Archive for September, 2012

Here is a tentative schedule of events for Skidaway Marine Science Day

September 24, 2012

Skidaway Marine Science Day

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Noon to 4 p.m.

  • Jay Wolfe Nature Trail, Interpretive Cabin, Interpretive Gardens (Open at 10 a.m.)
  • University of Georgia Aquarium Open – Free Admission
  • “Ossabaw” the Loggerhead Sea Turtle on display (Aquarium)
  • Touch Tanks (Aquarium)
  • Behind the Scenes peeks at the UGA Aquarium. Every 10 minutes. Maximum of 15 visitors at a time. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.  Line up at back aquarium door.
  • Environmental Group Exhibits (Skidaway Institute Quad)
  • Tours of Research Vessel Savannah (Skidaway Institute Dock)
  • Plankton World (Marine and Coastal Science Research Center)
  • Build a Plankton (Tent outside the Marine and Coastal Science Research and Instruction Center)
  • Science Exhibits (Skidaway Institute Quad & R/V Savannah)
  • Microbe Hunt – Grab a swab and find the microbes in the world around you.  (Skidaway Institute Quad)
  • Gray’s Reef ROV Activity (Skidaway Institute Quad)
  • Oyster Reef Restoration Displays and Activities (Shellfish Lab Patio)
  • Habitat Explorations “Oceans” (Aquarium Day Group Room)
  • Habitat Explorations “Plankton” (Aquarium Plankton Lab)
  • Habitat Explorations “Tidal Creeks” (Aquarium Invertebrate Lab)
  • “Marine Debris” (Aquarium Art Lab)
  • Crabbing on the Dock 1-3 p.m. (UGA Marine Extension Service Dock)
  • The Savannah Blood Alliance Blood Donation Drive (Aquarium Parking Lot)
  • Door Contest:  Visitors can enter their name in a drawing for a Free Season Family Pass to the Aquarium. Sign up at front desk in Aquarium Lobby.
  • Radio Broadcasting – Adventure Radio Group


12:15 PM — Fish Feeding (Aquarium)

12:30 PM – “Bridges and Bulls: A history of Skidaway Island” A talk and walking tour by Dr. Bill Savidge

1:00 — Shark Dissection with Curator Devin Dumont (Aquarium Invertebrate Lab)

12:30 PM – Plankton Sink- Off Preliminary Round (Tent outside Marine and Coastal Science Research and Instruction Center)

1:30 PM – “What are scientists talking about?” A series of short talks by Skidaway Institute scientists on current research and issues in marine science.  – McGowan Library Auditorium

1:30 PM – Plankton Sink Off Preliminary Round (Roebling House)

1:50PM — Fish Feeding (Aquarium)

2:00PM — Reptile Show with John “Crawfish” Crawford, Marine Educator (Screened porch.) – Gators, snakes, turtles, and lizards, OH MY! Develop a greater understanding of some of the most amazing vertebrates found along the Georgia coast.

2:30 PM – Plankton Sink Off Preliminary Round (Tent outside Marine and Coastal Science Research and Instruction Center)

2:00 PM – Skidaway Island History Talk and Tour by Dr. Bill Savidge (McGowan Library Auditorium)

2:30PM — Behind the Scenes Tour (Aquarium)

2:30 PM – Plankton Sink Off Preliminary Round (Tent outside Marine and Coastal Science Research and Instruction Center)

2:50 PM — Fish Feeding (Aquarium)

3:00 PM – Georgia Sea Turtles with John “Crawfish” Crawford, Marine Educator (Screened Porch) – Join in this fun and exciting know all about sea turtles, especially the ones that use Georgia beaches as nesting sites.

3:30 PM – Plankton Sink-Off Final Round (Tent outside Marine and Coastal Science Research and Instruction Center)

Participating Environmental and Educational Groups

  • Georgia DNR-CRD
  • Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
  • The Dolphin Project
  • Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
  • Georgia Sea Turtle Center
  • Tybee Marine Science Center
  • Sierra Club
  • Skidaway Island State Park
  • Georgia DNR – Law Enforcement
  • Georgia DNR – Underwater Archaeology
  • Savannah State University Marine Sciences Department
  • Armstrong Atlantic State University Diamondback Terrepin Project
  • Youth for a Cleaner Environment

Skidaway Institute scientist presents public program on coastal hazards

September 21, 2012

Coastal residents are exposed to a number of unique hazards associated with living near the ocean. These hazards range from hurricane storm surge to rapid erosion.  They occur both from natural processes and human activities.

