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All news stories. For information about a story, contact Betsy Boynton.

Researchers deploy a sediment trapUSGS Scientists deploy sediment trap in Northern Gulf of Mexico

On November 18–20, 2015, scientists from St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) Caitlin Reynolds (Geologist) and Julie Richey (Research Geologist) are deploying a new sediment trap in the northern Gulf of Mexico for an ongoing paleoclimate proxy calibration study. The trap has been collecting samples and data since January 2008 and this will be the 17th deployment. In addition to deploying the sediment trap and collecting water samples, the group will be participating in an outreach activity with a Florida and South Carolina elementary school class. Collaborators from University of Texas at Austin and University of South Carolina will be on board the R/V Point Sur with USGS scientists. Project highlights and past publications can be found at

posted: 2015-11-18

Open-File Report 2015–1203Newly released Open–File Report and accompanying data release

An integrated "reefscape characterization" effort on Crocker Reef, Florida Keys: Crocker Reef, located on the outer reef tract of the Florida Keys, was the site of an integrated "reefscape characterization" effort focused on calcification and related biogeochemical processes as part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coral Reef Ecosystem STudies (CREST) project. The reefscape characterization included two intensive seasonal sampling trips to capture summer (July 8–17, 2014) and winter (January 29–February 5, 2015) conditions. This report, "Seasonal microbial and environmental parameters at Crocker Reef, Florida Keys, 2014–2015," presents water column microbial and environmental data collected for use as metadata in future publications examining reef metabolic processes via metagenomes derived from water samples and fine-scale temporal and spatial carbonate chemistry measurements.

posted: 2015-11-12

GIS Day: November 18, 2015USGS participates in GIS Day at USFSP

On Nov 17th, scientists from USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) Kira Barrera (Physical Scientist), Steven Douglas (Researcher), Ginger Range (Geologist), and Joseph Terrano (Researcher) will demonstrate how mapping technology has evolved from the technique of mylar map overlays to the modern application of geographic information systems (GIS). USGS staff will show how GIS is used to map shoreline change along Assateague Island using historic T-sheets, lidar, and aerial imagery. The University of South Florida (USF) St. Petersburg is hosting this event, with more than 100 local students expected to attend ( Students from colleges and elementary, middle, and high schools will participate in the demonstration. The USGS SPCMSC has been a sponsor for this event since 2002. GIS day is a global event for users of GIS to educate students and the public on the applications of GIS.

posted: 2015-11-05

Coral bleaching on Hen and Chickens ReefCoral reef scientist participates in 34th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting in Fajardo, Puerto Rico

From October 26–30, Ilsa Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist, SPCMSC) represented CMGP at a meeting of the the United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF), which was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The USCRTF includes leaders of 12 Federal agencies, seven U.S. States, Territories, Commonwealths, and three Freely Associated States. The USCRTF helps build partnerships and strategies in support of on-the-ground action to conserve coral reefs. Kuffner is the USGS representative on the steering committee of the USCRTF responsible for attending the Atlantic Ocean jurisdictional meetings of the task force, and also serves as a member of the USCRTF Climate Change Working Group. Kuffner's participation in the task force meeting increased visibility of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project and strengthened coordination and collaboration with partner agencies and jurisdictional governments.

posted: 2015-11-05

BOEM/USGS/NOAA Deepwater Canyons Project Members Win National Oceanographic Partnership Program 2015 Excellence in Partnering Award

This prestigious award for the 'Atlantic Canyons: Pathways to the Abyss' project is meant to recognize the strong partnerships that have been built over time and their impact on the oceanographic community; only one is awarded each year. The Atlantic Canyons study is only the second study ever to have received both the Department of Interior's Partners in Conservation award and also the NOPP Excellence in Partnering Award. (Visit Over 50 partners are listed on the award, including USGS principal investigators Amanda Demopoulos (WARC), Christina Kellogg (SPCMSC) Cheryl Morrison (Leetown) and Nancy Prouty (PCMSC) and their teams.

To see more about the Deepwater Canyons Project, visit:

posted: 2015-11-05

USGS scientists explain their coastal erosion model to a group of children on Saturday.USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Continues Leadership Role for Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival

The USGS St. Petersburg Coastal Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) was a key contributor to the 5th annual St. Petersburg Science Festival (, which took place October 16th and 17th, 2015. The science festival engages children, families and the public in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math. The SPCMSC partnered the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC) for participation in the science festival's Friday "School Day Sneak Peak." Kaitlin Kovacs (Outreach and Communications) spearheaded the exhibit "Manatee Identification," a hands-on activity that targeted two Florida science curriculum standards and introduced USGS manatee research. Kathryn Smith, Alisha Ellis, Kira Barrera, Kara Doran, and Sandra Coffman also participated in the Science Festival School Day. On Saturday, in addition to the WARC manatee exhibit, the SPCMSC presented three other booths with hands on activities: "Secrets of the seafloor," "Understanding the big picture with little friends" and "Coastal hazards and change," and had the R/V Sallenger and two wave runners on display. Twenty-three SPCMSC employees volunteered in this year's science festival, making this one of the highest years of participation yet! Thanks to all who made Saturday such a success: Elsie McBride, Nicole Khan, Caitlin Reynolds, Jaimie Little, Shelby Stoneburner, Chris Smith, Joseph Long, Tim Nelson, Soupy Dalyander, Kara Doran, Davina L. Passeri, Robert Jenkins, Nancy Dewitt, Max Tuten, Chelsea Stark, Jen Miselis, Kaitlin Kovacs, Steven Douglas, Joseph Terrano and Kira Barrera.

posted: 2015-10-22

Global Ocean Acidification Observing NetworkUSGS Research Oceanographer joins the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre

Dr. Lisa Robbins (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) now serves on the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre Advisory Board (OA–ICC) (, and is chair of capacity building. She helped organize two international capacity-building workshops this fall and will present information on currently available instrumentation, as well as design and production phases. This includes software (such as CO2calc) that she and her team developed and published ( Data collected from different USGS projects on ocean acidification from the poles ( to the tropics ( will be used as examples and discussion points during the courses. The capacity-building workshops will take place October 19–24, 2015 in China at Xiamen University; and November 1–7, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa, aboard the R/V Agulhas II, a South African icebreaking polar supply and research ship owned by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in Cape Town, South Africa. Workshop goals are to increase scientific capacity, to measure and study ocean acidification, and to provide a rare opportunity for collaboration and networking among OA scientists working around the world, as well as to initiate and deepen connections with the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON;

posted: 2015-10-22

Students watch a demonstration of the wave tank at the Oceanography Camp for Girls event at SPCMSCSPCMSC responds to USGS Headquarters' data call to report FY15 outreach activities engaging K–12 Young People

The USGS is required by the Department of the Interior to report efforts to engage K–12 students and teachers in learning opportunities. The 'Engaging the Next Generation' Secretarial priority, part of the DOI 2014–2018 Strategic Plan, Mission Area 4, encompasses four goals: Play, Learn, Serve, and Work. The Department of the Interior's goal is to provide educational opportunities to at least ten million of the Nation's K–12 student population annually. Data detailing outreach is collected annually through a new 'Learn' Goal Database. In 2014, the USGS reported engaging in 51,993 'Learn' Activities with young people K–12, and 234,871 USGS Education site sessions by students and teachers! That is impressive!

USGS' St. Pete Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) compiled its outreach activities for FY 2015; it was estimated that approximately 9,983 K–12 students interacted with SPCMSC staff in 15 outreach activities over the year. Forty-three SPCMSC staff assisted with these events. Thanks to the following USGS staff for participating: Doran, Flannery, Barrera, Haller, Kuffner, Reynolds, Bodin, Busch, Buster, Griffin, Kovacs, Krohn, Liu, Long, Dalyander, Robbins, K. Smith, T. Smith, Toth, Brennan, Brown, Bussey, Overbeck, DeWitt, Ellis, A. Fredericks, Kindinger, McLaughlin, Mickey, Miselis, Morgan, Plant, Reich, Snell, Gilberg, Carroll, Terrano, Zawada, Wilson, Ostermen, T. McCloskey, and Tiling.

posted: 2015-10-22

Photo of a 10-foot tall colony of Orbicella faveolata, one of the species that has been hard hit by bleaching and disease over recent decadesCoral Reef Scientists to collaborate on coral-reef erosion study

From October 11–15, a multi-agency team led by Ilsa Kuffner (SPCMSC-Research Marine Biologist) will be meeting at a long-studied reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) to complete an experiment that began in 1998. Along with Kuffner, Harold Hudson (retired NOAA-FKNMS), Bill Goodwin (NOAA-FKNMS), and Lauren Toth (SPCMS- Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow) will attempt to locate 29 markers that were installed by Hudson and Goodwin in the reef structure nearly 20 years ago. They will make measurements to see how fast the reef is being eroded by natural, destructive processes of fish grazing, mechanical and chemical dissolution by sponges, and the activities of other biological agents of erosion. Data gathered during the expedition will allow a quantitative assessment of the rate of decrease in reef elevation (height above the seafloor). Scientists and managers are concerned that the rates of reef loss may be increasing due to ocean acidification (declining ocean pH due to absorption of atmospheric CO2) and eutrophication (nutrients added to the ocean by man), resulting in a cascade of ecological impacts like loss of habitat for economically important fisheries and loss of reef functioning as natural breakwaters against waves and storms. This information will help DOI, State, and U.S. Territory agencies charged with stewardship of coral reef ecosystems to better manage for reef resilience under future ocean change. Together on this project, USGS and NOAA are providing the science to put the recent changes observed on coral reefs into a geologic context to assist in making sound management decisions.

posted: 2015-10-08

USGS hosts National Assessment Meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida

The USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards ( project team will meet at the NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Regional Office in St. Petersburg, Florida, on October 6–8 to discuss progress and future plans. The National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH) provides robust scientific findings that help to identify areas that are most vulnerable to diverse coastal change hazards, including beach and dune erosion, long-term shoreline change, and sea-level rise. There will be 25 participants at the meeting, representing all three USGS Coastal and Marine Geology science centers and several academic institutions.

posted: 2015-10-01

Invitation to the ceremonyUSGS Acting Director Suzette Kimball visits University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) and USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) on Friday, September 25

During her visit, she and SPCMSC Director Cheryl Hapke will participate in a ceremony at USFSP where the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership will donate $50,000 to the College of Marine Science Sallenger Memorial Endowment in honor of eminent USGS scientist Asbury Sallenger. The endowment will be used to fund outstanding students of marine science at USFSP. After the ceremony, Dr. Kimball will visit the SPCMSC to participate in a special panel discussion: Women-in-Science: Brainstorming Solutions. After the panel discussion, SPCMSC scientists working on Hurricane Sandy projects will provide updates of their latest research.

posted: 2015-09-24

USGS Scientists Collect Geological Data from the Northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana

Scientists from USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) Nancy DeWitt (Geologist), Jake Fredericks (Researcher), and Kyle Kelso (Geologist) are collecting swath bathymetry and high-resolution seismic reflection data from the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, as part of the Barrier Island Evolution Research (BIER) project from 14–28 September 2015. In 2010, a 2-m high sand berm was constructed in front of ~16 km of the northern portion of the islands to protect it from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The sand was sourced from Hewes Point, a submerged shoal that has been a center of deposition since the islands formed. The resulting borrow pit has slowly been infilling since dredging took place and is now being used to better understand the movement of sand along and across the island. This is the fourth survey of the site and is particularly important because the last two years have resulted in no tropical storm impact on the islands, allowing different mechanisms of sand transport to be identified.

posted: 2015-09-17

USGS Research Oceanographers collaborate with federal partners to develop numerical model for the evolution of Dauphin Island, Alabama

Joseph Long and Soupy Dalyander (Research Oceanographers, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) recently participated in an initial project meeting for the Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Study funded by the National Federation of Wildlife and Fisheries. The collaborative modeling task also includes researchers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps Engineering and Research Development Center, and the USGS National Wetlands Research Center. The comprehensive modeling study includes hydrodynamic and morphodynamic processes, structural response, water quality, and habitat modeling components. The meeting is the first for the 3-year project that aims to use both models and observations to assess the feasibility of restoring at Dauphin Island, Alabama, a barrier island repeatedly altered by extreme storms and anthropogenic activities.

posted: 2015-09-17

SPC students watch the coastal erosion model at USGS SPCMSCUSGS Scientists host St. Petersburg College marine biology students for a day of science at SPCMSC

On September 16, Scientists from St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) Noreen Buster (Geologist), Karen Morgan (Geologist), and Molly McLaughlin (Microbiologist/Lab Manager) hosted students from the marine biology class of Dr. Linae Boehme-Terrana, a professor at St. Petersburg College. First, the students toured the facility and learned about the history of the USGS and the variety of scientific research conducted at the SPCMSC. Next, the students were introduced to the coastal erosion model. The model consists of a pan of water, some playground sand and a fan. Using waves generated by the fan blowing on the water, the model accurately mimics the processes seen on coastal environments during severe storms. It can quickly show how sand is moved around by wave action, how coastal structures can effect sand movement, and how coastal infrastructure can be damaged during storm events. Finally, the students went to the sediment core lab where they learned how and why Center scientists collect geophysical and sediment data. The students saw examples of bathymetry, side-scan sonar, and seismic data and learned how using sediment cores can enhance analyses and how the integration of datasets not only furthers our understanding of the geologic history of coasts, but also gives us information about the influence of geology on modern coastal processes. In addition, the students were shown the Center's significant coral core collection, including coral and reef cores. X-ray and sampling techniques were introduced and discussed as ways to assess annual coral growth, coral disease, changes in sea-surface temperature, and identification of coral/reef species within cores, all of which provide Center scientists with information about the geological, biological, and chemical histories of reef environments and climate change.

Below is a quote from Dr. Linae Boehme-Terrana:

'Showing my students actual scientists, especially scientists who love what they do, demonstrating "real world" research, is an incredibly valuable teaching tool. This is, by far, the students' favorite field trip every year.'

posted: 2015-09-17

Flyer announcing USGS Scientist joins panel discussion on scientific writing at USF College of Marine Science

On September 8, Christina Kellogg (Research Microbiologist, USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) joined Bob Byrne, Don Chambers, and Frank Muller-Karger (University of South Florida) in a panel discussion titled "When and Where to Publish." The four panelists discussed their publishing experiences, and answered questions. Chris Kellogg is an editor for the open access journals PLOS ONE and Frontiers in Microbiology, and is the author of over 50 peer-reviewed publications. The panel discussion was one of the weekly classes for the course "Writing a Scientific Paper," taught by Pam Hallock Muller (USF). The purpose of the course is to teach multiple skills involved in scientific writing, and to stress the importance of publishing as an element of a career in science.

posted: 2015-09-10

Ocean Acidification & Florida-What do we know?USGS Scientists Attend Florida Roundtable on Ocean Acidification

On September 2, Kimberly Yates (Research Oceanographer, USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) and Kira Barrera (Physical Scientist, USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) attended a roundtable discussion on ocean acidification hosted by the Ocean Conservancy and Mote Marine Laboratory.

The goal of the roundtable was to evaluate the state of ocean acidification (OA) science in Florida and to develop stronger linkages among Florida scientists, policymakers, natural resource managers, non-governmental organizations, and industry groups concerning ocean acidification research and early planning.

The roundtable included keynote talks and panel discussions on diverse topics ranging from coral disease and development, marine protected area management strategies for ocean acidification, and coastal restoration and carbon sequestration impacts on ocean acidification.

Yates highlighted USGS OA synthesis research from around Florida (led by Yates, Lisa Robbins [Research Oceanographer, USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center], and Barrera) in a talk titled "Addressing ocean acidification in Florida: Regional Context," which focused on OA issues affecting both terrestrial and marine ecosystems in Florida, the need for state-wide monitoring, and integration of natural and social sciences.

posted: 2015-09-10

The R/V Atlantis cruise to the Davis Strait will  cruise to the Davis StraitUSGS Oceanographer participating on collaborative U.S. and Canadian research cruise of the Davis Straits and Arctic Circle

Dr. Lisa Robbins (Research Oceanographer, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) will participate on a research cruise of the Davis Strait and Arctic Circle aboard the R/V Atlantis. The cruise, a collaborative effort between U.S. and Canadian Scientists, will take place September 4-26th and is led by Chief Scientist Craig Lee (University of Washington). The R/V Atlantis cruise to the Davis Strait will focus on this very important gateway between Arctic and Atlantic and will provide an opportunity to collect critical data for understanding climate change. Robbins and Jonathan Wynn (University of South Florida–USF) will be comparing new data to previously collected carbonate chemistry from Arctic cruises (2010-2012) in higher latitudes.

Robbins and Wynn, along with Canadian colleagues from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, will collect seawater for their ongoing study of ocean acidification in the Arctic. The USGS–USF team will collect dissolved organic carbon, pH, pCO2, and oxygen isotopes using underway systems. These data will be coordinated with the Canadian scientists, who will collect station data. In concert, these data will be used to understand ocean acidification and carbon fluxes in the Arctic and sub-Arctic.

For more information, visit:

posted: 2015-09-08

USGS Scientist travels to Florida Keys for Reef-coring Expedition

Lauren Toth (Mendenhall postdoctoral scholar, USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) will lead a research team on a ten–day expedition (August 31–September 9) to collect core records of Holocene coral-reef framework from Tennessee Reef in the Florida Keys. The new samples collected on this expedition will be added to the extensive archive of reef cores at SPCMSC ( and analyzed to answer critical questions about the long-term history of Florida's reefs. Toth will be joined by Anastasios Stathakopoulos, B.J. Reynolds, and Hunter Wilcox from SPCMSC. Emmy-award winning filmmakers Tom Fitz and Glenn Allen, who run the educational outreach organization Schoolyard Films (, will meet up with the team at Tennessee Reef for a day of coring to document the expedition for an educational documentary about Florida's reefs.

posted: 2015-09-08

New rugged, mobile jack-up tower houses pre-storm beach-measurement field equipmentUSGS Research Oceanographer collaborates with USACE to develop rapid-deployment pre-storm beach-measurement field equipment

Jenna Brown (Research Oceanographer, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) recently spent a week at the Field Research Facility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Duck, NC, collaborating with Kate Brodie and colleagues on developing field equipment capable of measuring water levels and changes in beach characteristics during extreme storms. A terrestrial lidar scanner and video camera were affixed to the top of a rugged, mobile jack-up tower, which can be transported to a beach site and rapidly deployed prior to an oncoming hurricane or nor'easter. This work is ongoing, with the goal of obtaining in-situ observations of wave runup and beach topography before, during, and after an extreme storm, and ultimately allowing for the evolution of beach erosion and possible overwash and/or inundation events to be captured and examined.

posted: 2015-08-12

USGS scheduled to conduct sedimentologic and geophysical surveys around Dauphin Island, Alabama, August 11–29, 2015

This survey is a cooperative project funded by the National Federation of Wildlife and Fisheries. Dauphin Island is a strategically significant barrier island along the northern Gulf of Mexico and serves as the only barrier island providing protection to much of Alabama's coastal natural resources, to one-third of the Mississippi Sound, and to estuarine habitats. The geologic investigations will start with sediment sampling of various marine, barrier island, and estuarine environments led by Christopher Smith with team members BJ Reynolds, Marci Marot, Cathryn Wheaton, Alisha Ellis, Paul Nelson, (SPCMSC), and Dann Blackwood (WHCMSC). The sediment data will provide a better understanding of cross-shore and alongshore variability in near-surface sediments for comparison with modeling results.

The first leg will be followed by a geophysical survey of the waters surrounding Dauphin island using single beam bathymetric systems, seismic subbottom imaging, and sidescan sonar, led by Jim Flocks with team members Kyle Kelso, Nancy DeWitt, Julie Bernier, Jake Fredericks, Chelsea Stalk, and Max Tuten (SPCMSC). The bathymetric data will be integrated with additional datasets being acquired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide a high resolution characterization of the morphology. This new image of the seafloor is critical for wave modeling efforts to determine island resiliency during storm impact.

posted: 2015-08-06

USGS Oceanographer selected for steering committee on West Florida Continental Shelf mapping project

Dr. Lisa Robbins (Oceanographer, St Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) was selected as steering committee member of the "Restoring Fish and Sea Turtle Habitat on the West Florida Continental Shelf: Benthic Habitat Mapping, Characterization, and Assessment Project", PIs Steven Murkowski (University of South Florida) and Luis Barbieri (FWC). Other steering committee members include NOAA reps Steve Giordano, Bonnie Ponwith, Ginny Fay, Matthew Campbell, Rebecca Greene (BOEM), Libby Fetherston (Ocean Conservancy), Larry Mayer (University of New Hampshire) , and Robert Spaeth (Commercial Fisherman and Vessel Owner). This project will map the West Florida Shelf using multibeam and with Camera-Based Assessment Survey System (C-BASS). The first steering committee met on July 20, 2015. Discussions centered on description of the project and the cruises. PIs indicated that additional space on the scheduled cruises will include USGS and carbonate chemistry equipment that could be added onto the C-BASS system and ships. Funding is through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the project is 3 years for over $4M.

posted: 2015-07-27

Sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs)USGS Research Oceanographer to present residual oil research at two public seminars

Soupy Dalyander (Research Oceanographer) will be presenting USGS research into the movement and seafloor interaction of sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs) at two seminars being organized to inform natural resource managers, oil spill responders, and the public on scientific understanding of oil spills. USGS has been a leading agency in investigating the dynamics of SOAs, which can form in the surf zone following an oil spill.

