New convention center exhibit touches on Skidaway Institute history

November 13, 2015

UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography had an interesting beginning. In 1968, Robert and Dorothy Roebling donated their Modena Plantation on the north end of Skidaway Island to the state to be the site for an oceanographic institute. The Roebling family has a fascinating, going back to Robert’s great grandfather, John Augustus Roebling, who designed and began construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. When Robert and Dorothy first arrived at Skidaway Island in the mid-1930s, they arrived on their 150 foot sailing yacht, the Black Douglas. The exhibit focuses on the Roeblings and the Black Douglas.

Three Skidaway scientists approved for Georgia Sea Grant funding

November 13, 2015

Three of our scientists have received funding approval for their research from Georgia Sea Grant. Here is the release from UGA.

Georgia Sea Grant awards over $800,000 in funding toward coastal research
November 12, 2015

Writer: Lee Redding
Contact: Mark Risse

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Sea Grant College Program at the University of Georgia is funding research projects that address critical environmental and economic challenges in coastal Georgia.

The diverse projects include investigations into plastic contamination in coastal waterways, a parasitic threat affecting Georgia shrimp and the economic feasibility of raising homes to reduce the impact of flooding.

The seven new awards, totaling $815,736, mark a 15 percent increase in Georgia Sea Grant’s research investments in natural and social sciences. In order to address the wide range of topics identified as priorities by coastal stakeholders, the program has dedicated a greater proportion of its overall budget toward research for this funding cycle. Funding for Georgia Sea Grant research comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Sea Grant College Program.

“I am pleased to see the quality and breadth of our research portfolio that spans a spectrum of disciplines, from the fundamental understanding of coastal processes to the economic analysis of retrofitting homes in coastal Georgia,” said Mark Risse, director of Marine Extension/Georgia Sea Grant, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach. “Enabling university-based research to develop solutions for the unmet needs of Georgia’s coast, and linking that research to economic development, is a major focus of the Georgia Sea Grant College Program.”

One such project, led by Skidaway Institute of Oceanography professor Marc Frischer, is a continuing investigation into black gill, a condition threatening Georgia’s top fishery-shrimping. Georgia Sea Grant will also be funding a proposal by Warren Kriesel, an associate professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, to analyze the viability of elevating houses, an approach more homeowners and local governments are considering in order to combat flooding. Given recent flooding from Hurricane Joaquin and the supermoon lunar tidal event, the research aims to give property owners strategies for protecting their homes and businesses from incurring flood damage, while bearing in mind the economic constraints that many homeowners face.

The seven projects are part of Georgia Sea Grant’s Request for Proposals process, which occurs every two years to address research priorities identified by coastal stakeholders. The RFP is developed incorporating feedback from a coastal advisory board and then distributed statewide to institutions of higher education. The research projects that are selected for funding undergo a competitive merit review process: They are initially evaluated by a Georgia stakeholder review panel and are then ranked by an external technical science review committee to determine their scientific rigor, technical soundness and relevance to Georgia Sea Grant’s research priorities, which address current problems on the coast.

For FY2016-2018, the awards will begin on Feb. 1, 2016, and will terminate on Jan. 31, 2018. Selected research projects and the lead investigators are:

• Oyster and Salt Marsh Edge Interactions: Informing Living Shoreline and Oyster Restoration Design, James Byers, Odum School of Ecology, UGA.
• Black Gill in Georgia Shrimp: Causes and Consequences, Marc Frischer, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, UGA.
• Assessing Prevalence and Composition of Ingested Plastic Contaminants by Georgia’s Estuarine Organisms, Jay Brandes, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, UGA.
• A Novel Hybrid Approach for Mapping Belowground Productivity and Carbon Sequestration Potential within Georgia Salt Marshes, Deepak Mishra, department of geography, UGA.
• Investigation of the Shallow Hydrogeologic System on St. Catherine’s Island to Define Salt Water Intrusion Pathways and the Potential for Shallow-Deep Aquifer Communication, Robert Vance, department of geology, Georgia Southern University.
• Promoting Flood Hazard Resilience: The Economics of Elevation Retrofitting of Homes, Warren Kriesel, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UGA.
• A Geospatial Assessment of Nearshore Sand Resources and Sediment Transport Pathways for Georgia Coastal Resiliency and Recovery, Clark Alexander, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, UGA.

