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December 12, 2011
Wave Energy Conversion Device Deployed off of Jennette's Pier
After months of preparation and planning a wave energy device designed by Resolute Marine Energy was recently deployed off of Jennette's Pier.  The device, called a SurgeWEC, will collect data regarding the amount of energy that can be gathered from the ocean's waves.  UNC-CSI assisted with coordinating the deployment of thisThe SurgeWEC device gets hoisted over the rail at Jennette's Pier device and will deploy ocean-monitoring equipment around it.  

The SurgeWEC was lowered off of the pier using a small crane and rests 20 feet below the surface of the water on the sea floor.  It is anchored with a ballast system and two large boat anchors.  The device faces slightly northeast to align with swells coming from that direction.  The goal of this deployment is to test this prototype in an ocean environment and assess the potential effectiveness of this device on a larger scale. 

Jennette's Pier is an ideal location for deployment of such a device because it allows researchers to work 800 feet from shore while also providing the infrastructure needed to capture data in real time.  A research hut on the end of the pier provides space for researchers and electronic equipment that can be hardwired to devices off of the pier. 

This project is part of a larger program initiated by the North Carolina General Assembly and managed by UNC-CSI to research opportunities to develop renewable ocean energy and convert it for electric transmission.  This mulit-faceted project includes experts from Colleges of Engineering at N.C. State University, UNC Charlotte and North Carolina A&T University.  It also includes subject specialists from UNC-Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Scripps Oceanographic Institute.


November 23, 2011 
Scuppernong River Heritage Symposium November 29, 2011

Estelle Randall, sunk at the Columbia waterfront, 1910 (Mariners Museum PB2876 C176) On November 29, 2011 from 12:30 to 5:00pm a series of presentations regarding historical and archaeological research on the maritime history of Tyrell County will take place in the Walter B. Jones Sr. Auditorium in the Center for the Sounds at 205 S. Ludington Drive, Columbia, NC, 27925.  These presentations are free and open to the public.

Throughout the month of September 2011, researchers from the UNC Coastal Studies Institute and East Carolina University Program in Maritime Studies performed an archaeological survey of the Scuppernong River.  This project surveyed areas that have never been recorded, and was successful in identifying new shipwreck locations using side-scanning sonar and magnetometry.  In addition to scouring the riverbanks and bottomlands of the area, the researchers were also interested in capturing the maritime history of the town of Columbia.  Throughout a partnership with the Pocosin Arts Folk School, researchers worked with the community of Columbia to learn more about the area through oral history, local art and their community connection to the river.

Community involvement was a key component to the success of this project.  Residents provided insight into local history and area knowledge as well as providing food and housing for graduate students.  Along with the oral histories, the historical records across the state were utilized for information on the maritime history of Bulls Bay and the Scuppernong River. 

Education and outreach were also important facets of this project.  Students from the ninth and tenth grades of Columbia High School met with the research team to learn about the project and the technology used.  They were also engaged in constructing and piloting a Remote Operated Vehicle in the Scuppernong River.

October 26, 2011  

The UNC-CSI Campus Site is taking shape with the addition of the roof and room framing
The Research and Education Building on UNC-CSI Campus in Skyco, NCThe Research and Education Building on the UNC-CSI Campus now has a roof, three floors, elevator shafts and stairways and some duct work in place.  The visual appearance of the building is materializing, and the location of the campus within the surrounding ecosystems is apparent from the top floor views.

Framework for the classrooms, labs and work spaces is being installed, which is creating a clear picture for how this building will function as infrastructure for research and education. 

The Marine Services Building is also taking shape with the external components of the building being completed.  The roof is now in place, and the shape of the building is clear.  Interior and exterior slab work is completed, and ramps for access to the building are visible.

The Marina has the boat ramp completed and the dock in place.  The finger piers have not been constructed yet, but the shape and size of the marina area is becoming clear.  The canals that will provide research vessels direct access to the sound are still plugged to reduce the impact of sediment runoff on the surrounding ecosystems. 

The campus construction remains ahead of schedule and it's opening is eagerly anticipated by many in the local community, academic partners and the scientific community.

October 5, 2011 

Elizabeth City Middle School Constructed Wetland Planting Successful

Students from Elizabeth City Middle School plant a constructed wetland behind thier school.Students in Mr. Walker's 8th grade science class at Elizabeth City Middle School recently planted 20 species of wetland plants in the constructed wetland that is located in between the school and the Pasquotank River.

This APNEP funded project is an educational demonstration site that will provide the students an opportunity to test water quality, observe scientific processes and monitor animal life in the wetland area.  Stormwater from the school flows into the constructed wetland, providing a chance for filtration before it enters into the natural area behind the school. 

On Friday September 30, students were assigned a plant species which they learned the common name, scientific name and important facts about as they planted in the wetland.  Because of the amount of recent rainfall the wetland was very wet, and the students overcame muddy conditions to successfully complete the project.  The constructed wetland will continue to be a valuable tool for real world application of scientific concepts.

September 21, 2011

Teachers work to construct a buoy during an activity during the workshopTeachers from Five Counties Attended a Successful Build an Observation Buoy Workshop

UNC-CSI, in partnership with North Carolina Sea Grant and NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary hosted a workshop for teachers at the new Jennette's Pier.  This workshop was an orientation for teachers to a large APNEP funded project kicking off this fall. 

Students from seven northeastern North Carolina high schools and middle schools will construct and maintain observation buoys that will be placed in estuarine bodies of water near their schools. 

The observation buoys are made primarily of PVC, and house sensors that will be able to record pH, Dissolved Oxygen, water temperature and conductivity from the water, as well as humidity, air temperature, wind speed and barometric pressure from the atmosphere.  The network of schools providing data will greatly increase observation of these areas of water.

September 08, 2011

ECU Graduate Student William Schilling deploys a side scan sonarResearchers from East Carolina University and UNC Coastal Studies Institute search for lost ships in the Scuppernong River   

UNC-CSI, in partnership with East Carolina University's Program in Maritime Studies, is performing an archaeological survey of the Scuppernong River located near Columbia, NC.  Almost 60 vessels have been lost in the Albemarle Sound with little evidence of their locations.   

Researchers are using side scan sonar and magnetometry to locate sunken shipwrecks and other cultural resources found within the river and Bulls Bay. 

Residents of the community will be engaged throughout this project by providing river tours, hosting public forums and providing food and housing for students and faculty.  The Pocosin Arts Center was instrumental in bringing locals together with researchers for first-hand accounts of travel on the Scuppernong in the early 1900s.  Preliminary results from this research will be presented on October 6, 2011 in conjunction with the Scuppernong River Festival.

August 24, 2011

Elizabeth City Middle School Wetland Project Nearing CompletionConstructed wetland at Elizabeth City Middle School

An area behind Elizabeth City Middle School where rainwater runoff from the school, parking areas and ball fields converge is being transformed into a constructed wetland through efforts of UNC-CSI, Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program and Albemarle RC+D.

Students will participate with the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in a program to monitor and record water quality parameters, as well as perform scientific experiments in the wetland area.  Through observations and data collection students will have the opportunity to learn scientific concepts outside of the classroom.  

The wetland area will also filter pollutants and sediment from the runoff from impervious surfaces around the school, and reduce its impact on the natural wetlands and Pasquotank River.