Both seminars are free and open to the public.

The Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Outreach Team and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are presenting, "Oil Spill Science Seminar: Impacts of Oil on Coastal Habitats" (, which will occur on July 22 in Temple Terrace, Florida.

Mississippi-Alabama SeaGrant will present "Navigating Shifting Sands: Oil on our Beaches" (, in Pensacola, Florida, on August 5.

posted: 2015-07-15

USGS Research Oceanographer joins multi-agency meeting to begin development of a new Coastal Resiliency Network

Hilary Stockdon, USGS Research Oceanographer at St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) will be meeting with representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) to discuss plans for development of a new Coastal Resiliency Network in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 7. The goal is to use the wealth of data that already exists in the Corps, USGS, and other federal agencies to quantity coastal resiliency and predict changes through time.

Hilary Stockdon will be representing USGS. USACE leads are Jeff Lilycrop and Julie Rosati. ASBPA lead is Nicole Elko.

posted: 2015-07-08

Participants from Oceanography Camp for Girls tour USGSUSGS Hosts the University of South Florida College of Marine Science Oceanography Camp for Girls

On July 1st and 2nd the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC ) hosted the University of South Florida College of Marine Science Oceanography Camp for Girls. The camp was developed in the 1990s to inspire and motivate young women entering high school to consider career opportunities in the sciences. Thirty girls participated in tours of the Center and labs led by Chris Reich and Kira Barrera, and observed laboratory procedures and analysis. To give the campers the opportunity to interact and engage with scientists, they met with new SPCMSC director Dr. Cheryl Hapke, and conducted career interviews of Nathaniel Plant, Alisha Ellis, RC Mickey, Jaci Overbeck, Kira Barrera, Jenna Brown, Kat Wilson, Lisa Ostermen, and Terrence McCloskey.

posted: 2015-07-08

Resilience-increasing tools for coasts toolkitUSGS Research Oceanographer joins panel of international experts reviewing coastal vulnerability project 'Risc-Kit'

Nathaniel Plant attended a meeting held in Berlin 16-19 June as part of a panel of international experts to review progress and advise a European Union funded coastal vulnerability project called Risc-Kit (Resilience-increasing tools for coasts toolkit, The objectives of the project are to develop methods, tools and management approaches to reduce risk and increase resilience to low-frequency, high-impact hydro-meteorological events in the coastal zone. These products will enhance forecasting, prediction and early warning capabilities, improve the assessment of long-term coastal risk and optimize the mix of prevention, mitigation and preparedness measures that could be implemented. This project included observational analysis, modeling, and social science to address coastal vulnerability at 12 very different settings within Europe and is analogous to the USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change project. Risc-kit is using USGS data and models to accomplish their objectives.

posted: 2015-07-01

Photos showing coral reef degradation over timeUSGS Coral reef scientist presenting research summary to Senior Ocean Policy Team, Main Interior Building, on July 1

Ilsa Kuffner (USGS–Research Marine Biologist) will be giving a talk to the Department of Interior Senior Ocean Policy Team (SOPT). The SOPT coordinates and advises on the DOI's approach to implementing the National Ocean Policy. President Obama signed an Executive Order on July 19, 2010, adopting the final recommendations and establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes. Kuffner will highlight the work of USGS scientists working on coral reefs within our National Parks, NOAA Sanctuaries, and State and Territory waters. Coral reefs are ecosystems in crisis: they are degrading quickly from the effects of climate change, overfishing, and many other stressors. Kuffner will be representing the work of several scientists at St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, including Kim Yates, David Zawada, Christina Kellogg, Julie Richey, and Lauren Toth.

posted: 2015-06-24

Section cover from Oceanography journalUSGS scientists publish on the state of ocean acidification research

Kim Yates and Ilsa Kuffner (Research Oceanographer and Marine Biologist, respectively), were co-authors of several articles in the June 2015 special issue of Oceanography, the magazine of the Oceanography Society. The special issue is titled "Emerging Themes in Ocean Acidification Science" and summarizes discussions of an international group of experts that gathered for the 2nd U.S. Ocean Acidification Principal Investigators' Meeting at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center, Washington, DC, September 17–20, 2013. Yates was one of four guest editors for the issue as well as co-author on three articles, and Kuffner was a co-author on one article. Ocean acidification (OA) is the chronic decrease in the pH of seawater over recent decades caused primarily by uptake of fossil-fuel derived atmospheric CO2. The excess CO2 is absorbed by the ocean and causes changes in seawater carbonate chemistry that have far-reaching effects on plants and animals living in oceans across the globe.

posted: 2015-06-24

Southeast Region Science Data Coordinator gives presentations on new USGS Open Data policy and support

Heather Henkel (USGS Information Technology Specialist) was invited to give a presentation from June 22–24 to several groups at the USGS in Reston, Virginia. Participants include the Eastern Geographic Science Center and the Ecosystems Mission Area. The talk covered two topics, "What (and Why): Overview of new Survey Manual Chapters/Instructional Memoranda," and "How (and Where and Who): *Free* Data Management Resources to Help You Fulfill the New Requirements." The presentation provided an overview of the new Survey Instructional Memos, as well as walking scientists and managers through available resources and where to go for help.

posted: 2015-06-24

Graphic of DNAUSGS researcher attends 'bioinformatic bootcamp' for microbial ecology

Christina Kellogg, USGS Research Microbiologist, applied for and successfully obtained a seat in an intensive summer workshop imaginatively designated EDAMAME: Explorations in Data Analyses for Metagenomic Advances in Microbial Ecology. Taking place at the Kellogg Biological Station in Michigan from June 22–July 1, 2015, this course will guide attendees through various pipelines and programs used for analyzing microbiomes based on ribosomal tag and shotgun metagenomic sequencing data. For further information, please see the course web site:

posted: 2015-06-10

USGS scientist travels to Florida Keys for a reef-coring expedition

Lauren Toth, USGS Mendenhall postdoctoral scholar, will be leading a research team on a two-week expedition from June 7–21 to collect core records of Holocene coral-reef framework. Cores will be collected at Sombrero, Tennessee, and Crocker reefs in the Florida Keys. Toth will be using the new samples collected on this expedition, in addition to the extensive archive of reef cores ( at USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), to answer critical questions about the long-term history of Florida's reefs. Toth will be joined by Anastasios Stathakopoulos, BJ Reynolds, and Jen Morrison from SPCMSC, and USGS Dive Safety Program Manager Marc Blouin. Emmy-award winning filmmaker Tom Fitz, who runs the educational outreach organization Schoolyard Films (, will meet up with the team at Crocker reef to document the expedition for an educational documentary about Florida's reefs.

posted: 2015-06-10

Researchers preparing for workGeophysical investigation of Grand Bay, Mississippi and Alabama

A team of scientists, lead by USGS research geologists Stanley Locker and Christopher G. Smith, conducted geophysical surveys from May 27–June 4 around the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi and Alabama. The survey methods included bathymetry, side-scan sonar, and CHIRP subbottom. The objectives were to better constrain shallow depo-centers in the modern bay while also investigating the role that geologic framework plays in the evolution of Grand Bay. The research team included Terrence McCloskey (USGS Mendenhall Post Doc), Nancy DeWitt (Geologist), Jake Fredericks (Geologist - CNT contractor for USGS), Cathryn Wheaton (Geologist - CNT contractor for USGS), and Chelsea Kuhs-Stalk (Geologist - CNT contractor for USGS).

posted: 2015-06-10

Seeding potential of Pyrodinium bahamense cyst beds in Old Tampa Bay

USGS Research geologist Christopher G. Smith will be working with state (Cary Lopez and Allina Corcoran, Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI)), and county scientists (Dave Karlen, Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County) to understand some of the factors affecting Pyrodinium bahamense bloom dynamics in Old Tampa Bay region of the larger Tampa Bay estuary, Florida. The group will evaluate at temporal variability in cyst viability and occurrence with depth to help better understand bloom seeding, occurrence and potentially initiation. Funding to support the project was from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program with contributions from the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program and FWRI.

posted: 2015-06-10

Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health xPrizeUSGS scientist participates in XPRIZE Phase 4 trial evaluations

From May 14–21, Christina Kellogg (Research Microbiologist) from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) will participate in a research cruise in the Pacific for the Phase 4 deep-sea trials of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE. This is the final phase of the $2 million competition to develop more accurate and affordable ocean pH sensors to actually measure the predicted acidification of the oceans. Five finalist teams have advanced and will test their sensors at depths of hundreds to thousands of meters during the research cruise. Kellogg and the four other judges will then determine the winners of the prize purses. Results will be announced at an awards ceremony in July 2015.

For more information, visit:

posted: 2015-05-01

American Society for Microbiology 2015 meetingDeep-sea coral microbiome results to be presented at American Society for Microbiology meeting

Christina Kellogg (Research Microbiologist, USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) and her masters student Stephanie Lawler will both present posters at the 115th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, May 30–June 2, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The posters provide the first descriptions of the bacterial associates of two deep-sea corals. These data provide critical environmental health baselines against which any future changes due to anthropogenic impacts or climate change may be measured and characterized.

For more information, visit:

posted: 2015-05-01

USGS researcher surveying on Fire Island, using the USGS wave runner systemUSGS wave runner system used in bathymetric survey at Fire Island

As part of the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental project at Fire Island, USGS researchers are undertaking a bathymetric survey of the shallow nearshore along the length of the island and within the flood shoal area of the breach using the USGS wave runner system. In addition, researchers will be collecting monitoring profiles and shoreline, ground-based lidar (Alabama Water Science Center), and flow velocities within the breach (New York WSC). Personnel from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center office include Cheryl Hapke, Owen Brenner, Tim Nelson, BJ Reynolds, Kyle Kelso, Dave Thompson, and Jake Frederickson. Fire Island National Seashore staff will assist with field logistics and provide access and vehicles for land-based surveys. The team leaves May 4-5 and will survey through May 20. This will be the final major data collection effort associated with the Hurricane Sandy project. The NPS has also requested that Cheryl Hapke give a presentation to park staff on the latest results of her research at Fire Island.

For more information on the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Fire Island project, visit:

posted: 2015-04-30

Deltares partners: U Miami, TUDelft, UNESCO-IHEDeltares researchers visiting USGS scientists to develop coastal evolution and coastal vulnerability models

Researchers from the Dutch coastal research institute Deltares are visiting the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) March 16–19, 2015. Ap van Dongeren and Arnold van Rooijen are meeting with USGS researchers Nathaniel Plant, Joe Long, Hilary Stockdon, and Cheryl Hapke to discuss collaborative projects to predict coastal evolution and to assess coastal vulnerability. Topics include evolution of barrier-island breaches formed by Hurricane Sandy, runup during extreme storms, and coupling of detailed modeling, observed coastal change, and coastal damage assessments. The meeting will result in plans for testing improved model formulations and for applying models to new coastal-process problems.

For more information about Deltares Coastal Research Institute, visit

posted: 2015-03-19

Sea-level graphic showing different resolutionsSouth Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Chief Modeler Obeysekera speaks at both USGS SPCMSC and USF St. Petersburg Campus

On Friday, March 20th, Jayantha Obeysekera, Chief Modeler of Hydrologic and Environmental Systems for the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), will speak to the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) regarding opportunities to construct storm surge models to aid storm-response resource planning for the Florida east coast counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. Dr. Obeysekera will discuss the roles and responsibilities of SFWMD for addressing the storm preparedness needs of the participating counties. At a recent conference on Saltwater Intrusion Modeling in July, county managers explained that one of the principal weaknesses they saw in their current storm preparedness was the lack of communication between the models computed by SFWMD to predict fresh water and saltwater flows and levels, and the models predicting storm surge computed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and the USGS. NWS models are primarily created by modelers at SPCMSC. After his noon talk at SPCMSC, Dr. Obeysekera will speak at the University of South Florida lecture series at 3:30 pm on the concept of Non-Stationarity for estimating future floods and extreme sea levels.

For more information about the concepts of Non-Stationarity, see a video of Dr. Obeysekera's NH52A-03 talk posted at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Meeting:,+Presented+By+Jayantha+Obeysekera/0_z7wnonz8. (Free login required to view video.)

posted: 2015-03-19

Photo showing coastal change after Hurricane SandyUSGS Researchers continue Post-Sandy Recovery Assessment

From March 17–21, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science (SPCMSC) Research Geologist, Cheryl Hapke, will travel to New York to represent the USGS as the Department of Interior's (DOI) science advisor for a Conditional Breach Protocol Plan. The meeting will be held at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters in New York City. Following the meeting, Cheryl will join Owen Brenner on Long Island, New York. They will conduct GPS monitoring surveys on Fire Island, New York, as part of the continuing efforts to assess post-Sandy beach recovery. These surveys support the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Fire Island project.

For more information on the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Fire Island project, visit:

posted: 2015-03-19

14 semifinalist teams selected for the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZEUSGS scientist participates in XPRIZE Phase 3 trial evaluations

From March 6–10, Christina Kellogg (Research Microbiologist) from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) will travel to Seattle, Washington, to act as a judge in the Phase 3 trials of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE (see SPCMSC Highlights from 2014-09-11 and 2014-12-11). This $2 million competition has teams ranging from high school students to instrument manufacturers, vying to develop accurate and affordable ocean pH sensors to actually measure the predicted acidification of the oceans. Fourteen teams have advanced to the Phase 3 coastal trials in Puget Sound, Washington, having successfully put their pH sensors through a three-month test under laboratory conditions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Monterey, California, this past fall. The top submissions will advance to deep-sea trials off Hawaii in May 2015.

For more information, visit:

posted: 2015-03-17

Best Data Management Practices Flowchart from presentationBriefing to Florida Water Centers Highlights Best Data Management Practices

The USGS Tampa Water Science office has invited Heather Henkel (Information Technology Specialist—St. Petersburg, Fla.) to give a presentation to Caribbean-Florida Water Science Centers on the newly-released U.S. Geological Survey Instructional Manual on Data Management and to learn what resources are available. The purpose of this presentation is to boil down the wealth of information resources and highlight some of the more important aspects of data management in the USGS. The presentation will cover data management topics, such as:

Survey working groups,
Where to find help (including the USGS Data Management website),
Free training, handouts, guidance on creating digital object identifiers (doi's) for data release,
How to create metadata and data management plans, and Links to resources.
posted: 2015-03-17

Celebration of USGS 136th AnniversaryCelebration of USGS 136th Anniversary part of SPCMSC March 3, 2015, All-Hands Meeting welcoming new Center Director

Acting USGS St. Petersburg Science Center Director Susan Russell-Robinson (CMGP-Reston) met with staff members to chart a course for the 60-day transition period between Center Directors, following the retirement of SPCMSC Center Director Richard Poore, who served admirably in the role for the past four years. The directive from Southeast Regional Executive Jess Weaver for the Center passed to Susan is "steady at the helm, full speed ahead." Center staff celebrated the 136th anniversary of the USGS with the new Acting Director.

posted: 2015-03-05

Graphic of a plane capturing lidar dataUSGS staff meet with Federal partner agencies acquiring Lidar to discuss common protocols for processing data

From March 3–6, USGS staff including Dave Zawada (Research Oceanographer), Rudy Troche (Computer Engineer), Dave Nagle (Programmer/Analyst), Xan Fredericks (GIS/Image Analyst), and Christine Kranenburg (Spatial Modeler/GIS Specialist) are meeting with US Army Corp of Engineers (USACOE) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) colleagues at Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to discuss protocols and methods for processing raw lidar data. The goal is to share respective experiences of the groups, and to identify ways to streamline and improve procedures for transforming raw lidar data into useful data products.

For more information about the lidar project, please visit 2015-03-05

Unmanned plane being launched by researcherUSGS hears talk on coastal Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) applications

On February 25th, Larry Harvey and Maria Peterson from the Center for Applied Space Technology (CAST) visited the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC). Larry gave a brown bag talk to interested staff describing opportunities to work with unmanned vehicles for coastal research in Florida, in response to the Innovation Fund Call for Proposals announced by USGS Director Kimball on January 29th. As part of CAST's mission to develop innovative technologies for aeronautical and space applications, they have established a relationship with the Gulf Unmanned Systems Center (GUSC, pronounced "Gussy") located near Carabelle, Florida. GUSC is a unique resource in the Southeast, specifically designed to test automated aerial, marine, and terrestrial applications.

For more information on the GUSC test facility, visit

posted: 2015-03-05

Google Earth image of study areaUSGS researchers invited to meetings on Louisiana wetland restoration

USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) researchers have been invited to join the latest Systems Wide Assessment and Monitoring Program (SWAMP) planning meeting on March 16th in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. SWAMP is a coast-wide program being developed by Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and The Water Institute of the GULF (TWIG). CPRA and TWIG will: 1) present the process used to support a system-wide assessment and monitoring program, 2) present the Coast-wide and Barataria plans, and 3) provide opportunities to discuss and answer questions about the design process, and 4) welcome discussion regarding potential leveraging options as we move towards implementation. Invited attendees from SPCMSC include Jack Kindinger, Jim Flocks, Jennifer Miselis, John Barras, and Chris Smith, along with USGS staff from the National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) and Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center (LMGWSC).

posted: 2015-03-05

Photo of marine research equipmentUSGS St. Petersburg hosts Ops Managers from other CMGP field centers

On Monday, March 2, P. Soupy Dalyander (Research Oceanographer—St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC)) will host operational staff (Ops) from the other two Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) centers to speak at SPCMSC. Marinna Martini is an engineer in the Woods Hole CMG office, and Joanne Ferreira is with the marine facilities group at the Pacific CMG center. The visitors will give an informal presentation with an overview of the capabilities of their centers; and will discuss how these two centers have collaborated in the past on field projects, equipment sharing, etc. It will also be a chance for SPCMSC staff to discuss some of their in-house capabilities, and to consider opportunities for collaboration in the future.

posted: 2015-02-27

Map of study areaFormer Woods Hole Center Director speaks to St. Petersburg, Florida, staff on Fire Island, NY research

On February 19, Bill Schwab, oceanographer and former Center Director of Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC) spoke to the research and operational staff in St. Pete about his twenty years of experience relating framework geology to the coastal geomorphology and dynamics of the southern barrier island beaches of Long Island. Bill has been working closely with SPCMSC Research Geologist Cheryl Hapke on these research efforts, as well as on the breach that was formed by Hurricane Sandy on Fire Island. Bill has focused on acquiring a time series of offshore bathymetric and backscatter sonar data to understand both the geologic context of the beach deposits in Fire Island and how they change over time.

For more information about USGS research on the new breach in Fire Island, see

Visit the Fire Island Coastal Change website:

posted: 2015-02-27

Rutgers Eco-Complex in Bordentown, NJUSGS invited to Coastal and Land Use Planning Exercise by NJ Department of Environmental Protection

The Coastal and Land Use planning program of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection invited scientists from both the St. Petersburg and Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Centers (SPCMSC and WHCMSC) to their 2015 Living Shorelines and Coastal Restoration Summit, to be held on 27 February at the Rutgers Eco-Complex in Bordentown, NJ. Jennifer Miselis will be presenting geomorphologic and sedimentologic change analysis resulting from Hurricane Sandy. The data were collected as part of a multi-year project that sought to characterize the physical estuarine environment of Barnegat Bay, NJ and its influence on water quality. Bathymetry, sediment distribution, and lidar resources that may inform coastal land use and restoration decisions will also be shown. Brian Andrews and Zafer Defne will present topo-bathymetric products and numerical modeling results from Barnegat Bay, NJ. Finally, Kara Doran will demonstrate the Coastal Change Hazards Portal, focusing on pre- and post-Sandy erosion hazards along the NJ coast. Discussions at the meeting will help define ways in which the breadth of USGS products and expertise can be utilized by coastal managers.

