North Carolina Sea Grant
Coastwatch Currents

Coastwatch Currents

September 4, 2015 | Janna Sasser

By JANNA SASSER

Posted Sept. 4, 2015

tree in midst of lake

Singletary Lake, a Carolina bay lake in Bladen County. Photo by N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation

Autumn. For me, it’s the apple of the seasons. The breeze gets a refreshing bite and the landscape warms into gold and orange. The air carries a scent of wood smoke and spice. A nip creeps into the air, signaling the vigor of the season — a season that, for students, is tinged with an expedited schedule and adrenaline-induced jitters (and perhaps caffeine-induced, as well).

Yes, it’s an exciting time for students, and the Autumn 2015 issue of Coastwatch maintains that momentum.

mandarin duck

Sylvan Heights Bird Park houses about 2,000 individual birds, including this mandarin duck. Photo by Katie Lubbock

Throughout the summer, several North Carolina Sea Grant fellows had the opportunity to take their research into the field. For this issue, Coastwatch asked several fellows to describe that work. Graduate students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNC School of Law, Duke University and NC State University explained projects ranging from environmental and coastal law, to marine conservation and fishery issues, to coastal hazards and resilience.

Nichole Riddle, a senior at NC State and communications intern with Sea Grant, explores the benefits of journeying to the Outer Banks by the road less traveled. By benefits, I mean plenty of history, scenic natural beauty, and the largest collection of birds and waterfowl in North America.

This issue also contains my first story as a communications intern with Sea Grant — a look into the peculiar Carolina bay landforms, particularly those found in our state. If anything, the photos of these (somewhat unobtrusive) natural areas in our state are lovely! (And, for consonance, I’m also a senior at NC State.)

And there are sharks. How could there not be, in the aftermath of a summer-long Shark Week and a rash of shark bites along our coast? Rebecca Nagy, NC State graduate and communications intern with Sea Grant, pieces together the coverage that put North Carolina shark researchers, and related Sea Grant studies, at the forefront of media coverage and public mitigation.

Chuck Bangley in boat

Chuck Bangley, doctoral candidate at ECU, records conditions in the sound of the North Carolina Outer Banks near Cape Lookout during a research trip in July. Photo by Tegan Johnston/News & Observer

Also hear from Chuck Bangley, a Sea Grant-funded doctoral candidate at East Carolina University studying sharks, as he reflects on his experience responding to the media attention. The excerpt also can be found here. He blogs at Ya Like Dags and tweets from @SpinyDag.

Look for Bangley, along with other fellows and students, to continue their writing contributions in the Holiday 2015 issue.

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