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2010 Meetings


Speaker: Dr. Stewart B. Nelson
"Re-Discovering the World's First Arctic Submarine: Nautilus of 1931"

Many considered it foolhardy but Australia-born explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins was determined to be the first to use a submarine to cross the Arctic Ocean by way of the North Pole. At the Pole, he planned to drill up and rendezvous with the airship Graf Zeppelin. A decommissioned U.S. Navy WW I submarine was leased in 1930 and extensively modified for under-ice operation. Christened the Nautilus, the submarine reached the icepack but sabotage forced a return to Bergen, Norway and there the world’s first Arctic submarine was scuttled in a fjord in late 1931.

In September 2005, Dr. Stewart B. Nelson led an Explorers Club Flag Expedition that re-discovered the mostly forgotten Nautilus. The Wilkins-Ellsworth Trans Arctic Submarine Expedition of 1931 is certainly worthy of being remembered. Among the civilian crew of his submarine Nautilus was diver Frank Crilley, a holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and scientist Harald Sverdrup who would later become director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. 2008 was the 50th anniversary of the nuclear submarine Nautilus making the first submerged transit of the Arctic Ocean by way of the North Pole – the very thing that Sir Hubert attempted to do in his submarine Nautilus back in 1931. 2008 was also the 50th anniversary of Sir Hubert’s death. Additionally, 2008 marks the death of the last surviving crew member of Sir Hubert’s submarine Nautilus.

Stewart B. Nelson has been involved in a wide variety of ocean-related activities. He earned a masters degree from The University of Rhode Island and a doctorate from the University of Southern California. The former president of the American Oceanic Organization, he has numerous awards and honors including Congressional Fellow and Marine Technology Society Fellow. He is listed in American Men and Women in Science and Who's Who in Frontier Science and Technology.


Speaker: Dr. John M. Dean
Topic: "
Fishery Science and International Policy: A case study of Bluefin Tuna and Swordfish in the Mediterranean Sea"

Dr. John M. Dean: Distinguished Professor Emeritus Marine Science Program and Biological Sciences, Senior Fellow in Science and Ocean Policy, Baruch Institute, University of South Carolina.

BA Cornell College of Iowa, 1958; MS, 1960 and PhD, 1962 Aquatic Ecology Purdue University, Post doctorate, Duke University Marine Laboratory 1962-3, General Electric Company and Battelle Memorial Institute Richland, Washington 1963-70, Faculty in Marine Science, University of South Carolina 1970-2002.

His research emphasizes the age and growth of recreationally and commercially important fishes in fresh water, estuarine and oceanic ecosystems and environmental resource policy and management. His laboratory developed several key methods for the use of otoliths to age larval, juvenile and adult fishes, and especially pelagic fishes. His laboratory is well recognized for training international researchers in these methods. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in introductory biology, zoology, ecology, biology of fishes and science and public policy. He was a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellow in the Faculty of Fisheries of Hokkaido University, Hakodate, Japan in 1977 and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Nagasaki University Faculty of Fisheries, Nagasaki, Japan in 1985. He regularly works with his colleagues in Japan on fish ecology, fishery resources and habitat utilization. In 1999, he was Visiting Professor of Fisheries Ecology at the University of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Dr. Dean and his students have conducted research projects on the ecology of tuna and swordfish in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean and he collaborates with colleagues in Italy, Japan, France, Netherlands, Greece and Turkey. He has more than 100 publications in the refereed literature and numerous technical reports. Dr. Dean was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by Cornell College of Iowa in 2003.

