Tag Archives: university of georgia

Grad students clean Tybee Island beach

Grad students from both the Skidaway and Athens campuses teamed up with volunteers from Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant to clean the beach at Tybee Island and to assist with a dune restoration project.

The project happened during a “bonding weekend” in late September. The students coordinated a beach clean-up with the Tybee Clean Beach Volunteer group. Once there, they also joined forces with the Tybee Beach Task Force that had a dune restoration project at the North Beach. This included putting up dune fencing, placing wrack and planting vegetation. The students’ specific jobs were to clean the beach and wrack.

They collected more than 20 pounds of trash. “Our biggest source of trash was cigarette butts,” Christine Burns said. “We easily had more than 400 cigarette butts. We also found a kite, a bunch of beach toys and umbrella pieces.”

The students also recorded more than 500 pieces of very small pieces of plastic and styrofoam that were broken up and sprinkled throughout the wrack.

Advertisements
Image

Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant plan Oyster Roast for a Cause

Glider partners come to the rescue during Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma presented an interesting problem to Catherine Edwards and other glider operators in the Southeast. They had several gliders deployed off the east coast as the hurricane approached, including Skidaway Institute’s glider, “Modena.” Catherine and the others were confident the gliders themselves would be safe in the water, but the computer servers that control them would not.

Catherine working on “Modena”

The gliders are equipped with satellite phones. Periodically, they call their home server, download data and receive instructions for their next operation. It was expected that Skidaway Institute would lose power for at least several days (as did happen.) However, Skidaway’s back-up partner at the University of South Florida’s marine science facility in St. Petersburg, Fla. was also directly in the storm’s projected path.

“In the week before she hit, Irma sort of blew up our hurricane emergency plans,” Catherine said.

Several other options, including Teledyne Webb’s back-up servers and Rutgers University were not feasible for technical reasons. Glider operators at Texas A&M University came to the rescue. Catherine was able to instruct Modena to switch its calls over the Texas A&M server. No data was lost and Modena continued its mission.

According to Catherine, two big lessons emerged from the experience.

“First, most of us rely on nearby or regional partners for emergency andback-up support, but disasters are regional by nature, and the same Nor’easter or hurricane can take down you along with your backup,” she said. “Second, there aren’t a lot of glider centers that can absorb several gliders on a day’s notice, and there are some compatibility and operations issues involved, so it is best to identify our potential partners and build out these steps into our emergency plans well in advance.”

New faces at Skidaway Institute, NOAA

LuLu Lacy is a new intern in Marc Frischer’s lab. She is a UGA ecology major with a minor in studio art. She has a wide range of experience outside of the classroom, including an independent research project at UGA’s Costa Rica campus; working as a landscape arboretum fellow for Trees Atlanta; and tending crops on an organic farm. She is a founder of the Athens Free School – an initiative to create a monthly calendar of free classes taught by volunteers in the Athens community on various subjects from bread making to bike maintenance.

Katherine “Kat” Scheuering is a communications intern at Gray’s Reef. Kat is a senior English/ Professional Communications major at Armstrong State University and is due to graduate in December. Kat is originally from Goshen, New York; a small town about an hour and a half outside New York City. “Close enough to commute but far enough that there were horse farms down the street,” she said. Kat chose to intern at Gray’s Reef because, she said, she is passionate about the environment and conservation. “I’m actually the president of the ‘Go Green’ club at Armstrong and we usually do a beach clean-up once a semester,” she said. “I’m looking forward to exploring my options once I graduate but I think ideally I’d like to find something where I can use writing and creative skills to campaign and raise awareness for environmental causes.”

Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant welcomes new educators

By: Emily Woodward

Four recent college graduates have been awarded one-year education internships with UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. Funded by Georgia Sea Grant, the interns will serve as educators for students, teachers and members of the coastal community.

The interns will spend 50 weeks on Skidaway Island at the Marine Education Center and Aquarium offering educational programs focused on the ecology of Georgia’s coastal and estuarine ecosystems. They will also participate in community outreach by attending events like CoastFest and Skidaway Marine Science Day.

They began their training in September just as Hurricane Irma was bearing down on the coast, which presented a unique opportunity for them to learn how to prepare the aquarium for evacuation. With Irma now in the rearview, the new educators get to shadow Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s faculty and staff and gain the skills they need to teach all of the classes offered at the center.