For more information about Barnegat Bay, read "Mapping, Measuring, and Modeling to Understand Water-Quality Dynamics in Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary, New Jersey" and "Hurricane Sandy Disrupts USGS Study of the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary in New Jersey, Provides Additional Research Opportunities."

posted: 2015-02-19

USGS Research Marine Biologist Ilsa KuffnerUSGS staff speaks about "Wimps and Winners on Florida's Coral Reefs"

On Feb. 5th, USGS Research Marine Biologist Ilsa Kuffner spoke on Florida's coral reefs at the Florida Sea Grant Extension "Salty Topics" marine speaker series at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center in St. Petersburg, FL. Despite much attention from the press, misconceptions regarding the causes of reef decline abound. Ilsa summarized the debate about reef decline and gave her thoughts on the prospects for reef recovery in the Florida Keys.

posted: 2015-02-19

Spoonbill BowlStaff participate in Spoonbill Bowl Ocean Science Competition

On Feb. 7th, Kara Doran and Christian Haller represented the USGS as volunteers for the National Ocean Science Bowl's Annual Spoonbill competition. The Spoonbill Bowl is a regional competition that allows high-school students to boost their knowledge of marine science and compete as a team against other schools for the opportunity to participate in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. The competition is organized by the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science and takes place on the campus of USF St. Petersburg. USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center scientists and staff have supported this event since 2005, when St. Petersburg first began hosting the regional competition.

posted: 2015-02-19

Topical CurrentsUSGS scientist to participate in radio talk show regarding the state of South Florida marine environments

On February 5, USGS Research Marine Biologist, Ilsa Kuffner, will participate in a live interview on radio station WLRN from South Florida with Philippe Cousteau of EarthEcho International. The program will focus on the Earth Echo Expedition this past September, 2014 (See Highlight from 2014-09-18). EarthEcho International is an environmental education organization co-founded and led by Philippe Cousteau. The program will air at 1 pm and be part of the Topical Currents show hosted by Joseph Cooper and Bonnie Berman.

posted: 2015-02-05

Photograph of scientists collecting vibracores near Breton IslandUSGS field staff help supervise drill core excursion to Breton Island, Louisiana

From Jan. 3rd to Jan. 21st, Kyle Kelso (Research Associate, St. Petersburg), helped American Vibracore Services obtain 65 vibracores for the Geologic Evolution of Coastal Margins project, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill National Resource Damage Assessment Early Restoration Project. The project is being undertaken to restore the bird nesting habitat at Breton Island National Wildlife Refuge. The vibracores will be used to characterize the stratigraphy around Breton Island. Ground-truth geophysical data, collected in 2014 by the USGS, will provide sediment texture information for the restoration efforts. The cores will be analyzed at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) core-processing laboratory.

posted: 2015-02-05

UK Science and Innovation NetworkBritish Embassy invites USGS to workshop on Social Responses to Emergencies

On February 5–6, the United Kingdom (UK) Science and Innovation Network (SIN) and the Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK) are hosting a workshop on Social Responses to Emergencies at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The British Embassy invited the USGS to participate, and USGS Research Oceanographer Hilary Stockdon was chosen for her expertise and interest in Hurricane Katrina. The workshop will bring together the academic, government, and private sectors from the UK and US to synthesize generic lessons, and identify critical differences across these settings, in order to export and import lessons and good practices. The workshop will attempt to draw broad lessons from three particular case studies:

  • Health: This case study will be based on the on-going Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
  • Natural Hazards: This case study will focus on coastal and inland flooding associated with Hurricane Katrina.
  • Security: This will focus on a security (terrorist-induced) emergency in the US or UK.

For more information about the UK Science and Innovation Network, visit:

posted: 2015-02-05

Graphic describing the synchronized field work on the reefscapeMultidisciplinary winter field effort at Crocker Reef, Florida Keys

From January 26–February 6, researchers from the USGS will be engaged in an integrated data and sample collection at Crocker Reef, Florida Keys, as part of the Coastal and Marine Geology Program's (CMGP) Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project. The seasonal study, begun last summer, is a major part of a year-long focus on Crocker Reef, combining expertise in three specific areas: geochemistry, geology, and metabolic processes. The effort will combine water sampling for carbonate chemistry, reef metagenome analyses, and will also include servicing temperature loggers and current meters. Principal investigators are Christina Kellogg, Kim Yates and David Zawada; assisting are Chris Moore, Nathan Smiley, and Legna Torres-Garcia. University of Tampa professor Rob Masserini is collaborating on nutrient profiles and will also be sending a student on the trip.


posted: 2015-01-29

2015 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science ConferenceUSGS Researcher to give talk on Sand and Oil Agglomerates at 2015 Oil Spill Conference

From February 16–19, USGS Research Oceanographer P. Soupy Dalyander will travel to Houston, Texas, to give an oral presentation at the 2015 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference. Soupy's talk is titled "Physical Dynamics of Sand and Oil Agglomerates: Field and Laboratory Studies of Artificial Proxies." Co-authors from SPCMSC include Joseph Long, Nathaniel Plant, Dave Thompson, and Molly McLaughlin.

For more information about the conference, visit:

posted: 2015-01-29

Scientist setting up equipment testUSGS staff to test acoustic properties of USGS offshore geophysical equipment

Stan Locker (Research Geologist, St. Pete) will travel to Newport, Rhode Island from 1/26–1/31 and then later to Leesburg, Florida, along with Jake Fredericks (Researcher I), to help characterize the acoustic properties of the sources used for routine USGS geophysical surveys (sidescan, chirp, and boomers). The measurements are part of a joint project funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and include all three Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) Centers (Santa Cruz, St. Petersburg, and Woods Hole) in cooperation with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC). The objectives of the trips are to obtain accurate measurements of the acoustic properties of various transducers and acoustic sources used in our geophysical surveys. These data will then be used to inform permitting guidelines for using these acoustic systems in the marine environment.

For more information about the NUWC, visit:

posted: 2015-01-29

A gray seal rests on a rock.USGS scientist quoted in Science Magazine article

Dale Griffin, environmental and public health microbiologist at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), was quoted in an article in Science Magazine's News section written by Jennifer Balmer on January 14. In one of the first studies to establish the land-to-sea transmission of bacteria associated with humans, scientists have detected high levels of a human bacterial strain in gray seals. Dale was queried on the possible sources of the bacteria. To view the article, visit:

posted: 2015-01-22

Stained glass created in memory of Dr. Abby SallengerSt. Petersburg Downtown Partnership and USGS co-host artwork dedication

On January 23rd, the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership will co-host a joint ceremony with the USGS dedicating a stained-glass memorial for Dr. Abby Sallenger by glass artist Lenn Neff. The artwork is currently displayed in the southeastern foyer of the Getting building on the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) campus. The ceremony will be held in the SPCMSC courtyard from 11:00 am to 11:45 am. USGS Director, Suzette Kimball, a collaborator and friend of Abby, is expected to attend, as well as other local dignitaries. For more information, please contact Sandy Coffman at 727-502-8002 or e-mail

posted: 2015-01-15

95th annual American Meteorological Society meetingUSGS scientist speaks at national meteorological meeting in Phoenix

On January 6th, Joseph Long (Oceanographer—SPCMSC) spoke at the 95th annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Joe's talk was titled "Including Empirical Wave Runup in an Operational Forecast Model for Coastal Water Levels". Joe discussed an inter-agency effort between the USGS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service (NOAA/NWS) to create an operational model at all Weather Forecast offices that will include surges, tides, and wave runup to predict total water levels along the coast. Pilot studies are currently being implemented and tested at two locations: Duck, North Carolina, and Treasure Island, Florida. Other USGS co-authors include Kara Doran, Jacquelyn Overbeck, and Hilary Stockdon.

For more information, visit:

posted: 2015-01-09

The mysterious black pipesUSGS St. Pete facility continues to expand chilled water application

On December 8, Chris Reich (Facilities Manager) explained the appearance of the mysterious set of black pipes in the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science (SPCMSC) courtyard. The plan is to expand the chilled water to the Getting Building and replace the direct expansion (compressor style) air conditioners. The chilled water system is more efficient and effective in controlling temperature and humidity. The pipes will be buried in the courtyard between the Studebaker Building and the Getting Building. Once installed, the next phase will be to run pipe inside and convert the existing air conditioning units. This upgrade has been planned to take place during the winter months so that indoor temperatures remain reasonably comfortable during the conversion. For more information about SPCMSCs plans to continue to increase efficiencies and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), see Highlight of 2014-05-08.

posted: 2014-12-19

USGS St. Pete Outreach–By the Numbers

Responding to a data call by Melinda Garber from Headquarters about Engaging K–12 Young People, the St. Pete Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) compiled its outreach activities for 2014. It was estimated that almost 9800 K–12 students interacted with SPCMSC staff in 21 outreach activities over the year. 44 of the SPCMSC staff or 41% of the total staff participated. Theresa Burress, our former outreach coordinator, participated in the most activities at 11. Thanks to the following USGS staff for participating: Doran, Flannery, Barrera, Haller, Kuffner, Reynolds, C., Bodin, Busch, Buster, Griffin, Kovacs, Krohn, Liu, Long, Raabe, Robbins, Smith, K., Smith, T., Toth, Brennan, Brownell, Bussey, Dalyander, DeWitt, Ellis, Fredericks, X., Gray, Kelso, Kindinger, McLaughlin, Mickey, Miselis, Moore, Morgan, Plant, Reich, Richey, Snell, Sopkin, Sosnowski, Stockdon, Terrano, and Tiling.

posted: 2014-12-19

USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) at American Geophysical Union (AGU) Meeting

From December 13 to 19, AGU is holding its annual fall meeting in San Francisco, California, at the Moscone Convention Center. To show the strong ties between AGU and the USGS, this year the current director and 5 former directors are speaking at a special session. USGS SPCMSC has 10 scientists as primary presenters and 17 staff listed as co-authors. Below is a list of SPCMSC first authors at the meeting:

Name Session # Title
Brenner, O. EP31B-3551 Development of new morphometrics to assess beach response and recovery
Brownell, A. EP31B-3540 The Development of a National-Scale Geomorphic and Anthropogenic Coastal Classification Framework
Dalyander, S. OS22A-05 Review of Nearshore Morphologic Prediction
Doran, K. EO31B-554 Understanding Variability in Beach Slope to Improve Forecasts of Storm-induced Water Levels
Hapke, C. EP22A-06 Sustained morphologic changes to the shoreface related to Hurricane Sandy: Fire Island, NY
Knorr, P. B41B-0034 Ocean acidification model predicts a 65% reduction in large benthic foraminiferal carbonate sediment production on the west Florida shelf by 2140
Long, J. EP22A-02 Understanding and Predicting Time-Dependent Dune Erosion
Liu, S. ED53A-3469 USGS “iCoast—Did the Coast Change?” Project: Crowd-Tagging Aerial Photographs to Improve Coastal Change Prediction Models
Smith, C. EP11B-06 The threshold between storm overwash and inundation and the implication to paleo-storm records and climate signatures.
Stockdon, H. OS14A-07 Estimating wave runup during storms using numerical and parameterized models

posted: 2014-12-19

Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE-teams announcedUSGS scientist evaluates XPRIZE Phase 2 trials

From December 10–12, Christina Kellogg, (Research Microbiologist) from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) will travel to Monterey, California, to act as a judge in the phase 2 trials of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE (see SPCMSC Highlight from 2014-09-11). Chris will be involved in a team summit followed by a judges meeting.

For more information on the XPRIZE competition, visit:

posted: 2014-12-11

Aquifer Storage and Recovery in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration PlanUSGS scientist on Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Special Review Panel

John Lisle (Research Microbiologist) will be participating as a panel member for the review of the Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Regional Study which is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and the ASR Regional Study to be held in Jacksonville, Florida, from 12/10–12/12. This requirement, for review of the ASR Regional Study, is fulfilled by a panel assembled by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences. The ASR Regional Study has three major components: a regional groundwater model, a hydrogeological evaluation (including water quality), and an ecosystem risk assessment. Dr. Lisle contributed to the groundwater quality evaluation with the USGS publication "Survival of Bacterial Indicators and the Functional Diversity of Native Microbial Communities in the Floridan Aquifer System, South Florida" (OFR 2014-1011), which was summarized in a chapter of the ASR Regional Study final report.

posted: 2014-12-11

Islamorada in the Florida KeysIslamorada, Florida fieldwork continues for supporting Coral Reef Project

USGS Dave Zawada and Kim Yates have sent a 4-person team (Nate Smiley, Legna Torres-Garcia, Anesti Stathakopoulos, and Chris Moore) to Islamorada in the Florida Keys from 12/7 to 12/12, as part of their ongoing work on Crocker Reef for the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project. The team will be performing regular maintenance and downloading data from the Ocean Carbon System (OCS). They will also be deploying 4 Acoustic-Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs). The ADCP data will be used to model water transport on the reef.

posted: 2014-12-11

Map of study areaUSGS scientist consulted for Fire Island - Montauk Point, NY Federal Plan

Cheryl Hapke (Research Geologist) from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), will represent the USGS on a Department of Interior (DOI) technical advisory team to provide coastal science expertise to the National Park Service (NPS) and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for planning discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) NY District in the development and modification of the Fire Island to Montauk Point preliminary Federal Plan. The meeting will be held at USACE Headquarters in New York City from 12/8–12/9.

posted: 2014-12-11

Ocean acidification: the new threat for marine ecosystemsUSGS Senior Scientist helped lead first Latin American Ocean Acidification (OA) Workshop

USGS St Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center scientist, Dr. Lisa Robbins, participated as an instructor and co-organizer (as lead in the Capacity Building component of the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) for the first Latin–American Ocean Acidification (LAOCA) Workshop November 10-15, 2014 held in Dichato, Chile. The workshop was sponsored by the OA-ICC and the Universidad de Concepción, Institute de Musels, Chile. Attending the workshop were 20 students from around Latin America including Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Columbia. The course was taught by Robbins and Drs. Sam Dupont (University of Gothenburg, Sweden), Helen Findley (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK), Andrew Dickson (Scripps, California), Jose Martin Hernandez-Ayon (Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexico), Cristian Vargas (Universidad de Concepción) and Nelson Lagos (Chile). One of the goals of this short course was to provide researchers in this new field of ocean acidification information on the "best practices" in the field. Robbins provided information on the CO2-system chemistry of ocean acidification and how to measure it using different techniques and the use of carbon calculators. In a separate mini symposium held at the University of Concepción, Robbins' powerpoint talk focused on setting up scientific networks and the framework associated with the study of OA.

For more information about the LAOCA workshop, visit:

posted: 2014-11-20

Graphic of the coccidioidomycosis cycle in humansUSGS scientist helps CDC staff locate source of airborne microbe

From 11/15 to 11/23, USGS microbiologist Dale Griffin will do fieldwork in Tucson, Arizona, with staff from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help locate the source of coccidioidomycosis, or Valley Fever. Even though the fungus is known to be transported airborne, it has never been captured from in-situ air samples. Dale was chosen for his experience in collecting microbe samples from African Dust that travels across the Atlantic Ocean (see Soundwaves article, March 2002). The initial CDC sampling program will be in and around Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson.

posted: 2014-11-20

USGS St. Pete office hosts USF Oceanography Undergraduates

On Oct. 29th, the undergraduate Oceanography class taught by Theresa Greely at the University of South Florida (USF) received a short 40-minute introduction to USGS Marine Science. About 33 students came to the Center with two teaching assistants. Dennis Krohn gave a 20-minute talk about big-picture research at the Coastal and Marine Geology center to half the class, while Kyle Kelso concurrently gave a demonstration of the USGS core laboratory facilities. The groups then switched so each group received a lecture and a lab tour.

posted: 2014-11-05

Photo showing coral with dark spot diseaseNew USGS publication examines dark spot syndrome in starlet corals

An article published October 7, 2014, by USGS microbiologists Christina Kellogg and Michael Gray, examines one of the most prevalent coral diseases in the Caribbean, dark spot disease (also known as dark spot syndrome). In collaboration with scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, DNA microarrays, a technology that measures a large numbers of genes simultaneously, were used to compare bacterial communities between healthy and dark-spot coral colonies in Dry Tortugas National Park and Virgin Islands National Park. Overall, the findings do not support the hypothesis that dark spot in the massive starlet coral (Siderastrea siderea) is linked to a bacterial pathogen. The dataset does provide the most comprehensive overview to date of the bacterial community associated with this coral species.

posted: 2014-10-15

Photograph of the NOAA Fisheries SE Regional Office buildingUSGS Senior Scientist participates in NOAA strategic planning effort in St. Petersburg, Florida

USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) scientist, Dr. Lisa Robbins, was part of a fact-finding meeting initiated by NOAA Fisheries Southeast Science Center's long-term strategic planning effort on October 1. The goal of the meeting was to gather information about potential opportunities to expand the NOAA Center's science presence in St. Petersburg. The Mayor, other city leaders, and local marine science leaders met with NOAA Director of Southeast Fisheries Science Center Dr. Bonnie Ponwith; NOAA Fisheries Agency Project Manager Mr. John Gorman; and Ms. Julie Bassuk from MAKERS, an architecture-planning/urban design firm, to get a better understanding of marine science research in St. Petersburg, potential future research, and opportunities for synergy and collaboration with the Southeast Science Center. Robbins gave a 10-minute overview of SPMSC's mission and science focus, and emphasized areas of potential relevance to fisheries science. An open dialog followed; participants discussed major trends in fisheries and ocean science and how that will affect research in St Petersburg, opportunities to enhance partnerships, and collaboration and synergy with NOAA Fisheries.

posted: 2014-10-08

oblique aerial photosComplete set of USGS Hurricane Sandy aerial photographs released online

On Sept. 19th, the USGS publications warehouse released the complete set of oblique aerial photographs for Hurricane Sandy as Data Series 858. The collection of 9481 photographs spans from Cape Lookout, NC, to Montauk, NY, and was acquired over three days from November 4th to 6th, 2012. Many of the photographs have been extensively used in USGS websites and publications including on the front page of Fact Sheet 2014-3062 used in the briefing #StrongAfterSandy presented to Congress on Sept. 19th.

To view the oblique aerial photographs, visit:

To view the #StrongAfterSandy Fact Sheet, visit:

posted: 2014-10-02

estuary photos from Vermillion Bay, LouisianaUSGS scientists initiate fieldwork for Storm and Sea Level Impacts research on estuarine environments

Terrence McCloskey, a new Mendenhall post-doctoral researcher at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), traveled with Christopher G. Smith (USGS Research Geologist), C. Scott Adams (Researcher, Cherokee Nation Technology Solutions), and Christian Haller (USGS/University of South Florida Intern) to the Pascaguola River and Grand Bay coastal regions of Mississippi and Alabama to acquire sedimentary records from Grand Bay marsh platform and the Pascaguola River bayhead delta. The work was carried out as part of McCloskey's Mendenhall Fellowship and the Storm and Sea-level Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines (SSIEES) project. The goal for SSIEES is to develop a decadal time-scale assessment of historical sediment budget changes to help refine estuarine shoreline vulnerability due to storms and sea-level. McCloskey's research, by establishing geochemical proxies, will help quantify the role that storms have played over the last 8000 years.

posted: 2014-10-02

Scientist collecting video data on a coral reef.USGS coral ecologist participates in workshop on coral reef processes

USGS Mendenhall post-graduate fellow, Lauren Toth, is traveling to Miami from 9/24 to 9/27 to contribute to a workshop sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The goal of the workshop is to discuss how Florida reefs should be managed to maintain and promote important reef processes such as accretion, herbivory, and recruitment. Lauren will be giving a short talk describing a geological perspective of coral-reef restoration in the Florida Keys.

posted: 2014-09-25

#StrongAfterSandyYou are invited: The USGS Congressional Briefing Series #StrongAfterSandy—The Science Supporting the Department of the Interior's Response

Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 devastated some of the most densely populated areas of the Atlantic Coast. The storm claimed lives, altered natural lands and wildlife habitat, and caused millions of dollars in property damage. Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of our Nation's need to better protect people and communities from future storms. To inform the Department of the Interior's recovery efforts, the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are collectively developing and applying science to build resilient coastal communities that can better withstand and prepare for catastrophic storms of the future.

Date: Friday, Sept. 19, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: 2325 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.


