South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium

Charleston, United States

South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium

Charleston, United States
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Sanger D.,South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium | Sanger D.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Sanger D.,South Carolina Department of Natural Resources | Blair A.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 10 more authors.
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2013

Upland areas of southeastern United States tidal creek watersheds are popular locations for development, and they form part of the estuarine ecosystem characterized by high economic and ecological value. The primary objective of this work was to define the relationships between coastal development, with its concomitant land use changes and associated increases in nonpoint source pollution loading, and the ecological condition of tidal creek ecosystems including related consequences to human populations and coastal communities. Nineteen tidal creek systems, located along the southeastern US coast from southern North Carolina to southern Georgia, were sampled in the summer, 2005 and 2006. Within each system, creeks were divided into two primary segments based upon tidal zoning—intertidal (i.e., shallow, narrow headwater sections) and subtidal (i.e., deeper and wider sections)—and then watersheds were delineated for each segment. Relationships between coastal development, concomitant land use changes, nonpoint source pollution loading, the ecological condition of tidal creek ecosystems, and the potential impacts to human populations and coastal communities were evaluated. In particular, relationships were identified between the amount of impervious cover (indicator of coastal development) and a range of exposure and response measures including increased chemical contamination of the sediments, increased pathogens in the water, increased nitrate/nitrite levels, increased salinity range, decreased biological productivity of the macrobenthos, alterations to the food web, increased flooding potential, and increased human risk of exposure to pathogens and harmful chemicals. The integrity of tidal creeks, particularly the headwaters or intertidally dominated sections, was impaired by increases in nonpoint source pollution associated with sprawling urbanization (i.e., increases in impervious cover). This finding suggests that these habitats are valuable early warning sentinels of ensuing ecological impacts and potential public health and flooding risk from sprawling coastal development. The results also validate the use of a conceptual model with impervious cover thresholds for tidal creek systems in the southeast region. © 2013, Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.

Chapman R.W.,South Carolina Department of Natural Resources | Chapman R.W.,Medical University of South Carolina | Chapman R.W.,College of Charleston | Chapman R.W.,Hollings Marine Laboratory | And 18 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2011

Understanding the mechanisms by which organisms adapt to environmental conditions is a fundamental question for ecology and evolution. In this study, we evaluate changes in gene expression of a marine mollusc, the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica, associated with the physico-chemical conditions and the levels of metals and other contaminants in their environment. The results indicate that transcript signatures can effectively disentangle the complex interactive gene expression responses to the environment and are also capable of disentangling the complex dynamic effects of environmental factors on gene expression. In this context, the mapping of environment to gene and gene to environment is reciprocal and mutually reinforcing. In general, the response of transcripts to the environment is driven by major factors known to affect oyster physiology such as temperature, pH, salinity, and dissolved oxygen, with pollutant levels playing a relatively small role, at least within the range of concentrations found in the studied oyster habitats. Further, the two environmental factors that dominate these effects (temperature and pH) interact in a dynamic and nonlinear fashion to impact gene expression. Transcriptomic data obtained in our study provide insights into the mechanisms of physiological responses to temperature and pH in oysters that are consistent with the known effects of these factors on physiological functions of ectotherms and indicate important linkages between transcriptomics and physiological outcomes. Should these linkages hold in further studies and in other organisms, they may provide a novel integrated approach for assessing the impacts of climate change, ocean acidification and anthropogenic contaminants on aquatic organisms via relatively inexpensive microarray platforms. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Webler T.,Social and Environmental Research Institute | Tuler S.,Social and Environmental Research Institute | Dow K.,University of South Carolina | Whitehead J.,South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium | Kettle N.,University of South Carolina
Local Environment | Year: 2016

In the midst of rapidly proliferating engagement efforts around climate adaptation, attention to the design and evaluation of decision support processes and products is warranted. We report on the development and evaluation of a process framework called the Vulnerability, Consequences, and Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) process. VCAPS is a systematic approach to integrate local knowledge with scientific understanding by providing opportunities for facilitated, deliberative learning-based activities with local decision makers about climate change vulnerability and adaptation. We introduce the conceptual basis of the process in analytic-deliberation, hazard management, and vulnerability. Our evaluations from eight coastal communities where the approach was applied point to four assets of VCAPS: it promotes synthesis of local and scientific knowledge; it stimulates systems thinking and learning; it facilitates governance by producing action plans with transparent justifications; and it accommodates participant time constraints and preferences. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

Petes L.E.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Howard J.F.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Helmuth B.S.,Northeastern University | Fly E.K.,South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium | Fly E.K.,University of South Carolina
Nature Climate Change | Year: 2014