August 09, 2011

TowneBank of Currituck Contributes a Generous Gift to the UNC Coastal Studies Institute

Taylor H. Sugg, Jr., TowneBank of Currituck’s Outer Banks president, presents a generous $5000 contribution from the bank to Dr. Nancy White, director of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute on Roanoke Island. TowneBank’s gift will make possible hands-on, place-based environmental research by high school students in Hyde, Tyrrell, Pasquotank and Dare counties.  Dr. Nancy White accepts a generous gift from TowneBank

Students will participate with the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in a program to monitor and record water quality and atmospheric data from four observation buoys that will be built by students and deployed in the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. Through their research, students will identify trends in climate and water quality in waterways near each participating school: Pasquotank High School, Columbia High School, Cape Hatteras Secondary School and Mattamuskeet High School. This research program will develop students’ skills about scientific concepts, problem solving, data collection and interpretation.

According to Mr. Sugg, “TowneBank values its community role in northeast North Carolina, and we believe our contributions to education are a way we can support a strong, vibrant, sustainable economy. As a director of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute Foundation board of directors, I am impressed with the outstanding talent and resources the Institute is committing to our region, and we are pleased to be a partner.”

July 13, 2011  

UNC-CSI Campus Update - July 2011

Construction at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute Research and Education Campus inThe Research Building on UNC-CSI Research and Education Campus in Skyco, NC Skyco, NC continues on schedule.  Once open, this campus will provide the infrastructure needed for UNC-CSI to increase the focus of their program areas.  The construction of the campus is providing more than 1000 new jobs for local crafts persons, and once opened the campus will employ more than 60 people. 

The Research and Education Building construction has reached the third floor, with stair case walls already reaching up to the fourth floor.  The other main structure on  campus, the Marine Services Building, is in the beginning stages of form and foundation work and has the waste water system and transformer in place.  The bulkheads, boat basin and boat ramp are nearly complete.   

The opening of the campus is fast approaching in the Fall of 2012.

June 28, 2011

Phase 3 of The 2011 Battle of the Atlantic Expedition Comes to a Close

Beginning in 2008, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has led an annual expedition to find and collect data from German, American and British naval vessels, as well as merchant vessels lost during the Battle of the Atlantic in WWII.   
UNC-CSI Diver John McCord documents the shipwreck KashenaMultiple phases of the 2011 expedition include data collection through scuba diving as well as  Sonar, Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs).  In phase 3 of this project UNC-CSI's underwater production team joined divers from NOAA, East Carolina University, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, and National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science for five days of "shallow" water diving out of Ocracoke Inlet. 

Although the weather was challenging at times, multiple shipwrecks were visited, and biological and archaeological data was collected from the sites.  This project will continue through the summer with multiple phases of the project yet to begin.  Check the
NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries and UNC-CSI website for updates.

June 6, 2011  

UNC-CSI diver John McCord films underwater shipwrecks using the powerful Red One video cameraThe 2011 Battle of the Atlantic Expedition Begins 
Beginning in 2008, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has led an annual expedition to find and collect data from German, American and British naval vessels, as well as merchant vessels lost during the Battle of the Atlantic in WWII.  

This year’s expedition will focus on the Battle of Convoy KS-520, and the battlefield that ensued from Allied vessels and patrol aircraft contact with a German U-boat off of North Carolina’s waters.  Some vessels that were involved in this battle have not been seen since, and new technologies will be used to locate and document these vessels, and reconstruct this fascinating battle.

UNC-CSI has partnered with NOAA and other organizations throughout these expeditions.  This year UNC-CSI divers will document the shipwrecks through high quality underwater video and pictures.  Dr. Nathan Richards is very involved in all aspects of the expedition.  Different legs of the 2011 Battle of the Atlantic Expedition will occur throughout the summer.  Check the NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries and UNC-CSI website for updates.

May 2, 2011

Our State Magazine and UNC Coastal Studies Institute Online Event

First ever online event for Our State MagazineFor the first time ever, Our State Magazine and the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute (UNC-CSI) will present an online event that compliments the monthly periodical.  This event, North Carolina’s Coast, is a collection of pictures and short videos that highlight the culture, environment and history of North Carolina’s coastline, with an emphasis on the Outer Banks.

North Carolina’s Coast will run online for the entire month of May.  The online event can be found at  Video topics include the mission of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute and its research areas, Ocean Energy, Shipwrecks, Estuary ecology, Lighthouse tours, Roanoke Island travel ideas, Local storytellers and many others.  This event is a great collection of information about the Outer Banks, and the plethora of unique opportunities available to locals and visitors.  Visit to participate in the online event. 


April 26, 2011

Wetland Construction at Manteo High School Completed

Manteo High School Students assist in planting the wetland located behind the school.Students from Manteo High School’s Science, English and Technology classes assisted in planting a wetland and rain garden in an area between the school and Dough’s Creek.  Members of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute, Dare County Soil and Water Conservation, and Dare County Schools organized and directed the students during the final phases of construction. 

The wetland and rain garden are designed to reduce the effect of runoff from 16 acres of recreational fields and impervious surfaces on Dough’s Creek, which flows into Shallowbag Bay.  The wetland and rain garden will redirect the flow of the storm water to slow its flow, and reduce the amount of water flowing directly into the creek during storm events. 

An outdoor classroom and boardwalk, which connects the school to Dough’s Creek for water quality sampling and hands-on scientific experiences, was also created through this project to offer students a chance to take their education outside of the classroom.  

April 4, 2011

UNC-CSI Research and Education Campus - Construction Updates 

With initial site preparation nearing completion for UNC Coastal Studies Institute’s (UNC-CSI) new 90,000 square foot research and education campus in Skyco, NC, Dr. Nancy White, Director, announced Aerial view of the UNC-CSI campus site in Skyco, NCthat the first phases of construction are underway.  The UNC Coastal Studies Institute campus will be a center for collaborative place-based research and education, providing learning opportunities based on applied science.  

Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, the construction manager and general contractor, has made hiring local companies a priority.  They have worked with UNC-CSI, the Outer Banks National Home Builders Association, local governments and local businesses to create a buzz for this construction project and to garner interest from the Historically Underserved Business (HUB) and local contractors. 

UNC-CSI’s new research and education campus on Roanoke Island will create economic opportunity for the Outer Banks and escalate the impact of higher education throughout northeastern North Carolina.  The architecture team estimates that the 24 month construction project will generate more than 1000 new jobs for local crafts persons, and once the campus is completed it will employ more than 60 people – more than 40 employees being non-faculty technicians, operations, administrative and maintenance personnel. 

March 25, 2011

North Carolina Sea Grant and UNC Coastal Studies Institute to Host a Presentation on the Formation of Boat Graveyards and their Correlation with the North Carolina Commercial Fishing Industry  

ECU Maritime Studies students use baseline offset to measure vessels in Bradley's CreekJacqueline L. Marcotte, a graduate student in the East Carolina University’s Program in Maritime Studies, will present her NC Sea Grant funded study “End of the Line: The History and Archaeology of the Wright’s Creek Boat Graveyard and the North Carolina Fishing Industry” on April 1st at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. 

This study was performed as part of a graduate program and Dr. Nathan Richards of ECU and the UNC Coastal Studies Institute acted as the student’s advisor.

This presentation will discuss recent archaeological research at Wright’s Creek, and how the formation of boat graveyard sites correspond with the fortunes of the North Carolina commercial fishing industry and the communities around them.  The findings of this study may have interesting correlations to the fishing history of the Outer Banks. 