National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - Dr. Claude Gascon, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer, emcee

U.S. Geological Survey - Dr. Neil K. Ganju, Research Oceanographer

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Eric Schrading, Field Office Supervisor, New Jersey Field Office

National Park Service - Mary Foley, Chief Scientist, Northeast Region

Partner Host: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

For more information, visit

To find out more about how the USGS is combining interdisciplinary science with state-of-the-art technologies to achieve a comprehensive understanding of coastal change caused by Hurricane Sandy, read the new fact sheet, "Using Science to Strengthen our Nation's Resilience to Tomorrow's Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts".posted: 2014-09-18

Map showing EDEN project areasEDEN Project Team Annual Meeting to be held at US Army Corps of Engineers office in Jacksonville, Florida

On September 24–25, the Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) project team—Pamela Telis (FLWSC), Matt Petkewich (SCWSC), and Paul Conrads (SCWSC), Heather Henkel (SPCMSC), and Bryan McCloskey (SPCMSC)—will meet at the US Army Corps of Engineers office in Jacksonville, Florida, to plan new project activities for FY2015. Recent EDEN project updates ( include daily modeled water surfaces now available with only a 1-day delay (upgraded from a 4-day delay), the Explore and View EDEN (EVE) web application, which allows users to visualize this hydrologic information alongside supplemental information (, and the development of data products and visualization tools for scientists who are using EDEN data to help evaluate restoration scenarios.

posted: 2014-09-18

Photo showing coral bleaching on reefUSGS Press Release on ocean-temperature study generates news coverage

On September 9, the USGS Newsroom posted a release about "Ocean Warming Affecting Florida Reefs." The release describes the findings of a study by Ilsa Kuffner, marine biologist from the USGS, on how ocean temperatures have changed since the late 1800s at two historic lighthouses on the Florida Keys outer-reef tract. The research was recently published in Estuaries and Coasts, "A century of ocean warming on Florida Keys coral reefs: Historic in-situ observations." The story was picked up by ClimateWire and aired on the news reel on radio station WLRN in Miami on September 12.

posted: 2014-09-18

EarthEchoUSGS Coral Reef Researcher to be interviewed by Philippe Cousteau

On September 17, Ilsa Kuffner from the USGS will head to Miami, Florida, to be interviewed by EarthEcho International. EarthEcho is a non-profit organization for environmental education founded by Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau, grandchildren of the legendary film-maker, Jacques Cousteau. Kuffner will be taking Cousteau and the production crew out to visit one of her sites in Biscayne National Park and discussing the coral-growth monitoring study and other work of the Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies (CREST) project.

For more information about EarthEcho, visit:

posted: 2014-09-18

front page of Fact SheetUsing Science to Strengthen our Nation's Resilience to Tomorrow's Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts

A new fact sheet "Using Science to Strengthen our Nation's Resilience to Tomorrow's Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts" describes how the USGS is combining interdisciplinary science with state-of-the-art technologies to achieve a comprehensive understanding of coastal change caused by Hurricane Sandy. By assessing coastal change impacts through research and by developing tools that enhance our science capabilities, support coastal stakeholders, and facilitate effective decision making, we continue to build a greater understanding of the processes at work across our Nation’s complex coastal environment—from wetlands, estuaries, barrier islands, and nearshore marine areas to infrastructure and human communities. This improved understanding will increase our resilience as we prepare for future short-term, extreme events as well as long-term coastal change.

posted: 2014-09-16

A variety of corals growing under mangrove treesUSGS scientists discover previously undocumented refuge for corals as an adaption due to recent climate change

On August 19th lead authors oceanographer Kim Yates from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science (SPCMSC) and research biologist Caroline Rogers from the Southeast Ecological Science Center (SESC) published a peer-reviewed article in Biogeoscience documenting a previously unknown refuge for coral growth in the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, St. John, VI, along with four other USGS and university scientists. The findings show that mangrove habitats are providing refuge for over 30 species of scleractinian corals from solar radiation, thermal stress and ocean acidification, and potential adaptation of these corals to higher water temperatures. To the authors' knowledge, this has never before been documented in the geologic or modern record. Co-authors contributing are Nate Smiley from SPCMSC, Gregg Brooks and Rebecca Larsen from Eckerd College, and Jimmy Herlan from Universidad Católica del Norte.

To view the journal article, visit

posted: 2014-09-11

Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZEUSGS Researcher chosen for judging panel of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE

XPRIZE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development, has announced the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE. On the heels of the successful Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE aims to spur global innovators to develop accurate and affordable ocean pH sensors that will ultimately transform our understanding of ocean acidification. Current sensors are limited in their capacity to detect ocean acidification changes in the deep ocean and in coastal waters, and we cannot assess change unless we understand and measure what is out there. Eighteen teams from around the world have registered for this 22-month competition. USGS Research Microbiologist Dr. Christina Kellogg has been chosen to be on the five-member judging panel. Judges were vetted by the competition's Science Advisory Board and chosen based on scientific expertise, objective outlook, credibility, and ethical reputation. Judges will award points during several testing phases including laboratory trials, coastal trials and open ocean trials. The judging panel has the sole authority to declare the winners of the competition, and the final decisions will be announced during an award ceremony in July 2015.

For more information on the XPRIZE, visit:

posted: 2014-09-11

Steven Douglas and Joseph Terrano, with USGS Ecologist Kathryn SmithUniversity of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) students take GIS skills to USGS

On August 1, the USFSP online student news website posted an article written by Jessica Blais about two student interns working at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC). Two Environmental Science Policy and Geography students, Steven Douglas and Joseph Terrano are working with USGS Ecologist Kathryn Smith on computer-aided mapping projects to identify coastal hazards using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Douglas, a Masters student, and Terrano, a rising senior, are students of Barnali Dixon, chair of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Geography.

To read the article, see:

posted: 2014-09-11

marine biology studentsSt. Petersburg Marine Microbiology Laboratory hosts St. Petersburg College marine biology student group

On September 10, SPCMSC Research Microbiologist Christina Kellogg will host St. Petersburg College (SPC) sophomore and junior marine biology students. Kellogg will give a presentation about marine microbiology and her recent work on coral diseases.

posted: 2014-09-04

USGS conducted joint sonar/lidar bathymetric survey at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to support U.S. Air Force erosion vulnerability study

On 18 August 2014, researchers from the Saint Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) began a bathymetric survey of the complicated shoals, channels, and bars that are connected to the Cape Canaveral shoreline. This region has complex patterns of erosion and deposition that are evolving due to storms and sea-level rise. The survey approach utilized the both sonar and lidar observation technologies to optimize data coverage over a wide region with variable water clarity. The two data sets will be integrated into a single data set used to estimate bathymetric change and provide new input to numerical models. Additional data were collected to quantify survey accuracy and to develop improved assimilation of oceanographic, lidar, and sonar data and models.

posted: 2014-08-28

USGS scientists travel to Fire Island, New York, to continue post-Sandy monitoring

From 9/7–9/11, USGS geologists Cheryl Hapke, Owen Brenner, and Kat Wilson will return to Fire Island after an extensive field data collection trip in June to re-survey the shoreline and beach profiles ongoing coastal recovery studies. They will also present an update of field activities and preliminary findings to the NPS staff. Fire Island is one of the principal USGS areas of interest to document geologic processes related to Sandy erosion and recovery.

posted: 2014-08-28

Screen shot showing Python Map exampleSenior USGS science data coordinator continues work on data management training modules

From August 26–29, Heather Henkel, based at the St. Petersburg field center, will travel to Lakewood, Colorado, to work with Viv Hutchison and Lisa Zolly (Core Science Systems) on new training modules for the USGS Data Management web site. The first modules are available at and cover three introductory topics. The USGS Data Management web site was developed to not only provide broad and easy access to best practices, tools, and recommended reading, but also to facilitate compliance with recent mandates from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) regarding open data access to well-managed, federally-funded research. Regardless of location, a broad range of scientists with little or no experience in data management will be able to implement current best practices by having the training modules available online.

posted: 2014-08-21

Members of the award-winning USGS Environmental Achievement teamSPCMSC receives USGS Environmental Achievement Award

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) received notice it won one of three USGS Environmental Achievement Awards announced on August 6. SPCMSC won in the category for Good Neighbors for Greenhouse Gas Reduction. The award recognized the small team of Ellen Raabe, Environmental Program Coordinator, Molly McLaughlin, Lab and Safety Manager, Chris Reich, Operations Manager, the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, and the Southeast Companies, facility leasing company. SPCMSC in collaboration with Southeast Companies has diligently worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the Center primarily by reducing electricity consumption by 19% from FY2012 to FY 2013 (see Highlight from 2014-05-08). The effort in FY2012 was part of ongoing modifications that included a hot-water solar tube array replacing the bulk of the natural gas used by the laboratory building, conversion from fluorescent bulbs to LED lighting, and expanding chilled water, supplied by the University of South Florida, by retrofitting HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) in all three buildings.

posted: 2014-08-14

Old photograph of USGS scientist taking measurements in the fieldUSGS field team to establish Sediment Elevation Tables (SETs) on Crocker Reef

From 8/18 to 8/29, five field staff from the USGS will travel to Islamorada, Fla. to establish benchmarks and accurately locate underwater Sediment Elevation Tables on Crocker Reef utilizing both the 25–foot R/V Sallenger and the 22-foot Twin Vee. Over the coming months and years, the SETs will allow the USGS to characterize sediment accumulation or removal patterns at several locations around the reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (For earlier work on Crocker Reef, see Highlight from 2014-07-02). USGS staff contributing to the fieldwork are Chris Reich, B.J. Reynolds, Nate Smiley, Lauren Toth, and new operations hire Anastasios Stathakopoulos (Anesti). Kim Yates and Dave Zawada serve as co-principal investigators.

posted: 2014-08-14

Map showing RRT areas in the US and CaribbeanUSGS oceanographer to give presentation to California Regional Response Team IX

From 8/12–8/13, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science (SPCMSC) research oceanographer P. Soupy Dalyander will participate in a Regional Response Team IX (RRT) meeting held in Signal Hill, California. The RRT is one of 13 teams chartered across the nation, co-chaired by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), for developing incident response plans. Soupy's presentation is titled "Assessing mobility and redistribution patterns of sand and oil agglomerates in the surf zone." The talk covers the work done as part of the Operational Science Advisory Team (OSAT3) in responding to Deepwater Horizon incident (see Highlight from 2014-02-13).

posted: 2014-07-31

Students from Orlando enjoy a visit to USGS St. Petersburg campusOrlando summer science camp students visit USGS St. Petersburg campus

On July 17, approximately 20 campers and counselors from the Orlando Science Center summer camp visited the USGS SPCMSC center. Organized by Monica Cook from the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science, the visit to USGS is part of a day-long tour of the USGS/USF facilities in St. Petersburg. Kara Doran (SPCMSC Oceanographer) spoke to the middle school students about USGS barrier-island research at the center, and ended her talk by sharing personal stories about her experiences measuring beach erosion at the Kennedy Space Center.

posted: 2014-07-24

TechTrek logoUSGS St. Petersburg field center participates in Florida Tech Trek Outreach

On July 14, Theresa Burress and Karen Morgan from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) participated in the Florida Tech Trek at Eckerd College. Sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Tech Trek is a one-week science camp for eighth grade girls. The STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering, and math) summer camp program allows girls to gain confidence in STEM related subjects with hands-on labs and projects. Tech Trek has camps in over 10 states.

Theresa Buress presented an overview of the USGS and the St. Petersburg Center (SPCMSC). Karen Morgan presented the erosion model, "A Pan, a Fan, and some Sand," showing how the model can demonstrate the effects of extreme storms on our coastlines. With two full model setups the girls were divided into groups of 10, and worked together on their ideas to build an island. After the islands were built, participants could watch how their islands eroded when the fans were turned on. While the models were running the girls also used microscopes to view and identify different sands from around the world, and practiced using sieves to sort sand into different grain sizes. Afterward, Theresa and Karen discussed how each group built their island and talked about what worked to deter erosion and what did not. The overview and models were presented to two groups of 20 girls each, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

For more information on the Tech Trek camps, visit:

posted: 2014-07-24

coralMillennial-scale history of corals in Florida Keys Reef Tract

In June, 2014, Lauren Toth joined USGS-St. Petersburg as a Mendenhall Post-Graduate Fellow. Lauren will be working with coral ecologist Ilsa Kuffner on the CREST project (Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies) looking at corals from the USGS-St. Petersburg drill core collection. She will be analyzing the rates of reef accretion to understand why some reefs had slower rates of growth over the last 4000 years. Lauren will be utilizing the ICP-OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer) to look at geochemistry of the corals in the drill core sections to understand not only changes in reef development, but also changes in the environment of the reefs through time.

posted: 2014-07-17

Data Series 767 index mapLidar Pre-Post Coverage of Hurricane Sandy for New Jersey released online

On July 16, the USGS released Data Series 767, "The EAARL-B Coastal Topography - Eastern New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy, 2012: First Surface." This publication provides geographically referenced elevation measurements of lidar-derived first-surface (FS) topography for a portion of the New Jersey coastline beachface, acquired pre-Hurricane Sandy on October 26, and post-Hurricane Sandy on November 1 and November 5, 2012. The datasets are made available for use as a management tool to research scientists and natural-resource managers.

posted: 2014-07-17

USF Oceanography Camp Students visit USGS St. Petersburg CenterUSF Oceanography Camp 2014 Students visit USGS St. Petersburg Center

On June 25 and 26, thirty 8th grade students attending University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science's (CMS) Oceanography Camp for Girls visited the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) to learn about how hurricanes and other extreme storms impact our coastline. Kara Doran simulated a hurricane using the Center's coastal erosion model, which illustrates how wind and waves transport sediment from a barrier island during storms. Fifteen students also had the opportunity to interview Center scientists one-on-one about their work. Participating St. Petersburg SPCMSC and Southeast Ecological Science Center (SESC) scientists included Kara Doran, Alisha Ellis, Jennifer Flannery, Caitlin Reynolds, Julie Richey, Lisa Robbins, Jaci Smith, Tom Smith, and Lauren Toth.

posted: 2014-07-10

Map showing study areaSt. Petersburg Center to conduct Louisiana Gulf Coast Islands fieldwork in July

From July 11th to the 31st, SPCMSC geologists Jim Flocks and Jen Miselis will lead a major field expedition to the Breton and Chandeleur Islands, part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, offshore of the Mississippi River Delta. The first of two field efforts at the Refuge this summer, the team will deploy from Venice, La., and Biloxi, Ms., and remain at the islands for the duration of the survey. The fieldwork will gather shallow-water bathymetry, near-surface geology, and island elevation using the R/V Sallenger among other vessels. SPCMSC staff participating in the field work include Julie Bernier, Trevor Browning, Nancy DeWitt, Jake Fredericks, Kyle Kelso, Stan Locker, BJ Reynolds, and Dana Wiese.

posted: 2014-07-10

Researchers collect data in Fire Island, New YorkUSGS jet-ski team successfully maps Fire Island nearshore

On June 25, the field team obtaining shallow water bathymetric data from jet-skis as part of the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Funding effort returned from their fieldwork in Fire Island, New York. The mapping effort was very successful and the team, which included personnel from both the Santa Cruz and St. Petersburg Science Centers, acquired almost twice the amount of data that had been originally been tasked. Members of the team also mapped portions of the flood shoal of the Sandy breach on foot to collect data in water that was too shallow for the jet-skis. Coastal and Marine Geology staff participating in the data operations include Cheryl Hapke, B.J. Reynolds, Owen Brenner, Dave Thompson, Tim Nelson, Kyle Kelso, Andrew Stevens, Tim Elfers and Jackson Currie.

For more information on the Fire Island, New York, fieldwork see Highlight from 2014-05-22.

posted: 2014-07-02

Monitoring underwater sampling equipment in the Florida KeysMultidisciplinary field effort at Crocker Reef, Florida Keys

From July 7–17, researchers from the USGS will be engaged in integrated data and sample collection at Crocker Reef in the Florida Keys as part of the Coastal and Marine Geology Program's Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project. Reefs are complex ecosystems where environmental and biological factors are constantly affecting each other, creating a heterogeneous and ever-changing landscape on both spatial and temporal scales. We are combining expertise in three specific areas (geochemistry, geology, and metabolic processes) to better characterize the processes that affect carbonate precipitation and dissolution. This effort will combine sediment sampling for mineralogy with water sampling for carbonate chemistry and reef metagenome analyses. This summer sampling trip will be followed by another collection trip in December/January to capture seasonal variation. Understanding the processes that underlie whether the reef is accreting (growing) or dissolving is fundamental to questions of reef health and resiliency. Principal investigators are Christina Kellogg (metagenomes), Kim Yates (carbonate chemistry) and David Zawada (sediments). Assisting on this field trip are Chris Moore, Nathan Smiley, and Molly McLaughlin.


posted: 2014-07-02

Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Summer MeetingSt. Petersburg Oceanographer presents talk to Earth Science Information Partners on coastal Digital Elevation Models (DEMs)

On July 8th, Joseph Long will present a talk entitled 'Online; on-demand access to coastal digital elevation models (DEMs)' at the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Summer Meeting in Frisco, Colo. The project is part of the 2014 USGS Community for Data Integration projects, and aims to build an online tool to construct DEMs that span the terrestrial/marine boundary for use in numerical models and coastal change research.

For more information about the ESIP Summer Meeting, visit:

posted: 2014-07-02

USGS staff give tour and technical briefs to undergradsUSGS St. Petersburg hosts NSF funded summer research undergraduate students from Mote

On June 20, 11 undergraduate summer interns and two staff, Krystal Harvey and Allison Gamble from Mote Marine Laboratory, toured the SPCMSC Center. The undergraduates are participating in the NSF–funded (National Science Foundation) REU program (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) at Mote, one of 33 participating centers across the nation. Four SPCMSC staff gave technical briefings during their 2-hour tour: Theresa Burress, Noreen Buster, Joe Long, and Chris Reich.

For more information about the REU program at Mote visit:

posted: 2014-06-25

The dunes are lower on Bay area beachesUSGS oceanographer talks to local TV news channel about coastal change impacts during extreme storms

On June 16, SPCMSC researcher Joseph Long was interviewed by Leigh Spann from WFLA News Channel 8 to discuss the USGS model for predicting coastal change impacts during extreme storms. The interview, timed closely with the June 1 beginning of hurricane season, discussed the importance of both scenario-based and real-time forecasts of storm-induced coastal change hazards. Key findings from the recent USGS assessments of storm related erosion hazards along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts were also highlighted: "According to the USGS model, 71 percent of the U.S. Gulf Coast would see dune overwash with a Category 1 storm."

To see a print version of the interview, visit:

posted: 2014-06-25

Bridge to Success on the local WUSF public media websiteUSGS St. Petersburg hosts combined USF summer camps

The USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center is hosting 80 students who are attending USF St. Petersburg summer-camp programs. This summer, two camps from the University of South Florida (USF) St. Petersburg are sending students to USGS to learn about science. In addition to the original one-week 'Splash Camp' students who have been touring USGS each summer for several years, the USGS is also hosting 'Bridge to Success' students. The new program is a 6-week summer camp that provides hands-on STEM learning for local elementary school children. USGS camp guides this year include Kira Barrera, Theresa Burress, Noreen Buster, Kara Doran, Jen Flannery, Dale Griffin, and Caitlin Reynolds.

For more information about the 'Bridge to Success' program, visit:

posted: 2014-06-18

Dr. Nathaniel Plant with Secretary Jewell at Jamestown National ParkUSGS Oceanographer participates in DOI field visit and roundtable discussion at Jamestown National Park

On June 5th, Nathaniel Plant met with Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI), for a field visit. A group then joined in a round-table discussion on the effects of climate change, sea-level rise, and storms. Jamestown, Virginia's historical sites are threatened by inundation and erosion, and the Secretary used this location to point out the need to address these and other climate-related issues. The field trip was led by National Park Service (NPS) staff at Jamestown, and included other USGS researchers, interior department staff, and the media. The round-table discussion included USGS and NPS scientists, non-governmental organizations, state and local government representatives, and other stakeholders.

To see a video summary of the visit, see:

posted: 2014-06-11

Photo of iCoast creatorsUSGS launches new crowdsourcing application called iCoast—Did the Coast Change?

On May 27, 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey launched a new crowdsourcing application called "iCoast—Did the Coast Change?." The iCoast application allows citizen scientists to identify changes to the coast from extreme storms by comparing aerial photographs taken before and after each storm. Crowdsourced data from iCoast will help USGS improve predictive models of coastal change and educate the public about the vulnerability of coastal communities to extreme storms. Development of the application was led by USGS Mendenhall Postdoc Fellow Sophia B. Liu in collaboration with Barbara Poore, Richard Snell, Nathaniel Plant, Hilary Stockdon, and Karen Morgan

posted: 2014-06-05

IAEA–OA-ICCUSGS scientist participates in Second International Ocean Acidification advisory board meeting

Dr. Lisa Robbins (St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) attended the 2nd Advisory Board for the Ocean Acidification–International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC). This Centre, located in Monaco, was launched in 2012 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is aimed at communicating, promoting and facilitating global actions on ocean acidification ( The Advisory Board has representatives from the SOLAS-IMBER Ocean Acidification Working Group (of which Robbins is a member), representatives of major OA programs and projects around the world (including IMBER, SOLAS, NOAA, IAEA, UK Ocean Acidification Programme, MedSea Project, and others), representatives from international organizations (UNEP, World Bank, IOC-UNESCO, EC-JRC, etc.), government and Foundations (Prince Albert I Foundation, NOAA, Monaco Foreign Affairs Dept.). The OA-ICC is a multinational research project funded by the U.S. Department of State and other UN member states. The 2nd advisory Board meeting was held at the IAEA in Monaco on May 27, 2014. Robbins is the lead on the task for Capacity Building for OA for students from developing nations ( This year, two OA capacity building workshops are planned, one in La Spieza, Italy, and one in Dichato, Chile. The U.S. Dept. of State will be hosting a conference June 16–17 on Our Oceans in which Ocean Acidification will be one of three major global concerns. Discussions will include on-going efforts for coordination of ocean acidification research, such as the OA-ICC is promoting.

posted: 2014-06-05

Processed bathymetry imageNew USGS hire organizes bathymetric processing class

Stan Locker, a new employee of the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center and a long-time collaborator from the University of South Florida, organized a three-day advanced hydrographic data processing training class for USGS staff. The software is used to process swath bathymetry (multi-beam and interferometric), side-scan sonar backscatter, and single beam data. Stan has a long history working with the USGS including work on the West Florida Coastal Studies project and on Pulley Ridge, the 100-km-long photosynthetic coral reef discovered in 1999 at a depth of 60 meters. Staff participating in the training included Julie Bernier, Noreen Buster, Nancy DeWitt, Jake Fredericks, Jim Flocks, Arnell Forde, Kyle Kelso, Jen Miselis, and Dana Wiese.

