USCB Awarded Community Foundation of the Lowcountry Grant

USCB Awarded Community Foundation of the Lowcountry Grant to Expand and Enhance Monitoring Local, Natural Resources


April 2, 2018

Dr. Anna Ponder, Vice Chancellor for Development and Dr. Eric Montie, Associate Professor of Biology and director of the Marine Sensory and Neurobiology Lab and Lowcountry Dolphin Conservation accept a grant from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.BLUFFTON, S.C. – – USCB was awarded a Community Foundation of the Lowcountry grant for $63,775 to expand and enhance monitoring of the impacts of water quality and climate change on local, natural resources.

This funding will enable Dr. Eric Montie, Associate Professor of Biology and director of the Marine Sensory and Neurobiology Lab and Lowcountry Dolphin Conservation at USCB to expand the research done by lab managers and lab assistants consisting of undergraduate students from USCB, interns from across the US and graduate students from the College of Charleston.

The grant funds will go to purchasing scientific equipment and a boat with a trailer that allow the researchers the ability to monitor the impacts of water quality and climate change in the May River and the surrounding area.

With these resources the lab can launch a long-term water quality program by collaborating with SCDHEC, the Towns of Bluffton and Hilton Head Island and SCDNR. This collaboration will allow the organizations to pair long-term datasets to identify changes in water quality and effects on natural resources. If poor water quality is detected, the team can work with local managers to adjust storm water runoff in order to dampen the effects of coastal development.

Another desired outcome of the grant is to monitor fish spawning in collaboration with SCDNR. The data can be provided to fish managers so they can adjust regulations as needed. The local population of fish effects the community because many businesses rely on the population like local fishing guides.

A bottlenose dolphin survey will be conducted in collaboration with NOAA. Through understanding their populations and health the health of Bluffton and Hilton Head Island estuaries can be determined. Dolphin injuries due to boating will be monitored and information provided to the public through educational exhibits at the Coastal Discovery Museum.

"We are honored to receive this generous grant from that enables our team of researchers to expand this very important work," said Dr. Montie. "The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry is supportive of local organizations seeking to improve the quality of life for residents of the Lowcountry, and I am pleased that we can help with this mission."

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Located in the heart of the Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a baccalaureate member of the USC system, serving the southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Since 2002, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving more than 900), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletes in nine sports. The university's two campuses serve a diverse student body of 2,000 students. The Bluffton campus offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories, and a broad range of academic degree programs. The Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort's downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate Studio Art program in close proximity to Beaufort's many art galleries. The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity. www.uscb.edu

Community Foundation of the Lowcountry Logo For more information on Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, please visit, www.cf-lowcountry.org.



For more information on Dr. Montie's Marine Sensory and Neurobiology Lab and Lowcountry Dolphin Conservation at USCB, please visit, www.uscb.edu/montie and follow the lab's research on www.facebook.com/MarineNeuroLabAtUSCB/.

For more information about the University of South Carolina Beaufort, contact Kerry Jarvis, director of marketing and public relations, at 843-208-8030 or jarviskc@uscb.edu.