Newsletter Vol. 5
August 16, 2005



Leg 04 of the Transects Program

We've just completed the fourth leg of our Transects Program. The Transects Program is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Geoscience Education Program. Leslie Sautter and Gorka Sancho (Biology Dept., College of Charleston) are the co-Principal Investigators of the two-year program. "Transects" is designed to immerse and engage undergraduate students in oceanographic research by taking them to sea to collect biological, physical and geological samples that they will later analyze in the laboratory.

To date, 45 students (37undergraduate and 8 graduate student mentors) have sailed on one of four cruises ("legs") aboard the 92-foot research vessel Savannah (operated by the Skidaway Institution of Oceanography). The cruises took place in Nov. of 2003 and 2004 and May of 2004 and 2005. Each cruise lasts for five days and includes sampling at 20 stations on the continental shelf between Charleston and the Gulf Stream, 60 miles from shore. Also participating have been visiting scientists from Coastal Carolina University (Dr. Scott Harris and Jamie Phillips) and University of South Carolina (Dr. Steve Stancyk).

Be sure to visit the Transects Program website

You'll find information, photo galleries, student profiles, photodocumentaries, student research projects and more.


Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Expedition Legs 02 and 03

Elizabeth Rogers, a graduate student at the College of Charleston, and Ryan Yaden, an undergraduate at the College of Charleston (and Transects Leg 02 participant), were selected by Project Oceanica as the Science/Education Liaisons to work aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. They each participated in one leg of an expedition to Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Elizabeth was aboard for Leg 02 from May 11-21, 2005 and Ryan sailed on Leg 03 from May 22-June 1, 2005.

They sailed with scientists from NOAA, SC Department of Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), Georgia Southern University, University of Alabama and other agencies.

Their main objective was to write daily logs regarding the science being conducted on the cruise (mainly fisheries research), targeting high school and undergraduate audiences. These logs were sent to Oceanica each day of the cruises via email and were quickly posted on the web. You can read the daily logs, see some of the photos taken during their cruises and learn about the other researchers on board the ship at

Gray's Reef is one of 14 National Marine Sanctuaries in the United States. It is located 20 miles offshore of Sapelo Island near Savannah, Georgia and is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Gray's Reef is an area that consists of 58 square kilometers (17 square nautical miles) of a "hard bottom" (or "live bottom") reef system. In fact, it is one of the largest near shore live-bottom reefs of the southeastern United States.

The mission of this survey was to utilize a variety of instruments and methodologies to learn more about the kinds of fish in the area, as well as the environments that they live in. In addition, the new data that were generated as a result of this research will be compared to historical records so that temporal change may be assessed.


Loggerhead Resource Website

Master of Environmental Studies graduate student Rachel Teller has produced a wonderful website on Loggerhead Turtles.

The website, titled "Loggerhead Lessons: A Web-Based Educational Resource", is a wonderful tool for teachers, students and anyone who wants to learn anything about Loggerhead turtles.   It contains photos of the turtles and their nest sites, photodocumentaries on their life history and management, a dichotomous identification key, standards-based activities for middle school teachers, and more!  Please visit Project Oceanica's Lab and Field Resources page at and click on "Loggerhead Lessons" to see this great new web resource!


Echinoderm ID Gallery

Our director, Leslie Sautter, worked with several other scientists including Steve Stancyk of USC, to create an incredible echinoderm identification gallery. The gallery was developed to assist students and educators with recognizing and identifying some of the wide variety of unusual and rare echinoderms found off the Southeast coast, specifically those collected during NOAA Ocean Exploration expeditions to the Charleston Bump. There are five taxonomic classes represented in the gallery.

To visit the gallery go to:



Oceanica at the National Marine Educators Association conference

This year's conference took place at the Maui Community College in the harbor town of Kahului on the island of Maui from July 11-16. The theme was Nana I Ke Kumu, Nana I Ke Kai -"Look to the source, look to the sea".