His service on numerous advisory committees dealing with natural resource issues, and the role of science in the development and implementation of natural resources policies at the domestic and international level enables him to bring a unique perspective to his students and to policy makers. Dr. Dean served on the Committee on Technology and Marine Habitats and the Committee to Identify High-Priority Science to meet National Coastal Needs for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. He served on the South Carolina Coastal Council (1979-83), and was a member of the South Carolina Coastal Council Blue Ribbon Committee for Coastal Zone Management (1987). He served three terms on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 1987-90 and 1999-2006. He chaired the Highly Migratory Species committee as well as serving on several other committees of the council and was the council delegate to the US ICCAT Advisory Committee. He served four terms on the United States Advisory Committee for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and was chairman 1992-96. Upon completion of his third term on the SAFMC, he was appointed to their external Science and Statistics Committee. Professor Dean was appointed to the South Carolina Heritage Trust Advisory Board (1991-97) and was a member of the Advisory Board of the Land and Water Division of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources from 1992-2007. For over 20 years, Dr. Dean was the convener of the session on Natural Resources and the Environment for Leadership South Carolina. He serves as a consultant to several seafood and restaurant companies, including the Ponte Vecchio Ristorante in Boza, Italy, Trattoria Lillicu in Cagliari, Italy, and Blue Marlin in Columbia, South Carolina. He has recently been appointed to the Frenzy Sport Fishing Team, Columbia, SC and Costa Rica to develop scientific principles for their recreational fishing business. He helped form and is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the South Carolina Sustainable SeafoodInitiative. The South Carolina Supreme Court appointed him to the South Carolina Commission on Judicial Conduct from 2001-2011. The South Atlantic Regional Fisheries Management Council has recently appointed him to a three year term on the Information and Education Advisory Committee.


Speaker: Dr. Claudia R. Benitez-Nelson
"Dangers in the Deep: Possible long term impacts of harmful algal blooms along the coast."

Dr. Claudia R. Benitez-Nelson received her Ph.D. in Oceanography from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program in 1999.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Hawaii, sponsored in part by a NOAA Postdoctoral Fellowship in Climate Change, she joined the University of South Carolina (USC) in 2002.  Dr. Benitez-Nelson is a Professor in the Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences and the Director of the Marine Science Program at USC.  Her research focuses on understanding the ocean’s role in climate change, as well as human impacts on nutrient biogeochemistry and coastal ecology.  Dr. Benitez-Nelson is a diverse scientist, with expertise in radiochemistry, nutrient biogeochemistry, and harmful algal bloom toxins.  Over the past decade, she has authored or co-authored more than 55 papers, including several in the journals of Nature and Science, and two Oceanography Lab Manuals for Freshman Marine Scientists.  Dr. Benitez-Nelson has garnered over 3.5 million dollars in research support from a number of federal and state agencies.  Her many research honours include the Early Career Award in Oceanography from the American Geophysical Union in 2006, one of the highest honours in the field.  In 2010 she was named one of USC’s Rising Stars.  Dr. Benitez-Nelson is also highly regarded as a teacher and mentor, having received the National Faculty of the Year Award from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars in 2005 and USC’s Mungo Teaching Award in 2006.  Dr. Benitez-nelson currently serves as an Associate Editor of Limnology and Oceanography-Methods and Marine
Chemistry, as an elected Councillor of the Oceanography Society, and is a member of Advisory Committees to the Geoscience Directorate of the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency.


Speaker: Alan H. Shoemaker
"Eating Among Prehistoric Mammals: What we know about the biology of extinct mammals of The White River Badlands of Eastern Wyoming and why."

Alan Shoemaker is a graduate of Furman University (1967); in 1972 he obtained a Master of Science degree in Biology from the University of South Carolina.  Mr. Shoemaker worked at Riverbanks Zoological Park from 1972 until his retirement in May, 2002.  During his tenure at Riverbanks, he held the position of Curator of Mammals and Collection Manager.   He also holds the position of Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Biology, University of South Carolina.

Although retired, he remains active in several IUCN Specialist Groups, including the Tapir Specialist Group in which he continues to serve as that group’s Red List Authority.  In recognition for his work, Mr. Shoemaker was made an Honorary member of the AZA.  Mr. Shoemaker has authored over 125 refereed and professional papers, and over 100 popular articles.  Prior to attending graduate school, Mr. Shoemaker served in the U.S. Army for two years, including a seven-month of tour in Vietnam. 

Topic: "Eating Among Prehistoric Mammals: What we know about the biology of extinct mammals of The White River Badlands of Eastern Wyoming and why.".
This talk is the culmination of 13 collecting trips to a world famous mammal fossil site near Douglas, Wyoming which contains dozens of species of extinct species such as camels, rhinoceros, horses, oredonts and more.  Sample specimens that demonstrate their lives and diets will be available.  A short resume is attached as is a picture from last month's collecting trip.

Alan Shoemaker


Speaker: Harry Brooks
"1993 Coral Reef Survey to Butaritari (Flag 146) and its unintended consequences. Bringing the Marine Raiders home after 58 years"

Harry Brooks' South Carolina roots run deep. A January 1970 USC banking and finance graduate, he worked for C&S Bank in Sumter, while waiting for his Marine Corps OCS slot in June 1971. Harry was stationed at MCAS Beaufort for two years flying the F4 Phantom. He also flew F105's in the Air National Guard. His daughter, Bonnie, is a senior accounting major at Carolina.

