Marine Biology Certificate Student Christopher Matechik will be presenting his summer and ongoing research at the 2010 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Awards (URCCA) Symposium, to be held Thursday evening, September 30, at the FSU Turnbull Conference Center. The symposium celebrates outstanding undergraduate research and awards students the funding to conduct a research project or creative activity under the direction of a faculty mentor. Chris is an Honors in Biology student currently working on his thesis under the direction of Dr. Felicia Coleman and Dr. Christopher Stallings, of the FSU Coastal & Marine Laboratory. He has worked in the Stallings lab since August 2009. After graduating, he hopes to pursue a graduate degree in ecology.
News Around the Lab
The GulfPhoto Workshop: Enabling the Study of the Gulf of Mexico's Primary Producers will focus on the creation and integration of digital content for Gulf of Mexico's photosynthetic primary producers (algae and plants). It is co-sponsored by the Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections (a NSF Research Coordination Network), the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory, the FSU Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium, the FSU Department of Biological Science, and Morphbank. The workshop will be held on Friday, October 8 at FSU's main campus in Tallahassee and on Saturday, October 9 at the FSU Coastal & Marine Laboratory.
The study, Impact of crude oil on coastal and ocean environments of the West Florida Shelf and Big Bend Region from the shoreline to the continental Shelf Edge, represents an integrated, rapid-response study of the impact of oil on coastal and ocean marine ecosystems of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, including the northern West Florida Shelf from the Big Bend Region west to Louisiana, that can be completed in its entirety within 5 months.
Dr. Peter Auster, the eighth Mote Eminent Scholar in Fisheries Ecology at Florida State University, arrives on 20 August for the fall semester. He will be teaching a course in Ecosystem-Based Management and Conservation on campus and conducting research on shallow-water reefs off the marine lab while he is in residence. Dr. Auster is a Research Professor of Marine Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Connecticut. He also serves as the Science Director of the Northeast Underwater Research Technology & Education Center (formerly the National Undersea Research Center for the North Atlantic & Great Lakes). He received his master's degree in biological oceanography from the University of Connecticut (1985) and a Ph.D. in zoology from the National University of Ireland Galway (2000).
Dr. Felicia Coleman, Director of the FSUCML, was recently appointed to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee by the Department of Commerce, in consultation with the Department of the Interior. She is one of 11 new members appointed to the 30-member committee. The charge of the committee is to advise the Departments of Commerce and the Interior on the development and implementation of a national system of marine protected areas (MPAs). Coleman was instrumental in developing two marine protected areas in the Gulf of Mexico during her tenure on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, the Madison Swanson Marine Reserve and the Steamboat Lumps Marine Reserve.
Since 2006, FSU Police Security Guard Stan Thomas has been a positive presence at FSUCML, giving all faculty, staff, students, and visitors a warm welcome while maintaining the Lab's security. Stan is moving on to a new security post at the University Center where he will watch over the administrative buildings and work stadium special events, including football games. We will all miss him dreadfully and wish him well in his new position.
In January 2010, for the second year in a row, students from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, will arrive at the FSUCML to participate in field studies at the FSUCML. The students (pictured l-r), Sam Slowinski, Meaghan Harty and Emily Gardner, will work with Dr. Randall Hughes on saltmarsh genetic diversity and with Drf. David Kimbro on cordgrass-marsh periwinkle interactions for their three week winter break. Other Oberlin students, including Loke Jin Wong, Marta Robertson, Nicollette Buckle, and Casey Lee, will work with Dr. Walter Tschinkel on fire-ant ecology. Organizer of this annual trek is FSU alumnus and Oberlin faculty member Dr. Cortland Hill.
A team of researchers from The FSUCML, Duke University, and the National Marine Fisheries Service will study the environmental and economic impacts of the vast "dead zone" in the northern Gulf of Mexico on shrimping in the region, home to one of the nation's most highly valued single-species fisheries. Marine ecologist Kevin Craig, a faculty member at the FSUCML, is the principal investigator for the collaborative project, which is funded by a four-year, $702,969 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem and Hypoxia Assessment Program.
Under new legislation aimed at protecting sea grass in Florida's aquatic preserves (which cover 2 million acres in Florida waters) , the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will begin citing boaters who intentionally cause sea grass scarring within an aquatic preserve. There are 41 Aquatic Preserves in Florida (listed here: A list of the preserves appears here: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/programs/aquatic.htm), including the Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve directly off the FSUCML.
An international team of scientists warns that accelerating losses of seagrasses across the globe threaten the immediate health and long-term sustainability of coastal ecosystems. The team, including Dr. Randall Hughes, a faculty member at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory, compiled and analyzed the first comprehensive global assessment of seagrass observations and found that 58 percent of world's seagrass meadows are currently declining.