Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Symposium Agenda! (with abstracts!)

6th Annual Scientific Diving Symposium
Friday, March 27th, 2015
Hosted by the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

COST: Pay at the Symposium – Cash Preferred – Receipts available upon request
Morning Session: $10 (Advanced Registration Required)
Lunch: $10 (Advanced Registration Required)
Afternoon Session: FREE!! (You may register for the afternoon on the day of the symposium)
Happy Hour: 5:45-7:00 at the Aquarium’s U-352 “Living Shipwreck” exhibit 

MORNING SESSION (Dive Safety Officers only):

8:30-9:00 Late Registration, Hospitality, Meet and Greet

Opening Remarks: Ethan Simmons, DSO NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

9:00-12:00 DSO Discussion Group
  1. Collaborative Training – Steve Broadhurst (15 minutes)
  2. PEDRO Rescue Training Collaboration – Glenn Safrit (15 minutes)
  3. NCDMF projects at AR-315 and AR-330 – Gregg Bodnar (15 minutes)
  4. 10 Minute Break
  5. NOAA Dive Unit Safety Assessment – Roger Mays (30 minutes)
  6. NOAA UDS Conference – Brian Degan (15 minutes)
  7. 10 Minute Break
  8. The Past, Present, and Future of the Duke Hyperbaric Chamber   Dr. John Freiberger – Director of Duke Dive Medicine (60 minutes) – See attached Bio/Presentation Description

12:00-1:00 Lunch Buffet sandwich bar with soup and sides catered by Crab’s Claw, Atlantic Beach, NC
AFTERNOON SESSION (Open to All):  Presentations by Scientific Divers held in Sound Side Hall at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and moderated by Jenny Vander Pluym – NOAA and Janelle Fleming – UNC Institute of Marine Sciences.

Opening Remarks: Ethan Simmons, DSO NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

1:35-1:55 Jenny Vander Pluym, NOAA: “Conducting Research at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary”

1:55-2:10 Alex Bogdanoff, NCSU & NOAA: “Integrated Methodologies for Controlling Invasive Lionfish”
2:10-2:30 James R. Pruitt, ECU: “Only With all the Clues: a Submerged Aircraft Archaeological Case Study in Tanapag Lagoon, Saipan”

2:30-3:00 Stefanie Martina, DAN – Divers Alert Network: “Unraveling the Intricacies of Immersion Pulmonary Edema”

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-3:45 Doug Kesling: “Mystery of the Grouper Moon, A REEF Expedition to Little Cayman Island”

3:45-4:00 Jim Hench, Duke: “Quantifying Small-Scale Bottom Topography Using a 3D Scanning Sonar”

4:00-4:20 Roger Mays, NOAA: “NOAA Dive Unit Safety Assessment: Results of Three Years of Assessments”

4:20-4:30 Break

4:30-4:45 Laura Bagge, Duke: “Clearly Camouflaged Crustaceans”

4:45-5:00 Jenny Vander Pluym, NOAA: “Investigating Fish Communities of NC Offshore Hardbottom Habitats in a Potential Wind Energy Area

5:00 Photo Contest – Winner decided by crowd

Closing Remarks: CCSDA

5:15-6:00 Photo contest winners guest dive in the Living Shipwreck exhibit. Photo contest winners will need to be in good health to dive, complete medical questionnaire and liability waiver, and provide a dive certification card, wetsuit, booties, and mask.

5:45-7:00: HAPPY HOUR at the Aquarium’s U-352 “Living Shipwreck” exhibit 


If you have questions, please contact Jenny Vander Pluym (




Conducting Research at GRNMA, Jenny Vander Pluym, NOAA

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary is one of the largest near-shore live-bottom reefs of the southeastern United States. Located just 16 miles from the shores of Georgia, Gray’s Reef is comprised of rocky ledges, limestone rock outcroppings, and diverse soft-bottom habitats. These extremely varied habitats attract over 200 species of fish, many of which are commercially and ecologically important yet heavily exploited outside the boundaries of the sanctuary. Approximately one-third of the sanctuary is a Research Area that is closed to recreational fishing and diving providing unique opportunities to design and implement research in which critical variables can be controlled over long periods of time. Researchers have the ability to investigate impacts of fishing on exploited and unexploited species as well as habitat. Researchers can also assess the efficacy of no-take zones on surrounding areas. Other topics of interest to the sanctuary include the effects of climate change on benthic communities and associated fish, invasive species, and connectivity of sanctuary resources with other regional systems.
Integrated Methodologies for Controlling Invasive Lionfish, Alex Bogdanoff, NOAA contract biologist and doctoral candidate, NCSU

Invasive lionfish have become one of the greatest threats to coral reef communities in the Western Atlantic. To protect natural resources from these invaders, particularly commercially important species such as snapper and grouper, immediate action is required to mitigate lionfish impacts in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), national parks, and refuges. Localized control efforts through diver-based removals have shown to be effective at reducing impacts. However, lionfish are distributed across wide spatial expanses and marine park resources are limited. The goal of this research program is to develop a more efficient large scale lionfish control strategy that will expand the capacity of MPAs and other areas of conservation to manage the invasion. This program consists of three research trajectories including Lionfish Aggregating Devices (LADs), lionfish and ciguatera, and a lionfish control model/decision making framework. The completion of this three-pronged program will completely transform lionfish control by helping to optimize catch to meet demand, clarifying the risk of ciguatera for consumers, and providing managers with a lionfish control decision making framework.

