Tag Archives: Gray’s Reef

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 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.

Gray’s Reef hosts MATE ROV competition

by Michelle Riley
Gray’s Reef NMS

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary recently hosted their annual Southeast regional Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) competition. Spearheaded by GRNMS’s Volunteer and Events Coordinator Jody Patterson, staff and volunteers from the sanctuary as well as Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation welcomed sixteen teams of students who came to compete for first place and a shot to compete in the national MATE competition.

Wolfpack Robotics Team from North Paulding High School competing, first place winners. Photo Credit: Michelle Riley

The competition is open to young scientists from K-12 to university level students and challenges them to create innovative solutions to real-world situations that are dealt with by NOAA and other marine industries. This year’s theme was Port Cities of the Future, which prompted students to use their underwater robots to perform tasks that could be utilized to clean and maintain the waters of port cities. MATE encourages students to develop their entrepreneurial skills by creating a business plan that supports their innovative marine technology as well as marketing materials that showcase their work. Students choose from four classes of competition in which they can present their marketing materials and demonstrate their robots.

Vying for a spot at the international competition was the eight-time champion team InnovOcean from Carrollton High School as well as five other teams in the ranger class. Although the competition was fierce all day, in the end, first place fell to the Wolfpack Robotic Team from North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga. Gray’s Reef congratulates all the teams that competed in the Southeast regional competition and will be cheering on the Wolfpack Robotic Team in June as they compete in the international competition in Long Beach, Calf.

 

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.”

National award will allow more students to experience the Georgia coast

A $50,000 Hollings Award from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will pay for 850 fourth graders from Liberty and McIntosh counties to experience Georgia’s coastal environment and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary during field trips to the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island.

Marine Extension associate director Anne Lindsay shows a corn snake to a group of students.

“We are extremely excited about this opportunity,” said Mark Risse, director of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, which oversees the education center and aquarium. “Reaching these historically underserved communities with hands-on, field-oriented educational programs is often difficult due to transportation and economic issues. This funding will allow us to target our efforts just for them and provide free transportation and programs.”

In addition, the grant will allow UGA and Gray’s Reef to offer free programs on Georgia’s estuarine systems and offshore habitats at a school in each county, extending the education to students’ families.

“These communities are located in watersheds that impact the waters around Gray’s Reef. We hope that our efforts will influence the decisions they make and benefit the coastal ecosystems surrounding the sanctuary,” Risse said.

Enhancements to the Gray’s Reef exhibit at the UGA Aquarium are also included as part of the project. A new wall-mounted monitor and graphics will feature underwater video footage of the reef and provide information to aquarium visitors about the National Marine Sanctuary Program.

The award is one of five 2017 grants totaling $215,000 from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Hollings Awards, an annual program designed to expand public awareness of conservation issues.

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 Chris.Hines@noaa.gov; 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 http://graysreef.noaa.gov/management/sac/council_news.html