For work on the West Florida shelf, see:
For work on Pulley Ridge, see:

posted: 2014-05-29

Photo showing coastal erosionUSGS St. Petersburg staff help kick off the west coast storms component of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project

From June 23–25, Hilary Stockdon and Joe Long from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) will travel to Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, to begin planning the west coast component of the storm-induced coastal erosion hazards assessment, a task of the larger National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH). Collaborators from the West Coast include Peter Ruggiero from Oregon State and Patrick Barnard from USGS Santa Cruz Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC). Pacific winter storms are one in the catalog of storm events that can generate dangerous waves capable of moving large amounts of sand, destroying buildings and infrastructure.

For more information about the NACCH project, visit:

posted: 2014-05-29

St. Petersburg CollegeSt. Petersburg Marine Microbiology Laboratory hosts St. Petersburg College marine biology student group

On May 28, USGS Research Microbiologist Christina Kellogg will host St. Petersburg College (SPC) sophomore and junior marine biology students. Kellogg will give a presentation about marine microbiology and her recent work on coral diseases and then the students will receive a tour of the facility from lab manager Molly McLaughlin.

posted: 2014-05-29

DataONEDataONE Phase 1 Project wraps up

DataONE, a nationwide National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project on federating existing earth and environmental sciences data repositories, wrapped up its first phase of projects during the annual all hands meeting in Park City, Utah, May 13–15th. Heather Henkel, (USGS, St. Petersburg, Fla.) was one of four people representing USGS at these meetings. Critical to the infrastructure being built to support DataONE are educational and outreach activities, which include (1) informing the community about data stewardship, (2) working with stakeholders, and (3) educating them on data management best practices. Heather participated in the Community Education and Engagement (CEE) working group, which has produced both data management training modules, ( and librarian resources ( The CEE work directly supports and complements USGS data management activities such as the production of USGS training modules (

To see the current newsletter describing DataOne activities, visit:

posted: 2014-05-29

Fire IslandComprehensive on-shore and off-shore surveys planned this field season for Fire Island, NY

From June 9 - 27, Cheryl Hapke (USGS-geologist) will lead a crew of at least 17 field personnel to acquire survey data as part of the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations project at Fire Island National Seashore. Surveys include sub-aerial beach and dune topography using an in-situ mobile lidar in collaboration with the Alabama Water Science Center (ALWSC); nearshore bathymetry (0-10 m water depth) using a combination of jet-skis and the Light Amphibious Reconnaissance Craft (LARC) in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and flow velocity, depth, and water levels at the Old Inlet breach at Fire Island, in collaboration with the New York Water Science Center (NYWSC). The LARC will also be used to collect sub-surface geophysical data in 0 - 12 m water depth, up to 2 km offshore.posted: 2014-05-22

probability mapNational Assessment scientists host University of Florida student group

On May 13th, USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH) scientists hosted the University of Florida (UF) student chapter of Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI). Scientists Kara Doran, Joe Long, Cheryl Hapke, and P. Soupy Dalyander gave presentations on the various science projects that are part of the NACCH project.posted: 2014-05-22

RISC-KITUSGS oceanographer advises "Risc-Kit", a European Coastal Risk and Resiliency project

From May 5–10, Nathaniel Plant, an oceanographer with the USGS, traveled to Cambridge, UK to serve on a board of experts of Risc-Kit. Risc-Kit is a European Union (EU) effort to evaluate risks and resilience measures associated with flooding, storm surge, and erosion. The project will demonstrate a consistent approach at 11 locations across Europe. Nathaniel's role with the board was to evaluate the project's structure, objectives, and implementation. The Risc-Kit project is similar to the USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project, so valuable lessons are expected to be gained from the EU experience.

For more information, visit:

posted: 2014-05-15

Plaque dedicated to Abby SallengerCorps dedicates oeach observation tower in Duck, NC, to Abby Sallenger

In a small ceremony on the evening of April 30th, the Field Research Facility (FRF) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unveiled a plaque dedicating its beach observation tower to Dr. Asbury H. Sallenger. About ten USGS scientists were there as attendees for a meeting to establish a vision for future nearshore science research (see Highlight 2014-04-03). The tower, built in 1986, is 43 meters (120 feet) tall and is used to support radio antennae and video cameras for nearshore process research. The town of Duck, NC posted pictures of the tower, the plaque, and its environs on its social media page.

To see a real time view from the tower, visit:

posted: 2014-05-15

Photograph of foraminifer samplesSediment trap in the Northern Gulf of Mexico to calibrate sediment geochemistry for marine climate reconstructions

From 5/30–6/3, USGS research geologist Julie Richey, along with Caitlin Reynolds, will cruise out to the Gulf of Mexico on the R/V Pelican to collect samples from their sediment trap, approximately 200 km south of Cocodrie, LA. Julie is using the sediment trap to look at the seasonal flux of plankton from the sea surface to the seafloor, and also to calibrate the geochemistry of foraminifera and algal biomarkers to temperature and salinity in the Gulf. The field crew will include Cole Spencer, a USGS undergraduate intern from St. Petersburg's Eckerd College, and collaborators from University of South Carolina and University of Texas at Austin.

For more information, visit:

posted: 2014-05-15

Example of scaling coastal dune elevation changes across storm-impact regimesNew research on scaling coastal dune elevations published in Geophysical Research Letters

On April 24th, USGS research oceanographers Joseph Long and Nathaniel Plant, along with past USGS intern Anouk de Bakker (Utrecht University, Netherlands), published an article,"Scaling coastal dune elevation changes across storm-impact regimes," in Geophysical Research Letters. Using data from multiple hurricanes that made landfall in diverse coastal locations along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines, the article compares the magnitude of storm-induced dune erosion to the characteristics of the individual storms. While storms that inundate coastal dunes (storm surge exceeding coastal dune crest elevation) are generally expected to result in the largest amount of coastal change, the data used in this study indicates that more dune erosion can occur during storms where surge levels remain below the dune crest and waves overwash the protective dunes for the duration of the storm. Quantifying and understanding the erosion that occurs in these different storm-impact regimes is essential to understanding if, how, and when coastal areas will become more vulnerable to future storms.

posted: 2014-05-08

Earth Day Festival in St. Petersburg, FloridaUSGS highlights St. Petersburg facility's sustainable practices on Earth Day

At the Earth Day Festival held on April 19 in St. Petersburg, Florida, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center staff members Molly McLaughlin, Theresa Burress, and Ellen Raabe showcased the many sustainable business practices that have been implemented at their USGS research facility, which includes the historic Studebaker building in downtown St. Petersburg. Although the Science Center is a fully-leased and serviced facility, a strong working partnership between the USGS, the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, and the leasing company, has provided opportunities to reduce facility emissions by 15% since Fiscal Year 2008.

posted: 2014-05-08

Image showing wave time-series at inshore locationsUSGS research on probabilistic wave prediction published in Coastal Engineering

On May 4th, USGS research oceanographers Joseph Long, Nathaniel Plant, P. Soupy Dalyander, and Dave Thompson published an article in Coastal Engineering titled "A probabilistic method for constructing wave time-series at inshore locations using model scenarios." The study presents a method developed by USGS scientists to forecast wave characteristics and prediction uncertainty using a database of model 'hindcasts'. With this method, continuous wave time series can be quickly derived at any spatial location for use in marine infrastructure design, to evaluate sites for potential wave energy extraction, or to force nearshore circulation and sediment transport models.

posted: 2014-05-08

Map showing Barnegat Bay areaUSGS scientists conduct fieldwork in Barnegat Bay, NJ, as part of Hurricane Sandy Response

As part of the Estuarine Physical Response Project, a Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief funded project, Christopher Smith, Marci Marot, and Alisha Ellis from USGS will be traveling to Barnegat Bay, NJ from 5/10–5/22. The field work in Barnegat Bay will focus on the collection of nine box cores in order to evaluate depositional/erosional patterns over the last 100 years. These longer term perspectives will provide context for the impact that high magnitude events, such as Hurricane Sandy, have on estuarine systems, and the estuarine systems' role as a source/sink of coastal sediments.

posted: 2014-05-01

Photo showing a calcification stationCREST team continues calcification monitoring efforts in Florida Keys

From 4/28–5/9, a team led by Ilsa Kuffner (USGS-Research Ecologist) will be visiting the USGS calcification monitoring network stations at Biscayne National Park (NP), Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (Sombrero Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) and Crocker Reef), and Dry Tortugas NP, as a continuation of the semi-annual monitoring effort for the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project. Additional field staff from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center include Jennifer Morrison and BJ Reynolds.

posted: 2014-04-23

Map of Florida Keys showing lidar study areaCMGP lidar surveys conducted out of St. Petersburg

On April 10, Wayne Wright (USGS-Salisbury, MD) flew into Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, Fla. to conduct Lidar surveys around South Florida for approximately two weeks for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP). The primary objective of these flights is to coordinate with USGS field staff to conduct bathymetric calibration experiments with the new EAARL-B Lidar. Two USGS Principal Investigators are involved. Dave Zawada is leading field excursions for ground truthing of Lidar at Egmont Key (Tampa Bay) and N. Miami Beach, Fla. Both beach profiles and sonar-based bathymetry data within the areas covered by the Lidar flights will be collected. The CREST (Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies) study site at Crocker Reef near Islamorada, Fla. is also a potential field target. If conditions permit, Nathaniel Plant will divert the Lidar to survey a region from the shoreline to offshore including nearshore shoals at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The objective for this Air Force funded project is to describe how bathymetry has changed and how these changes affect sediment budgets. A large number of USGS staff are involved with the field operations. They include: Owen Brenner, Jerry Butcher, Jake Fredericks, Kyle Kelso, Christine Kranenburg, Karen Morgan, Tim Nelson, BJ Reynolds, Dave Thompson, Lance Thornton, Rudy Troche, Dana Wiese, and Phil Thompson (retired). For more detailed information on Wayne’s schedule, please contact Emily Klipp.

posted: 2014-04-17

College of Staten Island, Staten Island, New YorkUSGS Scientist attends workshop on Elevation Database Applications

On April 22–23, Joe Long will be attending a workshop held by the USGS Coastal National Elevation Database Applications (CoNED) Project team and the College of Staten Island, intending to bring together storm surge modelers with the coastal elevation mapping community. The workshop is intended to foster information exchange and collaboration between lidar experts, hydrographers, geographers, and the storm-surge monitoring and modeling community.

posted: 2014-04-17

Abby Sallenger surveying damage from Hurricane Dennis in 1999"Sallenger Nearshore Legacy" meeting in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

From April 30 to May 2, six researchers from the USGS will attend a meeting on Nearshore Process Research subtitled: "Reflections on the Sallenger Years and New Visions for the Future." The meeting has three purposes:

  • To celebrate the memories and contributions of Abby Sallenger over the past three decades,
  • To establish a vision for the future of nearshore science for the next decade and beyond, and
  • To contribute to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers development of a strategic plan for their Field Research Facility.

Attending from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center are P. Soupy Dalyander, Cheryl Hapke, Joseph Long, Jenifer Miselis, Nathaniel Plant, and Hilary Stockdon. Nathaniel Plant is on the steering committee and will chair a session on the Future and Collaborations. Hilary Stockdon will present one of a series of agency-level talks about the USGS perspective on the next 10–20 years in nearshore science.

posted: 2014-04-03

Toxicology and Risk Assessment ConferenceUSGS microbiologist to speak on anthrax distribution at national toxicology conference

From April 7 – 10, USGS scientist Dale Griffin will attend the Toxicology and Risk Assessment Conference (TRAC) in Cincinnati, Ohio, sponsored by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Dale will speak on 4/9 about a joint USGS – USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) project to survey pathogenic bacteria in North American soils and will focus on the distribution and toxicology of Anthrax (Bacillus anthracis).

For more information on the TRAC conference, visit:

posted: 2014-04-03

Science for DecisionmakingCMGP Program Chief addresses nationwide All Hands Meeting from SPCMSC

On March 27, the Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) Coordinator John Haines held an “all-Program staff meeting” in St. Petersburg, Fla reaching staff across all major CMGP Centers (Menlo Park and Santa Cruz in Calif., Woods Hole, Mass. and St. Petersburg, Fla). Haines was in town for the annual Program Council meeting with Program leadership, including Susan Russell-Robinson, Ann Tihansky, and Center Directors; Dick Poore, Bob Rosenbauer, and Walter Barnhardt. Haines discussed funding trends and his vision for future CMGP priorities and directions. He announced the development of a new program plan that will involve key staff and feedback from across the Program to guide investments and staffing decisions for the next 10 years. The last major published plan, "Science for Decisionmaking," was prepared by the National Research Council.

To view the 1999 NRC report on the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, visit:

To see an example of the CMGP response to the NRC report, visit:

posted: 2014-04-03

Fire Island Biennial Science meeting Report coverPresentation at Fire Island Biennial Science Meeting

On 3/27, USGS staff Cheryl Hapke and Owen Brenner travel to Long Island, NY to attend the Fire Island Biennial Science meeting held at the Fire Island National Seashore Management Center in Patchogue, NY. Cheryl is giving an invited presentation at the two-day conference. Cheryl and Owen will also meet with National Park Service staff to discuss ongoing field activities.

posted: 2014-03-27

2DH XBeach simulation of a (fictitious) storm surge in Petten, The Netherlands with subsequent flooding of the hinterlandMorphologic evolution model of Fire Island breach

From 3/29–4/7, USGS scientist Cheryl Hapke will travel to Delft, Netherlands, to meet with various researchers at the Deltares Institute and the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) to collaborate on a joint Hurricane Sandy Supplemental funded effort to develop a morphologic evolution model of the breach at Fire Island that formed during the landfall of Hurricane Sandy in Nov. 2012.

posted: 2014-03-27

barrier islandSediment Samples from Assateague Island and Chincoteague Bay

From 3/24 to 4/7, USGS staff will be collecting sediment samples (marsh push cores, sand auger cores, and surface and estuarine grab samples) from Assateague Island, Chincoteague Bay, MD and VA. The primary purpose of the sampling is to characterize the surficial sediment of sandy washover fans and back-barrier marshes and then integrate the data into vulnerability assessments for the Barrier Island and Estuarine Wetland Physical Change project. In addition, the sediment data will be used to establish a baseline dataset and will be integrated into estuarine models being developed for the Estuarine Physical Response project.

posted: 2014-03-20

State of the Gulf SummitUSGS scientists invited to attend the 3rd State of the Gulf Summit 2014

The limited invitation meeting includes Federal and State resources mangers, scientists, and policymakers, Gulf academic scientists, key nongovernmental organizations and leaders. USGS scientists Alyssa Dausmon and Jack Kindinger are attending to participate in discussions on science-based restoration current and future directions. The meeting is being held in Houston, TX, March 24th to 27th.

posted: 2014-03-20

illustrationNew study assesses the fate of coliform bacteria in recharged water

The study, a first of its kind, has the potential to impact future regulatory decisions on disinfection practices for water prior to its recharge or following its storage in the Floridan Aquifer. The report showed that coliform bacteria die off faster in a regional aquifer system than was previously known, though a small percentage survives. One of the state's regulatory criteria for ensuring the quality of recharged water is whether it contains coliform bacteria.

Read the USGS Press Release.

posted: 2014-03-20

Flyer for 29th Annual Symposium on Caribbean GeologyInvited presentation at 29th Annual Caribbean Geology Conference

On March 27th, USGS oceanographer Joseph Long will give an invited presentation on the USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards program at the 29th Annual Symposium on Caribbean Geology held at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez, PR.

More information about the symposium can be found at

posted: 2014-03-20

The new, dynamic CMGP portalNew Coastal and Marine Geology Program 'Front End' Web Pages

On March 11, the Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) announced that it's new dynamic ocean and coastal program 'front end' web pages were live. The modern looking pages are the result of a team effort to analyze CMGP web content and to develop a strong, yet flexible, information architecture that provides a front door entry to our information. The new information architecture moves CMGP much closer to meeting mandates from Department of Interior (DOI) and the White House.

To look at the new 'CMGP Front End' format, please visit:

posted: 2014-03-13

A large-scale flow tank used in research for measurements of SRBsResearchers Collaborate with Naval Research Lab for 'First of a Kind' Measurements on Deepwater Horizon byproducts

From March 10-14, USGS Researchers Joe Long and P. Soupy Dalyander are collaborating with the Sediment Dynamics Laboratory at the Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, MS, to observe how Surface Residual Balls (SRB's) are transported in the nearshore environment. SRB's are sand-oil agglomerates that were formed/deposited in coastal environments following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. These measurements are the first of their kind and will be taken in a large-scale flow tank to observe if, how, and when SRBs move due to steady and oscillatory currents.

posted: 2014-03-10

Lidar image of St. John, USVISeamless Topography in the U.S. Virgin Islands

In a collaborative effort with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-National Geodetic Survey, USGS lidar operations staff will map off the coast of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as near Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge. From approximately March 3–17, USGS scientists and staff will support mapping efforts for the USGS's EAARL-B (Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar) lidar system. One of the unique features of the EAARL-B system is its ability to map both exposed and submerged topography to provide a continuous map of near-shore environment. Based upon test flights over typical Caribbean coral reef environments, the original EAARL demonstrated penetration to greater than 25 m, and routinely mapped coral reefs ranging in depth from 0.5 to 20 m below the water surface. The new EAARL-B is expected to surpass its predecessor with nominal offshore visibility in the Virgin Islands normally peaking in March.

For more information about the EAARL lidar, visit:

posted: 2014-03-10

Marine science scholarship winnerStudent Intern wins Florida Sea Grant scholarship

On February 27, Florida Sea Grant announced that Stephanie Lawler is one of three scholarship winners from the Aylesworth Foundation for the Advancement of Marine Science. Stephanie is pursuing a Master's of Science in Marine Science at the University of South Florida (USF). Working with SPCMSC mircrobiologist Christina Kellogg, Stephanie's research is focusing on the microbial communities in deep sea corals, specifically looking at the bacteria associated with Anthothela grandiflora from the east coast of the United States. Ralph and Kitty Aylesworth, long-time members of the Florida fishing industry, established the Aylesworth Foundation in 1984. The award is for 65 percent of the annual official university or college cost up to $4000.

For more information about the Florida Sea Grant awards, see:

posted: 2014-03-10

St. Petersburg Downtown PartnershipEnergy Savings Accomplishments Presented to St. Petersburg Municipal Officials

In early February, Peter Betzer brought the attention of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, Inc., to the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) energy report. This report is a testimonial to possibilities in sustainable and cost-efficient business practices. The Downtown Partnership considers the energy-saving efforts implemented by David Brett, leasing company agent, and Frank Derkovitz, SPCMSC facilities engineer, a noteworthy achievement in management. The SPCMSC Campus is a federally leased facility that includes the renovated historic Studebaker Building.

posted: 2014-02-27

The E/V Nautilus docked in the Port of St. PetersburgResearch vessel outfitting in SPCMSC 'backyard'

In early February, the E/V Nautilus docked in the Port of St. Petersburg, less than 0.8 km from the SPCMSC Center, for an overhaul of its complex data and communication systems. Led by Robert Ballard of the Ocean Exploration Trust, the Nautilus is on a mission to do sea-floor mapping of the submerged United States territories. The crew of 47 is expected to depart St. Petersburg in April or May for mapping in the Pacific Ocean. Ballard and the USGS have a long history of cooperation, from his early days in the mid-1970's at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to a 2013 cooperative study of Geohazards off Puerto Rico looking at cyclicity of offshore landslide deposits.

