Nicholls Marine Biology Graduate Students Welcome First-Year MMEB Students at Annual Calypseaux Expedition

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Nicholls marine and environmental biology graduate students traveled to Grand Isle, Louisiana from Sept. 8-10 to participate in their 2023 Calypseaux Expedition. Students conducted a beach sweep in East Grand Terre organized by Dr. Allyse Ferrara and navigated by Nicholls bay boats R.V. Burt Wilson and R.V. Miss Dee.

The Calypseaux Expedition was established as a departmental retreat with the first year cohort of the Nicholls Master’s of Science program in marine and environmental biology, and it has occurred annually since then at different estuarine sites including Grand Isle, LUMCON, Bayou Chevreuil and even the Nicholls Farm.

The group of 22 students and 4 faculty scoured the coastal habits of this unique barrier island and brought back 453 pounds of trash harmful to marine life, including plastic items, discarded trawl nets, and an 80s television set. East Grand Terre is the site for current projects by Shelby Truckenbrod and Claire Boudreaux in the Nicholls Herpetology Laboratory, focusing on the ecology of the elusive diamondback terrapin.

On Saturday, Sept. 28, faculty and students participated in the Calypseaux Symposium hosted at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries fisheries research lab where they presented mini-seminars on their research projects. There were special visits from Christie Landry, representing LaSTEM, and Michelle Felterman, a scientist with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, with a group of enthusiastic Nicholls master’s of science in marine and environmental biology graduates who have recently established the MMEB Alumni Group. Dr. Quenton Fontenot, Nicholls professor and head of biological sciences, treated the group to his traditional feast of boiled crabs, and students celebrated estuarine diversity by creating gyotaku T-shirt prints as the sun set behind Cheniere Caminada.

On Sunday, the outgoing grad students presented each of the incoming grad students with a custom-made talisman to remind them of the hard work ahead and the part that they play in the long-term legacy of Nicholls as Louisiana’s Coastal University.

For more information on Nicholls’ commitment to the coast, please click here. For more information on Nicholls’ marine and environmental biology graduate program, please click here.