Harry graduated from the Woodrow Wilson College of Law in 1979 in Atlanta. He started his own business in 1978 and has been self employed as an air safety investigator ever since. Harry has investigated over 4,000 aviation accidents and incidents. He has over 9,000 flying hours in a variety of military and general aviation aircraft.

Brooks has been an Explorers Club Fellow since 1993. He was the Atlanta Chapter Chair for four years, a Club Director for six years, Chair of the Legal Committee and the Flag & Honors Committee, a Nominating Committee member and a speaker at TEC Tuesday night program. One other very memorable task at The Club was serving as the Ombudsman for President Faanya Rose. Harry is the new club assistant treasurer and a current member of the Flag & Honors Committee.

Harry has carried The Explorers Club Flag on coral reef surveys to PNG, Belize, Honduras, and Kiribati (Tarawa and Butaritari). He has also carried our flag to the Peruvian Amazon on three expeditions.

1993 Coral Reef Survey to Butaritari (Flag 146) and its unintended consequences. Bringing the Marine Raiders home after 58 years.

Harry will tell us about his expedition to Butaritari and the condition of the island's coral reef after the United States Marine Corps August 1942 raid and the US Army's invasion in November 1943. He will also describe how one of his expedition's members unexpectedly found a skeleton and how this launched the recovery of 19 missing Marine Raiders.


Speaker: Dr. Miles O. Hayes and Dr. Jacqueline Michel
"The coastal geology of South Carolina"

      The coastal geology of South Carolina is complex, formed by the combined processes of sea level rise, sediment supply, waves, and tides. The presentation consists of two parts. Part I describes the general processes and landforms of the coast, explaining the history of how the South Carolina coast evolved and how processes such as waves, tides, sediment supply, and sea level rise have combined to produce the modern coastal features such as barrier islands, deltas, estuaries, tidal flats, and salt marshes. We include discussion of the impacts of hurricanes, changes in sediment supply that are both natural and man-made, the beach cycle, and methods to control erosion. Part II describes in more detail the coastal geomorphology of each of four compartments:  the Grand Strand; the Delta Region; the Barrier Islands; and the Low Country. Explanations are provided for key features of the coast such as Carolina bays, capes, barrier islands, and tidal inlets.

Dr. Miles O. Hayes

Dr. Miles O. Hayes is a coastal geomorphologist and sedimentologist with 50 years of research experience. He has authored more than 250 articles and reports and three books on a range of topics relating to tidal hydraulics, river morphology and processes, beach erosion, barrier island morphology, oil pollution, and petroleum exploration.

Based on extensive field experience throughout the world, he has developed innovative techniques regarding environmental protection, oil-spill response and shoreline processes. Three of the original concepts proposed and developed by Hayes are: 1) importance of hurricanes to barrier island and nearshore shelf sedimentation; 2) the effect of tides on shoreline morphology and sedimentation patterns; and 3) the environmental sensitivity index (ESI) for mapping shorelines (with co-author Michel), which has been applied worldwide.

Hayes' teaching experience includes a range of both undergraduate and graduate courses while a Professor at the Universities of Massachusetts and South Carolina. Seventy-two graduate students received their degrees under his supervision, most of whom are now leaders in their respective academic, government and industry positions. He is presently chairman of the Board of Research Planning, Inc. (RPI), a science technology company located in Columbia, S.C.

Dr. Jacqueline Michel

Dr. Jacqueline Michel is an internationally recognized expert in oil and hazardous materials spill response and assessment with a primary focus in the areas of oil fates and effects, non-floating oils, shoreline cleanup, alternative response technologies and natural resource damage assessment. She has participated in research projects in 33 countries.

Since 1982, she has been a member of the Scientific Support Team to the U.S. Coast Guard provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Under this role, she is on 24-hour call and provides technical support for an average of 50 spill events per year. She leads shoreline assessment teams and assists in selecting cleanup methods to minimize the environmental impacts of the spill.

She has written more than 150 manuals, reports, and scientific papers on coastal resource impacts, mapping and protection. As a member of the Ocean Studies Board at the National Academy of Sciences for four years, she served on four National Research Council committees (chairing two), and is a Lifetime Associate of the National Academies. One of the original founders of RPI, which started in 1977, she now serves as the company president.