Only With all the Clues: A Submerged Aircraft Archaeological Case Study in Tanapag Lagoon, Saipan, James R. Pruitt, Masters student, ECU

The study of submerged aircraft, while not new, is a relatively unexplored area of maritime archaeology. Receiving even less attention is the study of site formation processes as they apply to submerged aircraft wreck sites—what processes affected the site between the time it crashed and now? These studies are becoming increasingly important, especially for cultural resource managers who are responsible for managing submerged aircraft. This thesis performed a case study of one unidentified PB2Y Coronado flying boat located in Tanapag Lagoon, Saipan. The primary goal was to examine how the study of site formation processes contributes to our understanding of submerged WWII aircraft and their subsequent management. The researchers performed a systematic archaeological survey of the site, as well as a thorough historical survey, in order to identify the aircraft and its wrecking cause. The distribution of wreckage throughout the site indicated what formation processes may have taken place, and what factors have affected the site since deposition. These findings, compared to reports from other submerged aircraft crash sites, will add to our understanding of the depositional and post-depositional impacts to submerged aircraft crash sites and allow for better interpretation and management of those sites.

Unraveling the Intricacies of Immersion Pulmonary Edema, Stefanie Martina, Divers Alert Network
Immersion pulmonary edema (IPE) is fluid congestion of the lungs that develops during in-water activity, often in generally healthy individuals. First described in cold water scuba divers, it has since been reported in a range of conditions involving swimmers (especially triathletes), snorkelers, Navy BUD/S recruits, and technical divers. Its multifactorial nature continues to be revealed through research. This presentation will discuss the pathophysiology and course of IPE. The aim is to increase awareness to improve both recognition and management of IPE.
Mystery of the Grouper Moon, A R.E.E.F Expedition to Little Cayman Island, Doug Kesling

Quantifying small-scale bottom topography using a 3D scanning sonar, Dr. Jim Hench, Duke

Bottom topography on reefs varies at a wide range of spatial scales and affects many physical, chemical and biological reef processes. Reef structure provides habitat and refuge for many fish and invertebrate species. Rough topography also exerts drag forces on water as it moves across reefs and the interaction between flow and topography generates turbulence and mixing. Knowledge of bottom topography is therefore important for predicting circulation, transport, and dispersion on reefs. Reef structure can change significantly over time as structure is destroyed and redevelops from disturbances; it is therefore also important to document reef structure and its evolution through time.

We conducted a series to field tests to evaluate an ultra-high frequency scanning sonar system (Blueview BV5000) to measure small-scale 3D topography. The sonar was deployed by divers on a bottom-mounted tripod, and cabled back to a small boat. The rotating sonar collected 360 degree, 200 m^2, circular swaths of bottom topography. Our initial tests used arrays of objects with simple geometry and known dimensions. We also tested the system on complex natural coral reef substrates. We are currently analyzing the data to determine the accuracy of the system, and assessing how data quality varies with factors such as distance from sonar head, number of registration points, and topographic complexity.

NOAA Dive Unit Safety Assessments: Results of Three Years of Assessments, Roger Mays, NOAA

This talk explains the current organizational structure showing the relationship between the Diving Control and Safety Board, the Dive Safety Officer, and the Diving Program; presents results of the first 3 years of dive unit inspections, some case studies of NOAA diving incidents, the philosophy behind certain types of diving incidents, and possible next steps for the NOAA diving program.

Clearly Camouflaged Crustaceans, Laura Bagge, Duke

Blue-water scuba divers may immediately notice that transparency is a common camouflage
strategy for small, thin, or gelatinous animals inhabiting this featureless pelagic environment,
and reef divers may notice that transparency is rarer among larger species with more complex
body plans, especially those inhabiting this benthic environment. Can crustaceans (with hard
cuticles, thick muscles, and internal organs) be clear? Many species of pelagic hyperiid
amphipods and many anemone-dwelling shrimp species are extraordinarily transparent despite
having a relatively large (>10mm) body size; they are clear enough to read a newspaper through
their abdomen. Absence of pigment is insufficient for transparency as their tissues also must not
scatter light. Because these crustaceans are not extremely small or flat, and their tissues cannot
be made of one component with one refractive index, other morphological modifications for
transparency are likely present. I am examining the ultrastructure of the cuticle; the first surface
to interact with light, to understand what features may minimize light reflections. I am also
examining their muscle ultrastructure to determine how light scattering may be minimized
internally. Finally, I am investigating how exertion or physiological stress may disrupt
transparency, and what occurs in the tissues to cause this disruption.

Investigating Fish Communities of NC Offshore Hardbottom Habitats in a Potential Wind Energy Area, Jenny Vander Pluym, NOAA, Beaufort, NC

In an effort to provide a baseline biological assessment of the distribution of marine fishes and develop a map of seafloor habitats of a potential wind energy area off of Cape Fear, NC, NOAA and partners conducted an expedition in May, 2014. Using multi-beam and side scan sonar, investigators identified apparent hardbottom habitats ledge, mixed hardbottom/sand, pavement and two artificial reefs (wrecks). Using band transects, science divers identified fish to species and size class along with estimating benthic cover and topographic measurements at 52 sites. Preliminary analysis suggests that ledge and mixed hardbottom/sand habitats support the greatest abundance and biomass of fish species within the call area. Abundance and biomass of large individuals (>50 cm TL) were greater on ledge habitats and are also positively correlated with hardbottom height collected in situ and with rugosity derived from multibeam files. Large fish were also found to be positively correlated with macroalgal cover, which was greater for ledge habitats. Most of these individuals are members of the snapper grouper complex and are important to commercial and recreational fisheries. While more diverse and numerous fish communities were documented over rugose habitats during dive operations, acoustic sampling conducted during the evening and night showed high concentrations of fish biomass over sand and soft bottom habitats as well. This research suggests that the diverse fish community found offshore is not only dependent on presence of rugose hardbottom habitats, but that high macroalgal cover and the presence of a variety of habitats may also be important.