October 2018
Upcoming Events

Visit the FAU Harbor Branch booth at the IRL Science Fest
Veteran’s Memorial Park, Ft. Pierce
10 am - 3 pm
(more info below)

Sat., Nov. 10
DNAngler Event
Pepper Park- Riverside, Ft. Pierce)
8 am - 2 pm
Click here for details

Sat., Nov. 17
Visit the FAU Harbor Branch booth at the
Vero Beach Boat Show Riverside Park,
Vero Beach
10 am - 5 pm

Wed., Dec. 5
7 p.m. only
Ocean Science Lecture Series:   Multiple Perspectives are Needed for Effective Conservation
Aaron Adams, Ph.D.
FAU Harbor Branch
Aquaculture & Stock Enhancement

Take a tour of FAU Harbor Branch!
Click here to learn more

Monitor Effects of Discharges from Lake Okeechobee
Click here to access LOBOViz. 
FAU Harbor Branch Continues to Provide Leading Expertise on South Florida's HAB Crisis
FAU Harbor Branch Researchers continue to help the media and local officials with sharing expertise regarding the l arge-scale harmful algal bloom (HAB) events, including Red Tide, that continue to plague South Florida waters. Our researchers are serving as a valued resource to state and federal agencies, lawmakers, the media and the community at large, providing individuals with up-to-date information and scientific analysis.

Pictured Above: Malcolm McFarland, Ph.D., being interviewed by CBS World News Tonight on Boynton Beach when Red Tide emerged this month on Florida's east coast. See report here.

This week, FAU Harbor Branch's Ocean Science Lecture Series featured an event titled “2018 Status of South Florida Harmful Algal Blooms." FAU Harbor Branch executive director J a mes Sullivan, Ph.D., provided an overview and an update on these HABs as well as the research that FAU scientists are conducting to address this pervasive issue. Sullivan is an expert on marine ecosystem health and researches the ecology and physiology of phytoplankton (commonly called algae), and in particular, the algae that create HABs and their negative effects on ecosystems and human health (toxins, hypoxia/anoxia, wildlife kills, etc.).

After Sullivan’s presentation, a panel of FAU Harbor Branch experts joined him to further discuss HABs, followed by a question and answer session with attendees.

See the full " 2018 Status of South Florida Harmful Algal Blooms" talk on WPTV Channel 5's website here .

On October 17, Senator Bill Nelson visited FAU’s Harbor Branch campus to receive a briefing from HBOI research scientists on the role of nutrients, their sources, and how they contribute to the severity of harmful algae blooms (HAB). Researchers also are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study the impact of algae toxins on human health, especially those in close proximity to the St. Lucie River. Further research will help to determine the public health risks.

Pictured Above, L-R: Principal Investigator Adam Schaefer, MPH, Senator Bill Nelson and HBOI Ex. Director Jim Sullivan, Ph.D.
  Video Highlights Semester by the Sea
Semester by the Sea is a one-semester program for undergraduate students offered by Harbor Branch and the Department of Biological Sciences, FAU. The program provides undergraduate students an opportunity to broaden their educational experience with a semester-long immersion in marine science, with emphasis on marine biology. All courses are taught on the Harbor Branch campus in Fort Pierce. A full class of 24 students have been selected for the program this spring. Click here for details on this unique experiential coursework.

Mincer, Collaborators First to Identify Connection Between Microplastics, Marine Aggregates and Marine Animals
More than 10 million tons of plastic debris enter the oceans every year and are found in nearly every oceanic layer. They start out as large floating items and eventually break down into much smaller pieces called microplastics. These particles are pervasive and have been found in the digestive tracts of more than 100 different species, posing physical, chemical, and even potential biological harm to these animals. Mussels and other bivalves like oysters and clams are eaten whole without removal of the gastrointestinal tract and therefore represent a pathway for microplastics to enter the human food chain.

Contrary to prior research, a first-of-its-kind study from a team of scientists -- including Tracy Mincer, Ph.D. , study co-author and a research professor at FAU Harbor Branch and FAU Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College -- suggests that mussels are not a robust indicator of microplastics in the marine environment because of their inherent ability to selectively feed, making them very picky eaters. Instead, marine aggregates, also referred to as “marine snow,” have much more to say about the fate of microplastics in the environment. Click here to read more.