March 18, 2011

UNC-CSI Research and Education Campus Update 

Completed Bulkhead on UNC-CSI CampusConstruction continues on the UNC-CSI campus site in Skyco, NC.  With completion of the bulkheads and final grading, the project is moving into the building phase of construction. In the last week the boat ramp bulkhead has been completed and backfilled.  The swales on the sides of the roadways have been excavated, and topsoil has been filled around the canals. 

Footing excavation has begun on the east end of the research building, and equipment for concrete work and storage structures are in place west of the research building site.  Form work is currently being fabricated. 

Upon completion the UNC-CSI research and education campus will provide the infrastructure needed to expand its four main research areas, Estuarine Ecology and Human Health, Coastal Processes and Engineering, Public Policy and Coastal Sustainability and Maritime Heritage.  (Pictures courtesy of Mark Kasten)


March 11, 2011 

Renewable Ocean Energy Symposium Well Attended

Dr. Edge speaks at the Renewable Ocean Energy SymposiumThe UNC Coastal Studies Institute, along with University partners from NC State University, UNC Charlotte and NC A&T University hosted a two-day symposium that focused on utilizing ocean energy as a renewable energy source in North Carolina.  

Over 75 participants attended the symposium, including engineers, scientists and industry experts.  The symposium featured keynote speaker Jennifer Bumgartner, the Assistant Secretary of Energy at the NC Energy Office, and included focused breakout sessions to consider technical, environmental, economic and public education issues associated with the development and application of ocean energy technologies in North Carolina.  Detailed work plans which will outline strategies to explore the use of innovative renewable ocean energy technologies for North Carolina will be developed from the work done during the breakout sessions of the symposium.


February 24, 2011

Work on Upcoming UNC-CSI Research and Education Campus Continues Boat Basin Bulkhead

As the site preparation work draws to a close, the construction of the campus buildings is beginning.  The tie backs have been installed at the boat basin.  Roads are in place, and buildable areas have been made ready for construction to begin.  The boat basin bulkheads are also nearing completion.

The installation of stone on the access road, readying the building pad at Auditorium and Research Building will be the first area of construction on the site. 

Construction on this site will move quickly with an expected completion date in late 2012.  This new research and education campus will provide the infrastructure needed to expand UNC-CSI’s four main research areas, Estuarine Ecology and Human Health, Coastal Processes and Engineering, Public Policy and Coastal Sustainability and Maritime Heritage. 

>> More Information

February 11, 2011

NC Low Impact Development Guidebook Wins State Award

A collaborative project, the Low Impact Development (LID) Multimodal Planning Resources for North Carolina recently won the Marvin Collins Outstanding Planning Award. This project is a N.C. Cooperative Extension educational program that focuses on development practices to protect water quality.  The award recognizes innovative and highly successful efforts to create sustainable communities.   

 LID workshopThe result of this project included an online curriculum, three workshops and a 310-page guidebook that provides information on protecting the state’s environment during times of growth.  The guidebook takes into account the state’s geography, its regulatory environment and current low impact development practices.  It is not just an abstract idea, but a tool that can be used by local officials and planners. 

This project was funded by an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, and contributors included faculty and staff from NC State University, UNC Coastal Studies Institute, Upper Neuse River Basin Association, Tetra Tech, PLS, NC Department of Natural Resources, McKim and Creed, City of Raleigh and Land of Sky Regional Council.
>> NC LID Guidebook 

January 31, 2011

The UNC Coastal Studies Institute Hosts Outer Banks Rip Current Study Report

Greg Dusek, a graduate student in the Department of Marine Sciences at the Beach survey for rip current studyUniversity of North Carolina Chapel Hill will present his study “Rip Current Observation, Study and Prediction at Kill Devil Hills, NC” on February 9 at 6 p.m. in the Kill Devil Hills Town Hall.  This study was performed in partnership with Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue under the guidance of David Elder in an effort to improve our understanding of rip current formation and to address the need for an improved forecast system.

An observational study of rip currents, beach morphology, waves and the near shore ocean bottom was conducted from 2001-2009 in the town of Kill Devil Hills with the support of KDH Ocean Rescue, US Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility and the UNC Coastal Studies Institute.  This project was undertaken in an effort to fill a gap in rip current research regarding how rip currents vary over time and space, and what physical factors have the greatest influence on this variability.  An improved forecast system can be generated using these variables, potentially reducing the number of rip current- related rescues and drowning. 

Dusek will focus his presentation on the field work that was completed in KDH in 2008-2009 with an overview of some results from those observations.  David Elder from KDH Ocean Rescue will present the importance of this project from a lifeguard’s perspective, and their involvement in the project.


January 27, 2011 

The UNC Coastal Studies Institute Receives State Award and Recognition

Dr. White accepts Soil and Water Conservation AwardThe UNC Coastal Studies Institute (UNC-CSI) was honored Saturday, January 22, 2011 with an award “In Recognition of Outstanding Achievement and Contributions to Resource Related Programs,” by the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.  The Soil and Water Conservation Society fosters the science and the art of soil, water and related natural resource management to achieve sustainability.  They promote and practice an ethic recognizing the interdependence of people and the environment.  The Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter represents soil and water conservation professionals across the state of North Carolina. 

UNC-CSI’s mission is to undertake research, offer educational opportunities, provide community outreach programs, and enhance communication among those concerned with the unique history, culture and environment of the maritime counties of North Carolina.  Bob Glennon, a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, noted that the Natural Resources Conservation Service has reduced its presence on the coast over the past 20 years.  As such, the UNC Coastal Studies Institute fills an important technical void for sustainability, conservation and restoration efforts on the coast in the full range of cultural and environmental sectors including maritime history, urban communities and the estuary.

January 14, 2011

UNC-CSI Skyco Campus Update

Bulkhead Construction

Great progress has been made on the ground moving phase at the UNC-CSI Skyco campus site.  The buildable areas have been cleared and graded.  The canals that lead to the marina have been excavated, but not yet connected to the sound. 

Bulkheads have been constructed on the center canal that will lead to the marina and marine services building, and 98% of the vinyl sheeting used to stabilize the bulkheads has been installed on the south bulkead.  The grounds are really starting to take shape with majority of the road and swales graded.  The building pads at the marine services building and boat storage areas have been completed.  Reestablishment of the construction entrance and the excavation of a boat basin was also finished this week.



January 7, 2011 

UNC-CSI Skyco Campus Update

Campus RoadThe buildable areas have been cleared and graded.  The canals that lead to the marina have been excavated, but not yet connected to the sound. 

Bulkheads have been constructed on the center canal that will lead to the marina and marine services building, and 60% of the vinyl sheeting used to stabilize the bulkheads has been installed.  The grounds are really starting to take shape with majority of the road graded and swales completed. 


January 3, 2011

Cape Hatteras Secondary School Green Eco Team Wins District Level Lexus Eco Challenge 

CHSS Green Eco TeamCape Hatteras Secondary School's Green Eco Team won the district level competition of the 2010-2011 Lexus Eco Challenge. This award challenges teens across the country to make a difference in the environmental health of our planet through community projects.

Five students from Christin Brown's  9th grade science class formed the CHSS Green Eco Team and worked to increase environmental awareness and promote stewardship of the fragile ecosystems on Hatteras Island. 

The team submitted a report of the project and won at the district level, making them eligible for the national competition. Their project to improve environmental stewardship in Cape Hatteras included increased curb side recycling, sound side clean ups, education, a green expo and environmental checklist magnets for rental houses.



December 2, 2010

UNC-CSI Extends K-12 Programming to Pasquotank County

Cartesian Divers ExperimentThe UNC-CSI Education team is currently conducting school programming in Dare, Currituck and Pasquotank Counties.  It is part of UNC-CSI's mission to offer educational opportunites and enhance communication among those concerned with the unique history, culture and environment of the maritime counties of North Carolina.