Dr. Tim Mousseau
"Exploring the Wilderness of the Chernobyl Zone: Lessons from a Nuclear Disaster"

Professor Timothy Mousseau received his doctoral degree in 1988 from McGill University and completed a NSERC (Canada) postdoctoral fellowship in Population Biology at the University of California, Davis, before joining the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina in 1991. He is currently an Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Education.

Professor Mousseau's experience includes having served as a program officer at the National Science Foundation, on the editorial board for several journals, and on NSF, USGS, and a variety of international grant foundation advisory panels. He has published over 100 scholarly articles and has edited two books (Maternal Effects as Adaptations, 1998; Adaptive Genetic Variation in the Wild, 2000; both published by Oxford University Press). He is currently co-editor-in-chief of a new annual review series, The Year in Evolutionary Biology, published by the New York Academy of Sciences. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2008.

Dr. Mousseau and his students have worked on a wide diversity of organisms, from bacteria to beetles to birds, and his primary areas of research interest include the genetic basis of adaptation in natural populations. Since 1999, Professor Mousseau and his collaborators have explored the ecological consequences of low-dose radiation in populations of plants, animals and people inhabiting the Chernobyl region of Ukraine and Belarus. His research suggests that many species of plants and animals suffer from increased mutational loads as a result of exposure to radionuclides stemming from the Chernobyl disaster. In some species (e.g. the barn swallow, Hirundo rustica), this mutational load has had dramatic consequences for reproduction and survival. Dr. Mousseau's current research is aimed at elucidating the causes of variation among different species in their apparent sensitivity to radionuclide exposure.

A website describing some of this Chernobyl work can be found here:

Some of the press coverage can be found here:


Dr. David J. Goldstein
"Ancient Human-Environment Interactions: Using Historical Ecology to Think about Sustainability."

Historical Ecology has emerged as a fundamental way for archaeologists, environmental historians, ecologists, and anthropologists to collaborate on research.  This talk will demonstrate some ways through research in different parts of the Americas that archaeologists are beginning to develop data for the comparative use in analyzing contemporary ecological problems.  In advance of the 'From Field to Table' conference that brings together 25 scholars from South Carolina and abroad sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, I will present some of the projects and analytical frames that will be discussed over the two-day conference.
Dr. David John Goldstein (Ph.D. Anthropology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), is a visiting scholar at SCIAA during the 2009-2010 academic year. His previous teaching appointments have been at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago and the University Cayetano Hereida, Lima, Perú.  He currently works on three major National Science Foundation projects in Belize, Cuba, and Perú as either a co PI or consulting ethnobiologist/archaeobotanist. His main research interest is in the study of organic materials recovered from archaeological contexts and what they can tell us about ancient agriculture, medicine, and food production.


Speaker: Dr. Abby Sallenger
“Island In A Storm”

Abby SallengerDr. Asbury (Abby) Sallenger leads the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards that examines coastal-erosion hazards arising from extreme storms throughout the United States (see: This research utilizes airborne lidar to survey hundreds of kilometers of coast both before and after extreme storms to detect change. The effort began in the late 1990s, focusing on the intense winter storms that impacted the U.S. west coast during the 1997-98 El Nino. Since then, we have investigated the impacts of 12 hurricanes that have made landfall on the U.S. east and Gulf of Mexico coasts, including 2005’s Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Dr. Sallenger received both his BA in Geology and PhD in Marine Science from the University of Virginia. He is the former Chief Scientist of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Center for Coastal Geology in St. Petersburg, FL and is presently a research oceanographer at the Center. 

I have also included below information about a prestigious award that he received from the USGS.  We expect to have copies of his book available for a book signing too. 

Hurricane and Coastal-Change Expert Abby Sallenger Wins USGS Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communication

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) oceanographer Asbury (Abby) H. Sallenger recently received the USGS Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communication. The award was announced on August 31, 2007, and conferred in a formal ceremony at USGS headquarters in Reston, Virginia, on September 27. Below is the citation for the award.

"The Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communication honors a USGS scientist who demonstrates great skill in presenting complex concepts to nontechnical audiences. This lifetime achievement award honors the recipient's skill and enthusiasm for conveying science in multiple media.