Skidaway Institute of Oceanography professor Clark Alexander and Georgia Southern University professor Chester Jackson will present a program entitled “Living on the Edge – Coastal Hazards in Georgia” on Monday, October 22, at 7 p.m. in the Library Auditorium on the campus of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography at the north end of Skidaway Island.

The talk is open to the public and admission is free.

The program is sponsored by the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service, the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

If interested, please RSVP to (912) 598-2496.

And then a turtle started messin’ with it…

September 21, 2012

Mary Landers from the Savannah Morning News wrote a cute story for the front page of yesterday’s paper about this love sick loggerhead. Click on the picture to read the story.

Young loggerhead sea turtle to make public debut at Skidaway Marine Science Day

September 19, 2012

In August of last year, a tiny loggerhead sea turtle was born on Ossabaw Island. Unlike his brothers and sisters, he wasn’t able make his way to the ocean. Fortunately for this one baby loggerhead, he was rescued by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Having determined the young turtle would not survive on his own, Mark Dodd of DNR contacted the University of Georgia (UGA) Marine Extension Service Aquarium on Skidaway Island.

Since his arrival last year, the sea turtle, named “Ossabaw,” has thrived. (Actually, while he may be referred to as a “he,” his gender is not known.) Starting as a small hatchling that would easily fit in the palm of your hand, he has lived behind the scenes at the aquarium and has been cared for by the curator team of Devin Dumont and Karin Paquin.

Ossabaw is held by Karin Paqun, assistant curator at the UGA Marine Extension Service Aquarium.

“When he first arrived, he was so tiny,” said Paquin. “Now he is over three pounds and very active.”

Loggerhead sea turtles are on the threatened species list at the state and federal level. They are the most common sea turtle species to nest regularly along the Georgia coast and barrier islands. Female loggerhead turtles crawl up on beaches between May and October to lay their eggs in nest chambers dug in the sand with their back flippers and then return to the sea.  The eggs incubate for approximately two months before the hatchlings emerge and head to the water where they can live as long as 70 years and grow to over 200 pounds.

“We hope that Ossabaw will grow strong, healthy and be ready for release in three to four years,” said Paquin. “If a turtle is deemed not releasable by a veterinarian, we work with larger aquariums to find a new home.”

Ossabaw’s predecessor at the aquarium, “Eddie,” was released into the wild last year. However, an earlier loggerhead, “Joey,” was transferred to the Georgia Aquarium when he grew too large for his home at the UGA Aquarium.

Ossabaw the young, loggerhead sea turtle.

After living in a tank behind the scenes for his first year of life, Ossabaw will make his debut on public display in time for Skidaway Marine Science Day, which will be held on Saturday, October 20 from noon to 4 p.m.

Skidaway Marine Science Day is a campus-wide open house with activities geared for all ages from young children to adults. These will include programs, tours, displays and hands-on activities, primarily related to marine science and the coastal environment. The event is open to the public and admission is free.

Along with the aquarium, the event will be presented by the campus’s marine research and education organizations, including Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, the UGA Shellfish Research Laboratory and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

The Skidaway Institute of Oceanography will offer a variety of activities for adults and children, including tours of the Research Vessel Savannah and smaller research vessels; science displays and talks on current research programs; and hands-on science activities.

The aquarium will be open to visitors with no admission fee. In addition to “Ossabaw,” the aquarium education staff will offer visitors a full afternoon of activities including science talks, a reptile show, boat tours, touch tanks and behind-the-scene tours of the aquarium.

The UGA Shellfish Laboratory will provide visitors with displays and information on marine life on the Georgia Coast. Children will be given the opportunity to help protect the marine environment by bagging oyster shells used for oyster reef restoration projects.

The staff of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary will set up their remotely-operated-vehicle (ROV) in a swimming pool and teach visitors how to “drive” it and pick up objects from the bottom.

Skidaway Marine Science Day will also be open to non-campus scientific and environmental groups. Organizations such as The Dolphin Project and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center will be on-hand to present, information, displays and activities.

School classes or other large groups wishing to attend Skidaway Marine Science Day can be accommodated only through advance arrangements. For additional information, call (912) 598-2325.

All activities at Skidaway Marine Science Day will be free. For additional information, call (912) 598-2325, or visit

Berger’s co-authors paper in Marine Biology

September 10, 2012

Stella Berger is one of the co-authors of a paper published recently in the journal, Marine Biology. The project studied the effect climate change has on the timing and magnitude of spring plankton blooms in both fresh- and saltwater ecosystems.

The entire paper can be accessed at: