Graduate Students at GCRL Sweep Presentation Awards at AFS Meeting
Best student presentation awards were won by three Department of Coastal Sciences graduate students at the recent joint meeting of the Mississippi and Tennessee Chapters of the American Fisheries Society. Sixteen USM/GCRL employees and students participated in the March 18-20, 2014 meeting at Pickwick Landing State Park in Tennessee.
- 1st place: - Faith Lambert for “The secondary stress response of the Atlantic stingray to prolonged air exposure”, coauthored with Andrew N. Evans;
- 2nd place - Jeremy Higgs for “Age and Growth of the Finetooth Shark, Carcharhinus isodon, in the Northern Gulf of Mexico”, coauthored with Jill Hendon, Dana Bethea, James Sulikowski, Eric Hoffmayer, and William Driggers;
- 3rd place- Jennifer Green for “Proceed with Caution When Implementing a Mixed Receiver Model Passive Acoustic Array Design”, coauthored with Mark Peterson, Paul Mickle, and Dwayne Fox.
Additional presentations at the meeting were given by other GCRL attendees.
- Gary Gray - "Otoliths of Rare or Uncommon Fishes in the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Samples, coauthored with Jim Franks and Jill Hendon"
- Robert Leaf - "Assessment of Mississippi’s Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) Fishery"
- Sarah Ashworth - "Abundance and Distribution of Sharks Within the Mississippi Sound: Summary of a Decade-Long Gillnet Resource Survey", 2004-2013, coauthored with Jill Hendon and Eric Hoffmayer
- Jim Franks - "Occurrence of Tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, leptocephali in Mississippi Coastal Waters," coauthored with Patrick Graham, John Anderson and Thomas Fayton
- Jill Hendon -"Reproduction of the Blacknose Shark, Carcharhinus acronotus, in the Northern Gulf of Mexico," coauthored with Eric Hoffmayer, Jeremy Higgs, William Driggers and James Sulikowski
- Stephanie Taylor - "Examination at the Ichthyoplankton Community Assemblage of the Loop Current and Sargassum Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico," coauthored with Robert Leaf
Finishing their terms on the Executive Committee and attending the meeting were Nancy Brown-Peterson (Past President) and Darcie Graham (Secretary-Treasurer). Jennifer Green was elected as the new Secretary-Treasurer of the Mississippi Chapter. Also attending were Mark Peterson, Andy Evans, Greg Crochet, Danielle Bailey and Ginger Fleer.
The Southern Association of Marine Educators (SAME) award for outstanding marine science educator has been awarded to only six educators since 2004. The seventh individual to earn this honor is Summer Rohe Dorcik, a marine education specialist at GCRL.
Summer holds a B.S. in Marine Biology with a minor in education from Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri. While an undergraduate, she took three classes in GCRL’s Summer Field Program that inspired her to return to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. From 2009 to 2011, she served as an instructor at Newfound Harbor Marine Institute and the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, before coming to work at GCRL in 2011. Summer is now director of the Sea Camp program which serves approximately 1000 students each summer. During the rest of the year, she introduces K-12 students to the coastal and marine environments in programs designed to get students out in the environment. Summer helps them gain a hands-on field learning experience through Coastal Science Camps and the Miss Peetsy B program. Summer has been a member of the National Marine Educators Association for more than three years and presented at the NMEA conference in Anchorage, Alaska in 2012.
Dr. Jessie Kastler and Aaron Lamey have recently conducted a Tidelands-funded service learning project in which students from four colleges and universities examined the results of restoration efforts on Deer Island. Service learning programs fulfill a community need while giving students a valuable field experience in which they both learn and serve.
Deer Island has lost 300 acres of its area to erosion since 1850 and The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been engaged in projects to restore and stabilize the island. The most recent effort included the beneficial use of dredged material to create new island and marsh. After the material is deposited, natural processes take over as vegetation and animal communities move into the new area.
Dr. Kastler and Lamey established monument markers to establish three study sites for the current work and future projects. Student groups came from the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Central Florida, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and Northwest Missouri State University. Each group spent four days at GCRL. At Deer Island, students monitored the development of landscapes. Students collected data on dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, and pH in the water and made seine/yabby pump collections in the waters around the island. On shore, they measured elevation profiles and made vegetation transects. The students' efforts provided valuable information on the ecosystem changes as the dredge material was incorporated into the island. In return, the students learned new scientific skills, experienced the process of science in the field, and received a preview of potential careers in science.
