Archive for the ‘Ossabaw Island’ Category

UGA Skidaway Institute professor appointed to Ossabaw Island Foundation Board of Trustees

January 19, 2017

University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography Interim Executive Director Clark Alexander has been appointed to the board of trustees of the Ossabaw Island Foundation.

Clark Alexander

Clark Alexander

The Ossabaw Island Foundation is a nonprofit organization responsible for educational, scientific and cultural initiatives on Ossabaw Island, a 26,000-acre barrier island on the Georgia coast.

Alexander is a marine geologist who joined UGA Skidaway Institute as a postdoctoral scientist in 1989 and rose to the rank of full professor in 2003. He was appointed interim executive director in 2016. Alexander earned bachelor’s degrees in oceanography and geology from Humboldt State University in California. He went on to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees in marine geology from North Carolina State University.

As a researcher, Alexander has participated in 63 field programs from New Zealand to Siberia and has been the chief scientist on 29 oceanographic cruises with a total of more than two years at sea.  He has published 86 papers in scientific journals, and, in the past decade, has received more than $5 million in direct research funding. In addition, he is the director of the Georgia Southern University Applied Coastal Research Laboratory on Skidaway Island.

Alexander has been very active on state and regional advisory boards and works closely with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to identify and address pressing coastal management needs. He served on the Georgia Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee and the Georgia Shore Protection Committee from 1998 to 2006. A few of the committees he currently serves on include the Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary Science Advisory Group, the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve Advisory Committee and the Habitat Protection and Ecosystem-Based Management Advisory Panel to the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council.


A great day-trip to Ossawbaw Island

March 4, 2011

A team of Skidaway Institute scientists visited Ossawbaw Island this week.

The beach

One of the main reasons for the trip was to perform some maintenance on the Barrier Island Network.

Skidaway Institute is one of a group of organizations developing a network of cameras and sensors that will turn the island into a remote laboratory for researchers and students. Right now the network consists of a weather station, a water monitoring sensor at the main dock, two more in wells in the interior of the island and a camera at the dock. You can access the pictures and data here.

(l-r) Herb Windom, Bob Antonelli, Charles Robertson, Sam Cook and Debbie Wells examine a a sensor that spent a little too much time in salt water.

The technical crew needed to change out the sensor at the dock and install a sensor in one of the wells. Long-term exposure to salt water is very rough on scientific equipment.

We got around mostly in pick-up trucks.

Also, the geology team of Clark Alexander and Mike Robinson tramped through the woods to find a good site to obtain core samples.

Clark Alexander and Mike Robinson emptying a core.

That is part of a project to date the origin of the island.

Kathryn Sutton at the beach with her air sampling gear.

Georgia Southern grad student Kathryn Sutton also went along to obtain air samples from the beach and to collect Spanish moss for her research project looking at the possibility of using Spanish moss as a bio-indicator of atmospheric mercury from coal-fired power plants.

The team also placed a new sensor in one of the two research wells on the island.

Sam Cook (Siemitsu Computers) and Bob Antonelli hook up the well sensor while Charles Robertson looks on.

We didn’t see a lot of wildlife this time around. The fresh water ponds are low, which probably keeps the alligators away from the various causeways. Herb Windom and Paul Pressly (Ossabaw Foundation) did meet one of the island’s pet pigs, “Paul Mitchell.”

Heb Windom and Paul Pressly meet "Paul Mitchell."

It was a beautiful day and the island scenes were, as always, a treat.

A dead tree on the Ossabaw beach

Dead palm trees

An Ossabaw Island saltmarsh

Great day on Ossabaw Island!

March 13, 2008

We took a trip to Ossabaw Island yesterday, and it was a very memorable experience. I am posting some photos. As you probably know, you can click the photos to see a larger version.
Ossabaw Beach

We took reporter Charles Gray and photographer Ricardo Thomas from WTOC-TV (CBS) and reporter Chuck Mobley and photographerInterview Herb John Carrington from the Savannah Morning News to see the island first hand and to do stories on the sensor network that is still in its infancy (See my earlier posting on the network.)

Our intrepid small-boat captain, Jay Frip, drove us down the Intracoastal Waterway in the new 28 Parker research boat. Professor Herb Windom and Chuck Mobley’s son, Cooper, also came along.

The weather cooperated beautifully. Temperatures ranging from the 50’s when we left the dock to mid 70’s by the afternoon. Couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.

Jim & HerbThe on-island coordinator, Jim Bitler, met us at the dock and was a fantastic host/guide for the day. He and Herb did a great job explaining the sensor network concept to the reporters. Then he took us on a lengthy tour of the island.

Ossabaw MarshThe island is beautiful. I have visited several of the other undeveloped Georgia sea islands — Cumberland, Sapelo Wassaw and St. Catherine’s — and they are all breathtaking.

There were a few unique twists to Ossabaw. While Cumberland Island has its wild horses, Ossabaw has its small herd of “wild” donkeys. DonkeysIt seems that several years ago, the state decided to remove the island’s band of feral donkeys, but several of them could not be moved to the mainland because they didn’t pass the health inspection. Allegedly, the few remaining on the island were sterilized, but that must not have worked, because now there are 8 or 9 of them. Jim Bitler says they live off the land. They don’t appear too wary of humans, as you can tell from the photo.

Gator 1On the way to the beach, we ran across several very large alligators. One was sunning on the bank of a pond (left). The other two were lying by the side of the road, on a small causeway across some marsh area.Gator 2 They moved out of the way when we came up in the pick up truck. I’m glad we weren’t on foot.

Currently, only a relatively small number of people are able to visit Ossabaw. When Sandy West and her family sold the island to the Ossabaw PondState of Georgia, they specified the island useage be restricted to “natural, scientific and cultural study, research and education, and environmentally sound preservation, conservation and manaagement of the Island’s ecosystem.”

Soon the sensor network will be up and running, and students, teachers, researchers and others will be able to experience some of what Ossabaw has to offer, without ever setting foot there. Should be interesting.