Newly created partnerships at Elizabeth City Middle School have opened up the opportunity to engage students in important societal issues in the Pasquotank River Basin.  Because of the school’s location, it has the unique opportunity to use ecosystems on the school's ground to assist in teaching complex science curriculum, and investigate human impacts on aquatic ecosystems. 

UNC-CSI and partners are interested in creating a wetland between the school's impervious surfaces and the Pasquotank River.  Through this process students will investigate stormwater runoff, multiple freshwater ecosystems, and water testing procedures.  The created wetland would also filter runoff before it enters into natural wetlands and the Pasquotank River. 

UNC-CSI is already teaching exciting curriculum with eighth grade students in attempts to make scientific concepts more relevant and understandable, and prepare them for data collection work and scientific discovery in their outdoor classroom. 


November 9, 2010

Manteo High School Wetland Construction Update

MHS Boardwalk ConstructionThe constructed wetland at Manteo High School is on track for successful completion in the Spring of 2011.  The purpose of this project is to improve the water quality in Dough’s Creek, provide environmental education to the public and provide a learning environment for the students and faculty of Manteo High School.  The project will provide students and faculty an opportunity to better understand the natural environments at the land – water interface, and involve them directly in improving water quality in Dough’s Creek and Shallowbag Bay, an environmentally sensitive area threatened by urbanization and stormwater runoff. 

Construction began in September, and UNC Coastal Studies Institute engaged high school students at that time in an effort to increase student and faculty excitement and awareness of the project.  Curriculum created for this project aligns key environmental concepts with North Carolina science standards to prepare students for field activities in the created environmental education environment. 

A boardwalk, which will connect the existing estuarine marsh areas, Dough’s Creek and Manteo High School, is currently being constructed.  The boardwalk will provide access for outdoor education, observation and scientific labs.  The creation of these outdoor education areas will encourage explorative learning, will make science more relevant to students and allow students to experience complex concepts in a natural setting.    




October 14, 2010

Atlantic Estuarine Research Society Fall Meeting to Take Place in Kitty Hawk

AERSThe Atlantic Estuarine Research Society (AERS) brings together students, scientists, managers and educators from DC, DE, MD, NC, NJ, PA and VA to discuss estuarine and coastal environments and policies. 

AERS aims to foster broader insterest in our environment by increasing scientific and public awareness of current issues. The Fall 2010 meeting of the AERS will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk, NC.  The meeting will run from November 4-6.  A panel discussion titled "Lessons from the Gulf: the role of the coastal scientist when disaster strikes" will start the meetings. 
>> AERS Meeting Flyer

September 30, 2010

Manteo High School Wetland Construction Project Underway

Manteo High School Wetlands ConstructionA collaborative effort of many partners has lead to a constructed wetland project at Manteo High School (MHS).  Manteo High School is located just north of downtown Manteo, NC and is situated adjacent to Dough’s Creek - which flows directly into Shallowbag Bay.  This is an environmentally sensitive area threatened by urbanization and point and non-point source stormwater runoff, including runoff from MHS.

The objective of this project is to improve the water quality in Dough’s Creek, provide environmental education to the public and to provide a learning environment for students and faculty of Manteo High School.  This project will provide students and faculty of the school an opportunity to better understand the natural environments at the land – water interface, and to involve them directly in improving water quality in Dough’s Creek and Shallowbag Bay. 

Manteo High School currently has no access to Dough’s creek because the buffer area between the campus and the creek is heavily vegetated with native and non-native invasive plant species.  This physical separation of the students from these natural ecosystems prevents an understanding of the direct cause-and-effect relationship of development and natural systems. 



September 15, 2010


The University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute (UNC-CSI) has appointed its newest faculty member, Dr. Andy Keeler.  Dr. Keeler has accepted a dual appointment position as the Program Head of Public Policy and Coastal Sustainability for UNC-CSI and professor in the Department of Economics at East Carolina University. 

With the appointment of Dr. Keeler, UNC-CSI is gaining decades of experience in environmental economics and policy. He has worked in advisory capacities to legislative and executive agencies in Georgia, Florida and Ohio as well as at the national level. 

The program’s mission is to produce usable research, facilitate the better use of and accessibility to research results, act as an honest broker in helping decision-makers and the public evaluate competing claims in science and policy, and foster participatory decision-making in the context of public policy processes. 

With the addition of new staff members and as the UNC Coastal Studies Institute’s programs continue to develop and expand, more work space was needed.  Many thanks to Dare County for providing additional work space in the former Dare County Administrative Building on Budleigh Street.  After a few coats of paint and some furniture, this space now houses staff from UNC CSI’s education department, the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and the UNC Chapel Hill Institute for the Environment Albemarle Ecological Field Site Program.    



August 27, 2010

Wave Gages Deployed on Outer Banks Before Hurricane Earl

A wave gage, which monitored storm surge and wave heights from Hurricane Earl attached to Avalon PierThe data collected will be used to calibrate storm surge models that are used to create flood maps.  This could potentially lead to more accurate predictions of flooding in the future.  The data will also be used to measure the threshold of flooding for building failures.  Having access to this data could assist in stronger building designs.  

Instrumentation to monitor storm surge and wave heights from Hurricane Earl were deployed along the Outer Banks as part of a partnership with NC Sea Grant, USGS, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Florida and the UNC Coastal Studies Institute. 

These wave gages will record a change in pressure as the water rises and falls.  They can operate for five days, and the data recorded will provide a complete hydrograph, or chart of the
water flow, instead of a single peak point.  These gauges will record data points twice a second. 



August 24, 2010

Subcontractor Meet and Greet for Information on Prequalification and Bid Time for UNC Coastal Studies Institute Construction Project  

Building construction of UNC CSI’s 204 acre campus site is expected to begin in November 2010.  The design phase of the project has been completed, and building occupancy is expected in the summer of 2012. 

This 90,000 square foot campus will be built using LEED certified construction techniques.   It will include a marina facility to support boat and dive work, dormitories to house students and a 50,000 square foot research and education facility.  This facility will incorporate smart spaces, sustainable energy and water management systems and advanced interactive distance education technologies. 

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company is hosting a Subcontractor Meet & Greet at the Dare County Administration Building, 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo, NC 27954, in room 168, on Thursday September 2, at 10:30AM.  The purpose of this event is to meet local subcontractors and HUB / MWBE subcontractors, and inform them of the prequalification and bid time frame for the upcoming Coastal Studies Institute construction project in Manteo, NC. 



August 8, 2011

UNC CSI Campus Model

UNC CSI Campus Site 

Building construction of UNC CSI’s 204 acre campus site is expected to begin in November 2010.  The design phase of the project has been completed, and building occupancy is expected in the summer of 2012. 

This 90,000 square foot campus will be built using LEED certified construction techniques.   It will include a marina facility to support boat and dive work, dormitories to house students and a 50,000 square foot research and education facility.  This facility will incorporate smart spaces, sustainable energy and water management systems and advanced interactive distance education technologies. 

UNC Coastal Studies Institute serves as an inter-institutional research center in North Eastern North Carolina by providing collaborative programming in the areas of Maritime Heritage, Coastal Processes and Engineering, Estuarine Ecology and Human Health, and Coastal Sustainability of Human Dimensions. 