The interns are:

Isabella Espinoza graduated from Boston University with a degree in biology, specializing in behavioral biology. For the past two summers, she worked with the Brookline Recreation nature camp in Massachusetts. The camp focuses on local nature education for all ages and has an outdoor adventure component for the older age groups. She also worked as a learning assistant in a vertebrate zoology lab course at Boston University. The course focused on the adaptations and life histories of species from the major vertebrate groups (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals).

Victoria Green is from Ormond Beach, Fla. She graduated from Duke University with a degree in earth and ocean sciences and a certificate in Marine Science Conservation and Leadership. She studied at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C., and at Seacamp in the Florida Keys. Through these experiences, she’s learned to take complicated marine science topics and translate it into information that K-12 grade students can absorb.

Mandy Castro is from San Diego, Calif. She graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Mass., with a degree in biological sciences and a minor in education and child studies. For the past three summers, she has been part of a team of Smith College student educators teaching marine science and conservation to local school children in Belize. While in Belize, she also collected data for her honors thesis, which focused on characterizing hard and soft corals of Mexico Rocks, a marine protected reef complex north of San Pedro.

Megan Wilson is from Salt Lake City, Utah. In high school, she began volunteering and interning at the Living Planet Aquarium, Utah’s only aquarium. She graduated from California State University in Long Beach with a degree in marine biology. In college, she conducted undergraduate research on the metabolic rate of the California horn shark. She also raised jellyfish while working for Sunset Marine Labs and acquired her environmental education skills while working in the education department at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Calif.

Clark Alexander named director of UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography

Clark Alexander, a scientist with a long history of fostering collaboration and excellence in research, has been named director of the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Alexander is a professor in the department of marine sciences, part of UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and has served as interim director of the Skidaway Institute for the past year. As director of the Skidaway Institute, he will continue to oversee its personnel, budgets and facilities and report to the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

“The Skidaway Institute of Oceanography plays a vital role in training scientists and conducting research that address critical economic and environmental issues that affect our state and world,” said Provost Pamela Whitten. “Dr. Alexander’s longstanding commitment to deepening the impact of the institute while building bridges with partners on and off campus makes him uniquely qualified to take on this important leadership role on a permanent basis.”

Alexander’s research explores how physical processes such as erosion and sedimentation impact coastal and marine environments. His work has been supported with nearly $6 million in external funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Georgia Coastal Management Program. He has participated in more than 60 field programs in 13 countries and has been the chief scientist on nearly 30 expeditions. Alexander has been the recipient of several honors, including the Preservation Achievement Award from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

He joined the Skidaway Institute’s faculty as an assistant professor in 1991 after earning his doctorate and master’s degrees from North Carolina State University and two bachelor’s degrees from Humboldt State University in California.

“Since 1968, Skidaway Institute faculty and staff have worked to create new knowledge and produce highly trained students in the marine sciences,” Alexander said. “Through new program initiatives within the department of marine sciences and new collaborations with other colleagues at UGA and throughout the University System of Georgia, we are building on that legacy to enhance research and education statewide. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the institute during this exciting time in our history.”

The UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography is a multidisciplinary research and training institution located on a 700-acre campus on Skidaway Island, southeast of downtown Savannah. Its primary goals are to further the understanding of marine and environmental processes, conduct leading-edge research on coastal and marine systems, and train tomorrow’s scientists. For more information on the Skidaway Institute, see http://www.skio.uga.edu/.

NOSB national winners visit Skidaway campus

The winning team of the National Ocean Science Bowl visited the Skidaway campus in July. The four-person team from Santa Monica High School (California) was awarded a week-long trip as first prize.

Marine Superintendent John Bichy explains Skidaway Institute’s marine operations to the NOSB winners.

The four high school students spent the morning of July 18th visiting the aquarium. After lunch they walked across campus to Skidaway Institute, where Mike Sullivan gave them an overview of the institute. Brian Binder, from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences, described the marine science program at UGA. The team toured the campus and visited several labs. John Bichy showed them through the R/V Savannah. The afternoon wrapped up with research presentations from Liz Harvey and Cliff Buck.

An interdisciplinary ocean science education program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the NOSB tests students’ knowledge of ocean-related topics, including cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology. To qualify for NOSB finals, the 25 competing teams first had to win their regional competitions. The regional competition for Georgia and South Carolina was held at Savannah State University in early February. In total, approximately 392 teams, made up of 1,960 students representing 33 states, participated.