Skidaway Marine Science Day scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22nd

August 30, 2016

An afternoon of activities, tours and talks will make Skidaway Marine Science Day a can’t-miss event for all ages on Saturday, Oct. 22, from noon to 4 p.m. on the University of Georgia Skidaway Island campus, located on the north end of the island. (10 Ocean Science Circle) The campus-wide open house will be presented by the UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, and NOAA’s Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

The UGA Aquarium, run by Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, will be open to visitors with no admission fee. Aquarium educators will offer visitors an afternoon full of activities, including a hands-on reptile exhibit, behind-the-scenes peeks of the aquarium, fish feedings and microscope investigations. A touch tank exhibit will allow guests of all ages to get up close and personal with common coastal invertebrates such as non-pinching spider crabs, whelks and horseshoe crabs.

Visitors get a close-up look at marine live at the UGA Aquarium.

Visitors get a close-up look at marine live at the UGA Aquarium.

The UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography’s 92-foot ocean-going Research Vessel Savannah will be open for tours and will exhibit science displays. Elsewhere on campus, Skidaway Institute will present a variety of marine science exhibits and hands-on science activities. Skidaway Institute scientists will present a series of short, informal talks and question-and-answer sessions on current scientific and environmental issues.

Tours of UGA Skidaway Institute’s Research Vessel Savannah are a popular activity at Skidaway Marine Science Day.

Tours of UGA Skidaway Institute’s Research Vessel Savannah are a popular activity at Skidaway Marine Science Day.

The UGA Shellfish Laboratory research team will offer behind-the-scenes tours of the Georgia’s oyster hatchery. The hatchery is also a part of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach. It is hoped the oyster hatchery will make the Georgia oyster aquaculture a more durable and sustainable coastal industry.

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary will demonstrate remotely operated underwater vehicles, a commonly used oceanographic research tool.

Along with the campus organizations, Skidaway Marine Science Day will also include displays, demonstrations and activities from a wide range of non-profit and governmental science, environmental and education groups, such as The Dolphin Project, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and the Savannah Wildlife Refuge.

For the first time, Skidaway Marine Science Day will also feature food trucks from Armstrong State University and the Savannah Food Truck Festival.

All activities at Skidaway Marine Science Day are free. For additional information, call 912-598-2325, or see www.skio.uga.edu.

A video of the 2015 Skidaway Marine Science Day can be seen here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWsvvyz_npQ

 

UGA Skidaway Institute scientists describe their work to federal legislative staffers

August 18, 2016

UGA Skidaway Institute Interim Director Clark Alexander along with researchers Marc Frischer, Dana Savidge and Catherine Edwards are participating in the University of Georgia’s Federal Legislative Retreat today. Alexander provided congressional staffers with an overview of Skidaway Institute.

UGA Skidaway Institute Interim Director Clark Alexander.

UGA Skidaway Institute Interim Director Clark Alexander.

After additional presentations by the UGA Department of Marine Sciences and the UGA Marine Institute, the scientists interacted individually and in small groups with the staffers. Frischer discussed his black gill research and invited the staffers to participate in a blind taste test of shrimp, with and without black gill.

UGA Skidaway Institute professor Dana Savidge.

UGA Skidaway Institute professor Dana Savidge.

Savidge and Edwards described their work with high tech marine research tools, such as Savidge’s work with radar to study ocean currents and Edwards’s research using autonomous underwater vehicles or “gliders.”

UGA Skidaway Inst scientist talks jellyfish

August 3, 2016

UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography’s Dick Lee was interviewed by the local Fox affiliate yesterday about jellyfish. Here is a link to the story.

http://fox28media.com/news/local/tybee-island-may-see-jellyfish-increase-this-month

Marc Frischer on morning radio program Thursday & Friday

July 28, 2016

Marc at WTKS w

Dr. Marc Frischer was a guest on the WTKS Radio morning show this morning to talk about black gill in shrimp. Thanks to Bill Edwards and Laura Picone for the invitation. They also taped a second interview which will be aired tomorrow morning. In Savannah, it’s 1290 on the AM dial.

UGA Skidaway Institute scientists study role of sunlight on marine carbon dioxide production

July 21, 2016

Scientists at the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography have received a $527,000 grant from the National Science Foundation Chemical Oceanography Program to answer one of the long-standing questions about carbon in the ocean—the rate sunlight produces carbon dioxide from organic carbon molecules in the sea.

Jay Brandes, Leanne Powers and Aron Stubbins will use a new technique they developed to measure this process, which is known as photo-degradation.

Researchers Aron Stubbins (l) and Jay Brandes

Researchers Aron Stubbins (l) and Jay Brandes

The ocean is full of millions of different types of organic compounds. Some are consumed by bacteria, but many are not easily consumed and remain in the ocean for hundreds or thousands of years. However, near the surface, sunlight causes the breakdown of organic compounds and converts them into carbon dioxide through photo-degradation. Until recently, this process has been nearly impossible to measure directly in most of the ocean because the additional carbon dioxide produced per day is tiny compared to the existing high concentration of CO2 present in the sea.

Researcher Leanne Powers

Researcher Leanne Powers

Brandes described the problem as looking for a needle in a haystack.

“You might think this is not important because it is hard to measure, but that’s not true,” he said. “We’re talking about a process that takes place across the whole ocean. When you integrate that over such a vast area, it becomes a potentially very important process.”