Of course in the midst of having a wonderful time in an incredible place, there was also learning and sharing among the marine educators. Leslie Sautter held a 3-hour workshop on "Exploring Plate Tectonics". Several of the activities presented can be found on Oceanica's COASTeam Aquatic Workshops (5 th grade level curriculum) at

Rachel McEvers presented two new Oceanica web resources, the "Virtual At Sea! Tour" and the online COASTeam Aquatic Workshops. The virtual tour can be accessed at and the Aquatic Workshops are at Her presentation was video-taped and is available for viewing at

Rachel Teller presented her incredible new Loggerhead Turtle website. It is now available on the Project Oceanica home site at


Children's Book About Sea Turtle Rehabilitation

A new book helps children to empathize with the plight of endangered sea turtles. Carolina's Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick Too! is the photographic journal of “ Carolina,” a critically ill loggerhead, as she is nursed back to health, and released from the Sea Turtle Hospital of the South Carolina Aquarium. Children realize that the story is true because of the photographs as opposed to illustrations. They relate to the turtle as it gets a shot and other medical treatments. They laugh when the turtle splashes the worker in an effort to avoid another medical check-up. They clap when the healthy sea turtle goes home to the ocean. An educational and conservation supplement and craft at the end of the book helps children (and adults) learn more about sea turtles and what they can do to help. The author (Donna Rathmell German, SCA exhibit guide volunteer) and photographer (Barbara Bergwerf, SCA Sea Turtle Hospital Volunteer and Isle of Palms Turtle Team member) are donating a portion of their royalties to the Sea Turtle Hospital at the South Carolina Aquarium to help sick and injured sea turtles.

You may preview the book on  or

Carolina's Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick Too! Ages 4-8, 32 Page, 10" x 8.5", Hardcover w/ Jacket, ISBN: 0-9764943-0-2, $15.95


At Sea! Program Update

At Sea! 2005 - Oceanica held 2 At Sea! cruises in January 2005. These cruises, aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster included students and teachers from the following high schools: Wando ( Mt. Pleasant, SC), Stall ( North Charleston, SC) and Southwest Guilford ( High Point, North Carolina). Undergraduates and graduate students from College of Charleston also participated. The next At Sea! cruises will be in the Fall of 2005.  

**New At Sea! web resource**
Our webmaster, Trent Tinker, has just finished an incredible At Sea Virtual Cruise. If you're unable to bring your students on the actual cruise, this is as close to the real thing as you can get!! There are "hot spots" on the virtual ship that you can click to see videos of each piece of equipment being used. Each video has an explanation of the equipment and its use. He has also included a photo tour of the entire ship so the students can take a tour of a real research vessel. You can take the virtual tour at


COASTeam Update

COASTeam Leadership Institute - Oceanica was awarded a 2-year grant from the SC Sea Grant Consortium to offer a new program called the COASTeam Leadership Institute. The curriculum is based on the text, Of Sand and Sea (written by P. Keener-Chavis and L. Sautter) and is geared toward grades 5-8. The curriculum is aligned with the SC science standards and the national science standards. We partnered with the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence Southeast (COSEE Southeast) to offer the workshop to informal educators and teachers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The informal educator workshop was held in March of 2005 and included 12 educators from 10 organizations in the tri-state area. The institute for classroom teachers was held in June of 2005 with 18 teachers participating. The informal educators and teachers will collaborate to take this new found knowledge back to their institutions and offer "COASTeam Days" to train more educators.

Aquatic Workshops online - With generous funding from the SC Sea Grant Consortium (, the COASTeam Program partnered with the SC Aquarium ( to offer grade-specific marine science courses for kindergarten-5 th grade teachers in 2003 and 2004. These activities are now available on the Oceanica website at


How Can I Learn More?!

Oceanica is constantly involved in fun, exciting and educational opportunities all over the southeast. We are growing each week! Please join us on our journeys whether it's in person or through our many web resources and products. If you are an educator, please let us know if and how you utilize our web site and resource products in your own curricula. If you are interested in publishing lesson plans (pre-college educators) or laboratory/lecture classroom exercises (college faculty) on our site, please contact us! The website is always growing and changing so make sure to visit often, and please tell your friends and colleagues to visit! If you want more information on any of our projects don't hesitate to contact us at

Thank you so much for your support and interest. We’ll continue to keep you posted on upcoming expeditions and new web pages.

Director: Leslie Sautter
Program Manager: Rachel McEvers
Webmaster/Technology Specialist: Trent Tinker
Dept. of Geology
College of Charleston

Charleston, SC 29424

(843) 953-7846