Chapel Hill News

Dr. Cisco Werner (Photo: NOAA)

NOAA Names Werner Director of Scientific Programs

Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC). Cisco brings extensive experience leading scientific efforts in the federal government and previously in academia as Director and Professor of Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences and Chairman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC-CH) Department of Marine Sciences. While at UNC-CH, Dr. Werner was the George & Alice Welsh Distinguished Professor from 2005-2008. From 2007-2017 he was co-Editor in Chief of the journal Progress in Oceanography.   Cisco’s research has focused on the oceanic environment

Corals affected by the mortality event at East Flower Garden Bank. (Image: FGBNMS/Schmahl)

Why is Coral Dying at East Flower Garden Bank?

assistance in trying to help discover the cause.   An initial response cruise was launched with Texas A&M University (TAMU), July 30-August 2, to collect water samples for water chemistry sampling.   A second response cruise, led by FGBNMS, with partners from Rice University, UNCW-Chapel Hill and TAMU, took place August 4-7. Researchers conducted photo transects and scooter surveys, and collected more than 300 samples of corals and sponges, both affected and unaffected, as well as directed water samples in specific areas of the impacted reef. These samples will be analyzed to look

Photo: Duke University

Drones Detect Sharks in Intercoastal Waters

Researchers from Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill are testing the ability of drones to detect sharks in coastal waterways.   In a collaborative study funded by North Carolina Aquariums, researchers are examining whether drones can effectively pinpoint bonnethead sharks in different habitats and water conditions.   “We’re really interested in the role that these kind of predators take on in coastal systems,” said Dave Johnston, director of the Unoccupied Systems Facility at Duke’s Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina.   “We’re also really

Deepwater Horizon - “Oil….contains thousands of different types of hydrocarbon chemicals, many of which are toxic and difficult to break down. But some of these bacteria can.” Dr Tony Gutierrez Photo Heriot-Watt University.

Oil-hungry Bacteria Could Clean Up Next Big Oil Spill

with the samples revealed that certain bacteria had thrived on the oil that gushed into the Gulf, devouring the oil as a preferred food source. In a paper published in Nature Microbiology Dr Gutierrez and his colleagues from the University of Texas and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reveal the genetic pathways these bacteria use to consume the oil, what conditions they thrive in, what oil hydrocarbons they can eat, and how they work in concert during an oil spill. “Oil is a very complex fluid that contains thousands of different types of hydrocarbon chemicals, many

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