>> Follow UNC CSI on Facebook

23, 2010

UNC CSI Assists Old Dominion University with Calibrating their Coastal Ocean Radar (CODAR) System

The Fourth Island at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge TunnelAs part of a partnership with the Mid Atlantic Regional Coastal Observing System (MARCOS) and Old Dominion University, the UNC Coastal Studies Institute recently worked to calibrate an instrument that is used to measure the speed and direction of surface currents. 

This system works by sending out a 4.53 Mhz radio frequency that is reflected off the ocean's surface and is collected back through a receive antenna.  The CODAR system is able to calculate the speed and direction of surface currents from the Doppler shift of the radio waves.  

The antenna that needed to be calibrated were located on the Fourth Island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  The calibration consisted of creating known patterns using a transmitter device and documenting tracks through GPS devices.


 July 2, 2010

The NOAA led 2010 Battle of the Atlantic Expedition Comes to an End

John McCord uses Red Camera to film shipwrecks from WWII Battle of the Atlantic Battle of the Atlantic in World War II.  Divers from NOAA, the State of North Carolina, UNC Coastal Studies Institute, East Carolina University, National Park Service and the Minerals Management Service use non-invasive methods to document and collect data from these shipwrecks.  This year focused on merchant vessels lost in attempts to bring supplies to the war effort in Europe.  

This expedition not only collects information but it also works to raise awareness about battles that were fought just a few miles off our coastline and to preserve our nation's maritime history.  

This year the diving was launched from a new research vessel to the NOAA East Coast fleet, the SRVx.  It was also the first time video footage was taken using a RED Camera, which can shoot in 4 times the resolution of High Definition.  A special thanks to RENCI for use of this camera.  UNC CSI’s own John McCord was operator of this extremely valuable piece of equipment. 

June 21, 2010

ECU Maritime Field School Comes to a Close and UNC CSI's Participation in The Battle of the Atlantic Expedition Begins

An ECU student maps artifacts on the OrientalECU's Maritime History and Archaeology masters students have finished a month long field school on the Outer Banks.

This Maritime Field School focused on educating the students on proper archaeology techniques in a variety of situations.  Students mapped shipwrecks found on the beach as well as three shipwrecks that were found in less than forty feet of water off our coast. 

They were successful in practicing mapping and drawing skills as well as collecting important data from shipwrecks that are currently deteriorating away.  A shipwreck studied in Corolla may be one of the oldest shipwrecks found on the North Carolina Coast, and some archeologists estimate that it could deteriorate to dust over time.  A sad thought considering it survived for possibly 400 years on the ocean floor.  

UNC CSI will begin documenting shipwrecks that were involved in the Battle of the Atlantic during WWII as part of a NOAA led expedition.  For updates on this expedition check our facebook page. 
>> Follow UNC CSI on Facebook

May 24, 2010

UNC Coastal Studies Institute’s Dive Team recovers 2 Acoustic Dopler Current Profiler (ADCP) Pods from the Ocean Floor

Corey Adams and Mike Remige with an ADCPAfter much patience and a few canceled trips the weather finally cooperated long enough for UNC CSI's dive team to recover pieces of our ocean observing equipment. 

Two Acoustic Dopler Current Profilers (ADCPs) and the pods that secure them to the ocean floor were recovered through multiple working dives at two locations in the waters off Kill Devil Hills. These instruments log ocean current speed and direction data as well as wave height, speed and direction.

The collection of these instruments was required to collect data and perform maintenance.  The pods were retrieved to be used again on other observing projects. 

Marine life often gathers around the structures, and one of the divers was luckily enough to encounter a sand tiger shark.  Unfortunately it promptly left after divers began working to retrieve the pod.

May 3, 2010

UNC Coastal Studies Institute’s Coastal Engineer Dr. Billy Edge Returns from Data Collection Trip to Chile

Three technical assessment teams sent by The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently visited Chile shortly after the second largest recorded earthquake in history.  The teams were interested in learning from the performance of the region’s various infrastructure systems.  UNC Coastal Studies Institute’s Coastal Engineering Program Head, Dr. Billy Edge, lead a team that observed the impacts of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on the region’s seaports.  In addition, the team studied the tsunami’s effect on inland travel and the location of sediment deposits and scour, plus the resulting structural and non-structural damage at the major ports.  

The 8.8 magnitude quake caused significant damage to buildings, roads, bridges, water systems, telecommunication, electric power and other lifeline facilities.  The tsunami generated by the earthquake also caused extensive damage to the coastline.  The team visited nine different locations along the coast of Chile and documented infrastructure damages caused by both the earthquake and tsunami.  The engineers made use of multiple transportation methods to observe structures; including foot, truck, boat and by small aircraft.  

Chile has a history of earthquakes and a modern attitude to risk management, which created a culture of planning and design that resulted in much less damage than expected.  The team observed that port structures built to current building codes performed well during the seismic event, while many structures that had not followed building codes failed.  They also found that the rapid evacuation of ports before the tsunami arrived greatly minimized damage.  The loss of power immediately after the earthquake created a very significant problem within the ports.  The lack of power immobilized the large container cranes that were in the process of loading and unloading.  When the ships tried to leave port some became entangled with the container and cable from the crane.  Damage to some cranes occurred when ships evacuated rapidly to avoid the oncoming tsunami.  

In addition to the structural damage caused by acceleration of the ground, the team also noted that soil failures lead to damage of some ports.  Some soils shifted or eroded during the earthquake, which undermined systems and lead to damage of infrastructure.

Throughout the study, the scientists and engineers developed recommendations that could reduce damages in future natural disasters including, plans for vertical evacuations, evacuation assistance for the aged and disabled, and designing flow-through areas within low lying buildings. They also recommended back up of all hospital and research files in locations with less risk of damage from natural disasters.    

Port specific recommendations included quick release moorings for faster evacuation of ports before a tsunami, and the development of a uniform port and harbor design code that would lead to infrastructure that can withstand environmental pressures.  Key recommendations also included the development of a nationally funded coastal water level monitoring system and seismic monitoring program that can survive flooding, and a long term plan for land uplifting caused by tectonic plate movements.

CSI’s Edge said, “Our investigation of the effects of the earthquake and tsunami on the ports in Chile clearly showed that proper design, planning and construction are very effective in reducing damage and destruction caused by natural disasters.  Moreover, we feel that proper planning for emergency response is critical to avoid unexpected damages.”


April 7, 2010

Dr. Billy Edge of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute to Lead Team of Researchers in Studying Effects of Chilean Earthquake on Infrastructure

Dr. Billy EdgeA team of scientists and engineers, including Dr. Billy Edge of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute, will study the effects of a very powerful earthquake that occurred off the west coast of Chile on 27 February 2010.   The 8.8 magnitude quake caused significant damage to buildings, roads, bridges, water systems, telecommunication, electric power and other lifeline facilities. 

The earthquake also generated a tsunami, which caused extensive damage to the coastline.  Chile has a history of earthquakes and a modern attitude to risk management, which created a culture of planning and design that resulted in much less damage than expected.  There is the potential for a lot to be learned from studying the successes and failures of the planned infrastructure systems employed by Chile. 

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will be sending three technical assessment teams to Chile in the coming weeks in an effort to learn from the performance of the region’s various infrastructure systems.  UNC Coastal Studies Institute’s Coastal Engineering Program Head, Dr. Billy Edge, will be leading a team that will investigate the impacts of both the earthquake and tsunami on the region’s seaports, effects on inland travel, structural and non-structural damage and sediment deposits.  The team is from ASCE’s Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI).

