia, China, and first came to the United States in 2006 for school. She completed her B.S. in biology at State University of New York Geneseo and a M.S. in ecology at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. Her master’s thesis is on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in karst springs. Kun is interested in biogeochemistry, particularly elemental cycling in the marine environment. She will be working with Jay and Aron Stubbins on carbon dioxide production from photochemical degradation of dissolved organic carbon for the next few years. Kun enjoys traveling and many outdoor activities like hiking, camping, backpacking, swimming and skiing. She likes to read and has a particular interest in ancient Chinese history.

Emily Noakes is an intern from UGA who will be splitting her time between Skidaway Institute and the UGA Aquarium. She is an Athens native. “The ocean has always been my home,” Emily said. “I have always been enthralled with the inhabitants of the ocean, and my father, (UGA associate research scientist) Scott Noakes, has been teaching me about the ways of the marine world from the time I could grasp a mollusk.”

Erin Siebert is an intern in Aron Stubbins’s lab. Erin is a senior at Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y, pursuing a double major in environmental studies and geology. She plays soccer for Alfred University. She is working on dissolved inorganic and organic carbon. Erin’s future goal is to attend graduate school and obtain a master’s degree in environmental science and policy with a concentration in water resources.

Quinton Diou-Cass is an intern in Liz Harvey’s lab. Quinton is a senior ecology major at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. He is originally from central Maine. After graduation, Quinton would like to pursue a master’s degree in marine ecology or biological oceanography and eventually continue on to a Ph.D. He is very interested in natural and anthropogenic changes in marine invertebrate ecology. “I believe that understanding, evaluating, and quantifying the ecological and environmental changes within the ocean’s ecosystems, as they relate to both natural and human impacts, is an exceedingly important field of research, and I aim to be a part of what should (and hopefully will) be a subject of increasing priority,” he said.

Doug Mollett is back for his second summer in Julia Diaz’s lab. He is a junior at Georgetown College in Kentucky. He is working on a double major in environmental science and Spanish. This summer he will be working on measuring polyphosphate degradation in local waters.

Sasha Wagner, Jim O’Leary marry

Sasha Wagner and her new husband, Jim O’Leary, were married on March 10th in a ceremony in Chatham Square in downtown Savannah. Sasha said it was a last-minute decision.

“We decided that Monday to book the officiant for Friday, and the rest kind of just fell into place,” Sasha said. “The weather was beautiful, a perfect spring day.

“Afterwards, we celebrated by treating ourselves to a nice dinner at a restaurant downtown and our wedding “cakes” were two cupcakes from a local bakery,” she said. “That’s it! Pretty low key, just how we wanted it.”

The couple met in college at the University of Delaware and have been together for 11 years.

“So, our wedding was not unexpected, but that didn’t stop our families and friends from being surprised and excited for us when we told them.”