This initial effort established a baseline of data and methods that will be used annually to continue monitoring Deer Island restoration with the Oceanography class in GCRL's Summer Field Program
GCRL celebrated the 104th anniversary of the founding of the University of Southern Mississippi in a brief gathering in the dining hall on March 27, 2014. Verlee Breland and Ruby Drieling were honored on their completion of 20 years of service. 10 year service awards went to Binnaz Bailey, Devaney Cheramie, Sam Clardy, and Margaret Firth.
Powell Chosen for Business Council Masters Program
GCRL Director Dr. Eric Powell is one of 19 Gulf Coast leaders chosen to participate the Gulf Coast Business Council Research Foundation's 2014 Masters Program. The Masters Program, inaugurated in 2007, identifies and develops emerging leaders in eight sessions during a one-year “think tank” on various topics concerning the Gulf Coast. Final white paper reports from previous classes are available on the Gulf Coast Business Council website.
The 2014 program theme is “Leveraging the Assets of the Gulf of Mexico for Regional Viability.” Participants will explore how to achieve sustainable growth of the Coast's environmental, social, and economic resources using resources related to our proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Powell is joined in the Program by Dr. Kelly Lucas, Chief Scientific Officer for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. Their experience and expertise in marine sciences will be key to the 2014 program's success. Dr. Powell also heads the Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCeMFiS), one of the National Science Foundation's Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC). SCeMFiS partners with industry groups to provide academic research products essential for the sustainable management of shellfish and finfish resources.
GCRL consultant Julia Weaver serves as co-chairman of the 2014 Masters Program.
Griffitt and Bayha Present Research Results at 2014 Ocean Science Meeting
Dr. Joe Griffitt was invited to share the results of his research on nanomaterials at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, February 23-28 in Honolulu. The annual international conference is sponsored by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, the American Geophysical Union, and the Oceanography Society. Nearly 5600 scientists, researchers, and others from around the world participated.
Dr. Griffitt's presentation was titled "Particle Surface Functionalization Influences Uptake, Retention and Internalization of Quantum Dots in Daphnia." The paper described a portion of his work in understanding how potentially toxic nanomaterials in consumer products can accumulate in aquatic organisms.
GCRL Post Doc Keith Bayha described his recent work in a presentation titled "Examining the Effects of Oil Exposure on Immune Function and Susceptibility to Pathogenic Bacteria of Gulf of Mexico Fishes." Among other conclusions, his worked showed that oil exposure does increase susceptibility of southern flounder to infection by the pathogenic bacterium Vibrio anguillarum.
Mark Peterson and Nancy Brown-Peterson spent a week in February at the Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas del lnstituto Politécnico Nacional (CICIMAR-IPN) in La Paz, Mexico as part of the Program of Distinguished Professors sponsored by the Mexican Academy of Sciences. Their host at CICIMAR-IPN was Dr. Victor Hugo Cruz Escalona, Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Marine Biology. Mark and Nancy taught a course titled “Design, Analysis, and Interpretation of Ecological Metrics for Fishes to 25 graduate students, faculty, and staff. The two-part course focused on reproductive biology of marine fishes (taught by Nancy) and metric and non-metric analyses of biological and community data (taught by Mark).
Mark and Nancy also worked with faculty and graduate students on manuscripts and future research plans. This visit initiated the development of a Memoriam of Understanding between USM/GCRL and CICIMAR-IPN for continued academic exchanges which will include teaching, graduate student training, workshop development, and collaborative research.
Following a weather delay, the 2014 Hurricane Bowl took place on March 8. Congratulations to Poplarville High School on their first place win in both the A and B brackets. Poplarville High now moves on to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in Seattle on May 1 - 4. More on Hurricane Bowl.
In February, Ph.D. student Corey Russo received the People's Choice Award at the 2014 session of the annual Graduate Student Symposium for his presentation on his research into viral species associated with bottlenose dolphins. The Symposium is an annual event conducted by graduate students in marine, biological, and environmental sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of South Alabama, and Louisiana State University. The 2014 session was hosted by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.