This research is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture; NOAA Marine Debris Program; Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation; National Science Foundation; FAU Harbor Branch World Class Faculty and Scholar Program; FAU Honors College Biology; and the International Postdoctoral Exchange Fellowship. 

Pictured Above: For the study, the researchers collected marine aggregates and blue mussels at Avery Point in Connecticut and used microscopy and microspectrometry to measure the spectra of these microscopic samples. (Photo credit: Evan Ward, Meghan Danley, University of Connecticut, and Shiye Zhao, FAU-Harbor Branch)
Population Biology & Behavioral Ecology Team Conducts Groundbreaking Study on How Dolphins and Whales Compete Against Pathogens for Survival
Dolphins, whales and other cetaceans are susceptible to many of the same health hazards as humans including mercury, brevotoxin (e.g. Red Tide), and lobomycosis. They also serve as important sentinel species to highlight concerns relevant to environmental and public health. Yet understanding how these aquatic mammals fight disease-causing pathogens, how they adapt to changing pathogenic threats, and how their immune responses are triggered has been challenging.
Two recent papers by FAU Harbor Branch researchers reveal how cetaceans compete for survival in an evolutionary “arms race” with changing pathogen communities. As pathogenic threats and the risk of infectious disease changes, whales and dolphins must adapt to those changes. The question today is can they adapt fast enough? Click here to read more.

Pictured Above: Bottlenose dolphins reside in nearshore waters along Florida’s Atlantic coast as well as in a number of estuaries, bays, and lagoons, including the 256 kilometer-long Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Estuary System. (Photo credit: Wendy Noke, NOAA permit no. 572-1869-02)
FAU Harbor Branch Aquaculture and Stock Enhancement Team Receives $701K for Florida Pompano Project
Paul Wills, Ph.D. and the Aquaculture and Stock Enhancement Team were recently awarded $701K by Sea Grant to overcome the hurdles for the commercialization of Florida pompano, Trachinotus carolinus , in U.S. aquaculture.

“Florida pompano are regarded as the finest marine food fish and command high prices in U.S. fish markets,” Wills said. “Production methods for Florida pompano in marine recirculating aquaculture systems have advanced to the point where viable commercial production looks to be economically sustainable by overcoming a minimal number of remaining hurdles.”

The specific objectives of the project are to use feed additives and new feed manufacturing technology to increase feed efficiency and reduce waste; use prebiotic and probiotic feed additives to improve the nutrient availability, health status and survival of the Florida pompano; and work directly with industry to create a basic business plan and culture manual for commercial production of Florida pompano. Wills said that as part of the partnership with Florida Sea Grant, his team will also be offering industry workshops to review the business plan and culture manual.

“Our project team will continue to be available after the project ends to help with the industry expansion to ensure the success of the commercialization of Florida pompano aquaculture,” Wills said.

For information about the other projects funded, visit: Sea Grant Announces 2018 Aquaculture Research Awards
Schaefer, Ajemian Receive Disney Conservation Fund Grant

