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News and Notes – Winter 2017
 
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Trailblazers of the Reconstruction Era
VOLUME 30, NUMBER 1, WINTER 2017            

By Joey Holleman                                                                       back to main story  

News and Notes


USC President Pastides elected board chair
 
Dr. Harris PastidesUniversity of South Carolina (USC) President Harris Pastides has been elected chair of S.C. Sea Grant Consortium’s Board of Directors. Pastides began his one-year term on January 1, 2017.

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to work with Executive Director Rick DeVoe and the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium Board of Directors,” Pastides said. “I have a long-standing love for South Carolina’s coastal waterways and will continue to be a staunch advocate for sustainable marine resource conservation and scientific research.”

Pastides, who has been the USC president since 2008, has a master’s in public health and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from Yale University. Before becoming USC’s president in 2008, he served as dean of the university’s Arnold School of Public Health and as vice president for Research and Health Sciences. Pastides serves on many local, state, national, and international boards, including the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and the Fulbright Faculty Programs.

“I very much look forward to working with Dr. Pastides this coming year as chair of the Consortium’s Board of Directors,” DeVoe said. “His leadership and many years of experience working on education and research issues in the state will be invaluable to the Consortium’s work in meeting the needs of our diverse constituencies.”

The Consortium’s Board of Directors is composed of the chief executive officers of its member institutions. Currently serving on the board in addition to Pastides are: Dr. David A. DeCenzo, president of Coastal Carolina University; Dr. James B. Clements, president of Clemson University; Glenn F. McConnell, president of College of Charleston; Dr. David J. Cole, president of Medical University of South Carolina; Col. Alvin A. Taylor, director of S.C. Department of Natural Resources; James E. Clark, president of S.C. State University; and Lt. General John W. Rosa, president of The Citadel.


Two students chosen for Knauss fellowship

S.C. 2017 Knauss Fellowship recipientsEmily Osborne and Christopher Katalinas have been selected for the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship and will spend 2017 living, working, and learning in Washington, D.C.

Their applications for the fellowships, which are offered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program, were submitted by the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Osborne earned a B.S. in Geology at the College of Charleston and a Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina. Her graduate research focused on using marine sediment samples to quantify ocean acidification in the coastal California Current Ecosystem over the past century. During her fellowship, Osborne will work with the NOAA Arctic Research Program as an ocean acidification specialist.

Katalinas earned a B.S. in Biology at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and an M.S. in Marine Biology at the College of Charleston. In his graduate work, he assessed the genetic influence of stock enhancement of red drum on the genetic diversity of the wild population, and he created a model to predict future influence. During his Knauss year, he will be working with the National Sea Grant Office communications team.

The Knauss fellowship program, named for one of Sea Grant’s founders, is designed to provide educational experience to students who have an interest in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions that affect those resources.


Community shellfish restoration and research featured at conference

The closing of the May River oyster beds for the first time due to pollution concerns in 2009 stunned the community of Bluffton, South Carolina, and started a movement similar to several discussed at the 18th International Conference on Shellfish Restoration (ICSR’16).

“Oysters are our bald eagle,” said Kim Jones, the town’s Watershed Management Division manager. “This is our rallying cry. When those beds closed, there was darn near a riot. Our community cares about this river.”

The closure prompted community leaders to come together and create the May River Watershed Action Plan. Following the recommendations in that document, the community has begun to cut down on polluted runoff. Yet the oyster beds have been opened and closed several times in recent years, emphasizing how much work still needs to be done.

Community efforts to restore shellfish beds were one focus of ICSR’16, held November 16-19 in Charleston, South Carolina. About 130 attendees heard presentations from researchers, shellfish growers, and community groups from 20 states and nine countries.

Researchers also discussed the impact of the El Niño weather pattern on growing conditions; the best methods for seeding shellfish beds in various parts of the world; and the success of using concrete oyster castles, reef balls, and repurposed crab traps as reef substrate.

The international aspect of the conference was emphasized as opening day keynote speaker Tristan Hugh-Jones of Atlantic Shellfish Ltd. explained the challenges of breeding oysters in ponds in Ireland. New Zealand researcher Tom McCowan switched gears from his original presentation to discuss the impact of a recent earthquake that raised abalone beds above sea level. Tom Ysebaert of Wageningen University and Research spoke about the diversity of shellfish beds in The Netherlands.


Beach Sweep/River Sweep nets 24 tons of debris

The bags of trash and piles of debris dominate the front row in the end-of-the-pickup photographs from Beach Sweep/River Sweep sites, but it’s the proud faces in the background that make the annual event work.

Beach Sweep River SweepDuring the 28th annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep, nearly 4,100 volunteers formed teams at 99 sites in South Carolina, from the coast to the mountains. They covered almost 1,000 miles and picked up nearly 24 tons of trash.

The volunteers also track which items are picked up. Cigarette butts (35,559) remain the most common object, followed by plastic bottle caps (9,577), food wrappers (7,490), and plastic beverage bottles (6,472).

It’s often dirty, sweaty work, yet the people posing behind the gathered trash invariably are smiling. And they keep coming back every year.

“For 26 years, the National Park Service at Fort Sumter National Monument has acted as site captains on Sullivan’s Island,” said Olivia Williams, a former interpretive ranger with the park service. “One of the most compelling things about this event is the loyalty of our volunteers. Some groups have been volunteering every year for nearly as long as we have been doing the Sweep.

“We are amazed every year by the results of Beach Sweep. We would be unable to pull off this kind of cleanup effort without the support and reputation of S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.”

The Consortium partners with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to coordinate the event. Traditionally, it’s scheduled the third Saturday in September. The data gathered from each site was entered into Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Information and Data for Education and Solutions web tool. Go to www.coastalcleanupdata.org to see what the most common items were in each coastal community or waterway worldwide.


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Last updated: 4/4/2017 1:01:49 PM
News and Notes – Winter 2017

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