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Category: news homepage

2024 Coastal Summer Semester Students Arrive

Thirteen undergraduate students arrived at UGAMI on June 1st to begin their month-long residential academic experience. During the first two weeks of June the students take ECOL 4225, Methods in Marine Ecology, which introduces them to Sapelo Island ecosystems and organisms, and provides experience in a multitude of techniques used in ecological research. During the second two weeks, students get to apply this knowledge and conduct an independent research project. Students earn eight hours of credit for their efforts, all while making new friends, meeting professionals in the field, and advancing their careers. For more information contact Dr. Tom Hancock.

Evaluating Flood Mitigation on the UGAMI campus

A team of UGA engineering students has completed a year-long capstone project that explored flood mitigation options to protect the UGAMI campus from storm surge. The group identified three potential solutions for consideration (Strong, Cost-Effective, and Green), provided information on the challenges, feasibility, and estimated costs associated with each one, and developed flood maps for storm events of different severity. The students presented their project at the Spring 2024 Engineering Capstone Design showcase where they won first place in the Community Impact – Public Client division. We thank this hard-working group of students as well as Adam Fouche, the Director of the UGA Office of Emergency Preparedness, and Engineering Professor Felix Santiago-Collazo, who served as mentors to the group.

Laboratory Professional Position

UGAMI is accepting applications for a Laboratory Professional. The successful candidate will be an integral part of the UGAMI operations team, which is dedicated to providing users with exceptional opportunities for research and education in coastal ecosystems. The Laboratory Professional will coordinate laboratory facilities at UGAMI, ensuring that the Institute is compliant with environmental safety requirements, providing for safe and responsible use by visiting classes and researchers, assisting with instruction, coordinating asset management, and providing administrative support. Apply by May 27, 2024 for full consideration. Contact Dr. Thomas Hancock at with any questions.

For a complete job description and to apply: 

Planting a SEED

The Ecological Society of America SEEDS program (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability) worked with the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER to bring a group of 20+ undergraduate students to UGAMI for a four-day immersive field experience April 25-28. Most participants were from underrepresented groups or first-generation college students. Their visit included an introduction to UGAMI and the GCE-LTER, a tour of the Island, a career panel discussion, and a chance to conduct mini research projects (including a report out!). We hope their time with us helps them on their way to a bright future in science.  

Team Termite!

Six people stand in an old dairy barn attic in full protective equipment of white jumpsuits, blue gloves, and face shields with air filters. One figure is standing partway up a ladder in the middle of the attic, using a special spray applicator to disperse the requisite chemicals to fight termites. Large air ducts elbow through the space and the brick wall with wooden window behind the standing figures is lit by a portable light on a stand, illuminating the scene.
GCASP inspectors treating the attic in the UGAMI lab (dairy barn)

The western drywood termite is native to California. So what the heck is it doing in the attic of the lab at UGAMI? According to Brian Forschler, who is a Professor of Entomology at UGA, the termites were likely living in wooden crates used to transport films to Sapelo from California back when R.J. Reynolds was on the Island. Dr. Forschler and his team have been tracking the termites since 2011 as part of a long-term study on managing this pest species. The foreign termites were originally limited to the central portion of the attic (above the auditorium where the movies were shown), but starting in 2021 they were also seen in other parts of the UGAMI attic. The termites grow very slowly and so there is no imminent danger, but this past week Dr. Forschler worked with a team from the GA Department of Agriculture Structural Pest Control (GCASPC) to treat the attic with a borate/glycol formulation to both reduce the current population and prevent future infestations. They also used it as a training opportunity, since this species is not something you see every day!

UGA’s Franklin Residential College visits UGAMI

Thank you to Dr. Montgomery Wolf for bringing UGA’s Franklin Residential College to UGAMI from March 2nd-4th. The group went trawling with Captain Ike and First Mate Nick, learned about historic and current research conducted at UGAMI, explored barrier Island habitats, and discovered Sapelo Island history and culture. We hope their time at UGAMI provided opportunities for team building in a beautiful setting. 

Internship Opportunities

The Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research Program (GCE LTER) is recruiting for five paid summer internships in coastal ecology for summer 2024! Note that some opportunities are limited to current undergraduate students. All interns will be paid a stipend equivalent to $14/hr. Most internships last ~8 weeks between May and August, however, start and end dates are flexible based on the schedule of the intern and supervisor. Please read the position descriptions carefully as some positions have different requirements, dates, and/or locations. Follow the link for more information about the internships and to access the application. Applications are due March 3rd, 2024.

2024 Marine Biology Spring Semester students arrive

Eight individuals stand on a sandy dune amidst a plethora of grasses. The sky is overcast and light gray and all the individuals are wearing jackets to keep warm. Behind them the grasses grow thicker and more numerous until they give way to shrubs and trees.
Students and program staff enjoying an excursion to the south end of Nannygoat Beach.

Welcome to our spring semester students, who arrived on Saturday, January 6 and will be on-site through April. In addition to UGA, they hail from the University of West Georgia, Dalton State University, Georgia Tech, and the College of Coastal Georgia. During their time at UGAMI, students will take courses in marine biology, ecology, animal behavior, marine fisheries, and coastal ecosystems. The students will get a chance to interact with many different people on Sapelo and the Georgia coast, and to spend lots of time in the field. Contact Dr. Tom Hancock ( if you want to know more!

Yet more help wanted!

Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER Logo

The Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER program ( seeks a research technician to assist with studies of coastal ecology. Work will be based at UGAMI and housing is available. The position involves studies of water quality, soils, and wetland plants and animals. The selected individual will work with other technicians, faculty and students at field sites.

The minimum qualification for the position is an Associate’s degree and some relevant experience; however, candidates with 4-year degrees in an environmental field (Biology, Chemistry, Geology) and significant experience will be the most competitive. Candidates must be able to operate pickup trucks, and have basic computer skills, including experience with email, word-processing, and spreadsheet programs. Let us know if you have any of the following useful skills or training: US Coast Guard Captains license, small boat piloting experience, drone pilot license, drone piloting experience, GIS.

Apply by January 22, 2024 for full consideration:

UGAMI at 70

Morning view from Shell Hammock (photo by Gracie Townsend)

UGAMI was established in 1953, so 2023 marks our 70-year anniversary! We wanted to take a moment to look back over this past year.

Our research program is thriving. UGAMI continues to be the base of operations for the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER project, as well as a host for investigators working in the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve. Over 40 papers were published this year as a result of research conducted at UGAMI, and 7 students completed their theses.

We hosted educational groups from both near and far; completed another successful summer semester; and continued collaborating with the Cornelia Walker Bailey program on Land and Agriculture. Other visitors included teacher workshops and several interdisciplinary meetings.

On the facilities side we continue to put effort into campus improvements. We completed the work on one of the 2nd floor labs and put new roofs on the Shell Hammock houses. We’ve also begun renovating the apartment dormitory on the main quad–The outside won’t change, but we are filling in the basement to provide structural support for the building and bringing the interior up to code.

If you would like to support us the best way is to join the Friends of UGAMI. They assist us in multiple ways, from sponsoring students and interns to helping with campus improvements. Donations can be made online, or via check made out to “UGA Foundation”, with “Friends of UGAMI” in the memo line, and sent to us at “Friends of UGAMI, Marine Sciences Building, 325 Sanford Drive, Athens, GA 30602”.

Here’s to the next 70 years!