For information about the E/V Nautilus's current stay in St. Petersburg, see:

To see a 1979 USGS Field Metadata sheet about a cruise to the East Pacific Rise, visit:

posted: 2014-02-27

Image showing the CREST website Home pageOceanographer leads Continuing Fieldwork for Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies (CREST) Project

From March 11–18, USGS Oceanographer Dave Zawada will be leading a research team to Crocker Reef off Islamorada in the Florida Keys, the CREST-II study site. The team of 3 will be downloading six months of temperature and irradiance data from an array of instrumented-moorings, as well as changing batteries and performing necessary maintenance. CREST stands for the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies project and involves a blend of process and monitoring activities relevant to understanding the health and resilience of shallow water reef environments.

For an overview of the CREST project, visit:

posted: 2014-02-20

Florida Adapts logoInternal Training Seminar on Climate Change

On Feb 26th, USGS Research Ecologist Ilsa Kuffner will speak as part of a Florida Adapts, an internal Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) training program on climate change effects on Florida marine ecosystems. The training is a follow-on to the 2011 FWC Climate Change Certification of Completion. At least 44 people are expected to attend the training session. Ilsa's presentation, one of three 25-minute talks, is titled "Climate Change and Florida's Coral Reefs." The talks will be held in the Florida Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) Building in St. Petersburg, FL from 12:30 pm–2:30 pm.

posted: 2014-02-20

Chris Reich in the fieldChris Reich takes over SPCMSC Marine Ops Management

On February 12, Christopher Reich announced that he has officially taken over as the Facilities and Marine Operations Manager for the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC). One of Chris's first actions is to offer the motorboat safety course, Marine Operator's Certification Course (MOCC) for new staff who need to be certified and for others to be recertified. For local staff, Chris can be reached in Room A254, or from outside the building via email at

posted: 2014-02-20

2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting logo2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting

From February 23–28, USGS scientists P. Soupy Dalyander, Joseph Long, Christina Kellogg, and David Zawada will be giving talks, presenting posters, and co-chairing sessions at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting held in Honolulu, Hawaii. USF–USGS Graduate Assistantship awardee Kaitlyn Lizza is also a lead author. The meeting is co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Association for Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and The Oceanography Society (TOS).

Presentations include:

Lizza, K. E., Zawada, D. G., Hine, A. C., Comparison of the Historical and Current Distribution of Acropora Cervicornis in Relation to Climatic Parameters and Habitat Characteristics: 2/26 Poster 2941

Dalyander, P.S., Butman, B., Patterns of Storm Driven Wave-induced Bottom Shear Stress on the U.S. East Coast Continental Shelf: 2/27 Poster 299

Kellogg, C. A., Gray, M. A., Bacterial Diversity and Biogeography of the Cold-water Gorgonian Primnoa Resedaeformis in Norfolk and Baltimore Canyons: 2/27 Poster 617

Zawada, D. G., Mazel, C. H., Unsupervised Classification of Caribbean Coral Reef Organisms and Substrates Based on Fluorescence Spectra: 2/27 Poster 2477

Long, J. W., Plant, N. G., Dalyander, P. S., Thompson, D. M., A Method for Constructing Wave Time-series at Inshore Locations Using Model Scenarios: 2/28 Friday 8:00AM

For more information on the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, visit:

posted: 2014-02-20

Graphic from OFR 2012-1234 showing mobility ratios of A: 0.03-centimeter (cm) quartz sand (sediment);  B: 2.5- cm, and C: 10-cm surface residual balls (SRBs) under large wave conditions in the northern Gulf of MexicoReport of Results for Modeling Oil/Sand Movement from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

On February 6, USGS announced the publication of an analysis of a computer model to track the movement of sand/oil mixtures from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The article, "Dalyander, P.S., Long, J.W., Plant, N.P., and Thompson, D.M., Assessing mobility and redistribution patterns of sand and oil agglomerates in the surf zone" was published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. In addition, the USGS press release cited the outputs of the modeling results in an Open-File Report, OFR 2012-1234. This effort has been a unique opportunity to leverage Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) expertise to inform a complex, time-sensitive, and applied problem. Knowledge gaps identified in this project provide future research opportunities for better response to oil spills and other applied problems in the nearshore.

To read the Marine Pollution Bulletin article, visit:

An additional reference to the possible range of oil mat formation, has been published as Appendix D of the Operational Science Advisory Team Report III (OSAT3) report:

The USGS press release can be viewed at:

posted: 2014-02-13

Images showing coastal damage from stormsInteragency Meeting on Coastal Resilience

On February 21, USGS Coastal Geologist Cheryl Hapke is presenting an overview of USGS efforts related to coastal resiliency for a meeting at the USACE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) Headquarters on G St. in Washington, D.C. Other agencies participating in the meeting on coastal resilience include various branches of the USACE, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Science Foundation. 

posted: 2014-02-13

Graphic from talk by WHCMSC scientist Neil GanjuWoods Hole Research Oceanographer to speak at SPCMSC

On February 18 at 1 pm in the Normile Conference Room, Neil Ganju, an oceanographer from the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC), will speak on "High-resolution observations and numerical modeling to evaluate estuarine habitat resilience: Recent work from the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center." Neil will present an overview of his work on the following three projects:

  • West Falmouth Harbor, Mass.—the effect of nutrient loading through groundwater on seagrass recovery
  • Chesapeake Bay, MD & VA - evaluating wetland stability through sediment flux measurements
  • Barnegat Bay, NJ - modeling the response of back-barrier estuaries to hurricane forcing

posted: 2014-02-13

New lab space at SPCMSCCenter celebrates lab space for new GC/MS instrument

On February 7, a new lab space created to house the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center’s (SPCMSC) new Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS) was shown to the staff in an impromptu Open House. Over 30 staff members came to see the 320 sq. ft. space, which was made into a lab out of existing hallways and unused lab space by facilities engineer Frank Derkovitz. Molly McLaughlin, lab manager, supervised the construction and organized the Open House. The GC/MS will initially be operated by newly-arrived SPCMSC geochemist, Julie Richey, to analyse biomarker proxy signals for environmental change in lacustrine, coastal, and deep sea sediments.

posted: 2014-02-13

USGS scientist Ellen Raabe at the Pinellas Regional Science and Engineering FairUSGS Scientists Judge 2014 Pinellas Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Six volunteers from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) participated as judges during the Pinellas Regional Science and Engineering Fair held at Seminole Middle School on Saturday, February 8, 2014 (See Highlight of 2014-01-22). Science fair judges interviewed students and evaluated more than 200 projects submitted by middle and high school students in a variety of categories. USGS participants evaluated projects in the environmental science and the earth and space science categories, nominating projects for 'Best in Fair' as well as for the upcoming State Science Fair competition which will be held in Lakeland, Florida. Scientists and staff participating in the 2014 Fair included Kira Barrera, Theresa Burress, Dale Griffin, Christian Haller, Jack Kindinger, and Ellen Raabe.

posted: 2014-02-13

The National Conference on Beach Preservation TechnologyFlorida Beach Conference on Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

On February 12, SPCMSC scientist Kara Doran will present a talk in the opening session at the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association National Conference on Beach Preservation Technology in Stuart, Fla. Kara, a co-author along with Cheryl Hapke, is stepping in for Hilary Stockdon, who is the lead author. The talk will highlight the center's involvement in research following Hurricane Sandy: "Lessons from Hurricane Sandy: Science to Inform Coastal Management."

For more information on the National Conference on Beach Preservation Technology, visit:

posted: 2014-02-06

Photo diagramming dune crest and dune baseNational Research Council Post-Doc to give Seminar on Dune Modelling

On February 7th, Meg Palmsten, a National Research Council Post-doctoral Fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), will give her seminar on Modeling Dune Response to an East Coast Low. Meg worked with the USGS Hurricane Group under Abby Sallenger as an undergraduate. Subsequently, Meg worked in a doctoral program at Oregon State University under Dr. Robert Holman.

To see a sample of Meg's earlier work with the USGS on Hurricane Isabel visit:

posted: 2014-02-06

CO2 graphicRetired International Petroleum Geologist Speaks about Climate Change

On January 22, Kress DeGroot, a geochemist recently retired from Royal Dutch Shell, spoke to an audience of about 40 USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)/USFSP (University of South Florida St. Petersburg) staff and students on "Climate change and what to do about it." Kress spoke about data concerning CO2, sea level, and temperature. Kress discussed that since the last Ice Age, the Earth has warmed considerably and sea level has risen at least 120 meters. During the last century, global warming occurred until 1940, followed by global cooling until 1975, then warming resumed from 1975 to 1998. Now that global temperature has not followed the model predictions for over 15 years, ocean acidification is becoming a more important topic. For more information or to forward questions to Dr. DeGroot, please contact Eugene Shinn, 727-553-1158.

posted: 2014-02-06

Disasterville at MOSISenior Scientist Recognized for Service on MOSI board

In January, 2014, USGS Oceanographer Lisa Robbins rotated off from the Board of Directors of the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, Fla. MOSI Director Wit Ostrenko and Vice President of Development Molly Demeulenaere acknowledged Robbins for her eleven years of service to the Board. In 2007, Lisa was instrumental in connecting the USGS with Disasterville, a permanent 10,000 sq. ft. exhibit that explores the science behind natural disasters. In 2009, MOSI was the Gold Medal Winner of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation's highest honor for museums. During Lisa's tenure, the museum has grown from 210,000 sq. ft. to over 400,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, making it the largest science museum in the Southeastern U.S.

For more information about Lisa's appointment to the MOSI board and the Disasterville exhibit, see the following Soundwaves articles:

posted: 2014-01-30

University of South FloridaScientists give Tour to Provost Scholar's Marine Science Undergraduates

USGS scientists spoke about ongoing coastal and marine science research on January 22 to 3 undergraduate students and 2 graduate students who are interested in pursuing marine science as a career. The tour was part of a professional development day organized by the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science. The students are participating in USF's Provost Scholar's Program, which is an accelerated program that allows goal-oriented students the opportunity to complete their undergraduate program in three years and pursue their graduate education and career goals. Theresa Burress (Librarian) provided an overview of USGS and discussed current natural hazards, climate, and ecosystem research at the Center. The students also met with Ilsa Kuffner (Research Ecologist) to learn more about current coral reef monitoring efforts and Mike Gray (Microbiologist) to learn about deep-sea coral microbial ecology projects.

posted: 2014-01-30

Scientists vibracoring, a method used to reconstruct the past from Earth sedimentsScientists to answer Coring Questions via Voice Recorder with Brookline, Mass. Middle School Students

On January 19, 2014, an 8th grade science teacher from Brookline, Massachusetts, asked USGS staff members Kyle Kelso and Nancy DeWitt whether they would be willing to do a short interview to discuss their work using coring to help reconstruct ancient environments, and to explain how this helps to create better climate models for the future. The class collected their own sediment cores during the fall of 2013 at a local Massachusetts lake—with mixed success—and had some follow-up questions for the scientists. On January 27, Kyle and Nancy received a series of 5 questions from the students about both the vibracoring equipment and how the sediment data obtained is used to interpret past climate. Kyle and Nancy will respond to the interview questions by the end of the month, using online voice recording software.

posted: 2014-01-30

Map showing SLRDs for 60-yr time series at gauge locations across North America from Hotspot article by Sallenger, Howd, and DoranUSGS Research Continues to be Referenced in Sea Level Rise Discussions

"The Flood Next Time" a frequently cited article by Justin Gillis published in the Environment section of the New York Times on January 14, focuses on continuing research into Sea Level Rise (SLR) in lower Manhattan. The article describes the importance of the tide gauge originally emplaced in the Battery section of New York City in the 1850's. The article emphasizes the central tenant of the Hotspot paper authored by SPCMSC researchers Sallenger, Howd, and Doran that localities on the Northeastern US coast will likely feel the impacts of relative SLR more than other coastal areas. Gillis mentions other likely sources of increased relative SLR including glacial rebound, and a meteor impact in the Chesapeake Bay area also revealed by USGS research.

To view the Flood Next Time article see:®ion=Footer&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=article

The Sallenger, Howd, and Doran Hotspot article can be viewed at:

posted: 2014-01-30

Jesse McNinch at a sea-level workshopU.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research Director to speak on 500-year Hurricane History

USGS Geologist Cheryl Hapke invited Jesse McNinch, director of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USCOE) Field Research Facility in Duck, NC, to speak at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science Seminar Series. Jesse will speak on Thursday, 1/23, at 3:30 pm in the Marine Science Laboratory Conference room about "A 500-yr, high-resolution hurricane history from St. Croix, USVI suggests sensitivity to ENSO (El-Niño Southern Oscillation) and AMO (Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation)." Jesse's expertise is in applying observational techniques in shallow water coastal environments to understanding processes driving coastal change. Jesse has worked with Cheryl Hapke on her Pre-Sandy research at Fire Island, NY, and will continue with the supplement-funded Post-Sandy research.

posted: 2014-01-22

2014 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science ConferenceUSGS Researcher Presents Poster at Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Ecosystem Science Conference

From January 27-29, USGS scientist Patricia Dalyander (Soupy) will attend the 2014 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in Mobile, AL. Co-authored with USGS scientists J. Long, N. Plant, and D. Thompson, Soupy will present the poster "Estimating the Potential Cross-shore Distribution of Oil Mat Formation in the Surf Zone during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill." The poster covers work chartered by the Deepwater Horizon Federal On-Scene Coordinator as part of the Operational Science Advisory Team (OSAT3) effort. USGS scientists developed and applied a numerical model-based methodology for analyzing the depths at which oil and sand could have mixed during the Deepwater Horizon blowout to form the heavier-than-water oil/sand mats in the surf zone that persisted in causing beach re-oiling for a couple of years after the spill.

For more information on the 2014 Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Science Conference, see:

posted: 2014-01-22

Graphic of microscopeUSGS Researcher Will Judge Pinellas Regional Science Fair

On February 8, USGS mircrobiologist Dale Griffin will act as one of a panel of approximately 30 science judges for the 2014 Pinellas Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The fair, held at Seminole Middle School from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, is expected to draw over 175 entrants from both middle school and high school. Out of this group, twenty-four students will be chosen to participate in the regional science fair held in Lakeland, Fla. Projects are grouped into 14 categories, including microbiology, environmental science, and earth and space science. For earlier USGS experience with the fair, see

posted: 2014-01-22

Conservation Award Ceremony program coverDOI Partners in Conservation Award

On January 16, the Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI), Sally Jewell, presented Partners in Conservation awards to 20 public-private partnerships at the main Interior auditorium. The award recognizes outstanding examples of conservation legacies achieved when DOI engages groups and individuals representing a wide range of backgrounds, ages, and interests to work collaboratively to renew lands and resources. Among the 20 groups nominated, USGS microbiologist Christina Kellogg participated with the USGS DISCOVRE team as part of the "Atlantic Canyons Pathways to the Abyss", Mid-Atlantic Region/International. The "Pathways to the Abyss" award represented a diverse array of partners including Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and USGS; the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; nine universities and colleges, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; and four other private research organizations, museums and institutes. The partners collaborated on the use of robotic underwater vehicles and other cutting-edge tools to discover and research deep-water coral habitats.

For more information, see the DOI press release:

posted: 2014-01-22

Graph from the PLoS-ONE article onlinePaper on Coral Classification by Fluorescence published by USGS author

On January 15, USGS geologist Dave Zawada published a paper in PloS One entitled Fluorescence-Based Classification of Caribbean Coral Reef Organisms and Substrates. In it Dave demonstrates the effectiveness of using fluorescence spectra to classify organisms and substrates commonly found in Caribbean coral reef communities.

posted: 2014-01-22

Image of the cover of bookPhotos from USGS Researcher featured in New International Book on Marine Aquaria

A new hardcover German book, "Meeresaquaristik: Probleme vermeiden erkennen lösen" (Marine Aquaria: Solving visible problems) by Dieter Brockmann was published in November, 2013, using several photographs of coral disease taken by USGS Research Microbiologist Christina Kellogg. Dr. Brockman discovered the photos while browsing the online gallery of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies web page and contacted Dr. Kellogg for permission to include them in his book.

To see a gallery of the USGS black-band disease photos, vist:

posted: 2014-01-08

Hapke collects GPS data for beach profiles at Fire Island National SeashoreFire Island Web Site Described in Environmental Newsletter

On December 30, 2013, the Environmental Monitor published an article written by Alex Card describing the new website authored by USGS Geologist Cheryl Hapke about current and recent research and findings of coastal behavior at Fire Island, NY, including impacts of Hurricane Sandy. The Environmental Monitor is an online newsletter featuring application and technology news for environmental professionals. The article emphasized how the website is a new type of product that the USGS is developing as an approach to make USGS research more accessible to the general public.

To view the article, visit:

To see the USGS Fire Island web site, visit 2014-01-08

Website about a Decade of Research on Fire Island, NY, released by USGS Coastal Geologist to help understand Future Coastal Changes

On December 17, the USGS issued a press release describing a new website devoted to help understand coastal changes occurring at Fire Island, NY. USGS Geologist Cheryl Hapke has been instrumental in not only providing basic scientific research for the barrier islands off Long Island, but also participating in the policy and environmental decision process following Hurricane Sandy. "The website is intended to provide federal, state and local partners and stakeholders with an access point to the large body of science we have produced," Hapke said.

Read the USGS Press Release.

posted: 2013-12-18

Fire IslandDecade of Fire Island Research Available to Help Understand Future Coastal Changes

A new resource about Fire Island, N.Y. is now at the fingertips of coastal managers, planners and the public that will be useful for understanding and predicting future change on the island.

The USGS created the public website that details a decade's worth of research that focuses on changes to the beaches and dunes of the barrier island and understanding what affects their change.

Fire Island was severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. More than a year later, the USGS continues to study the changes left behind in its devastating path and generating critical information to aid the recovery process and help communities become more resilient against future storms.

Read the USGS Press Release.

posted: 2013-12-17

Collecting cores in the Florida Middle GroundUSGS Scientist Presents Findings on the Florida Middle Ground Research Project to the Pinellas County Sea Grant Extension-hosted "Salty Talks Series"

On December 5, 2013, USGS Geologist Christopher Reich presented findings from a 2010 research project in a talk titled "New Geologic Discovery at the Florida Middle Ground." The presentation was given to the general public at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center in St. Petersburg and hosted by Libby Carnahan, who works for the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Science Florida Sea Grant program. Libby was a member of the dive team that collected the cores. The coring took place August 1-7, 2010 and required 6 teams of divers to pull off this daunting task. This was the first time anyone had successfully taken cores in the Florida Middle Ground (FMG), which is located 120 miles northwest of Tampa Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. The unique geologic structure has had many researchers curious about its development and geologic composition since it was first discovered in the early 1900s.

Our findings changed the long-standing theory that the FMG had developed as a coral reef. Four cores were drilled during the week. No coral material was found in any of the rock samples. We found that the FMG ridges range in water depths from 86ft to >180ft with some dramatic ledges. Rather than corals, the walls consist of a thick sequence of muddy sands that are capped by Vermetid gastropods (marine snails).

For detailed information on the findings of the research project you can find the journal article at

For more information about the Weedon Island Preserve visit their website at

posted: 2013-12-12

USGS Coastal Geologist speaks at Long Island Natural History Conference

On Friday, December 6, Cheryl Hapke (USGS) will speak to the Long Island Natural History Conference at 10 am for a 45-minute talk, "Coastal Response to Hurricane Sandy at Fire Island, NY." The conference is being held in the Berkner Auditorium of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY. Cheryl's talk, the lead talk listed in the program, will be about the profound morphologic changes to the beach and dune system at Fire Island before and after the storm and will also explore the long term (decade to century) behavior of the system and regional geology.

posted: 2013-12-05

USGS Scientists participate in Great American Teach-In

Scientists from USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center shared their enthusiasm for a diverse array of science careers with students at ten different schools during the Great American Teach-In, an annual event that is held at schools across the Tampa Bay area during the week of November 18. Ten scientists led interactive activities related to chemistry, Florida geology, coastal hurricane impacts, and microscopic investigations, showcasing the variety of ongoing research in St. Petersburg. Participating scientists and staff included Kira Barrera, P. Soupy Dalyander, Kara Doran, Jen Flannery, Sharon Gilberg, Paul Knorr, Kathy Pegram, Nathaniel Plant, Kathryn Smith, and Dave Thompson.

posted: 2013-11-27

USGS Scientists Invited to First International Workshop on Coastal Subsidence

USGS scientists Jack Kindinger (SPCMSC), James Flocks (SPCMSC), Devin Galloway (WMA, WSFT), and Don Cahoon (PWRC) were invited to attend the 1st International Workshop on Coastal Subsidence, November 19-21, 2013, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The workshop was hosted by the state of Louisiana's Water Institute of the Gulf and sponsored by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Tulane University, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Deltares, and the USGS. Over 40 scientists from around the world with a wide range of expertise in subsidence related issues attended the workshop. Case studies from diverse coastal areas, including the Mississippi River Delta, the Rhine-Meuse Delta, and the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta were presented, along with overviews of recent advances in measuring, monitoring and modeling land subsidence. Ultimately the goal of the discussion was to identify the drivers of subsidence, and assess how subsidence risk is computed, considered and communicated in coastal management, and how society can remediate and adapt to coastal issues. Results of the workshop will be published in an international newsletter such as EOS as well as provide guidance to the State of Louisiana and a broader group of researchers, resource managers and stakeholders on how to manage sensitive coastal ecosystems. The successful outcome of this workshop generated interest in convening future workshops in other coastal subsidence affected areas within the next several years.

posted: 2013-11-27

Sound Waves Editor steps down after 14 years

Barbara Lidz, (SPCMSC) the original editor of Sound Waves, the Coastal and Marine Geology Program newsletter, is stepping down. Theresa Burress (SPCMSC) will take over her responsibilities. Below is a description from Barbara's 'Passing the Torch' letter about the early history of Sound Waves:
"For those of you who don't know, the newsletter was initiated in the St. Pete Field Office in 1999 at the request of Reston headquarters. I was asked to be its first editor, and a member of my family coined the name Sound Waves, intending to encompass the many types of waves experienced in the natural terrestrial, hydrologic, and atmospheric realms of the Earth, as well as those propagated by the many types of man-made scientific-research instruments. The newsletter has been and remains a successfully established outreach tool that highlights Bureau-wide research on coastal and marine-science efforts."

posted: 2013-11-27

USF Graduate Student Teaching Kids About Ocean Acidification

USGS–University of South Florida (USF) Pathways graduate student, Paul Knorr, is doing research on ocean acidification alongside research oceanographer Lisa Robbins (USGS–SPCMSC). Knorr is studying benthic foraminifera, which are single celled animals that produce calcium carbonate shells, and which are prolific sediment producers in Florida. He is studying how ocean acidification at different carbon dioxide levels in the ocean will affect shell formation and how that will influence sediment production.