The Georgia Sea Grant College Program
The Georgia Sea Grant College Program is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the state of Georgia and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Georgia. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Georgia Sea Grant, along with its partner, the University of Georgia Marine Extension, are units of the Office of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia. The programs’ mission is to improve public resource policy, encourage far-sighted economic and fisheries decisions, anticipate vulnerabilities to change and educate citizens to be wise stewards of the coastal environment. For more information, visit

Cruising the North Atlantic in November

November 12, 2015

Skidaway Institute researcher Elizabeth Harvey is one week into a five-week-long North Atlantic research cruise. Here is the latest post from the cruise blog, including a picture of Liz in the blue parka.

The Impacts of Sea Level Rise

November 5, 2015

Source: The Impacts of Sea Level Rise

Skidaway scientist’s study front-cover news

November 2, 2015

Aron Stubbins’ recent work on deep-ocean hydrothermal vents (earlier post) is the cover story for this month’s Nature Geoscience. Wayi to go, Aron!

Aron Cover

Skidaway Institute scientist explores deep-sea hydrothermal vents

October 29, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUniversity of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography scientist Aron Stubbins joined a team of researchers to determine how hydrothermal vents influence ocean carbon storage. The results of their study were recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Hydrothermal vents are hotspots of activity on the otherwise dark, cold ocean floor. Since their discovery, scientists have been intrigued by these deep ocean ecosystems, studying their potential role in the evolution of life and their influence upon today’s ocean.

Stubbins and his colleagues were most interested in the way the vents’ extremely high temperatures and pressure affect dissolved organic carbon. Oceanic dissolved organic carbon is a massive carbon store that helps regulate the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere—and the global climate.

Photo Credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010

Photo Credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010

Originally, the researchers thought the vents might be a source of the dissolved organic carbon. However, their research showed just the opposite.

Lead scientist Jeffrey Hawkes, currently a post-doctoral fellow at Uppsala University in Sweden, directed an experiment in which the researchers heated water in a laboratory to 380 degrees Celsius, 716 degrees Fahrenheit, in a scientific pressure cooker to mimic the effect of ocean water passing through hydrothermal vents.

The results revealed that dissolved organic carbon is efficiently removed from ocean water when heated. The organic molecules are broken down and the carbon converted to carbon dioxide.

The entire ocean volume circulates through hydrothermal vents about every 40 million years. This is a very long time, much longer than the timeframes over which current climate change is occurring, Stubbins explained. It is also much longer than the average lifetime of dissolved organic molecules in the ocean, which generally circulate for thousands of years, not millions.

“However, there may be extreme survivor molecules that persist and store carbon in the oceans for millions of years,” Stubbins said. “Eventually, even these hardiest of survivor molecules will meet a fiery end as they circulate through vent systems.”

Hawkes conducted the work while at the Research Group for Marine Geochemistry, University of Oldenburg, Germany. The study’s co-authors also included Pamela Rossel and Thorsten Dittmar, University of Oldenburg; David Butterfield, University of Washington; Douglas Connelly and Eric Achterberg, University of Southampton, United Kingdom; Andrea Koschinsky, Jacobs University, Germany; Valerie Chavagnac, Université de Toulouse, France; and Christian Hansen and Wolfgang Bach, University of Bremen, Germany.

