West Side Highway, SC, United States
West Side Highway, SC, United States

Coastal Carolina University, commonly referred to as CCU or Coastal, is a public, state-supported, liberal arts university in Conway, South Carolina, USA, located eight miles west of Myrtle Beach. Founded in 1954, Coastal became an independent university in 1993.The university is a national sea-grant institution and owns part of Waties Island, a 1,105-acre barrier island which serves as a natural laboratory. Coastal Carolina is also the home of the Horry County Schools Scholars Academy, a high school for gifted students. Wikipedia.

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Moskovitz C.,Duke University | Kellogg D.,Coastal Carolina University | Kellogg D.,National University of Singapore
Science | Year: 2011

Writing lab reports in science classes can be more productive and engaging if the experience is structured well.

Background Despite selenium's toxicity in plants at higher levels, crops supply most of the essential dietary selenium in humans. In plants, inorganic selenium can be assimilated into selenocysteine, which can replace cysteine in proteins. Selenium toxicity in plants has been attributed to the formation of non-specific selenoproteins. However, this paradigm can be challenged now that there is increasingly abundant evidence suggesting that selenium-induced oxidative stress also contributes to toxicity in plants. Scope This Botanical Briefing summarizes the evidence indicating that selenium toxicity in plants is attributable to both the accumulation of non-specific selenoproteins and selenium-induced oxidative stress. Evidence is also presented to substantiate the claim that inadvertent selenocysteine replacement probably impairs or misfolds proteins, which supports the malformed selenoprotein hypothesis. The possible physiological ramifications of selenoproteins and selenium-induced oxidative stress are discussed. Conclusions Malformed selenoproteins and oxidative stress are two distinct types of stress that drive selenium toxicity in plants and could impact cellular processes in plants that have yet to be thoroughly explored. Although challenging, deciphering whether the extent of selenium toxicity in plants is imparted by selenoproteins or oxidative stress could be helpful in the development of crops with fortified levels of selenium. © 2013 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 108.52K | Year: 2016

This is a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award which funds the acquisition of a 5-node cluster computer to support research and education activities in atmospheric and oceanic sciences. On the atmospheric side the primary application of the machine is the Extended Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM-X), which is used here to study the mechanisms through which sudden stratospheric warming events (SSWs) affect the ionosphere. SSWs are large-scale disturbances of the stratospheric circumpolar circulation in winter (typically over the North Pole) in which stratospheric temperature can rise by up to 50C over the course of a few days. While these disturbances occur over the pole and at altitudes of about 20km, they can affect the electron content of the ionosphere over the equator at an altitude of 300km, where they can interfere with satellites used for navigation, communication, and other purposes. The mechanisms by which this influence propagates over such great distances is not known but is believed to involve the vertical propagation of atmospheric tides. Work here tests the idea that the SSW impact can occur because westerly propagating planetary-scale waves excited by the SSW produce zonal wind anomalies which affect the vertical propagation of tides, and the alternative hypothesis that the mechanism involves changes in the heating due to ultraviolet absorption by ozone.

The oceanographic work considers wave-turbulence interactions in the coastal ocean, an important issue for understanding the transport of sediments associated with erosion and pollution and for understanding water properties essential to ocean biology. The work uses a large eddy simulation (LES) model, the Spectral Multi-domain model, to simulate waves in the near-shore ocean (bottom depths up to 100m or so). A key issue in understanding the interaction of waves and turbulence is the problem of separating the motion field into wave orbital motions and turbulence, which the PIs are attacking using a proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) in which individual modes represent different length scales within the flow and have energy levels which follow the classical Kolmogorov cascade. The cluster computer is used to calculate a three-dimensional POD which provides separate sets of modes to represent the wave orbital motions, small-scale turbulence, and nonlinear interactions between the two occurring at intermediate spatial scales.

The MRI award has broader impacts by providing infrastructure for research and education, including courses in oceanic, atmospheric, and computer science. In particular, the computer supports the newly formed PhD program in Coastal and Marine System Science, the first doctoral program at the university. Also, undergraduate students are strongly engaged in the assembly and maintenance of the cluster computer, thus acquiring hands-on skills in working with hardware integration and operating systems.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Cellular Dynamics and Function | Award Amount: 184.60K | Year: 2016

The goal of this project is to better understand how plants respond to environmental stress through the study of proteasomes and proteasome inhibition. Proteasomes are protein complexes inside all plant and animal cells that degrade damaged proteins to prevent their toxic aggregation. Such damage can arise from physical stress; however, such stressors may also inhibit proteasome activity. Thus, the focus of the research will be to understand how plants reprogram their cellular activities during proteasome inhibition. A better understanding of plant responses to environmental stress may ultimately improve crop yield and food security. The project will allow the training of twelve undergraduate students at Coastal Carolina University. Students with physical disabilities will participate in the research, and will strengthen the ties between the College of Science and Office of Accessibility and Disability Services; this collaboration may serve as a model to other universities seeking to increase this group?s participation in STEM disciplines. As this project integrates both research and teaching, it will also facilitate the revision of a laboratory-based class that will serve to strengthen the curriculum.

