Archive for July, 2008

Hot summer internships

July 24, 2008

We have a group of five interns from Clark-Atlanta University and Spelman College just finishing up a two-month internship with Dick Lee’s aquaculture project.

Here you can see research tech Karrie Brinkley (3 from right) working with (l-r) Diamond Carr (Clark Atlanta), Matilda Young (Clark Atlanta), Chanelle West (Spelman) , Jolill Ross (Spelman) and Ashley Shannon (Clark Atlanta.)

Apparently the hot summer on a Georgia coastal island was quite a suprise to several of them. I think a couple of the chemistry majors thought they would be spending the internship in a lab coat in an air conditioned building. Actually, they did a lot of work outside in our raceways (ponds) and greenhouses.

Two of the students worked on a project to grow edible seaweed as a secondary crop. The wastewater on the salt water side of the system contains plenty of nutrients. Above, see Chanelle West harvesting some.

Here (you can see everyone, except for Ashley Shannon, who is picking a pepper (below) at this moment. (l-r) Channelle West, Matilda Young, Jolill Ross and Diamond Carr.

The will finish up by presenting as seminar to the campus community next Wedndsday at 10 am. Chanelle and Diamond will report on their seaweed project. Matilda will present a business plan for some future aquaculturist who may want to start a commercial operation. Jolill and Ashley will report on their effort to obtain ethanol from the pond scum that floats on top of the outdoor raceways and the algae that is suspended in the water.

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Summer activities at Skidaway

July 8, 2008

Things are fairly busy around the Skidaway Institute campus this summer.

The most obvious activity is the construction on our new laboratory building. The state general assembly approved $5 million in bonds for its construction in the 2006 session. We actually held a ceremonial groundbreaking last December, but the bull dozers didn’t show up until mid-June. It’s nice to see them moving earth.

Long-time faculty member Jack Blanton hung up his mud-boots last month. Jack has been a researcher here for 31 years. He has a reputation as one of the outstanding physical oceanographers anywhere. He is also a heck of a nice guy. Take a look at this picture (right). Only at a research lab would you use liquid nitrogen to fix desert. Here Jay Brandes is using liquid nitrogen to make soft-serve ice cream at Jack’s retirement lunch. That’s Jack looking over Jay’s shoulder on the right of the picture.

For the second year in a row Joe Dirnberger of Kennesaw State University brought a group of students to our campus for an intensive two-week course in biological oceanography. The Skidaway experience included an overnight cruise on the R/V Savannah and came after several weeks of less-intensive class work on the Kennesaw campus.

We also had a group of University System of Georgia presidents on campus for a short cruise and low country boil. These were the presidents from the “comprehensive sector” of the system. They were having their summer retreat here in Savannah the next day. The weather cooperated, and Dee and Norman produced their usual outstanding meal. It was great to expose some of the presidents to Skidaway Institute and the work we do here. Several I spoke with really had no clue what goes on here or how their students could benefit from it. Hopefully, some good will come if it.

(l-r) Presidents Dan Papp (Kennesaw State), Beheruz Sethna (West Georgia), Lisa Rossbacher (Southern Poly) and Bruce Grube (Georgia Southern) share a laugh before dinneer.

Last, but not least, our foundation newsletter, Skidaway Campus Notes, hit mailboxes this past weekend. It covers the activities of Skidaway Institute, but also the other organizations on campus. You can read it on-line at the Skidaway Institute Web site.