A report generated from this investigation of resilience and robustness of port facilities will lead to a better understanding of the requirements of planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining port infrastructure and coastal communities.   

These studies are conducted so that engineers may learn from the disaster, and to document those lessons to inform future actions.


March 23, 2010

Immersive Media Videos of November Nor' Easter

Exposed Septic Tank - South Nags HeadIn November of this year the UNC Coastal Studies Institute collaborated with the Renaissance Computing Institute(RENCI) and Duck Rescue to document damage to local shorelines from a high energy storm event.  A camera that can produce 360-degree high definition images was temporarily mounted to the roof a Duck Surf and Rescue vehicle, and used to record the destruction on the beaches through immersive media technology. 

The data from the camera was then processed to create a composite video where the angle of the camera can be controlled by the viewer.  The viewer can control the camera to view any direction as the video plays. 

This immersive media can be used for many applications.  Through this project it will help identify vulnerable shoreline areas, visually show the amount of destruction a storm causes through before and after videos, and may be used to document how the shoreline changes.  

To view the videos click on the link below.  Then click on the project details box.  At the next page scroll down and open the folder for dare-county.  Each line is a different section of video.  

>>Immersive Media


March 8, 2010

The Third Annual Green Building Seminar and Expo

Green Building Expo 2010March 4, 2010 marked the third Green Building Seminar and Expo at the College of The Albemarle on Roanoke Island. This event included seminars from professionals within sustainable fields.  Speakers attended from the local community as well as surrounding communities.  Knowledge gained through experience with cutting edge technologies was passed on to attendees. 

The vendor expo included over 20 businesses that manufacture, distribute and provide innovative green products or services.  The vendor expo was well attended, and UNC CSI would like to thank all vendors who participated and helped to educate others about sustainable products and services.     

The success of the expo and seminars was only possible through the generosity of our sponsors.  Blue Green Outerbanks, Outerbanks Home Builders Association, Waldt Renewables, Real Escapes and Atlantic Shutters made this event possible through their support.  Thank you to all who participated and made this event possible.


February 26, 2010

Join UNC CSI at the Third Annual Green Building Seminar and Expo

Speaker Corey AdamsAn all day sustainable fair and expo will be held March 4, 2010 at the College of The Albemarle on Roanoke Island.  This event will include a vendor expo that is free to the public, as well as seminars and breakout sessions with professionals in the alternative energy and energy efficiency fields.  The vendor expo will include businesses that manufacture, distribute and provide innovative green products or services.      

The seminars will include speakers that are experts in their fields, as well as local businesses that are currently using sustainable technologies.  The cost to attend the seminars is $25 in advance, and $30 at the door.  This cost includes lunch, the seminars, vendor expo and also provides eligibility to win door prizes, including a $250 grand prize. 
Come join us at the College of the Albemarle Roanoke Island Campus for this exciting sustainable event.

February 5, 2010

UNC CSI Recovers Native Plants from Campus Site 

The Beach Pea

Recently members of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute and local partners picked pea pods from plants currently on the 200 acre UNC CSI campus site in Skyco.  After a site assessment by Robert Glennon, a manager from the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program USDA, Natural Resources Conservation service, it was discovered that there are many stabilizing, native plants that are currently on the undeveloped campus site.  An effort is being made to relocate these valuable plants to an area of the site which won’t be disturbed by the construction of the campus.  Many of the plants can be used to stabilize the canals by relocating them once construction is completed.  By rescuing and replanting we hope to minimize the environmental impact of developing this area. 

The first plants to be recovered from the site were seed pods from the Beach pea (Strophosyles helvola).  It was critical to collects these pods now because they had not yet broken and dispersed their seeds.  These pods were collected and will be stored until they can be replanted after construction is completed.   

Efforts will continue to relocate native plants until construction begins. Moving the plants in the winter, while they are in adormant state may lead to a greater chance of success.    

January 11, 2010

UNC CSI Installs Sampling  Equipment at Stormwater Filtration System 

Corey Adams and Mike Remige install a velocity meterAs part of an ongoing, two phase study the UNC Coastal Studies Institute has recently installed equipment that will allow them to monitor a large storm water filter at the Conch St beach access.  The purpose of this filter is to reduce the amount of pollutants being released into the ocean through a stormwater outfall.    Velocity meters and suction devices were installed within the filtration system so flow rates can be measured and samples can be taken for further analysis. 

Phase I of this study included sampling of nine storm water outfalls in Dare County.  These samples were tested for total coliforms, bacteria Enterococcus sp. and E. Coli, and human fecal contamination.  Phase II of the study includes monitoring these same stormwater outfalls after Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been implemented.  A BMP is a practice or method that effectively reduces sources of pollution.  Filtration is one BMP being explored by the engineering firm Moffatt and Nichol, other BMPs include bioretention areas and marshland buffers.  The data collected from this study should aid in development of predictive models to better foresee potential public health risks in the presence of stormwater. 

December 7, 2009

Dr. Richard Miller and Chris Buonassissi of UNC CSI Receive NASA Award

Dr. Rick Miller and Chris BuonassissiAs members of the science team of the 2008 Southern Ocean Gas Exchange Experiment (GasEx III), Estuarine and Coastal Processes program head Dr. Richard Miller and research associate Chris Buonassissi recently received a group achievement award by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  The award was given in recognition of the science team’s accomplishments and interagency collaboration in GasEx III, which took place from February 29 to April 12, 2008.

Dr. Miller and Mr. Buonassissi spent six weeks aboard the 274-foot NOAA ship Ronald Brown, along with 30 other scientists, where they recorded measurements to investigate the exchange of gases between the atmosphere and the sea.  The study focused on climate affecting gases such as carbon dioxide. 

A quarter of the world’s 8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide produced by humans annually is thought to be absorbed by the world’s oceans.  The Southern Ocean accounts for 30 percent of the surface area of global seas and is a source of great uncertainty, because the cold seas and high winds may affect the rate that gases are absorbed.  These characteristics make the Southern Ocean potentially important in understanding global systems. 

 The GasEx III experiment is third in a series of similar experiments.  GasEx I was conducted in the north Atlantic in 1998, and GasEx II was conducted in the equatorial Pacific in 2001.

November 25, 2009

UNC CSI works with Renaissance Computing Institute(RENCI) to document damage from recent storm

Duck Rescue TruckThe Coastal Engineering department of UNC CSI worked with RENCI and Duck Rescue to take images of some of the areas of the outer banks that were greatly affected by the recent high winds and waves.  A special camera, the immersive media camera system, was used to capture 360-degree high definition images.  The camera was mounted on the roof of a Duck Surf Rescue truck and Merrick Dabrowski safely drove the beaches of Nags Head as well as some locations in Rodanthe. 

The data collected will provide an opportunity to get a comp360 Cameralete view of the beach, berms and dunes.  The images will be spliced together providing a composite video that one can “drive through.”  This video will provide an opportunity to correlate the damages from the storm with the performance of the beach.  It will also be used to compare with ground videography, aerial photography and LIDAR data being prepared by US Geological Survey(USGS).  The creation of this video will be a major step forward in understanding coastal processes and anthropogenic opportunities.
>>More Information on Camera System


 November 16, 2009 

coring sample

UNC CSI Campus Site’s Soils Tested coring sample   
 As the design phase for the UNC CSI Campus moves towards completion, more information was required for foundation and waste water system designs. Soil samples were recently collected for structural investigations to provide more information for foundation design, and to obtain hydrological information for the wastewater system. 