On Nov. 21, Knorr participated in his third annual American Teach-In at Ridgecrest Elementary. American Teach-In is a national day where professionals go to schools and teach kids real-world applications of what grown-ups do. He taught a total of four classes of First, Second, and Third graders about ocean acidification with carbonate foraminifera and sediments. This may sound a little complex for children, but Ridgecrest is "a gifted magnet school," claims Knorr, "the third graders were able to absorb the information as if they were sixth or seventh graders."

For the students, Knorr brought in some hands-on activities and samples. The first graders played with rocks and geological tools. "The first graders really liked the tools, particularly the hammer. It weighs about 8lbs, and to a first grader that appears to be a big weapon!" laughed Knorr. The second and third graders were able to individually conduct experiments. "The students were especially interested in the acid base reaction, where baking soda reacts with vinegar in a balloon to show its releasing of CO2."

posted: 2013-11-27

Six USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Scientists to attend Annual Fall AGU Meeting

The USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center is sending six scientists to the Fall American Geophysical Union Meeting (AGU) 12/9 - 12/13 in San Francisco, CA. Department of Interior Secretary Jewell at her televised staff meeting on 11/7 in Menlo Park, CA made a promise to have more USGS scientists to attend this internationally-recognized scientific conference. Below is a listing of the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center authors and the times and sessions where they are presenting.

For more details on the AGU meeting, visit:

Author Abbreviated Title Format Session Time
Hapke, C Influences on Morphologic Response to Sandy at Fire Island,NY Talk OS33C Wed PM
Miselis, J Sandy-related Morphologic Changes in Barnegat Bay, NJ Talk OS33C Wed PM
Plant, N Predicting Geomorphic Evolution thru Numerical-model Scenarios Talk EP21A Tues AM
Richey, J Isotope differences between 2 planktonic foraminifera in NGOM* Poster PP31A Wed AM
Robbins, L Ocean Acidification Research in western Arctic Ocean Poster PP11A Mon AM
Wright,W Multiple View LiDar for Submerged Topographic Mapping Talk EP41E Thur AM
*NGOM = Northern Gulf of Mexico

posted: 2013-11-21

Staff bring home Two Shoemaker Communication Awards

On November 12, Barbara Wainman, Associate Director of the Office of Communications, announced the Winners of 2013 USGS Shoemaker Awards for Communication Excellence and Lifetime Achievement. One person is awarded the lifetime achievement award and products in 5 different categories are given awards. For the Internet Product category, USGS-St. Petersburg staff Lisa Robbins and Mark Hansen along with Joanie Kleypas and Stephan Meylan produced the C02calc App and Software: and iTunes App Store

For the Internet Product Category, USGS-St. Petersburg staff Heather Henkel and Trent Faust along with Viv Hutchinson, Liza Zolly, Rebecca Uribe, and Michelle Chang produced the USGS Data Management website.

posted: 2013-11-14

Intro Marine Biology Class Tours USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

An Introduction to Marine Biology class from St. Petersburg College visited the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center on Nov. 13 to learn more about coastal and marine science at the U.S. Geological Survey. Chris Kellogg, Research Microbiologist, spoke about coral microbial ecology. Dave Zawada, Research Oceanographer, demonstrated the ATRIS (Along-Track Reef Imaging System) and discussed some of the ways that it is used to create benthic habitat maps and also to help learn more about the activities of marine animals such as sea turtles. Jen Flannery, Chemist, gave a tour of the Coral Core Archive and discussed some of the ways that coral skeletons are used to obtain geologic and climate data. Theresa Burress, Librarian, wrapped up the tour with an overview of research activities.

posted: 2013-11-14

Mississippi Barrier Island Structured Decision Making (SDM) Meeting

USGS National Wetlands Research Center Branch Chief Greg Steyer and Ecologist Michelle Meyers, USGS Southeast Region Science Advisor Alyssa Dausman, and USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Research Oceanographer P. Soupy Dalyander will meet with a small group of stakeholders in an SDM meeting November 12 15, 2013, in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The group will work to develop a prototype decision structure for the Mississippi Coastal Improvement Program (MsCIP) Comprehensive Barrier Island Restoration (CBIR) project on Ship Island. The MsCIP CBIR is a 400 million dollar project with the goal of sustaining estuarine habitat in the Mississippi Sound by restoring barrier island habitat and augmenting natural sediment transport quantities prior to breaching and inlet formation along Ship Island. The SDM project was funded by the USGS Southeast Climate Science Center in FY13-14 to help address how coastal managers can optimize decision making relative to barrier island restoration given the uncertainties in budgets, climate change and the response of physical, biological and ecological systems.

posted: 2013-11-08

Pre-Storm Elevation: Pelican Island and Fire Island, New York This location is within Fire Island National Seashore near Old Inleta very narrow portion of the island that has experienced breaching in previous large storms. The island breached during Sandy, creating a new inlet, eroding the beach and cutting through 4-m high dunes.USGS Awarded Supplemental Funds to Support Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding

A year after Hurricane Sandy collided with the East coast, the U.S. Geological Survey continues to study the changes left behind in its devastating path. Scientists are generating critical information to aid the recovery process of the coastal areas and help communities become more resilient against future extreme storms.

The USGS' ability to conduct these studies is getting a big boost. The Department of the Interior announced today the funding of supplemental appropriations for nine USGS projects, which total $22.4 million, for mitigating the impacts of Hurricane Sandy and supporting the rebuilding process. These new projects will deliver high-resolution topographical surveys; evaluations of ecosystem resiliency; enhanced storm tide monitoring, vulnerability assessments and data display capabilities; documentation of coastal processes and vulnerabilities of Fire Island, New York and Assateague Island regional areas; assessments of estuarine responses to the storm and changes to the barrier islands; and forecasts of biological vulnerabilities.

Read more: USGS Awarded Supplemental Funds to Support Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding posted: 2013-10-31

Christina KelloggUSGS Research Microbiologist Profiled for NOAA OceanAGE

Christina Kellogg (USGS-St. Petersburg) is now one of seven featured scientists on the NOAA OceanAGE (Ocean Careers to Inspire Another Generation of Explorers) web site. The purpose of the site is to invite students to learn about the talented people who explore our ocean planet, and includes careers from underwater pilot to research scientists. Dr. Kellogg was interviewed during a 2012 NOAA research cruise and her profile includes still photos, a transcript of questions and answers, and video clips of her interview.

To see the Kellogg interview, visit: Christina Kellogg - OceanAGE Career Profile.

posted: 2013-09-26

St. Petersburg Science FestivalUSGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Continues Leadership Role for 3rd Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival

The USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center is again leading a consortium of over 60 university departments, government agencies, and private partners for the 3rd Annual "Science in the Sun" St. Petersburg Science Festival to be held October 18-19 on the neighboring USFSP (University of South Florida St. Petersburg) campus. The festival program has expanded from 90 to over 105 exhibits plus shows and now includes a Friday field trip for schools (1,000+ registered). USGS exhibits on both Friday's Sneak Peek for Schools and Saturday's public festival include: (1) Hurricanes & Extreme Storms; (2) 'Did the Coast Change?' Crowdsourcing Project; (3) Catch Climate Fever; (4) Coral Reefs and Climate Change; and (5) Amazing Aquatic Life in cooperation with the Southeast Ecological Center (SESC). The additional media partners and marketing efforts are expected to push attendance over last year's 15,000 festival visitors.

For more information, visit St. Petersburg Science Festival.

posted: 2013-09-26

Map showing pilot study areaUSGS Scientists met with NWS Meteorologists and Forecasters in Ruskin, FL on Pilot Study for Coastal Change Hazards

On Sept. 5, SPCMSC scientists Hilary Stockdon, Kara Doran, and Kristy Sopkin met with meteorologists and forecasters from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Ruskin, FL, to discuss forecasting coastal change for beaches in the Tampa Bay area. The USGS and the NWS are collaborating on a pilot study to demonstrate how NWS wave and water level forecasts can be used as input for USGS models in operational forecasts of beach erosion.

posted: 2013-09-20

Map showing R/V Healy routes 2010-12USGS Scientist Interviewed about Ocean Acidification Article

On September 13, USGS research oceanographer Dr. Lisa Robbins (USGS-St. Petersburg) was interviewed by Alan Stahler of KVMR-FM 89.5 in Nevada City, California, concerning the Robbins et al. paper that was recently published in PLOS ONE on "Baseline Monitoring of the Western Arctic Ocean. Estimates 20% of the Canadian Basin Surface Waters are undersaturated with respect to Aragonite." Strahler's show on Science and the Environment is heard Tuesdays at noon.

For more information on the PLOS ONE article, see the USGS Press Release.

posted: 2013-09-20

R/V Centennial with crewUSGS and UW extract long sediment cores from Hood Canal to examine natural versus anthropogenic controls on marine ecosystem stressors

During mid-September 2013, researchers from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC), the USGS St Petersburg Science Center, St Petersburg, Florida (SPCMSC), and the University of Washington (UW) conducted a research cruise aboard the R/V Centennial ( to Lynch Cove, WA, the terminus of Hood Canal in Puget Sound. Parts of Hood Canal and Lynch Cove suffer periodic depletions in bottom water oxygen (hypoxia), which can negatively affect ecosystem health. While delivery of terrigenous constituents that contribute to low bottom water oxygen are likely enhanced by decades of widespread urbanization, agriculture, and silvaculture, this research was directed at decoupling natural from anthropogenic controls on such ecosystem stressors.

Sampling included a series of 16 Van Veen surface sediment grab samples and and five long sediment kasten cores. Lisa Osterman (USGS-St. Petersburg, Fl) will examine subsets of foraminifera as tracers of low oxygen events. Additional analyses including grain size, C, N concentration and isotopes, redox-sensitive trace elements such as vanadium, rhenium, and uranium, and sterol, lignin phenol biomarkers, along with the foraminifers may resolve historic low oxygen events from modern processes and may also provide insight into how climate change may impact ecosystem health in this fjord.

posted: 2013-09-20

NWS map showing Portland-Gray, MEUSGS Oceanographer to meet with NWS forecasters to discuss Application of USGS Wave Runup Models and Coastal Change Assessments

From Sept. 10-12, Hilary Stockdon (USGS-St. Petersburg) will be in Gray, ME, meeting with meteorologists from the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office to discuss application of USGS wave runup models and coastal change assessments to beach and wave conditions in the northeast. The groups are collaborating on a pilot study investigating the use of USGS models to forecast overwash events on more complex shorelines.

posted: 2013-09-20

U.S. Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry ProjectUSGS Research Scientists participate in 2nd U.S. Ocean Acidification Principal Investigators' Meeting

From Sept. 18-20, three USGS scientists will participate in a National Ocean Acidification (OA) meeting in Washington, D.C., at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center sponsored by NOAA, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Ocean and Biochemistry Project. Kim Yates will lead Session 1 on Monday, Sept. 18, on Scientific Themes in OA Research; Lisa Robbins will be giving a poster on her recent PLOS ONE paper, "Approximately 20% of Canadian Basin surface waters are undersaturated with respect to aragonite"; and Ilsa Kuffner will also be giving a poster on a Calcification Monitoring Network in the Florida Keys.

For more information about the OA Principal Investigator's meeting, visit:

posted: 2013-09-20

Unprecedented Rate and Scale of Ocean Acidification Found in the ArcticUnprecedented Rate and Scale of Ocean Acidification Found in the Arctic

Acidification of the Arctic Ocean is occurring faster than projected according to new findings published in the journal PLOS ONE. The increase in rate is being blamed on rapidly melting sea ice, a process that may have important consequences for health of the Arctic ecosystem.

Ocean acidification is the process by which pH levels of seawater decrease due to greater amounts of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the oceans from the atmosphere. Currently oceans absorb about one-fourth of the greenhouse gas. Lower pH levels make water more acidic and lab studies have shown that more acidic water decrease calcification rates in many calcifying organisms, reducing their ability to build shells or skeletons. These changes, in species ranging from corals to shrimp, have the potential to impact species up and down the food web.

Read the USGS Press Release

posted: 2013-09-13

USGS Post-Doc Participates in the Joint Interagency Field Exploration Event

From 5-8 August, Sophia B. Liu, Ph.D., Mendenhall Post-Doc Fellow at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), participated in field experiments at the Joint Interagency Field Exploration (JIFX) event in Camp Roberts, CA at the McMillan Airfield. The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) hosts these events several times a year to bring industry, academia, and government together in a semi-structured field testing environment fusing interactive community building and knowledge sharing activities with concept-based socio-technical experimentation. Dr. Liu's experiment titled "USGS 'Did the Coast Change?' Crowdsourcing Coastal Change Analysis of Aerial Photos" was one of over 60 experiments conducted at JIFX 13-4. With over 400 participants, her experiment focused on creating ad- hoc collaborations with participants developing similar geospatial crowdsourcing applications, social media analytics tools, and geospatial collaboration platforms. The following seven themes emerged as types of collaborations relevant to Dr. Liu's USGS geospatial crowdsourcing research: (1) Field-based crowdsourcing to ground truth remote crowdsourcing; (2) Harvesting social media for enhanced situational awareness and decision support; (3) Abstracting crowdsourcing workflows; (4) Visualizing and integrating crowdsourced data; (5) Emerging geospatial collaborations and platforms; (6) Imagery-related tools and projects; and (7) Innovation fellows and Hurricane Sandy-related project ideas.

posted: 2013-08-29

USGS Coastal Geologist participates in Post-Sandy Coastal Engineering Research Meeting in New Jersey

From September 4-6, Cheryl Hapke (USGS-St. Petersburg) has been invited to participate in the Board of Coastal Engineering Research meeting to be held in Long Branch, NJ. The purpose of the meeting, convened by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE), is to explore impacts on the water resources and infrastructure of the North Atlantic coastlines due to Hurricane Sandy. Research needs associated with sustaining resilient coastal communities and systems through risk reduction, regional sediment management, and ecosystem restoration activities will be discussed. On Thursday, Sept. 5, there will be discussions on the recovery from Hurricane Sandy including coastal breach closures, with which Cheryl has been actively involved in Fire Island, New York (see News items posted 2013-08-01 and 2013-07-24).

posted: 2013-08-29

Hurricane Sandy Eroded Half of Fire Island's Beaches and Dunes: New Report Quantifies Coastal Change

Beaches and dunes on Fire Island, New York, lost more than half of their pre-storm volume during Hurricane Sandy, leaving the area more vulnerable to future storms.

While the damage and destruction on Fire Island was immediately evident after the storm, a new U.S. Geological Survey study released today is the first to quantify the actual changes to the coast caused by the storm.

"The beaches and dunes of the island were severely eroded during Sandy," said Cheryl Hapke, a USGS research geologist and lead author of the study. "The island was breached in three locations, and there was widespread damage and destruction of coastal infrastructure, including private residences. The report shows that the beaches and dunes lost 54.4 percent of their pre-storm volume, and the dunes experienced overwash along 46.6 percent of the island, dramatically changing the island's shape."

See the USGS Press Release and read the new report.

posted: 2013-08-28

2012 Research Cruise of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy part of "Breaking Ice" Series on Weather Channel

Beginning Saturday August 17 and running for three Saturdays in a row, the Weather Channel will feature a series "Breaking Ice" on the 2012 expeditions of the Healy. USGS scientist Lisa Robbins (St. Petersburg) led one of the science missions on the 2012 Healy cruise looking at Arctic Ocean Acidification. The team worked alongside scientists mapping the seafloor as part of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf program. The 6-part series compares the experiences of the U.S. Coast Guard Healy in the Arctic with the German civilian R/V Polarstern in the Antarctic. This week's episode, Iced, (8/24/13, 9:00-9:30 pm EDT) shows the American icebreaker Healy reaching the northernmost section of its 5-week Arctic mapping mission.

posted: 2013-08-22

Coastal and Marine Geology Staff participate in Lidar Technology Workshop

Nathaniel Plant (USGS-St. Petersburg) and Wayne Wright (USGS-Salisbury, MD) attended the Annual Airborne Coastal Mapping and Charting workshop on lidar technology and applications hosted by the Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Excellence (JALBTCX), held 6-7 August in Mobile, AL. The meeting included technical and scientific expertise from federal, academic, and commercial institutions. USGS presented updates of improved bathymetric lidar capabilities and gave examples of applications of topographic and bathymetric lidar.

posted: 2013-08-22

St. Petersburg Scientist Continues Research on Effects of Drilling Mud on Cold Water Corals

Christina Kellogg (USGS-St. Petersburg) will be traveling to Norway (September 2-7, 2013) to continue a collaborative study on the effects of drilling mud on cold-water corals. Kellogg is a participant in a three year study funded by the Research Council of Norway and will be consulting on experimental design and microbial ecology. A primary objective of this project is to develop diagnostic methods to detect cold-water coral stress that may result from nearby oil and gas exploration activities.

For more information on research on the effects of Drilling Mud on Cold Water Corals, read: International Team Studies Impacts of Oil and Gas Drilling on Cold-Water Corals in Norway

posted: 2013-08-22

Hurricane SandyRemapping Coastal Areas Damaged by Hurricane Sandy

Plans for remapping parts of the East Coast where Hurricane Sandy altered seafloors and shorelines, destroyed buildings, and disrupted millions of lives last year are being announced today by three federal agencies. This remapping plan comes one day after the Administration's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force progress report.

The USGS, NOAA, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are using emergency supplemental funds provided by Congress to survey coastal waters and shorelines, acquiring data that will update East Coast land maps and nautical charts.

Using ships, aircraft, and satellites, the agencies will measure water depths, look for submerged debris, and record altered shorelines in high priority areas from South Carolina to Maine, as stipulated by Congress in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

The areas to be remapped will be based on their relative dangers to navigation, effects from the storm, and discussions with state and local officials as well as the maritime industry.

Read the USGS Press Release

posted: 2013-08-21

Deep Sea TVUSGS scientists help NOAA promote deep-sea research

The NOAA research vessel Okeanos Explorer has been live-streaming the video feed from their remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) during exploratory dives in the deepwater canyons off the coast of the northeastern United States. Amanda Demopoulos (USGS-SESC) is co-leading the cruise during August with Martha Nizinski (NOAA) and interfacing with a team of shore-based scientists, including Christina Kellogg (USGS-SPCMSC). While promoting the cruise on Twitter, Kellogg coined the phrase "Deep Sea TV" to describe the live video feed. The Associated Press (AP) picked up the theme and wrote a story about the telepresence cruise, framing it in terms of a reality TV show. The story has been picked up by ABC, NBC, Yahoo News, USA Today, Washington Post, and many regional newspapers. As many as 67,000 viewers have logged on during a single dive to watch the live feed of the sea floor hundreds of meters below the surface. Deep Sea TV continues through August 16th, so skip the summer reruns and join the exploration!