The study on “Efficient removal of recalcitrant deep-ocean dissolved organic matter during hydrothermal circulation” is available at


Skidaway Institute’s Elizabeth Harvey embarks on month-long Atlantic cruise

October 27, 2015

UGA Skidaway Institute scientist Elizabeth Harvey will be spending the next month on board Woods Hole’s Research Vessel Atlantis.NAAMESbannerWithSat w

The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) is a five year investigation to resolve key processes controlling ocean system function, their influences on atmospheric aerosols and clouds and their implications for climate.

Here is Dr. Harvey’s first post on the cruise’s blog. 

Skidaway Marine Science Day 2015

October 25, 2015

We had a great open house yesterday. Skidaway Marine Science Day. Lots of visitors. Great weather. Fantastic activities, exhibits, tours and talks. Lots of effort from all the folks at Skidaway Institute, the UGA Marine Extension, Gray’s Reef and our off-campus exhibitors.












Skidaway Marine Science Day Schedule of Activities

October 16, 2015

The UGA Skidaway Marine Science Campus will open its doors again on Saturday, October 24, from noon to 4 pm for the 2015 edition of Skidaway Marine Science Day. The campus is located on the  north end of Skidaway Island in suburban Savannah. (10 Ocean Science Circle)

Touch tanks at the UGA Aquarium help visitors of all ages learn about the sea creatures who live right in our backyard.

Touch tanks at the UGA Aquarium help visitors of all ages learn about the sea creatures who live right in our backyard.

Sponsoring groups include the UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, UGA Marine Extension and NOAA’s Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. All activities at Skidaway Marine Science Day are free. For additional information, call 912-598-2325, or see



Jay Wolf Nature Trail, Interpretive Cabin, Learning Garden

UGA Aquarium Open 10 am-5 pm / Free Admission & Special Activities Noon-4 pm

Behind the scenes peeks at the Aquarium. Every 20 minutes (12 –4 pm) – pick up your FREE ticket in the lobby to reserve your time!

New Touch Tank Display (Aquarium)

Touch Tanks (Aquarium Day Group Room)

Phytoplankton Lab Demo (Aquarium Plankton Lab)

Invertebrate Explorations (Aquarium Invertebrate Lab)

Dock Discoveries (Aquarium Dock) – Learn more about organisms found in our estuary and get your hands wet at a stingray touch tank!

Interactive Reptile Exhibit – Meet and greet some common reptiles of the Georgia coast (MAREX screened porch)

Oyster Hatchery Display and Hatchery Tours (Shellfi­sh Parking Lot)

PhotoBooth (McGowan Library auditorium)

Plankton World & CytoSense (Library overhang & lobby)

Build a Plankton (Tent outside McGowan Library)

Plankton Sink-O­ff (Tent outside McGowan Library) A Sink-Off round every 30 minutes

Environmental Group Exhibits (Skidaway Institute Quad)

Tours of Research Vessel Savannah (Skidaway Institute Dock)

Microbe Hunt – Grab a swab and find the microbes in the world around you. (Skidaway Institute


Gray’s Reef’s “Fly an Underwater ROV” — (Skidaway Institute Quad)


12:30 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)

12:45 pm – Science Talk (Skidaway Institute Quad) “Arctic Carbon Cycling”

1:00 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)

1:15 pm – Science Talk (Skidaway Institute Quad) “Sea Level Rise”

1:30 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)

1:45 pm — Science Talk (Skidaway Institute Quad) “Underwater Robots”

2:00 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)

2:00 pm – Science Talk (MCSRIC Conference Room) “Your tax dollars at work”

2:15 pm – Science Talk (Skidaway Institute Quad) “How do phytoplankton smell?”

2:30 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)

2:45 pm – Science Talk (Skidaway Institute Quad) “Black Gill in Georgia Shrimp”

3:00 pm – Fish Feeding (Aquarium)

3:15 pm – Science Talk (Skidaway Institute Quad) “Weather Reports from Inside the Ocean”

An early morning TV story at UGA Skidaway Institute

September 22, 2015

WSAV TV and reporter Martin Staunton aired a story t his morning on Dr. Clark Alexander’s study on sea level rise on the Georgia coast.


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