Posts Tagged ‘black gill’

Fall black gill cruise rolls out new research

November 10, 2016

The University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography entered the fourth year of its black gill research program with a daylong cruise on board the Research Vessel Savannah and the introduction of a new smartphone app that will allow shrimpers to help scientists collect data on the problem.

Led by UGA scientists Marc Frischer, Richard Lee, Kyle Johnsen and Jeb Byers, the black gill study is being conducted in partnership with UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, and is funded by Georgia Sea Grant.

Black gill is a condition Georgia shrimpers first noticed in the mid-1990s. Many shrimpers have blamed black gill for poor shrimp harvests in recent years, but until Frischer began his study, almost nothing was known about the condition. Now the researchers know black gill is caused by a parasite—a single-cell animal called a ciliate—although the exact type of ciliate is still a mystery.

The October cruise had three goals. The first was simply to collect data and live shrimp for additional experiments.

 

“We were able to collect enough live shrimp in good shape to set up our next experiment,” Frischer said. “We are planning on running another direct mortality study to investigate the relationship between temperature and black gill mortality. This time, instead of comparing ambient temperature to cooler temperatures as we did last spring and summer, we will investigate the effects of warming.”

Researchers Marc Frischer (UGA Skidaway Institute), Brian Fluech and Lisa Gentit (both UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant) examine shrimp for signs of black gill.

Researchers Marc Frischer (UGA Skidaway Institute), Brian Fluech and Lisa Gentit (both UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant) examine shrimp for signs of black gill.

If his hypothesis is correct, Frischer believes researchers would expect that raising fall water temperatures to warmer summer levels in a laboratory setting will induce black gill associated mortality in the shrimp caught in the fall.

Those studies will be compared to those that are being conducted in South Carolina in a slightly different manner. Frischer expects the results should be similar.

“However, as it goes with research, we are expecting surprises,” Frischer continued. “We also collected a good set of samples that will contribute to our understanding of the distribution and impact of black gill.”

A second goal was to introduce and begin field testing a new smartphone application developed by Johnsen. The app is intended to be a tool that will allow shrimp boat captains and recreational shrimpers to assist the researchers by filling some of the holes in the data by documenting the extent of black gill throughout the shrimp season. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources conducts surveys of the shrimp population up and down the coast throughout the year. However, those surveys do not provide the researchers with the rich data set they need to really get an accurate assessment of the black gill problem.

A sample screen shot of the black gill smartphone application.

A sample screen shot of the black gill smartphone application.

“Instead of having just one boat surveying the prevalence of black gill, imagine if we had a dozen, or 50 or a hundred boats all working with us,” Frischer said. “That’s the idea behind this app.”

The fishermen will use the app to document their trawls and report their data to a central database. Using GPS and the camera on their smartphone, they will record the location and images of the shrimp catch, allowing the researchers to see what the shrimpers see. If repeated by many shrimpers throughout the shrimping season, the information would give scientists a much more detailed picture of the prevalence and distribution of black gill.

“The app is complete and available on the app store, but we are still in the testing stages,” Johnsen said. “We want to make sure that it will be robust and as easy to use on a ship as possible before widely deploying it.”

Recruiting, training and coordinating the shrimpers will be the responsibility of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant.

“I think it should be entirely possible to at least have a small group of captains comfortable and ready to start using it when the 2017 season begins,” Frischer said.

Johnsen is excited about the app for what it can provide to the shrimping and research community, but also the implications it has for using apps to involve communities in general.

“There is still work to be done to improve the usability of these systems,” he said. “But I’m confident that we are going to see an increasing number of these ‘citizen science’ applications going forward.”

The final aim of the cruise was to bring together diverse stakeholders, including fishery managers, shrimpers and scientists, to spend the day together and share ideas.

“This was a good venue for promoting cross-talk among the stakeholder groups,” Frischer said. “I had many good conversations and appreciated the opportunity to provide a few more research updates.”

Georgia DNR's Pat Geer sorts through the marine life caught in a trawl net.

Georgia DNR’s Pat Geer sorts through the marine life caught in a trawl net.

Frischer says he thinks the communication and cooperation among the various stakeholder groups has improved dramatically since the beginning of the study. He recalled that when the study began in 2013, tensions were high. Shrimpers were angry and demanded that something be done to address the problem of black gill. Meanwhile, fishery managers were unclear if black gill was even causing a problem and frustrated that no one could provide them any reliable scientific advice. The research community had not been engaged and given the resources to pursue valid investigations.

“In 2016, we still have black gill. The fishery is still in trouble, but it does feel like we are at least understanding a bit more about the issue,” Frischer said. “Most importantly, it is clear that all of us are now working together.

“My feeling is that the opportunity for us to spend a day like that together helps promote understanding, communication and trust among the shrimpers, managers and researchers.”

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3rd annual black gill cruise

October 24, 2016

This year’s black gill research cruise was held on Thursday, October 19. This is the third year UGA Skidaway Institute scientist Marc Frischer has hosted this cruise, designed to both gather data for his ongoing research, but also to bring various stakeholders together on a common cause. We had beautiful weather and a greata cruise.

Chief Scientist Marc Frischer welcomes the science party aboard the cruise.

Chief Scientist Marc Frischer welcomes the science party aboard the cruise.

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Launching the trawl net for the first 15-minute drag.

Launching the trawl net for the first 15-minute drag.

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Sorting the shrimp from the by-catch.

Sorting the shrimp from the by-catch.

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Georgia DNR marine fisheries manager Pat Geer.

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Savannah State grad student Ashleigh Price keeping some of the catch alive for future experiments. .

Savannah State grad student Ashleigh Price keeping some of the catch alive for future experiments. .

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Researchers field testing a new app for tracking black gill.

Researchers field testing a new app for tracking black gill.

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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.”

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.

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

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. 

Black gill TV story

June 14, 2016

We had a cruise yesterday that had two purposes — to collect data and samples for the black gill research project, and also to provide  a group of K-12 teachers an up-close-and-personal look at marine field research. We also had two TV reporters along. Here is the report from WTOC’s Marla Rooker.

http://www.wtoc.com/story/32211236/black-gill-continues-to-impact-georgia-shrimp

 

Black Gill cruise video on YouTube

December 14, 2015

It’s been a month and a half since we completed the fall Black Gill research cruise, but we’re finally getting around to posting a video on the day. Click on the photo to view the video on YouTube.

Shrimp with Black Gill.

Shrimp with Black Gill.

 

Georgia Sea Grant makes awards to Skidaway Institute researchers

December 7, 2015

There was a nice article on the front page of this morning’s, Savannah Morning News. It highlighted three UGA Skidaway Institute research project that have received funding approval from Georgia Sea Grant.

You can read it here. 

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 http://georgiaseagrant.uga.edu.