This research investigates plant proteasomes, which avert cytotoxicity by safely removing damaged proteins that result from stress. However, severe oxidative stress decreases proteasome activity in plants, and this project aims to identify mechanisms that contribute to its impairment. In contrast to yeast and mammalian models, the effects of proteasome inhibition in plants are not understood. This project intends to address this gap in plant biology by examining how cellular processes are altered in response to proteasome inhibition. Respirometry, biochemical, and -omic approaches will be used to reveal if proteasome inhibition coordinates metabolism to restore amino acid levels or adjust antioxidant metabolism. The outcomes of the study will describe differences in how plants respond to proteasome inhibition compared to mammalian and yeast cells.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MARINE GEOLOGY AND GEOPHYSICS | Award Amount: 79.40K | Year: 2016

As the ice sheets across North America melted following the last ice age, huge icebergs calved off into the sea, drifting in ocean currents across the North Atlantic. Many of these icebergs travelled east, remaining in polar regions, but new evidence from high-resolution maps of the seafloor, combined with modeling of past ocean currents, suggests hundreds of massive (~300m thick) icebergs likely drifted south along the Atlantic coast of the U.S., with some traveling all the way to the Florida Keys before completely melting. These icebergs would have been carried south by huge outburst floods of melting ice water that were able overcome the northward flow of the Gulf Stream current. The discovery of this pathway implies the circulation patterns of fresh meltwater from ice sheets and the subsequent impact on global climate may be more complex than previously thought; yet the timing of these events remains uncertain. The goal of this research is to provide initial age constraints on the timing of the iceberg scour events by examining seafloor sediment from this region and assess the potential to obtain high resolution records of cold, meltwater pulses flowing south along the margin. These data will present an important step forward in understanding how glacial meltwater pulses interact with and impact global circulation and climate patterns. Looking to ice sheet melting events in the past can provide critical insight to future changes, which is of particular interest as modern ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica continue to melt and the impacts of shifts in global climate are felt around the world.

Many abrupt shifts in Northern Hemisphere climate during the last 20,000 to 6,000 years are thought to have been triggered by the discharge of large volumes of meltwater and icebergs to the subpolar North Atlantic. The recent discovery of iceberg scours at subtropical latitudes (35-24°N), along with high-resolution numerical model reconstructions of associated meltwater floods, suggests that freshwater rapidly would have reached the subtropics without initially freshening the subpolar deepwater formation regions that moderate the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Freshwater associated with these events would have been significantly diluted by mixing with the saltier current before being advected northward to the subpolar gyre by the Gulf Stream. This pattern of subtropical freshening contrasts with the current paradigm that increased meltwater and iceberg discharge freshened the subpolar gyre, as shown by the presence of ice-rafted detritus (IRD) in marine sediments in the northern Atlantic. The analysis of marine sediment cores from the subtropical iceberg scours will help initiate the compilation of a paleoclimate database recording the frequency, duration and magnitude of meltwater and iceberg events routed to the subtropical North Atlantic. These data will provide critical model parameters describing the timing and conditions for grounded iceberg transport across the margin that can be used to examine whether the presence iceberg scours and IRD represent changes in large-scale ocean circulation, or more localized changes in the trajectory and location of melting icebergs. Understanding when meltwater and icebergs were transported to the subtropics is vital for unraveling how changes in high-latitude freshwater forcing may have influenced past climate.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CHEMICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 68.82K | Year: 2016

This project proposes to validate a new approach to measure porewater flow dynamics from deep sea sediments using a biologically conservative, naturally-occurring tracer, Radium 224, which is constantly produced by porewaters. The technique will be validated using independent measures of porewater fluxes (i.e. heat gradients and magnesium profiles) during a cruise to the Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California that is already funded by NSF. Once validated the technique will be broadly applicable to all sedimentary environments including oceans, rivers/streams, wetlands and lakes. Understanding porewater flow dynamics is important to understanding ocean and other aquatic system chemical budgets, microbial ecology and global heat flow.

This proposal hypothesizes that the short-lived radium isotope Ra 224 may serve as an effective tracer of porewater flows in deep ocean systems, regardless of the type or composition of seepages, because its sources and sinks can be uniquely constrained. The method will be tested in the Guaymas Basin which is comprised of areas undergoing a range of seepage rates and offers porewater thermal gradients resulting from the hydrothermal system. As a result heat fluxes and gradients in magnesium and other cations affected by high-temperature water/rock interactions can be used to independently validate the porewater flows measured by Ra 224.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 118.21K | Year: 2013

Researchers at Carolina Coastal University are developing a new course and curricular materials that explicitly target scientific reasoning and metacognition within a conceptual physics context. The main goals of this project are: (1) to improve scientific reasoning, preparing non-STEM students to be effective citizen leaders and developing underprepared physics majors into reasonably competent science students ready for the rigors of an intense program of study; and (2) to change students views about science and knowledge construction from a positivist-oriented view, where they regard science as an existing body of knowledge, to a more constructivist-oriented view, where acquisition of new knowledge is a creative endeavor requiring a variety of epistemological resources.