These samples were collected through a coring process where a hollow tube is pushed down into the sediment to a specific depth, then capped and retrieved.  A sample of the sediment remains in the tube.   Eleven sample sites were identified on the campus grounds for sediment investigations.  At nine of the coring sites samples were taken every five feet to a depth of twenty five feet.  At the other two coring sites samples were taken every five feet to a depth of sixty feet. 

In the near future a 300 foot well will be drilled to determine the thermal transfer for the geothermal system being designed for the HVAC of the main building.  Testing completed before construction begins should allow for a more sustainably designed campus.

October 28, 2009

Coring samples

UNC CSI Assists in Shoreline Stabilization Study

North Carolina has over 5000 miles of estuarine shoreline, many of which are experiencing significant erosion at an average of over 20 feet a year in some places.  UNC Coastal Studies is participating in a multi-disciplinary research project to examine the ecosystem structure and function associated with bulkheaded shorelines, the predominant shoreline stabilization method in North Carolina.  This research is being conducted in a partnership with NOAA, NC NERR, UNC Chapel Hill and Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET). 

Recently UNC CSI collected sediment samples from six locations within Kitty Hawk Bay. The study sites were chosen to have only marsh grass or natural stabilization, only bulkheads or man-made stabilization, or a combination of the two.  Coring was used to collect the sediment, which will be tested for nitrification and chlorophyll levels.  The results from these samples will be included in part of a larger study concerning the environmental effects of bulkheads on estuarine shoreline environments. 


October 19, 2009

Izzy’s Inlet Shoreline Recovery Study Completed

Izzy's PlugA multi-year study monitoring the restoration of the Izzy Inlet area of Hatteras Island has recently been completed.  The results of this study found the sandy ocean beach ecosystem had recovered quickly from devestation caused by Hurricane Isabel, while the sound-front ecosystem was extremely slow to recover.  The results from studying both plant and animal communities found that in future restoration efforts the majority of resources should be used to restore the sound side ecosystem. 

Experiments were also conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of restoration efforts in regards to plant species and soil nutrients.The results of these experiments suggest alternative methods for restoration of barrier island plant communities.  A PDF version of the complete report can be seen here: 



October 9, 2009

Super Transponder Run Completed

super transponder runUNC Coastal Studies Institute recently completed a calibration of the Coastal Ocean Radar (CODAR) receive antenna located at the Field Research Facility in Duck.  The Codar system measures both speed and direction of ocean surface currents (approximately the top 2-3 meters of the water column) by measuring the doppler shift in a reflected electromagnetic wave caused by the motion of the sea surface, that was transmitted at a known frequency.  The receive antennae was recently relocated to attempt to solve a possible distortion problem caused by conductors on the research pier itself. Moving the receive antenna requires a re-calibration of the system that measures the electromagnetic distortion in the new antenna location.

antennae assemblysemicircle traversed around the antenna at a radius of 2 km with a jetski.  The GPS coordinates are paired with the transmit signal at each location to knit together a calibration “pattern” specific to the receive antenna location and the conductors that interfere with the signal. 

Data from CODAR systems up and down the coast provide scientists, the coast guard, and sailors with the most up to date surface currents. The radars are maintained by a multi university partnership which includes UNC-CH.  By combining data from multiple CODAR stations, the Coast Guard can refine their search for missing persons by considering the direction and speed of currents off the coast.  You can see the most up to date current data at:


October 1, 2009

Cape Hatteras Secondary School to Raise Pompano in Aquaculture System

seining CHSSThe students of Cape Hatteras Secondary School, under the supervision of UNC-CSI staff, have been raising fish in an aquaculture program that incorporates NC State Curriculum Standards into a hands-on science project.  Beginning in 2007, middle school science students have raised numerous species of fish including black drum, striped bass, and flounder.  Some of these fish have been tagged and released, while others were released onto the oyster reef that has been constructed behind the school. 

The sixth grade class recently collected around 100 pompano during a field trip to the Avon fishing pier.  Students from teachers Tracy Shisler’s and Amber Bradshaw’s classes will raise the pompano and other species throughout the school year in their aquaculture systems.  The pompano were collected from the surf zone on beaches in the Cape Hatteras area using a seine net. 

The high school Ecology and Environmental Studies classes are working with UNC CSI to create curriculum and a polyculture system that would continue student's experience with aquaculture into high school.     

These projects explore the study of ecology, chemistry, biology, engineering and physics in a program that encourages coastal careers in marine science and aquaculture.

September 3, 2009

UNC Coastal Studies Institute and Partners Offer NC Low Impact Development and Green Building Workshop in Currituck County

LID ConstructionThe UNC Coastal Studies Institute, along with partners from NCSU, NCDENR, EPA and the NC Solar Center are hosting a Low Impact Development (LID) and Green Building Workshop at the Currituck County Extension Center on September 23, 2009.  The workshop will focus on Low Impact Development as an environmentally and economically sustainable approach to stormwater management in coastal North Carolina. 

This workshop will focus on utilizing the 2009 North Carolina LID Guidebook as the basis for what the building community, homeowner associations and local governments need to know to adopt and implement Low Impact Development practices in North Carolina.  Stormwater and its impacts are an ongoing problem in many communities, and this workshop will provide guidance and a manual to assist in overcoming this problem specifically within our state.  A regional case study will accompany the training as well as a CD version of the North Carolina Guidebook and other workshop materials.

The instructors of this workshop include professionals from throughout North Carolina that created the training curriculum for the North Carolina LID Guidebook.  The cost of this workshop is $75 per person or $150 for professionals seeking credit hours.  There are a limited number of scholarships available and the fee includes lunch, refreshments and materials.

August 17, 2009

UNC-CSI Participates in Second Phase of NOAA's Battle of the Atlantic Expedition

John McCord FilmingAugust 9, 2009 marked the beginning of the second leg of a multi-year project to document WWII vessels that were lost in the Battle of the Atlantic.  During the Second World War a naval campaign was waged within sight of the North Carolina Coast.  As many as 80 vessels were lost during this campaign, and hundreds of lives. 

The focus of this project is to research and document historically significant vessels from both Allied and Axis forces.  This expedition will document artifacts, record deterioration and raise awareness about what took place on our coastline during the war.  The vessels studied will not be disturbed, and proper respect will be shown to soldiers' lives lost during battle.

John McCord of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute is assisting NOAA and their partners by documenting and mapping the wrecks using underwater videography.  The first site visited on this leg of the expedition was the British Merchant ship HMT Bedfordshire. 

July 30, 2009

UNC CSI Hires Sustainable Engineering in Coastal Environments Program Head

Dr. Billy EdgeThe University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute (UNC-CSI) has appointed its newest member of the UNC-CSI team, Dr. Billy Edge.  Dr. Edge has accepted a dual appointment position as the head of the Sustainable Engineering in Coastal Environments program and as a professor in the Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering Department at North Carolina State University. 

Dr. Edge has experience working with projects all over the world.  He has published over 150 publications, and has presented at numerous conferences both nationally and internationally.  He has conducted extensive research in dynamic coastal processes, marine pollution control, coastal structures, sediment transport, mathematical modeling of natural systems and estuarine analysis.  Dr. Edge is excited to bring these diverse experiences to the shores of North Carolina where he was raised. 

As part of UNC-CSI he will investigate the effect of sea level rise on long term construction, the sustainability of infrastructure within coastal environments and long term implications of sea level rise on our coast line through applied research in response to community needs.


