Touring the Ship (part 1)

When moving in, my roommate and I discovered that our cabin is quite cozy! It’s a good thing we get along! We fortunately have a big common sitting area outside our room.

The galley is quite nice though, and the cooks do a great job of keeping everyone well fed.

SCMSS Students Attend Meetings in the West Wing

Graduate students in CMWS 603 completed a Washington, D.C.

Co-occurrence and competition between the sympatric killifishes, Fundulus luciae (Baird, 1855) and F. heteroclitus (Linnaeus, 1766) in South Carolina saltmarshes

Presenter: Kristen Trevey

The mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) has served as an excellent scientific model in numerous fields, but relatively little is known about the sympatric spotfin killifish (Fundulus luciae). F. luciae has historically been reported as rare or infrequently encountered throughout its range, however recent work suggests it may be locally abundant in appropriate high intertidal marsh habitat, where it frequently co-occurs with F. heteroclitus. F. luciae was documented from three intertidal salt marsh sites in northeastern coastal South Carolina during the spring and summer of 2014. This is only the second time the spotfin killifish has been officially documented in the state. F. luciae appears to be locally abundant, or more concentrated, seasonally. It was collected from aquatic pit traps with a wide range of environmental parameters (salinity, temperature, conductivity, oxygen saturation). The tolerance of fundulids has been well documented.

Parasites play an important role in shaping host ecology in intertidal systems. It is thus important to have a thorough understanding of the occurrence of hosts and their parasites. Knowledge of F. luciae parasites is currently limited to a single survey of metazoans and one documented occurrence of a parasitic dinoflagellate, both in Virginia. Specimens of F. luciae collected between April-October 2014 will be examined to identify any previously unreported ecto- and endoparasites. Fish will be quantitatively examined to measure parasite intensity and prevalence. Seasonal variations in parasite burden will be examined. In the spring of 2015 an enclosure experiment will be conducted with F. luciae and F. heteroclitus to examine the effect of competition between the two species on growth and parasite burden of F. luciae. Competition between species is an important ecological factor, and is especially pertinent for sympatric congeners (species from the same genus that occur in the same physical area). 

The Impact of Photopollution on Nesting Caretta caretta along the Grand Strand, South Carolina

Presenter: Ryan Bonner

Photopollution produced by heavily developed coastlines is known to have a significant negative impact on nesting sea turtle populations by reducing the quality of associated nesting habitat. In the southeastern United States, the less populated, cooler northern nesting sites in the Carolinas are disproportionately important to the regional loggerhead sea turtle population for their role in the production of male hatchlings. Protection of these northern sites will be required to maintain sufficient gender ratios and the long-term survivability of the population. The purpose of this study is to characterize the onshore light gradient along a developed stretch of South Carolina coastline and to quantify how photopollution intensity impacts regional loggerhead nesting density using historical nesting data. Onshore light intensity will be measured at 1 km intervals over approximately 90 km of coastline along the Grand Strand region of Myrtle Beach. Piecewise linear regression with breakpoint analysis of historical nesting and photopollution data will be used to determine if decreased nesting density occurs at a specific light intensity threshold. The results of this study will better inform conservation efforts for loggerhead sea turtles and provide documentation of current regional photopollution intensity.  

Sunset shots featured on today's blog entry from Dr. Jenna Hill

Sunset and rainbow shots at sea featured on today's blog entry from Dr. Jenna Hill.

Rainbows and Sunsets at Sea

Rainbows and Sunsets at Sea

We had a beautiful rainbow at sunset. Here's a classic "Scientist at Work" shot of Derek Sawyer.

Not to be outdone, though…Derek took a classic rainbow/scientist/bird-on-hydrophone shot of
graduate student, Ben Phrampus and me -- every scientist needs one of these!

Never too many sunset shots at sea…

Check out Dr. Hill's latest blog!

Check out Dr. Hill's latest blog where she describes the arduous task of deploying equipment aboard the R/V Langseth.

Time to Get to Work 

Time to Get to Work

After a day and half of steaming, it was time to deploy the equipment.  First to be deployed was the 8km long hydrophone streamer, which will record the sound as it reflects off the seafloor and layers deep within the Earth.  The streamer deployment alone took over 6 hours!

P.I. Donna Shillington looks very official here as we start the streamer deployment.

The Community Seismic Experiment

This research cruise is part of a much larger project, the Eastern North American Community Seismic Experiment (ENAM CSE), funded by the National Science Foundation’s GeoPRISMs (Geodynamic Processes at Rifting and Subducting Margins) initiative. The goal of the ENAM CSE is to understand how the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea led to the formation of the eastern edge of North America and the Atlantic Ocean, and the later evolution of this continental margin by landslides and other active processes.

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