"This year we recognize USGS oceanographer Asbury H. Sallenger. The substantial impact and national recognition of the USGS coastal program is widely recognized as a direct result of Sallenger's efforts—particularly his skills as a communicator. Whether it is a briefing on the Hill, a presentation to the research or local community, or an interview with the media, Sallenger knows how to communicate the value of USGS science and its relevance to the audience in question. He has become the voice of the USGS with respect to hurricanes and coastal change. With an unassuming, can-do manner, Sallenger attends to multiple demands in the face of a hurricane and its aftermath, and he has done so repeatedly—during a single season and year after year—responding to the surge of media requests for interviews, taking reporters into the field, and keeping managers and support personnel informed. His ability to communicate the value of the science reaches from the personal level, inspiring more than 10 of the technicians who have worked for him to continue their education through the doctorate level, to the national level, inspiring major media networks to return for additional, in depth interviews."

To learn more about the scientific work of Sallenger and his research team, visit "Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms" and "National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards."

The Shoemaker Awards Competition was established in 1997 in memory of Eugene M. Shoemaker to recognize extraordinary examples of communicating and translating complex scientific concepts and discoveries into words and pictures that capture the interest and imagination of the American public. Shoemaker, a USGS astrogeologist considered the founder of the science of lunar and planetary geology, was an effective and prolific communicator, as well as an innovative scientist and researcher. One of his greatest assets was his ability to communicate scientific concepts to nonscientists in a way that could be easily understood and appreciated. Today, many USGS employees carry on his enthusiasm, giving voice to all our science programs.

Book Insider: Island in a Storm


As we contemplate the future of the upper Texas coastline in the wake of Hurricane Ike, a valuable new book to read is Island in a Storm, which centers upon the 1856 Isle Dernier hurricane that killed 200 people and ended continuous habitation of the popular resort island.
Written by U.S. Geological Survey scientist Abby Sallenger, the book unwinds compelling narrative about life in mid-1800s Louisiana, the storm itself, all while integrating an important public policy message about the vulnerability of living on unprotected coastlines.

In addition to its qualities as a finely written narrative, I highly recommend the book as there are definite parallels between Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula today, and the pre-hurricane Isle Dernier of the 1850s.


Speaker: Dr. Brian Helmuth
Topic: "Living under the sea: an Aquanaut's view of Science and Exploration."

Modern marine science requires equal parts of high technology equipment and in knock, down, drag out, in the field exploration.  Brian Helmuth will discuss some of the underwater projects that he and his collaborators have undertaken, focusing in particular on the Aquarius underwater habitat, the only civilian facility in the world devoted to scientific research.  Living 60 feet underwater, scientists (aquanauts) live in an open habitat on the bottom of the ocean for missions lasting up to 10 days, and thus are able to greatly extend their working time on the surrounding reefs.  Brian will present a brief history of technical diving, including saturation and mixed gas techniques, and will talk about some of the work that he and his group have undertaken using these methods on Caribbean coral reefs.
Dr. Brian Helmuth is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.  Helmuth’s research explores the effects of climate and climate change on the physiology and ecology of marine organisms. Specifically, he uses thermal engineering techniques, including a combination of field work, remote sensing and mathematical modeling, to forecast the impacts of climate change on coastal marine animals such as mussels and seastars. He has also used similar techniques to examine the impacts of temperature and water flow on tropical corals. A major goal of this approach is to predict where, when, and with what magnitude the effects of climate change are most (and least) likely to occur. To date his work has centered primarily on tropical coral reefs in Florida, the Caribbean and Central America, and on temperate rocky intertidal systems in the United States, Europe and South America.  Helmuth’s work has shown some surprising results, and has suggested that our expectations of where to look for the effects of climate change in nature can be more complex than previously anticipated. His work suggests that unless we know where and when to look for impacts of climate change, many early impacts could go unnoticed.  Helmuth received his PhD in 1997 from the University of Washington in Seattle, and spent two years as a post-doctoral research associate at Stanford from 1997-1999.  Since 1999 he has served on the faculty at USC.  Helmuth is a Fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership program, which trains select scientists to interact with policy makers and the public.  He regularly works with K-12 teachers throughout South Carolina and in 2003 was named Marine Educator of the Year by the South Carolina Marine Educators Association.  He has published over 45 peer-reviewed journal articles and is regularly invited to speak at Universities and symposia throughout the world.


Columbia Star Newspaper article about this meeting


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