One novel and potentially transformative aspect of this project is the attention paid to issues surrounding student learning for two wildly disparate (at least by surface appearances) groups of students---the non-STEM major and the first-semester physics major. The investigators have shown significant insight in recognizing that these two groups have similar educational needs; lessons learned from both groups, and perhaps from interactions between the groups, will be of great interest to the larger physics and scientific community.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 12.46K | Year: 2015

The southern Brazilian continental shelf is the site of important marine fisheries, supporting economic resources for Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Regional population growth is expected to result in continued development of coastal areas along the shelf therefore prudent resource management requires a comprehensive assessment of present day conditions. Changes in the flux and sources of nutrients supporting the base of the regional food web could upset these economically important fisheries. Nutrients are transported into this area through outflow of the Rio de la Plata and the Patos Lagoon as well as submarine groundwater discharge but the relative contribution of nutrients and trace metals from each of these sources remains unknown. This project will support travel for three early-career U.S. investigators to establish an international collaboration with Brazilian researchers. During the visit, the U.S. research team will conduct meetings, seminars and field trips to gather regionally-relevant information. The outcome of this planning visit will be the development of an international collaborative research plan to investigate biogeochemical cycling along the southern Brazilian continental shelf.
Recent evidence suggests that submarine groundwater discharge contributes a substantial amount of nutrients and trace metals (especially iron) to the coastal waters of this region but the importance of this source relative to surface outflows (e.g., Rio de la Plata plume and Patos Lagoon drainage) remains unknown. Seasonally-varying coastal currents likely disperse biogeochemically-relevant constituents differently therefore this visit will involve planning how to investigate the potential use of various water mass tracers to characterize the sources and transport mechanisms across the continental shelf. The planning work will involve developing an international collaboration to address the following questions: 1) What are the relative contributions of the Plata Plume, Patos Lagoon and submarine groundwater discharge of freshwater, nutrients and trace metals to the southern Brazilian continental shelf as determined by water mass tracers? 2) What is the seasonal effect of these sources on coastal water column dissolved and particulate trace element chemistry along the southern Brazilian continental shelf? 3) Is there a significant leachable particulate trace metal fraction available for deposition on the shelf and supply micro-nutrients during upwelling? 4) What are the characteristics of Fe-binding ligands associated with plume waters? 5) Are iron isotopic signatures useful for quantifying processes in the Plata plume system? The future proposal from this group will have results extending to larger research programs such as GEOTRACES. The planning visit will foster an international collaboration between Brazilian and U.S. researchers, and will allow a U.S. Ph.D. student to gain international experience in research project development including hypothesis formulation, objective defining and methodology verification.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Cellular Dynamics and Function | Award Amount: 135.85K | Year: 2013

Animals (including humans) require selenium to make the amino acid selenocysteine, which is used in the synthesis of essential selenoproteins. In contrast, plants do not require selenium or make specific selenoproteins. Nonetheless, plants can accumulate selenium and play a vital role in providing most of the dietary selenium consumed by humans. However, an excess of selenium leads to toxicity in plants when selenocysteine is incorporated into proteins. Selenoproteins in plants are likely misfolded, and are therefore removed by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. The goal of this project is to understand the role of the proteasome and glutathione in removing selenoproteins and alleviating their toxicity in plants.

Broader Impacts. The project will directly allow the training of ten undergraduate students, including students with disabilities, at Coastal Carolina University. This project will also facilitate the development of an upper-level laboratory-based class Plant Adaptations to Stress which will integrate this research with teaching.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: COMPUTER SYSTEMS | Award Amount: 99.67K | Year: 2016

Tropical storms are among the most destructive natural phenomenon on the planet. Each year, these storms pose a threat to the Atlantic Coast. The dangers of high winds and storm-induced sea level rise are widely recognized, but these storms can also result in inland flooding. Historically, inland flooding is responsible for the majority of deaths attributed to tropical storms in the US. Existing methods do not provide accurate forecasts of inland flooding patterns. This project will improve these forecasts through a computational framework that relies on key measurements collected from mobile sensing arrays deployed in advance of incoming storms.

The project will develop a computational framework to simulate inland lateral flooding processes. Collection and calibration of the key hydrologic variables, both in baseline, and in advance of future storms, is critical. The project will focus on surface water velocity measurements near key population locales, particularly as the river basins transition from storage modes to discharge modes ? resulting from the recent passage of Hurricane Matthew. Data collection will be achieved through mobile sensing arrays, comprising photogrammetry drones, GPS drifters, and a new drifter-based technology for acquiring fine-grained surface water velocity measurements.

The Atlantic coast is threatened by approximately ten tropical storms per year, with more than half becoming hurricanes. The impacts can be catastrophic, resulting in loss of life and damage to property and infrastructure. Hurricane Matthew, widely viewed as a near miss, resulted in more than 40 deaths in the US, and damage to more than 100,000 homes ? most attributed to inland flooding. This project will result in improved forecasting infrastructure for inland flooding, enabling local and state governments and emergency management teams to more effectively plan and respond to tropical storms.

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