The pace of environmental change lends urgency to the need for integration of climate considerations into ocean policy and management. A recent rapid expansion of ocean and climate policies provides a timely window of opportunity for the scientific community to inform and support these efforts. Lessons can be learned from successful initiatives, where scientists are working hand-in-hand with decision makers and managers to enhance ocean resilience. Looking ahead, the most pressing decision-needs associated with oceans and climate change should serve to prioritize and drive scientific efforts. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Sanger D.M.,South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium | Smith E.M.,University of South Carolina | Voulgaris G.,University of South Carolina | Koepfler E.T.,Coastal Carolina University | And 11 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2012

Hypoxic episodes in the shallow nearshore waters of Long Bay, South Carolina, USA, an open coast embayment on the South Atlantic Bight, have been observed on a number of occasions during the summer months from 2004 to 2009, with the most pronounced ones occurring in July of 2004 and August and September of 2009. We present a synthesis of data that included time-series oxygen measurements, synoptic surveys of water quality and oxygen consumption rates, and circulation numerical modeling aimed at explaining these hypoxic events. Periods of hypoxia coincide with coastal upwelling conditions (i.e. winds from the southwest and colder bottom waters). Field flow data and numerical simulations confirmed that these conditions create onshore-directed bottom flows. The latter also showed that this onshore water intrusion can penetrate into very shallow waters (5 to 7 m depth) and is separated from the very shallow waters by a mixing front. Nutrient and organic matter concentrations, especially the particulate forms, were higher in the nearshore (~0.3 km from the coastline) compared to offshore (2 to 3 km from the coastline) waters, while dissolved oxygen concentrations tended to increase with distance from shore. Oxygen consumption rates via water-column respiration were highly variable (5.6 to 73.6 μg O 2 l -1 h -1), but showed significant correlations with spatial variability in particulate nutrient and organic matter concentrations. These observational and modeling results suggest that occurrences of low dissolved oxygen in Long Bay result from regional oceanographic processes that constrain water masses to the nearshore and thus prevent the wider dispersion of local terrestrial inputs. The resulting enhanced material concentrations stimulate heterotrophic oxygen demand, leading to hypoxia in the immediate nearshore waters. © Inter-Research 2012 ·

Fly E.K.,South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium | Fly E.K.,University of South Carolina | Hilbish T.J.,University of South Carolina | Wethey D.S.,University of South Carolina | And 2 more authors.
American Malacological Bulletin | Year: 2014

To understand how ecological communities may respond to climate change we have adopted the approach of determining the response of major ecosystem engineers that determine community composition and function. We utilize two approaches, correlative and mechanistic, to understand the current and future distributions of the marine mussels Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 and M. galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 in Europe. Both are dominant space-occupying species that control biodiversity in many coastal ecosystems and are the basis of the largest aquaculture production in Europe. A mechanistic analysis of physiological energetic response to temperature of the two species indicates that M. edulis cannot sustain a positive energy balance for sustained periods when sea surface temperature (SST) is greater than 23 °C, while M. galloprovincialis can maintain a positive energy balance at SST up to 30 °C. There is no difference in energetic response of the two species at cold temperatures (5-10 °C). The upper temperature threshold of positive energy balance in each species corresponds closely to the distribution of SST at their respective southern range limits in Europe. Alternatively, the northern range limit of M. galloprovincialis coincides with areas where winter SST is less than 9 °C, but there is no evidence of an energetic limit to this species at the cold end of its geographic range. Presently there is no mechanistic explanation for the difference between species in their northern range limits; however, as indicated by Random Forest modeling, M. galloprovincialis appears to be limited by cold temperatures during winter, suggesting the hypothesis of failure in reproductive development. These approaches allow for the ability to forecast changes in the distributions of these two species in Europe as SST continues to increase.

McCoy C.,Coastal Carolina University | Viso R.,Coastal Carolina University | Peterson R.N.,Coastal Carolina University | Libes S.,Coastal Carolina University | And 5 more authors.
Continental Shelf Research | Year: 2011

Hypoxic conditions (dissolved oxygen (DO)<2 mgl-1) have been documented in the nearshore coastal waters of Long Bay, South Carolina, United States of America, during summer months over the past several years. Hypoxia was documented in August 2009 in the nearshore (<500m offshore) for ten consecutive days and four days in September 2009 corresponding with spring tides. This study measured radon activities of shallow beachface groundwater and nearshore bottom waters to estimate mixing rates and submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) in the nearshore waters of central Long Bay. Statistical analyses demonstrate significant correlations between high bottom water radon activities, low DO, and cooler bottom water temperatures during hypoxic conditions. Elevated radon activities during hypoxia were significantly influenced by upwelling favorable conditions which severely limited cross-shelf mixing. Model results indicate mixing of nearshore and offshore waters was limited by up to 93% (range: 43-100%) relative to non-hypoxic conditions. Data suggests previously overlooked natural phenomena including limited cross-shelf mixing and SGD can significantly influence nearshore water quality. © 2011.