The project became possible when the team developed a new technique to measure the change in CO2 concentration in a seawater sample. The concept was the brainchild of Powers, a Skidaway Institute post-doctoral research associate. The technique uses carbon 13, a rare, stable isotope of carbon that contains an extra neutron in its nucleus. Researchers will add a carbon 13 compound to a sample of seawater and then bombard the sample with light. The scientists will then use an instrument known as an isotope ratio mass spectrometer to measure the changes in CO2 concentration.

According to Brandes, this project will be breaking new ground in the field of chemical oceanography.

“We don’t know what the photo-degradation rates are in most of the ocean,” he said. “We are going to establish the first numbers for that.”

The team plans to take samples off the Georgia coast, as well as from Bermuda and Hawaii.

While they will continue to refine the carbon 13 technique, Brandes said it is now time to put that tool to work.

“It is now a matter of establishing what the numbers are in these different locations and trying to develop a global budget,” he said. “Just how much dissolved organic carbon is removed and converted to CO2 every year?”

The project is funded for three years. The team will also create an aquarium exhibit at the UGA Aquarium on the Skidaway Island campus to help student groups and the public understand river and ocean color.

VIDEO – The climate change issue you probably haven’t heard about

July 6, 2016

The soil in the Arctic holds a massive store of carbon. These remnants of plants and animals that lived tens of thousands of years ago have been locked in permafost, soil that is always frozen…until now.

UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography scientist Aron Stubbins is part of a team that travelled to Siberia to discover what happens to that carbon when the permafrost thaws.

 

Savannah newspaper article features UGA Skidaway Institute and R/V Savannah

July 5, 2016

The Savannah Morning News published a nice article over the weekend on the Rivers to Reefs teacher development program produced by Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Although the Rivers to Reefs is not a Skidaway Institute program, the last day of the experience was on board the Research Vessel Savannah. The ship and Skidaway scientist Marc Frischer are prominently featured. Here is a link to the article and also to a slide show on the SMN Web site. Kudos to Dash Coleman for an excellent article and beautiful pictures.

http://savannahnow.com/education-news-news/2016-07-02/georgia-teachers-get-muddy-drenched-and-familiar-fish-trip-savannah

Photo Slide Show:

http://savannahnow.com/slideshow/2016-06-30/rivers-reefs-2016-expedition-grays-reef-national-marine-sanctuary#slide-1

UGA Skidaway Institute receives funding for regional glider network

July 1, 2016

University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography researcher Catherine Edwards is leading a team that has received a five-year, $750,000 grant from the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, or SECOORA, to establish a regional glider network.

Also known as autonomous underwater vehicles, the gliders are torpedo-shaped crafts that can be packed with sensors and sent on underwater missions to collect oceanographic data. Equipped with satellite phones, the gliders surface periodically to transmit their recorded data and to receive new instructions during missions that can last from weeks to months.

UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography researcher Catherine Edwards assembles the tail cone assembly of a glider.

UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography researcher Catherine Edwards assembles the tail cone assembly of a glider.

The team will work collaboratively to operate regular glider missions on the continental shelf in an area from North Carolina to Florida known as the South Atlantic Bight. Regular coordinated experiments will involve simultaneous deployment of gliders at multiple locations off Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. Sensors on the gliders will allow the team to map temperature, salinity, density, dissolved oxygen and other scientific data over the entire South Atlantic Bight. The data will help scientists understand ocean processes and how the ocean physics may affect fisheries—for example, the location of fronts or areas of increased productivity where fish often congregate.

“This glider observatory is the first time regular glider efforts have been funded in the South Atlantic Bight and is complementary to larger SECOORA efforts in observing and modeling,” Edwards said. “The work is highly leveraged by contributions from each of the team members and partnerships with fisheries and observing groups at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.”

Edwards and her team have designed the deployments with input from fisheries management partners and interests of commercial and recreational fisheries. Gliders will also be outfitted with passive and active acoustics receivers that will record sound and measure signals from tagged fish.   Fisheries managers at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, state Department of Natural Resources offices, the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and others will be able use this information to better understand the ocean “soundscape,” fish migrations and key species use of their habitat.

“The glider missions will contribute important information related to research underway at Gray’s Reef,” said Sarah Fangman, superintendent of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. “We have been studying fish movement patterns inside the sanctuary, and the gliders’ acoustic receivers will provide a valuable new tool to expand where we can observe fish movements.”

In addition to regular coordinated experiments with multiple gliders and maximum regional coverage, the project will leverage opportunities to develop regular transects in areas where glider data may be of interest, for example near marine protected areas like Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary and other critical habitat zones designated by the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council.

The glider data will provide valuable information for validation of ocean models—regional models of ocean circulation funded by SECOORA as well as the larger modeling community. Further, the data will be packaged and used to improve ocean model forecasts.

“We’re sending all of the glider data to the National Glider Data Assembly Center as it comes in so that it can be assimilated into the U.S. Navy’s operational models,” Edwards said. “The gliders will improve Navy forecasts on the fly with real time data.”

The remainder of the research team includes Chad Lembke from the University of South Florida, Ruoying He from North Carolina State University, Harvey Seim from the University of North Carolina and Fumin Zhang from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Data and maps from the project will be shared freely and made available to the research community, fisheries managers and other stakeholders and the general public in near-real time through SECOORA at http://secoora.org/ and the National Data Buoy Center.

Black gill article in Savannah Morning News

June 27, 2016

Here is a nice article by Mary Landers of the Savannah Morning News updating our black gill research. 

VIDEO — Teachers participate in hands-on science research on UGA Skidaway Institute research cruises

June 20, 2016


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