Join us today for this week's seminar!

Join us this afternoon for 2 seminar presentations by graduate students Andrew Frink and Benjamin Thepaut.

Follow Dr. Jenna Hill's Blog from the R/V Langseth

Follow Dr. Jenna Hill's blog from the mid-Atlantic seaboard as she embarks upon a six week resarch cruise upon the R/V Marcus Langseth to collect multichannel seismic reflection data.

Welcome aboard the R/V Langseth

A spatial and temporal investigation of variance in fish populations through underwater visual census and an exploratory midwater column analysis for multibeam sonar at Jim Caudle artificial reef

Presenter: Andrew Frink

Artificial reefs are deployed in the United States in order to create areas of increased fish presence relative to the surroundings generally to the benefit of recreational fishers and divers. While the success of creating increased fish density has been well documented, the exact effect of these artificial reefs is not well understood. Specifically, the effects of spatial and temporal variation on general fish assemblage in the South Carolina have not been quantified for ARs. This study seeks to determine if there is a consistent fish assemblage across the varying spatial components (reef material, size and maximum height) and to investigate the temporal effects from intra-annual sources (instantaneous, daily, hourly, weekly). The study will characterize the fish distributions observed at Jim Caudle artificial reef using underwater visual census techniques in combination with an exploratory midwater column analysis for multibeam sonar. The study will serve to better understand the ecological significance of artificial reef installations providing necessary information for educated management decisions as well as providing a platform for future studies conducted at the specific site.

Hydrology of the Waccamaw River

Presenter: Benjamin Thepaut

The Waccamaw River Basin (HUC 03040206), is located on the coastal plain and meanders from North Carolina to South Carolina. This tidal black-water river flows parallel to the coast past the cities of Conway and Georgetown, terminating in Winyah Bay. The river is also hydrologically connected to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIW) with net discharge occurring during periods of high freshwater flows. The tides are semi-diurnal with an amplitude classified as meso-tidal (2-4 meters). The semi-diurnal tidal amplitude in the Waccamaw River declines with increasing distance upstream from Winyah Bay and the AIW. Temporal variations in this longitudinal gradient reflect varying effects of astronomical tides, weather, and river discharge. Streamflow data collected at a new USGS gaging station (02110550) located on the Waccamaw River at river mile 63.0, upstream of Winyah Bay has recently documented an unprecedented tidal reach.

Station 02110550, Waccamaw River above Conway, SC, became operational in June 2013, just prior to a significant flood event. When water levels receded in early September, a semidaily tidal amplitude of 0.4 to 1.0 feet was observed through the end of December 2013. Net upstream flows during flood tides were observed from September 22 to November 26, 2013. Subsequent rainfall led to increasing discharge and declining tidal amplitudes. Predictors of the tidal reach, as well as biological distribution, chemical phenomena, and physical processes that occur at the tidal reach will be examined statistically and descriptively. This information aims to benefit local scientists and highlight the importance of USGS long-term gaging stations.

Fully funded PhD positions available

The School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science ( has multiple PhD positions available in areas associated with coastal regions starting January 2015.

Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Applications in Oceanography and Marine Meteorology

Presenter: Xiaofeng Li

Wide-swath synthetic aperture radar (SAR) observes the large-scale ocean surface field. With SAR instruments, we can actively monitor phenomena in the coastal ocean and marine atmospheric boundary layer at very high spatial resolution (on the order of tens of meters) in all weather conditions day and night. SAR observations are particularly useful in coastal regions where clouds are usually present, causing observation problems for visible and infrared sensors. Spaceborne SAR can provide swath coverage of about 450 km, wide enough to cover oceanic and atmospheric meso-scale features. In this presentation, The SAR observations of oceanic surface signatures associated with winds, surface waves, internal waves, tidal convergence fronts, oil spills, bathymetry, and other oceanic features will be discussed.

Xiaofeng Li received the B.S. degree from Zhejiang University, China and the Ph.D. degree from North Carolina State University (Adviser: Len Pietrafesa) in 1997. He has been with NOAA since 1997. His research areas are in the SAR applications in oceanography and meteorology. He has served as a scientific committee member for NASA DAAC and invited-session chair at many major international conferences. He has published 100+ peer reviewed papers in the top scientific journals, 4 book chapters and 7 journal covers. He is the PI of many international spaceborne SAR missions. Dr. Li is also the Associate Editor of International Journal of Remote Sensing (IJRS) and International Journal of Digital Earth. In 2014, He was the editor-in-chief for the IJRS special issue on “Remote Sensing of the China Seas”.

R/V Marcus Langseth mid-Atlantic Seaboard Cruise

Dr. Jenna Hill will be spending 6 weeks in September/October aboard the R/V Marcus Langseth to collect multichannel seismic reflection data offshore of Virginia and North Carolina.

The Estuaries of Georgetown

North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science at Coastal Carolina University are teaming up to host The Estuaries of Georgetown on September 20th from 10 am – 1 pm at CCU’s Georgetown Education Center at 909 Front Street in Georgetown. Everyone is invited to join in this inaugural event that will include hands-on activities and exhibits about salt marshes, water quality, stormwater pollution, and Winyah Bay. Several graduate students from the School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science will also be participating and discussing their current research

Mercury concentrations of two forage fish from Waties Island, SC

Presenter: Dano Ferons

Inorganic mercury (Hg2+) enters South Carolina waterways through wet and dry deposition. Before bioaccumulation in organisms can begin, the inorganic mercury has to be converted into methylmercury (CH3Hg+). This process is enabled by sulfate and iron reducing bacteria in the sediments of low oxygen environments, such as salt marshes. After mercury is converted into methylmercury, it is resuspended in the water column. Diatoms and other phytoplankton will accumulate the methylmercury through passive diffusion across their cell membrane. When phytoplankton are consumed by zooplankton, the methylmercury within the phytoplankton is assimilated into the tissues of the zooplankton. Forage fish feeding on the zooplankton will accumulate the methylmercury from the zooplankton into their tissues. As trophic levels increase, the concentration of mercury assimilated in the tissues of organisms increase.

Mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitus) and Atlantic silversides (Menidia menidia) are abundant forage fish species that live year round in South Carolina salt marshes. Both species are tertiary consumers that have different food web interactions. Mummichogs are opportunistic omnivores that feed during high tide within the stalks of Spartina alterniflora. Prey is captured from the water column, within sediments and off of S. alterniflora. Atlantic silversides are planktivores and prey on zooplankton suspended above oyster reefs and mud flats during high tide. Preliminary mercury data shows that silversides (32.98 +/- 2.97 ng/g dry weight total Hg) have higher mercury concentrations than mummichogs (15.90 +/- 9.02 ng/g dry weight total Hg). Differences in mercury concentrations may impact the bioaccumulation of mercury in higher trophic organisms.


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