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Category: In the Media

UGA’s Savannah River Ecology Lab appoints Lauren Maynor as its first Science Content Strategist

The University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory has announced the appointment of Lauren Maynor as the first ever Science Content Strategist to effectively bridge the gap between researchers and the general public. Maynor brings a bachelor’s degree in English, a concentration in professional writing, and an extensive background in social media with experience in biology.

Celebrating 70 years of Environmental Stewardship at the Savannah Rive Site

EM Update Newsletter ( a publication of the Department of Energy)
Vol 13, Issue 26

July 6, 2021

Savannah River Ecology Laboratory’s first graduate students collect samples at the former Savannah River Plant, now called the Savannah River Site.

AIKEN, S.C. – The University of Georgia’s (UGA) Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL), located on the Savannah River Site (SRS), recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of its creation.

On June 23, 1951, UGA zoology professor Eugene Odum and his graduate students began the Laboratory of Radiation Ecology, now named SREL, at SRS.

The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), predecessor to DOE, had tasked Odum with conducting ecological surveys of the plants and animals at what was then known as the Savannah River Plant. That research would later serve as a baseline for comparative study to assess if the operations at the plant were altering the natural environment surrounding the facility.

Odum, known as the “father of modern ecology,” investigated how radioactive elements would travel through ecosystems and alter plants, animals, land, and aquatic systems. For over 70 years, SREL has continued his work and serves as the independent assessor conducting ecological research at SRS. SREL’s areas of research expertise now include wildlife ecology, disease ecology, biogeochemistry, and forestry and conservation. The lab also provides guidance and strategies for remediation methodologies and informs the public through outreach and education.

Lab employees have published over 3,000 articles in peer-reviewed journals and created research partnerships around the world, including performing research in Chernobyl and Fukushima. Additionally, Odum’s work with students began a program that has produced more than 500 graduate students to date.

“As issues emerge, SREL will continue to adjust to address environmental concerns that impact our world,” said Olin “Gene” Rhodes, Jr., director of SREL. “With over 70 continuous years of research, SREL is in a unique position to provide research to help protect the ecology at SRS.”

-Contributor: Lindsey MonBarren, Vicky Sutton-Jackson

SRS’ salamander study results in a Guinness World Record

Anthony Carpino

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2019
News 12 First at 5 O’Clock

SAVANNAH RIVER SITE, SC (WRDW/WAGT) — After wetlands were filled in at the Savannah River Site, studies were conducted to figure out the impact on wildlife like the salamander. Officially started in 1978, the study has continued consistently over the past 42 years, resulting in a Guinness World Record.
This all takes place at in a wetland called Rainbow Bay. And a lot has changed over the past 40 years. What once started out as wetland area in a field with tall grasses as transformed into a forested area. With more trees consuming more water, water levels in the wetlands have been decreasing.

But it’s not all caused by trees, recent data shows that climate change has played a roll in affecting water levels. Over the past few decades there has been a noticeable decreasing trend in the hydrologic cycle.

With less water available the wetlands don’t stay wet as long throughout the year. While some species of salamander don’t mind having less water, like the Marble Salamander, others, like the Tiger Salamander and the Red Spotted Newt have be forced to find another place to live.

“We have a really big population of Marble Salamanders here and the others except for one have gone locally extinct,” Stacey Lance, an associate research scientist at the Savannah River Ecology Lab said.

Even so, the information that’s been collected is extensive and provides a large data-set on a topic that most scientists don’t have access too, like the age and accurate population of salamanders. Scientists and researchers at the SREL can now share the data and help their colleagues around the country with studying salamanders in their areas.

“We can take the information from here and apply it to other populations in other places, and so it’s just a very unusual ability to be able to have these data,” Lance said.

Usually a study like this one only lasts a few years or so but due to the steady stream of funding through the Department of Energy at SRS the study has been able to continue.
If you’d like to learn more about the study you can click the following links:

The Rainbow Bay Long-term Study
A Breeding Congress

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved

9 Years Later, Furry Friends—and Foes—Are Returning to Fukushima Few of them seem to miss the missing humans.

The species that showed the [greatest resurgence] are those most often in contact with people,” says James Beasley, a wildlife biologist at the University of Georgia’ Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and the lead author of the new paper, published in the Journal of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. “That means macaque monkeys, raccoons, and wild boar.”