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  • 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

    ( For an overview of the project, theres a YouTube video and the link

    is A new firefly field guideline can also be downloaded at


    To keep up with the latest developments, follow:

    Project site:

    Facebook Twitter

    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:

  • 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

    Christian Heaton

    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