UGA Skidaway Institute scientists participate in 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting

The UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography was well represented at the 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego in February. The Ocean Sciences Meeting is the flagship conference for the ocean sciences and the larger ocean-connected community. The Ocean Sciences Meeting was co-sponsored by American Geophysical Union, the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, and The Oceanography Society.

Professor Marc Frischer said he was impressed by the efforts of the ocean science community to evolve the climate change dialog and narrative.

“As Margaret Leinen said in her closing plenary address, we started at ‘the ocean is too big to be affected’, to ‘the ocean is too big to fix,’ to where we are today, ‘the ocean is too important not to fix,’” Frischer said. “The call is for the ocean science community to become engaged in searching for solutions, and we have a lot to offer.” Leinen is the director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Frischer presented some of his most recent work investigating the ecological significance of doliolids in continental shelf systems. In addition to that presentation, a student from Savannah State University, who worked in Frischer’s lab last summer, presented the results of work she conducted. Frischer mentored Ashly Rivera as part of Savannah State’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. At the end of each summer the REU students present their research and vote on who they think did the best job. The winner is awarded an all-expense paid trip to a science meeting of their choice. This past summer Rivera won that honor and chose to attend the Ocean Sciences Meeting. Ashly presented a poster titled “The Re-Acquisition of Shrimp Black Gill Infections by Penaeid Shrimp; Oceanic or Estuarine Sources?”

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Ashly Rivera (r) at her poster presentation.

Assistant professor Catherine Edwards co-chaired a session on western boundary current-shelf interaction. The session was inspired by her and fellow Skidaway Institute scientist Dana Savidge’s ongoing research into ocean currents around Cape Hatteras, “Processes driving Exchange at Cape Hatteras,” also known as PEACH. Edwards also presented a poster on the vertical structure of Hatteras and Gulf Stream fronts as part of a large group of PEACH researchers. She was a co-author on four other posters and two talks, including posters by Savidge and UGA Skidaway Institute research technician Ben Hefner. Hefner’s poster explored data from the multiple nested high frequency radars at PEACH, using different combinations of radials to get realistic data over Diamond Shoals at Cape Hatteras.

“With their high wave energy and treacherous conditions for sampling, the shallow waters of shoals are a very difficult places to get good data,” Edwards said.

Edwards’ poster looked at the vertical layering at the boundaries of Mid Atlantic Bight, South Atlantic Bight, and Gulf Stream water. “You see interleaving of up to five layers in just 20-30 meters water depth, which is important for exchange of heat and salt between the deep and shallow ocean,” Edwards said.

Assistant professor Adam Greer was the lead author and presented a poster titled “High-resolution sampling of a broad marine life size spectrum to examine shelf biophysical coupling.” He was also a co-author for three other posters and one oral presentation.

Associate professor Clifton Buck presented a poster titled “Aerosol trace element concentrations and fractional solubility in the North Pacific Ocean: US GEOTRACES GP-15 Pacific Meridional Transect.” He was also the co-author on an additional poster and two talks.

Professor Jay Brandes lead an oral presentation on “Variability of microplastics in estuarine systems and consequences for organism studies.”

“Studies of microplastic pollution have really taken off in the last couple of years,” Brandes said. “There were two solid days of talks and posters on the subject from around the world, from basic studies to community cleanup efforts. This level of interest would have been unheard of in past meetings.”

He was also a co-author for three poster presentations. Graduate student Kun Ma was the lead author on one of those poster presentations, “Constraining photochemical production rates of dissolved inorganic carbon in the open ocean using the moderate dissolved inorganic carbon (DI13C) isotope enrichment (MoDIE) method.”

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