Page | 1 Clemson University Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology & Forest Science
Newsletter of The Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology & Forest Science, Clemson University (Summer 2014)
2014 Hobcaw Research Symposium
There are ten research scientists stationed at Hobcaw between the Clemson and University of
South Carolina labs. Over the last 5 years, the Baruch Foundation has approved about 80
research and academic projects with investigators from 31 different universities and
government agencies. Thats a lot of research!
To help the Hobcaw Research Community learn what everyone is doing, BICEFS and the
Hobcaw Foundation sponsored a research symposium on May 2 and invited everyone involved
in projects at the Barony to present their work. Response was tremendous! We had 30
presentations from scientists and students from 11 institutions. Topics ranged from trends in
fish and marsh bird populations, to carbon and nutrient cycles of coastal waters, to geology and
hydrology of the area, to customs in end-of-life commemoration, to science education. Dennis
Kyle traveled the farthest, coming from the University of South Florida to discuss his research
in collaboration with Isaure de Buron (College of Charleston) on fish blood fluke life cycles, a
project Dennis started somewhat by accident as a Clemson graduate student 30 years ago. John
Baden, one of the first Baruch Fellows, presented collaborative research on marsh vegetation
changes that he started in the late 1960s. Following the scientific presentations, short field trips
provided a chance for people to see the marsh and inlet systems at the USC Marine Lab,
abandoned rice fields, and Dr. Conners research plots in cypress swamps.
It may not be the first time an event like this was held at Hobcaw, but no one can remember the
last time. Feedback from the group was that this should be an annual event. In addition to
university and government scientists and students, we were happy to be joined by many of the
Hobcaw Foundation tour guides and volunteers. Together, the 80 of us all learned the answer
to, Just what is going on in research at Hobcaw, anyway?
Page | 2 Clemson University Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology & Forest Science
Summer has started!
Its not just the temperatures that heat up in the summer, so does the level of activity at BICEFS. We
do not have many undergraduates involved in projects during the school year due to the distance from
campus, but summer brings students, and with them come a renewed energy at the Institute. This year
we have a bumper crop of student interns 5. They are working to help revise and implement the forest
management plan on our Clemson-Pate property, and reconstruct the engineered wetland systems
behind our Bldg B. Attracting smart, motivated students this year was made far easier by having our
new John B. Harris Student Cottage (see last issue) and taking advantage of Clemsons University
Professional Internship/Co-op (UPIC) program. UPIC pays half the students salary and helps place
students into internships that provide professional experience to build their careers. This years interns
are Trey Bailey, Logan Bell, Timothy Angermeier, Stanwood Partenheimer, and Ashleigh Hough. In
addition, we will also be hosting college and high school interns and they are Alexis Halyard, Ted
Murren, Chase Ison, Kathleen Geigley, Olivia Smithson, and Sam Short.
Congratulations to Dr. Anand Jayakaran for promotion to associate professor with tenure
Congratulations to Mr. Jun-Jian Wang for passing his qualifying exam and advancing to PhD
Congratulations to Amanda Voges, Binbin Li, Devin Schultze, Greg Edison, Hechu Zhu, Joshua
Hull, Renee Lyons the student team of the Vanishing Firefly Project who received Honorable
Mention Award at the 10th
National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington DC on April 26-27, 2014.
Page | 3 Clemson University Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology & Forest Science
2014 Vanishing Firefly
Ready, set, glow! The annual Clemson University firefly census launched on May 31. The lightning
bug count will continue through the summer.
The census is part of Clemson Universitys Vanishing Firefly Project that investigates the impact of
human activity on firefly populations. The researchers depend on citizen scientists to count the
fireflies and submit data via the website form or smartphone apps for Apple and Android. Participants
can view the real time data through a newly developed interaction map on the Clemson Firefly page
(http://maps.clemson.edu/firefly). For an overview of the project, theres a YouTube video and the link
is http://youtu.be/hNWAOB1VD98. A new firefly field guideline can also be downloaded at
To keep up with the latest developments, follow:
Project site: http://www.clemson.edu/public/rec/baruch/firefly_project/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ClemsonFireflyproject Twitter https://twitter.com/ClemsonFirefly
Exploring Rising Tides
in South Carolina
Under rising sea level and rapid urban expansion, low-lying coastal ecosystems along the
Southeastern US coast, from Texas to North Carolina, have been converting from freshwater
forested wetland to salt marsh or have been paved with concrete for housing development.
These forest-marsh and rural-urban transitions significantly alter vegetation compositions and
biogeochemical processes, eventually reducing the capacity of carbon sequestration and
deteriorating the soil and water quality of the coastal ecosystems.
In order to determine the impacts of these coastal changes, Drs. Alex Chow and William
Conner are collaborating with the EarthWatch Institute and are recruiting citizen scientists
worldwide to assist in their field studies in 2015. Citizen scientists will stay at Hobcaw Barony
to assist in field data collection, such as tagging and identifying tress, measuring water quality,
and counting the fireflies twinkling at night. By understanding these changes, the scientists can
recommend the best way to protect this critical wetland forest and others like it around the
world. Project site: http://earthwatch.org/expeditions/exploring-rising-tides-in-south-carolina#importance
Page | 4 Clemson University Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology & Forest Science
Using Visualization to Help People Comprehend the Environmental Issues
By Dr. Bo Song
The value of visualization may best be summarized by the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Past, present, and future landscapes can be rendered as 3D views on a computer screen. Data contained in
histories or growth models can now be used to create scientifically valid representations of community
conditions. This helps us to have a clear vision of a dynamic community, both historically and prospectively.
The photorealism of this approach is maximized by including the following features, such as shrubs, herbs,
snags, logs, stumps (Fig. 1a and 1b), lakes (Figure 1c), roads (Figure 1a), and individual landmarks, such as a
power tower (Figure 1d).
(a) (b) (c) (d)
Figure 1. Examples of visualization capability: a) snags and road; b) shrubs, herbs, snags, logs, stumps; c) a
lake; and d) a landmark, such as a power tower.
The following example illustrates our ability. Using 3D visualization, we can compare the forest from point to
point, before and after Hurricane Hugo (Figure 4). Three sets of animation stills are shown to compare the
damages in 1990 (one year after Hugo) to the exact same spot in 1976 (Figure 4I, II, and III). Because of
saltwater intrusion with the hurricane surge, many trees died (see the second column of Figure 4I, II, and III).
3D visualization allowed us to restore what this stand looked like historically, prior to the major disturbance.
1976 (Before hurricane Hugo) 1990 (After hurricane Hugo)
Figure 2. Comparison of Hurricane Hugo effect at Hobcaw Barony, SC. Three sets of animation stills
representing different views (I, II, and III) were shown to compare the damages in 1990, one year after Hugo in
1989, to the exact same spot in 1976, before Hugo.
Page | 5 Clemson University Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology & Forest Science
Our New Family Members
I got my BS in Environmental Science from USC in Columbia. I worked for the
SC Geological Survey as a Research Assistant after school. The study was on
sediment transport and isotopic tracking of sediment throughout the Broad River
basin. I am pursuing a MS degree in Forest Resources from