Blair A.,Coastal and Ocean Sciences Inc. | Sanger D.,South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium | White D.,Clemson University | Holland A.F.,1906 Long Creek Road | And 3 more authors.
Hydrological Processes | Year: 2014

We developed the Stormwater Runoff Modeling System (SWARM) based on curve number and unit hydrograph methods of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. SWARM models single events, targets watersheds fitting easily within hydrologic units with 12-digit codes, and has been calibrated for low-gradient topography of the Southeast coastal plain. We established protocols; made changes related to peak rate factors, travel time formulas, curve numbers, and the initial abstraction ratio; and then tested the output with multi-site validation using U.S. Geological Survey measurements of discharge and rainfall. Validation results from both undeveloped and developed watersheds support the robustness of our system in quantifying and simulating runoff: rainfall to runoff differences between measured and simulated volumes ranged from 3 to 11%; r2 for hydrograph curves ranged from 0.82 to 0.98. SWARM can be a useful tool for scientific research and for coastal resource management and decision making in the Southeast coastal plain specifically and also may be applied to other areas by recalibrating parameters and modifying calculation templates. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

PubMed | South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental management | Year: 2010

Communication of knowledge between the scientific and management communities is a difficult process complicated by the distinctive nature of professional career goals of scientists and decision-makers. This article provides a case history highlighting a collaboration between the science and management communities that resulted from a response to a 2004 hypoxia, or low dissolved oxygen, event in Long Bay, off Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A working group of scientists and decision-makers was established at the time of the event and has continued to interact to develop a firm understanding of the drivers responsible for hypoxia formation in Long Bay. Several factors were found to be important to ensure that these collaborative efforts were productive: (1) genuine interest in collaboratively working across disciplines to examine a problem; (2) commitment by agency leadership, decision-makers, and researchers to create successful communication mechanisms; (3) respect for each others perspectives and an understanding how science and management are performed and that they are not mutually exclusive; (4) networking among researchers and decision-makers to ensure appropriate team members are involved in the process; (5) use of decision-maker input in the formulation of research and monitoring projects; and (6) commitment of resources for facilitation to ensure that researchers and decision-makers are communicating effectively.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: CENTRES FOR OCEAN SCI EDU EXCE | Award Amount: 1.08M | Year: 2010

The Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence Southeast (COSEE SE), serving North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, is engaging its collaborative partners to advance innovative strategies to improve the transfer of ocean sciences research processes and information to reach broader audiences. COSEE SE will use communities of practice as tools to initiate two major new efforts--one targeting ocean scientists and the other targeting elementary grade science teachers.

COSEE SE will address challenges facing scientists to achieve the most effective practices for broader impacts. This includes how scientists interact with informal audiences about their research and what opportunities exist for creative avenues for developing sophisticated broader impact statements in their proposal. Three different approaches will be tested, each evaluated, and a paper identifying the results will be produced to assist the regional scientists. (1) Locally developed and executed Brown Bag lunch programs in a university setting; (2) short workshops at established regional, informal science education sites with each workshop having 10 scientists and 10 educators discussing presentation and engagement strategies for concepts surrounding a a single topic; (3) a K-12 Outreach Conference in partnership with The Science House, NCSU that reaches a number of scientists in one location at one time.

COSEE SE will also address the challenges that face elementary school teachers who teach sciences by providing resources, professional development and mentoring in Charleston County School District (CCSD). Demographic statistics of the CCSD indicate that elementary school students are predominately African American. Other educational research has revealed that most elementary teachers have had little training in science education and practically none in ocean sciences. As a result, CCSD represents a model set of schools that are not connected to their coastal environment and teachers with few resources and relationships with scientists. While this effort is restricted to one county, evaluation of the effort has the potential to reach other coastal counties. While it is not in the scope of this effort to assess the long-term impact of COSEE SE on elementary students, there is research that reveals students who have at least one exciting moment in ocean science have greater potential of considering ocean sciences as a career.

In addition, COSEE SE will continue to distribute ocean science information through its data base and web presence. The COSEE SE team will continue to use its extensive regional network to assist researchers and educators as they communicate science.

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