Establishment of a Regional Taxonomic Center in South Carolina
Due to present and future anthropogenic growth, declines in regional biodiversity, and the recent shortage of trained taxonomic scientists, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, with funding from the National Marine Fisheries Service, established the Southeastern Regional Taxonomic Center (SERTC) in 2001. The SERTC is housed within SCDNR’s Marine Resources Research Institute (MRRI) and the College of Charleston’s Grice Marine Lab at Ft. Johnson, near Charleston. The SERTC provides a regional focus on developing taxonomic expertise and skills, as well as the infrastructure needed to support the natural resource management and scientific communities within the South Atlantic Bight. The Center is staffed by SCDNR employees with a background in taxonomy and serves as a clearinghouse, training facility, specimen repository, and a venue for a taxonomic library. The present and future goals of SERTC are:

  • Maintain and expand a curated collection of the coastal and marine fauna of the South Atlantic Bight
  • Maintain a current collection of taxonomic literature and a searchable reference database pertaining to those organisms
  • Validate provisional identifications of specimens in existing reference collections at MRRI and GML
  • Catalogue fauna housed at GML and new specimens from ongoing sampling
  • Develop a tissue repository with potential use in the genetic differentiation of species
  • Prepare illustrated keys to selected taxa, including new species from the SAB
  • maintain an Internet website to present species profiles, morphological illustrations, and interactive identification keys to select taxa
  • Assist scientists with taxonomic research through specimen loans and consultation

The Southeastern Regional Taxonomic Center maintains specimen collections from the South Atlantic Bight region, which extends from just south of Cape Hatteras, NC to just north of Cape Canaveral, FL. This area includes Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary and the Charleston Bump. (click to view a larger image)

Funding for the Southeastern Regional Taxonomic Center is provided by a grant (NOAA/NMFS #NA11NMF4350043) from National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration/National Marine Fisheries Service to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as part of the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP), with Marcel Reichert as Principal Investigator.