Adam M Schaefer, M.P.H., was recently awarded a Disney Conservation Fund grant supporting a project titled " Conserving Coastal Sharks and Rays."
Matt Ajemian, PhD., is serving as Co-PI.
The goal of the project is to develop comprehensive data on the health and ecology of elasmobranchs inhabiting the Indian River Lagoon, FL. The objective is to determine the impact of multiple environmental and anthropogenic stressors while engaging and inspiring students. The data has ecosystem wide implications that will be used by multiple stakeholders including resource managers, students and public. The success of the work will be measured by the impacts on research and conservation.
Laramore, Collaborators Examine Sunray Venus Clam Reproductive Cycle, Help Clear Misconceptions
The reproductive cycle of the sunray venus (SRV) clam,  Macrocallista nimbosa,  was initially described over 40 years ago and was labeled as a “fall spawner” based on that study. Interest in the SRV clam as an alternative bivalve species for Florida shellfish aquaculture was established a decade ago, but due to it’s reputation as an unreliable spawner, production of this clam has stalled. This study was conducted by FAU Harbor Branch Research Professor Susan Laramore, Ph.D., Leslie Sturmer, Ph.D. of UF, and Carolyn Sinacore, PhD. of FAU, to provide a more thorough description of the reproductive cycle, including detail-oriented reproductive staging in an effort to determine the cause of reported spawning difficulties. Click here to read more.
Cherubin Collaborates with FAU I-SENSE and the Department of Computer/Electrical Engineering and Computer Science on NSF Grant
Profs. Xingquan Zhu (PI), Taghi Khoshgoftaar (Co-PI), and Hanqi Zhuang (Co-PI), from FAU's Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Prof. Dimitris Pados (Co-PI), from the department and I-SENSE, and Prof. Laurent Cherubin (Co-PI) from Harbor Branch were awarded a research grant from the National Science Foundation titled “MRI: Acquisition of Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning (AIDL) Training and Research Laboratory,” ($652,850; Oct. 1, 2018 – Sept. 30, 2021). 
The researchers will be acquiring equipment to establish an artificial intelligence and deep learning training and research laboratory. The laboratory will support graduate student teaching and research activities across multiple campuses, colleges, University research pillars and disciplines, and provide opportunities for investigators to attack difficult challenges in their domains to significantly advance research in their fields.
4Ocean Helps Garner Support for HAB Research
Two FAU alumni, Andrew Cooper and Alex Schultze, are assisting FAU with their powerful social media presence via their company,  4Ocean.  
Dr. James Sullivan and Dr. William Louda are featured in their newest promotional video designed to raise awareness and support of FAU Harbor Branch research on harmful algal blooms (HABs). Click here to view.
Marine Mammal Rescue Team
Marine Mammal Stranding Response
FAU Harbor Branch maintains a 365/24/7 emergency response capability. Upon notification, first responders deploy necessary assets and coordinate resources needed to rescue and transport sick or injured marine mammals to rehabilitative care facilities for evaluation. Deceased animals are transported to FAU Harbor Branch’s Necropsy Laboratory  where detailed pathobiological examinations can be performed and a cause of death determined.

To report a marine mammal stranding, call 1-888-404-FWCC

Mission: Ocean Discovery
Ocean Science Lecture Series Presents: Aaron Adams, Ph.D.
Multiple Perspectives are Needed for Effective Conservation
Aaron Adams, Ph.D.
FAU Harbor Branch
Aquaculture & Stock Enhancement

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
7 p.m. only
FAU Harbor Branch
Johnson Education Center Auditorium
FAU Harbor Branch is a proud sponsor of the IRL Science Festival being held tomorrow, October 27, at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Fort Pierce from 10 am -3 pm. HBOI will feature the Marine Mammal Ambulance, share information about rescue efforts and offer a dolphin rescue simulation. At our "Ocean Discovery Booth," learn about the important research being conducted at HBOI and our new citizen science program, DNAngler. Click here for more event information.
Volunteers Needed for Visitors Center
Volunteers are needed to staff the Welcome Desk at the FAU Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Visitors Center (ODVC). The ODVC is a destination where the community can learn about the research conducted by the Institute’s marine scientists and engineers- and it is visited by approximately 10,000 guests each year!

The Welcome Desk attendant has a very important job as the first person to receive ODVC guests. They are responsible for making a great first impression and ensuring proper procedures are followed. The attendant’s duties include: greeting and providing information to visitors, keeping a watchful eye on the ODVC while staff members are busy, answering the telephone, responding to inquiries about our programs and assisting with various organizational tasks as needed.

Volunteer shifts are 3-hour time blocks, and we are currently seeking volunteers for the following shifts:
  • Wednesdays, 10am - 1pm
  • Thursdays, 1 - 4pm
  • Fridays, 1 - 4pm

The welcome desk attendant is required to fulfill at least one three-hour shift each week and must be able to remain seated at the station for the entire shift. For more information and to complete an application, click here .
Notes from the Aquarist
What does it take to set up and maintain the educational aquarium displays at the Ocean Discovery Visitors Center?

Click here to read Harbor Branch aquarist and graduate student Brandon McHenry's monthly feature on the Reef2Reef Forum.