Corey's has studied serum and blowhole swab samples from wild dolphins to characterize the ecology of viruses affecting the animals. He has focused on the morbillivirus, which has been implicated in an unusual number of dolphin mortalities on the U.S. east coast.
Corey's research was the subject of an oral presentation at the 78th Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences earlier this month and is on the agenda for annual General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in May 2014.
10th grader Robert Still recently completed a three-week internship working in the microbiology lab of Dr. Jay Grimes. Robert is a American who lives in Stuttgart, Germany with his family; his father is an engineer on assignment there. Robert explained that in German schools, all students are expected to do an internship during their 10thgrade year. Most students spend their time somewhere in Europe, but Robert’s interest in marine science, and sharks in particular, and his Mississippi connections led him to GCRL.
Robert's grandparents reside in Jackson and his older sister is studying music education at USM in Hattiesburg. Seizing the initiative, Robert contacted the university and was eventually referred to Dr. Grimes. Robert's work in Dr. Grimes's lab involves assisting with experiments, primarily inoculations. When asked what was the most important thing he learned, Robert immediately responded, “ I learned what patience means!”
Robert said that the coursework at the International School of Stuttgart is challenging and advanced. He was surprised by the emphasis on written composition and reports. He noted that he'd already been required to write two essays in his physical education class. He's happy that the family will soon be returning home. Robert hopes to participate in the Shark Fest program at GCRL one day and plans to pursue a career in marine sciences.
The year 1969 was one of the most influential in modern American history. It marked the end of a socially and politically tumultuous decade whose influence still resonates today. In 1969, man walked on the moon, the Boeing 747 took flight, and Woodstock Festival gave us "3 Days of Peace & Music." 1969 also marks a milestone in the history of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory - Robin M. (Bob) Overstreet began his career in aquatic parasitology at GCRL.
Dr. Overstreet’s career accomplishments were well described in 2012 when his life’s work was chronicled in the Lab’s "Pioneers in Marine and Fisheries Research at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory" web series.By any measure Robin Overstreet is an elite scientist. According to his curriculum vitae, he has published more than 300 peer-reviewed research papers, garnered almost $20 million in extramural support for his own research, and collaborated on a total of about $50 million in research funding. He has mentored students ranging from high school to post-graduate, including 16 who earned their graduate degrees working in Overstreet’s laboratory. Many consider him to be the premier aquatic parasitologist, both marine and freshwater, in the world.
Now he is opening another chapter in his professional career. On February 1, 2014, Bob Overstreet officially began his retirement. After a 90-day hiatus for his laboratory home, he will return to GCRL to continue in a part-time capacity working with fellow parasitologists and students. All of us at GCRL wish Robin well in this new phase of his career.
GCRL graduate student was awarded a travel award to attend the National Shellfisheries Association 106th Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, Florida this year from March 29 through April 2. Kelsey studies Marine Biology here at GCRL. She applied for the award and it will cover her travel expense to attend the conference. On Monday during the conference Kelsey Kuykendall will present a paper on "The Cost Benefit Ratio of Shell vs Limestone for Cultch Material". Kelsey said the paper was an outcome of the work done by a seven-member team studying the economics of rebuilding oyster seed ground. As part of the award Kelsey was asked to volunteer and help with conference activities. Congratulations to Kelsey.
Kelsey was featured in a 2013 GCRL in the News article describing a NOAA survey cruise she made out of New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Shane Overstreet, deckhand aboard GCRL's Tom McIlwain was fishing on the Tchoutacabouffa River near the Cedar Lake Bridge in Biloxi when he caught the tagged bass. Shane reported that it was easy to tell that the bass was tagged. He followed the protocol for reporting the fish, providing researchers with valuable information.
He measured the striped bass at 18". Shane ate the filets, but saved the remains and delivered them to GCRL staff for DNA mapping.
Lyndsay Carrigee, undergraduate intern for Dr. Joe Griffitt has been named one of the 2013 Fall Eagle SPUR award recipients. The Eagle Scholars Program for Undergraduate Research, (Eagle SPUR) is provides funding support for independent research and scholarly and creative activity conducted by an undergraduate student in collaboration with a faculty sponsor. Lyndsay will receive $1000 to support a research project investigating the effect of nanoparticulate metals on bacterial populations in larval zebrafish. Dr. Joe Griffitt is Lyndsay’s mentor for the project.