Gulf Coast Research Laboratory's Points of Pride - 2010
- GCRL's Ruby Drieling receives Support Staff Award
October 28, 2010 Ruby Drieling (on left) is one of three USM Gulf Coast staff members who received the 2010 Outstanding Staff Award for their work to support the university and its mission. Details and photo here.The seven-member selection committee chose the winners based on exceptional commitment to teamwork, a superior commitment to continuous quality improvement and for making contributions beyond those normally expected and required by job responsibilities.
- GCRL museum receives NSF RAPID grant
Ocean Springs, Miss. - The National Science Foundation awarded Southern Miss' Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Natural History Museum a $190,000 RAPID grant to catalogue invertebrate specimens from the northern Gulf of Mexico and make that data available online.
In addition, the grant supports the processing of beach and grassbed samples of shoreline invertebrates taken in May within the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi and Florida. These samples represent vital baseline data from sites potentially affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
"GCRL's collection holds samples and historical data from sites potentially impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill," explained museum curator, Sara LeCroy. "In addition, we're a repository for several thousand northern Gulf plankton samples collected by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service beginning in the 1980s."
The research museum houses a permanent collection of fish and marine invertebrates from all over the world. Mr. Charles E. Dawson began the formal, cataloged specimen archive at the lab in 1958. His vision, competence and energy resulted in the building of one of the most important regional collections of fishes in North America. The fish collection alone includes more than 355,000 specimens in 36,000 lots (jars) and contains one of the best collections of pipefishes and seahorses in the world.
Museum specimens are available for loan to researchers from qualified institutions worldwide and can provide essential information on biodiversity, systematics, morphology, ecology, distribution and life history of the species. Data from the fish collection is currently available online at http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/museum.
"At this point, our invertebrate collection is smaller than the fish collection and consists of approximately 3,000 catalogued lots," said LeCroy. "We also have a large number of uncatalogued lots from the northern Gulf. This grant will allow us to catalogue them and make the associated data available worldwide via the internet."
LeCroy became museum curator in 2000, after working in the lab's Invertebrate Zoology section for eleven years. Under her leadership, GCRL's museum has increased its invertebrate holdings, while simultaneously maintaining and improving the fish collection. She is an expert in marine crustacean taxonomy, and serves as one of ten researchers involved in GCRL's Coastal Ecosystems Group.
The current NSF grant is the third received by the museum and the first to support the enhancement of the invertebrate collection. It will involve the participation of four senior researchers, two graduate students and two undergraduates.
- Idrissa Boube, graduate student in the Department of Coastal Sciences, presented his master’s work at the Graduate Student Symposium in Hattiesburg on March 26, and won the 2010 Best Student Paper award. His presentation highlighted transcriptomic pathways involved in resistance of Taura syndrome virus in penaeid shrimp. Presentation co-authors are Dr. Joe Griffitt, Dr. Jeffrey Lotz and Verlee Breland, Southern Miss researchers from the Department of Coastal Sciences at GCRL.
- Dr. D. Jay Grimes, marine microbiology professor in the Department of Coastal Sciences at GCRL, participated in a Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., on March 22. Grimes and four other scientists spoke to House staff in the morning and Senate staff later that day about the issues and opportunities facing the Oceans and Human Health Initiative managed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Ocean Service. Grimes spoke on seafood disease forecasting and the effect of climate change on emerging diseases.
Other speakers and topics included Paul Sandifer, Senior Science Advisor to the NOAA Administrator, who introduced the history and mission of NOAA’s Oceans and Human Health Initiative; Lori Schwacke, NOAA’s Hollings Marine Laboratory, Charleston, S.C., addressed marine mammals and habitats as pollution sentinels; Sandra McLellan, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, spoke about sewage pollution of the Great Lakes and the impact on bathing beaches and drinking water; and David Rowley described the ocean as a frontier for drug discovery.
- Dr. D. Jay Grimes, professor of Marine Microbial Ecology in Southern Miss’ Department of Coastal Sciences, was recently awarded a $350,000 Collaborative Research grant from the National Science Foundation, Ecology of Infectious Diseases Program, to identify environmental determinants (e.g., temperature, salinity, dissolved organic carbon) favorable for the presence and transmission of pathogenic Vibrios in the coastal ocean. This grant is a consortium award that included Louisiana State University, University of Maryland and the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center.
- Andrew Ray, GCRL graduate student in the Department of Coastal Sciences, won a World Aquaculture Society Student Travel award for his abstract entitled “The effects of fish-based versus plant-based feeds and solids management on shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) flesh characteristics”. He received a $300 check and recognition at the Society’s Aquaculture 2010 conference on March 2, in San Diego, Calf.
- Read Hendon, assistant director of the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at GCRL, received the 2009 Mississippi Wildlife Federation Fisheries Conservationist of the Year award, Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Federation’s awards banquet held in Jackson. There he was recognized as a key member of the ‘emerging generation’ of Mississippi fisheries researchers, educators and managers. Hendon is engaged in aspects of coastal fisheries that require scientific input for wise resource management, such as spotted seatrout and its critical habitat.
- More than one hundred people braved the elements, Feb. 6, and attended “An Evening of Images” with award-winning nature photographer Tom Ulrich, an event co-hosted by GCRL and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium.
- Mike Lowe, GCRL graduate student in the Department of Coastal Sciences, won the best oral student presentation at the American Fisheries Society-Mississippi chapter meeting held Feb. 3-5, in Tara, Miss. His presentation highlighted his modeling research regarding the invasive ability of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and the importance of estuarine salt bridges. Presentation co-authors are Dr. Wei Wu, Dr. Mark S. Peterson and Nancy Brown-Peterson, Southern Miss researchers from the Department of Coastal Sciences; Dr. Todd Slack, ERDC-Waterways Experiment Station; and Dr. Pam Schofield, USGS.
- In coordination with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, GCRL researchers released more than 20,000 tagged striped bass into coastal waters. The native Gulf fish are hatchery-raised and part of on-going stock enhancement research at GCRL.