July 22, 2009

UNC CSI and Cape Hatteras Secondary School Begin New Research

Oyster shell is deliveredStudents from the Cape Hatteras Secondary School have opened a new chapter in their research on oyster reefs.  With the assistance and guidance of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute, the students will construct six - 1 meter square plots of oyster shell and six of limestone marl.  Spat recruitment will be observed and recorded for the two different substrates possibly providing some insight into the most effective way to recruit new oysters.  These plots will provide students in both the middle and high school with opportuni ties to continue research on oysters. 

The students spent hours bagging both oyster shell and limestone mLimestone marl meter squarearl to prepare for the underwater construction of these plots, which should take place the first week of August.  Constructing the reef is expected to take multiple days with the assistance of students, teachers, UNC CSI employees and parents.  These plots will be constructed within the marine sanctuary located behind the Cape Hatteras Secondary School in an effort to keep data accurate by avoiding harvesting.  This is an ongoing project which will provide students with experience in scientific research while potentially providing important data for oyster restoration efforts. 

July 14, 2009

UNC Coastal Studies Institute - North Carolina Aquariums Snorkeling Program

Jockey's Ridge Snorkel Site

The UNC Coastal Studies Institute has formed a new partnership with the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island to create a research experience for the Aquarium’s summer camp program.  The campers undergo a snorkeling class at the local YMCA pool instructed by the UNC CSI.  After completion of the calls, they will snorkel a bagged oyster shell reef created by the North Carolina Coastal Federation.  Preparing to snorkelThe students will learn scientific data collection methods, and use snorkeling to collect data from a sandy environment and an artificial reef environment.  One of the main focuses of study for this project is the difference in am ount of life found in reef ecosystems versus a sandy bottom ecosystem.  Water parameters will also be observed and recorded, as this area is a part of a restoration project there is hope that the reef and vegetation will create cleaner waters. 

As an addition to this program the campers will also assist the Coastal Federation by planting grasses as part of a shoreline restoration project.  The oyster reef provides a bay where natural grasses can once again thrive and help prevent erosion of the shoreline.  This camp runs for three weeks this summer, and the partnership will continue for years to come.  

July 1, 2009

Required Maintenance on Albemarle Sound Monitoring Equipment 

'S' Aton

On July 1, 2009 the UNC Coastal Studies Institute and ECU Department of Geological Sciences visited an instrument station in the Albemarle Sound to perform maintenance and repairs.  The “S” ATON supports numerous instruments including a Meteorological package that monitors functions such as wind, rain fall levels, temperature and humidity levels.  An underwater instrument called a Water Quality Module measures salinity, turbidity, temperature, oxygen and chlorophyll levels from 6 feet below the surface of the water.  Also connected to this station is an underwater tripod that holds a vector instrument, which measures current speed and direction and a Flintu, which provides data on turbidity and phytoplankton levels.  These instruments needed some cleaning, battery changes and rewiring. 

ATON Battery Change

Two dives were required to bring up underwater instruments and to clean off barnacles and algae from sensors.  All the data from these instruments is transmitted from a cell phone antennae and the whole station is powered by a solar panel.  These batteries needed to be changed and the charger was tested.  Once all the maintenance was performed the instruments needed to be restarted and reconfigured to send data on a specific time scale.  After a long day on the water some real progress was made towards getting all instruments working seamlessly.    


June 17, 2009  

Coastal Ocean Dynamics Application Radar(CODAR) Antenna Relocated

On June 16 the UNC Coastal Studies Institute, along with UNC Chapel Hill relocated a Coastal Ocean Dynamics Application Radar(CODAR) receiving antenna at the Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility in Duck.  CODAR is a radar system that is used to measure the speed CODAR relocationand direction of surface currents.  A transmitting antenna on the north side of the Duck Research Facility Pier sends out a radar wave that travel up to 150 miles across the surface of the ocean and the receiving antenna receives that wave on the south side of the pier. 

Because of the close proximity to the pier, there were concerns of an electromagnetic shadow distorting and reducing the radar waves returning to the receiving antenna.  UNC-CSI and UNC-CH relocated the receiving antenna further from the pier in an attempt to solve this problem.  It was no small task as new cable needed to be pulled and buried, designs were adjusted and the entire antenna was relocated a few hundred yards to the south. 

There are CODAR systems up and down the coast which provide a picture of currents' directions and speeds.  By combining data from multiple CODAR stations, the Coast Guard can refine thier search for missing persons by considering the direction and speed of currents off the coast.  CODAR data also serves practical uses for mariners, watersports enthusiasts and fishermen.  A stronger signal is currently being received, confirming the concerns about electromagnetic shadow.
>>CODAR Data


June 10, 2009 

 Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler(ADCP) Replaced

On June 4, the UNC Coastal Studies Institute replaced an ADCP instrument from aRemoved ADCP tripod that was found 40 feet underwater, around a mile off the coast of Kill Devil Hills, NC.  The ADCP uses four acoustic beams to calculate the speed and direction of currents from the sea floor to the surface of the water.  The difference in time and direction of the acoustic signals received by the ADCP allows scientists to remove the known doppler shift and use calculations to find the speed and direction of currents.  This instrument can also measure wave height, speed and direction. 

This information could be useful for predicting rip currents, and provide data that will assist in understanding coastal processes.  Recording current ocean data from observing instruments allows scientists to hindcast, or check the accuracy of their models based on information being observed in the ocean environment.  More accurate wave and current models would lead to better forecasting and marine reports. 

ADCP pinger gunBefore the old ADCP could be replaced with one with fresh batteries, the tripod that holds the ADCP in place on the ocean floor needed to be located.  A "pinger", device that produces an audible signal, is used to mark the exact location of the tripod, making it much easier to relocate in the future.  The "pinger" sends out a signal that can be followed using a "pinger gun".  Once the tripod is located, divers enter the water to replace the ADCP.    

A UNC CSI team of three divers and two support staff were able to make the switch in two dives.  This project is a collaboration with UNC Chapel Hill, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and KDH Ocean Rescue.

June 1, 2009

Acoustic Wind Profiler Installed

Sodar SystemAs part of a state funded project to study wind power potential in NC, Harvey Seim (PI) and his research group at UNC-CH and the UNC Coastal Studies Institute installed a SODAR, or an acoustic wind profiler at the Billy Mitchell airport in Frisco, NC from May 18-22, 2009.  This instrument will collect wind velocity information at a range of heights from about 50 meters above the ground to 200 meters that will help NC decision makers better understand the state's wind power generation potential. 


 Sodar is a type of remote sensing that measures wind profile and vertical turbulence structure of the lower atmosphere.  Sodar stands for sonic detection and ranging.  It is similar to a radar system, except instead of using radio waves, a sodar system uses sound waves.   An acoustic pulse is sent out and the return signal is analyzed to determine wind direction, wind speed and the turbulent character of the atmosphere.  Data collected from a sodar system can be used for wind shear warning, emergency response wind monitoring, sound transmission analyses, atmospheric dispersion studies, wind energy sighting and aircraft vortex monitoring. 

sodar computer In this study, sodar is being used to investigate the potential for wind power in this area of North Carolina.  Surface winds can be slowed by friction caused by different terrains.  As height above the surface is increased, local terrain has less effect on the wind.  Areas may have different potential for wind energy based on local terrain, and at different heights that wind potential may also change.  The sodar instrument installed will allow UNC-CSI scientists to view winds at different heights and analyze wind profiles in relation to wind power potential.

 This project is a collaborative effort with the National Park Service, the National Weather Service and the FAA.







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UNC Coastal Studies Institute
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