Related links:

Okeanos Explorer live video stream

Washington Post article: Research ship's live streaming of deep ocean floor hooks people on eel attacks and starfish


posted: 2013-08-19

Map of Florida Middle GroundUSGS Geologist responds to Reporter Query on Offshore Ledges

On July 26, the USGS (St. Petersburg) received a query from a reporter about the nature of the offshore ledges near Ft. Myers, Fl. Kevin Lollar, who works for the News-Press was inquiring about the origin of ledges divers commonly encounter offshore. Chris Reich (Geologist) spoke with Mr. Lollar and suggested that most ledges encountered by casual divers were likely natural limestone exposures that were eroded at the shoreline when sea level was lower, rather than formed by coral reefs. There are many of these ledges and rock outcrops along the west Florida shelf, some in water too deep to fully understand their genesis, but a new discovery by the USGS working on the geology of the Florida Middle Ground showed that a marine gastropod helped preserve the structures that are used by many divers and fisherman today.

For more about the Florida Middle Ground, see the Journal of Coastal Research article: The Role of Vermetid Gastropods in the Development of the Florida Middle Ground, Northeast Gulf of Mexico

posted: 2013-08-01

Florida Trend MagazineUSGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center part of Sept., 2013 "Marine High Tech Corridor" Article

On July 31, Amy Keller of Florida Trend Magazine inquired about the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Center for a forthcoming article on the "Marine High Tech Corridor" in the Tampa area. While the print version of the magazine will publish all the articles at once, the online version releases articles sporadically, so the article may not be immediately available online.

posted: 2013-08-01

Oblique aerial photograph of a location in the Chandeleur IslandsAerial Survey of Gulf Coast Islands

On July 13, 2013, USGS conducted an oblique aerial photography survey as part of the Barrier Island Evolution Research (BIER) project. A goal of BIER is to study the evolution of the sand berm constructed in the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, in the wake of the Deep Water Horizon accident in 2010. Karen Westphal (contractor for the USGS) collected 1248 oblique images beginning at Breton Islands, Louisiana, The flight continued north through the Chandeleur Islands to Cat Island, Mississippi and then eastward to the Alabama/Florida border. Westphal flew in a Cessna 172, taking geo-located pictures out the left side of the aircraft through an open window.

posted: 2013-07-24

A number of ocean front homes were destroyed or severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy on Fire Island, NY. The photo shows what remains of houses in the community of Davis Park. Photo by Cheryl Hapke, USGS.USGS Continues Response to Hurricane Sandy

The USGS continues to work across a broad range of scientific topics that improve our understanding of Hurricane Sandy impacts. Much of this science also supports and informs local, state and Federal recovery efforts and adaptive strategies that will prepare our Nation for future events.

Visit the Sandy Response Page to read about how scientists forecast, measure and map coastal changes and vulnerability, look at flooding, storm-surge, water-quality impacts and other aspects of this extreme storm event. The page serves up multiple links to Sandy-related topics: science features, storm impact studies, photography, data, publications and news releases.

posted: 2013-07-19

Hurricane Sandy resulted in this breach in Fire Island, a barrier island of the Long Island coast in New York.USGS Geologist on National Science Radio Program

On July 12, 2013 for the 3 pm EDT segment, Cheryl Hapke was featured on the National Public Radio (NPR) show Science Friday. The two-hour show, hosted by Ira Flatow, is a live weekly science interview on science topics that are in the news. Cheryl was discussing the breach on Fire Island, NY from Hurricane Sandy. Among the issues brought up were when the breach might close, should it be closed manually, and what the benefits versus risks may be if it is left to close naturally. The discussion also focused on whether there is enough sand available to continue to replenish the nation's beaches after severe storms.

Read more and listen to the program.

posted: 2013-07-18

Chapters in New Book on the Gulf of Mexico

USGS scientists John Barras (USGS Baton Rouge) and Richard Day (NWRC-Lafayette) have contributed to two chapters in the newly released fourth volume of Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota, a series sponsored by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and published by the Texas A&M University Press. Volume 4, Ecosystem-Based Management, edited by John Day and Alendro Yáñez-Arancibia, provides a comprehensive study of ecosystem-based management, analyzing key coastal ecosystems in eleven Gulf Coast states from Florida to Quintana Roo and presenting case studies in which this integrated approach was tested in both the United States and in Mexico. John Barras is a co-author on Chapter 5, "Integrated Coastal Management in the Mississippi Delta: System Functioning as the Basis of Sustainable Management." Richard Day co-authored Chapter 14, "Global Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico: Considerations for Integrated Coastal Management."

posted: 2013-07-12

New Approach to Measuring Coral Growth Offers Valuable Tool for Reef Managers

A new more sensitive weight-based approach for monitoring coral growth in the wild has been developed by U.S. Geological Survey researchers leading to more definitive answers about the status of coral reefs.

Using the weight-based approach, scientists discovered that colonies of the Massive Starlet coral calcified about 50 percent faster in the remote Dry Tortugas National Park compared to three sites along the rest of the island chain from Miami to Marathon, Fla. The reasons behind this surprising pattern are not clear, leaving a mystery sure to pique the interest of many reef managers.

To learn more about the new more sensitive weight-based approach for monitoring coral growth, read the USGS press release.

To learn more about the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies Project, please visit the website.

posted: 2013-07-10

USGS Science Plan for Support of Restoration and Recovery in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

On July 1, USGS released the Science Plan, "Meeting the Science Needs of the Nation in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy - A U.S. Geological Survey Science Plan in Support of Restoration and Recovery." This science plan was developed immediately following Hurricane Sandy to coordinate continuing USGS activities with other agencies and to guide continued data collection and analysis to ensure support for recovery and restoration efforts. The data, information, and tools that are produced by implementing this plan will: (1) further characterize impacts and changes, (2) guide mitigation and restoration of impacted communities and ecosystems, (3) inform a redevelopment strategy aimed at developing resilient coastal communities and ecosystems, (4) improve preparedness and responsiveness to the next hurricane or similar coastal disaster, and (5) enable improved hazard assessment, response, and recovery for future storms along the hurricane prone shoreline of the United States.

posted: 2013-07-09

Disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy

The Department of the Interior recently announced the release of $475.25 million in emergency disaster relief funding to repair, rebuild, and restore impacted areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This will also provide investments in scientific data and studies to support recovery in the region. USGS science will help identify coastal areas that have been made more vulnerable to storm damage and provide communities with critical information needed for recovery that will also help prepare for future storm events.

Read more at:

posted: 2013-07-09

USGS is ready for Hurricane season

Hurricanes unleash dangerous waves and powerful currents capable of moving large amounts of sand, destroying buildings and infrastructure, and reshaping our nation's coastline. USGS research focuses on understanding the magnitude and variability of the impacts of hurricanes and extreme storms on the sandy beaches of the United States. The overall objective is to improve the capability to predict coastal change that results from severe storms. Such a capability will support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety. Understanding the impacts of coastal change is just one way science keeps our Nation prepared.

Learn more:

posted: 2013-07-09

Major Reports on Predicting Hurricane-Induced Coastal Change Released

On July 1, the USGS released two reports assessing the probability of hurricane-induced coastal change on sandy beaches from Florida to New York. The reports—one assessing the coastline from Florida to North Carolina, the second from Virginia to New York—can function as a reference for community planners and emergency managers along the Eastern Seaboard. SPCMSC staff participating in the reports include Hilary Stockdon, Kara Doran, Nathaniel Plant, Kristy Sopkin, and Dave Thompson. The reports were released with an online component,, which can act as a "virtual tookit" for emergency planners to help make decisions on how to best address coastal vulnerabilities.

posted: 2013-07-03

USF Oceanography Camp Students visit USGS St. Petersburg Center

On June 26 and 27, thirty 8th grade students attending University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science's (CMS) Oceanography Camp for Girls visited the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) to learn about how hurricanes and other extreme storms impact our coastline. Kara Doran used the Center's 16-foot wave tank to demonstrate how waves form, travel, and deposit sand on beaches giving the students the opportunity to make their own waves. Theresa Burress simulated a hurricane using the Center's coastal erosion model, which illustrates how wind and waves transport sediment from a barrier island during storms. Thirteen students also had the opportunity to interview Center scientists one-on-one about their work. Participating SPCMSC scientists included Kara Doran, Jennifer Flannery, Sophia Liu, Jennifer Miselis, Karen Morgan, Lisa Osterman, Nathaniel Plant, Julie Richey, and Tom Smith.

posted: 2013-07-03

USGS Staff Interviewed for Documentary on Ocean Acidification (OA)

On July 2, USGS research oceanographer Dr. Lisa Robbins (USGS-St Petersburg) and graduate students Paul Knorr and Kira Barrera met with Jacob Courant and a film crew from the Savannah College of Art and Design at the US Geological Survey in St. Petersburg, Florida. Mr. Courant is directing and co-producing a short documentary film about ocean acidification (OA) and its socioeconomic effects in the Florida Keys. To collect information for the film, Mr. Courant interviewed Robbins on ongoing OA projects and Knorr on his dissertation research about tropical benthic foraminifera, Archaias and Amphistigina, and techniques used in the laboratory. Additionally, Robbins' group is currently conducting experiments on a prolific tropical/subtropical sediment producer, the green alga, Halimeda, found throughout the Florida Keys and near Tampa Bay.

posted: 2013-07-03

Maine Legislature unanimously passes Ocean Acidification Legislation

On June 18, 2013, the Maine legislature sent out notification of a Joint Resolution "Recognizing Ocean Acidification as a Threat to Maine's Coastal Economy, Communities and Way of Life" (SP0599). The legislation was sent to the members of the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification (IWG-OA), of which SPCMSC Oceanographer Lisa Robbins is a member. For text of the legislation, please see:

posted: 2013-07-03

USGS staff name retrofitted research vessel R/V Sallenger

On June 28, the recently acquired 2530 Extended Cabin Parker, retrofitted as a research vessel, was named the R/V Sallenger. The name was placed on the vessel before her first field work in Biloxi, MS. The committee responsible for the retrofit, including Keith Ludwig (chair), Mark Hansen, Jack Kindinger, Jennifer Miselis, and Dave Zawada, unanimously recommended the name to SPCMSC director Richard Poore, who approved it June 19. By convention, boat names are two or three syllables, so they can be easily understood on the radio. There is also a tradition that names carry a meaning special to the boat. Hopefully, the R/V Sallenger will carry on Abby's legacy to the Center proudly.

posted: 2013-07-01

Post Hurricane Sandy Field Assessment Continues at Fire Island, New York

On June 23, Cheryl Hapke and Owen Brenner (USGS) traveled to Islip, NY to conduct field work at Fire Island. Working with National Park Service (NPS) staff who are providing field assistance and acting as plover (Charadrius melodus) monitors, the USGS scientists will resurvey the series of profiles and tracklines they have been surveying since Hurricane Sandy.

The USGS is also working in collaboration with the NPS and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to conduct a survey of the open breach at Fire Island. On Wed. June 26, the USACE amphibious LARC system (Lighter, Amphibious, Resupply, Cargo vessel) from Duck, NC, will survey the breach, collecting high resolution bathymetry. Scientists will simultaneously collect flow velocity and water level information. The effort is intended to better understand the dynamics and evolution of the newly-formed breach system.

posted: 2013-06-28

SPCMSC Staff Create ABBY Base Station

On June 13, 2013, Nancy Dewitt and B.J. Reynolds along with Mark Hansen and Frank Derkovitz created a new permanent base station on the rooftop of the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center building. The base station was given the code name ABBY, named after Asbury Sallenger, whose office was in the same section as the antenna site. The base station will be used to calibrate SPCMSC field instruments and as a control point for field work the center is doing in the Tampa Bay area. Coordinates are 27 45 50.68286N, 82 38 16.12225W.

posted: 2013-06-19

SPCMSC Staff Collaborate with NOAA to Test Topo/Bathy Lidar Capabilities

On June 12, 2013 SPCMSC staff conducted a bathymetric survey near Ft. Desoto county park in order to provide ground-truth for a lidar evaluation project led by NOAA. The survey was conducted by Nancy Dewitt with assistance from Nathaniel Plant, Mark Hansen, and Kyle Kelso. The survey strategy was to collect bathymetric data at shallow depths to depths that exceeded the expected lidar extinction depth of 1 secchi depth. A single-beam fathometer and GPS positioning system were used for the bathymetric survey. Secchi depth measurements were made with a secchi disk at the end of each cross-shore transect in about 4 m depth.nThese data will be used to evaluate commercial lidar systems that may be used to conduct future research, storm response, and navigation surveys.

posted: 2013-06-19

Three Environmental Stewards Program students working this summer at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

The Environmental Stewards Summer Program, sponsored by the Southwest Conservation Crops, DOI Office of Youth Service & Partnership, and AmeriCorps, is a 10-week program that is intended to provide professional development and hands-on experience with environmental and conservation projects for undergraduates or recent graduates. Research Microbiologist Christina Kellogg (SPCMSC) is mentoring three students through this program. William (Bill) Gowacki will be isolating and characterizing bacteria associated with deep-sea corals collected from canyons off the eastern coast of the United States. This research will provide information about the biodiversity of the canyons and also the biology of these barely known cold-water corals. Stephanie Lawler will be data mining large pyrosequencing datasets for information on actinomycetes, a bacterial group that is best known for producing bioactive compounds with pharmaceutical potential. Stephanie will also be learning molecular biology techniques and using them to identify unknown bacteria collected from cold seeps recently discovered in deepwater canyons. Erin Viverito-Baker will be engaged in method validation, comparing the effectiveness and efficiency of three different DNA extraction kits to determine the best method for capturing the microbial community from coral samples. This is critical information for the many laboratories around the world studying tropical coral diseases. All three students receive a small stipend for living expenses and after completion of the program (minimum 300 hours) they will receive a Segal Education Award from AmeriCorps that can be applied towards student loans or tuition.

posted: 2013-06-17

USGS Storm Response to Hurricane Sandy in Fire Island National Seashore, N.Y., featured in American Geophysical Union (AGU) Periodical

On May 21, SPCMSC coastal science researchers Cheryl Hapke and Hilary Stockdon along with William Schwab from the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC) and Mary Foley from the National Park Service (NPS) published a lead article in the AGU periodical EOS titled "Changing the Paradigm of Response to Coastal Storms." The article describes how a breach from Hurricane Sandy in Fire Island, N.Y., remains open more than 6 months after the storm. The breach, within a federal wilderness area, is being carefully evaluated and monitored by a multiagency group, balancing increased risk to infrastructure and human safety with benefit to the natural environment. This is an unparalleled management approach along a developed coastline and could serve as an option for response to future storms.

posted: 2013-06-17

SPCMSC and WHCMSC Staff Continue Long-Term Chandeleur Barrier Island Study

In July, 2013, ten scientists and technicians from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Program's science centers in St. Petersburg, Florida (SPCMSC) and in Woods Hole, Massachusetts (WHCMSC) will reside at the remote Chanedeleur Islands, La, for ten days to conduct surveys as part of a time-series of topographic, geophysical, sedimentologic, and hydrographic information. The information they collect will be compared with similar surveys conducted in 2011 and earlier to monitor change that has occurred to the rapidly degrading barrier island system. Scientists from the USGS in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have been studying the storm-related evolution of the Chandeleur Islands in eastern Louisiana for many years. This work was undertaken to support research objectives of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards Project and the Barrier Island Evolution Research Project (BIER). The latter seeks to address a research gap between the short time scale of individual storms (hours to days) and the longer time scales associated with the historic and geologic evolution of the coastal system (decades to millennia). The BIER Project lead is Nathaniel Plant, Geophysical and Sedimentologic task primary investigators are Jennifer Miselis and Jim Flocks.

Background on these studies can be found at the following links:,,,

posted: 2013-06-17

Study Offers First Look at Green Sea Turtle Habitat Use in the Dry Tortugas National Park

USGS science is helping NOAA and the National Park Service enhance management strategies to protect sea turtles. A new study confirms that green sea turtles are spending much of their time in protected sites within both Dry Tortugas National Park and the surrounding areas of the Florida Keys Marine National Sanctuary. The USGS study is the first to track the federally protected turtles in Dry Tortugas National Park.

Read more at:

posted: 2013-06-12

SPCMSC Oceanographer Interview on Arctic Ocean Acidification published in BioScience Review Article

SPCMSC staff Lisa Robbins was featured in a May 2013 article on ocean acidification, "Marine Life on Acid," by freelance journalist Leslie Evans Ogden. The review article was recently published in the journal BioScience, (v. 63, #5, p 322-328) ( The USGS Ocean Acidification research project was described including two pictures taken on board the USCGC (US Coast Guard Cutter) Healy, one of a CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) cast and the second of University of South Florida (USF) graduate student Paul Knorr running alkalinities onboard.

posted: 2013-06-10

SPCMSC Local Story on Coastal Erosion now available on the web

The Highlight posted on May 2, 2013 on SPCMSC Oceanographer Hilary Stockdon's interview with WTSP is now available on the web. The url is

posted: 2013-06-06

SPCMSC Research part of a Science Feature on USGS Home Page

The Highlight posted on April 17, 2013 on SPCMSC Scientist Chris Kellogg's research on Deep Sea Underwater Canyons is now part of a Top Story Science Feature on the USGS Home page. The url is

posted: 2013-06-06

SPCMSC Coastal Scientist Invited Panelist at AAPG/SEPM Special Session on Hurricane Sandy

On May 21, SPCMSC Geologist Cheryl Hapke will speak at the combined annual meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geology (AAPG) / Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) in Pittsburgh, PA. Cheryl is one of three invited panelists for a Special Session on Hurricane Sandy and Our Vulnerable Developed Coastlines. Cheryl recently returned from a 75-day detail to the Hurricane Sandy Joint Field Office (JFO) in Queens, NY. Cheryl was appointed as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on coastal change to the Natural and Cultural Resources (NCR) group. The NCR is one of six Recovery Support Functions (RSF) specified in the new Natural Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) implemented in 2011. The Department of Interior (DOI) is assigned responsibility as the coordinating agency for NCR RSF, and Cheryl became the lead field coordinator of the NCR Recovery Support Function because of her continued presence and familiarity with New York State and local stakeholders and regional federal partners. Cheryl led the transition from the response-phase Beach Infrastructure Task Force to formulation of the recovery-phase Coastal Resiliency Task Force. Cheryl initiated the publication of Coastal Resiliency Fact-Sheets, based loosely on USGS fact sheets, which have been adopted by many other RSF efforts.

For more information on the AAPG/SEPM Special Session, please see

posted: 2013-05-23

SPCMSC Researcher Invited to become a Member of the Advisory Board for the Ocean Acidification- International Coordination Centre (OA - ICC)

On May 14, 2013, Dr. Lisa Robbins SPCMSC (St Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) participated in the first Advisory Board meeting of the Ocean Acidification - International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) held at the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Environmental Lab in Monaco. Dr. Robbins was invited to become a founding Member of the Advisory Board for the Ocean Acidification - International Coordination Centre. This Centre, located in Monaco, was launched to aid communicating, promoting and facilitating global actions on ocean acidification. The Advisory Board has representatives from the SOLAS-IMBER (Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study - Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research) Ocean Acidification Working Group (of which Robbins is a member). Representatives of other major OA programs and projects around the world on the advisory board include IMBER, SOLAS, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), IAEA, UK Ocean Acidification Programme, MedSeA Project (European Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate) to name a few. Representatives from other international organizations include UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme), World Bank, IOC-UNESCO (International Oceanographic Commission - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), EC-JRC (European Commission - Joint Research Centre) among others. Government and foundations include the Prince Albert I Foundation, NOAA, and the Monaco Foreign Affairs Department. Dr. Robbins is the lead on the task for Capacity Building for Ocean Acidification scientific research in developing nations. In the coming year, two OA capacity building workshops are being planned; one in Chile and a second in the Caribbean.

posted: 2013-05-23

SPCMSC Researchers invited to Expert Panel Workshop on the Role of Subsidence in Coastal Louisiana

On May 13, 2013, SPCMSC staff Jack Kindinger, Jim Flocks, and Julie Bernier participated in a workshop on the role of subsidence for Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection Planning hosted by The Water Institute of the Gulf (TWIG) in Baton Rouge, LA. Participating via Webinar, the SPCMSC scientists were invited to present an overview of SPCMSC's past, current, and potential subsidence research. The Panel was tasked by the State of Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) to address current data gaps in coastal subsidence knowledge. The objectives of the workshop were to foster technical discussion on primary processes driving subsidence, to describe technical issues associated with the various measurement methodologies, to identify existing data sources, and to make recommendations to the CPRA committee.

posted: 2013-05-16

SPSMSC staff continue Calcification Monitoring in the Keys

From May 13 – May 24, a field team led by SPCMSC scientist Ilsa Kuffner will continue research on coral growth involving several species in the Florida Keys.  The goal of the research is to better understand why rates of coral calcification and reef building are faster in the Dry Tortugas compared to the main Florida Keys reefs. The field trip will finish up the monitoring on one species and start monitoring a second.  SPCMSC staff also participating includes Jennifer Morrison, BJ Reynolds and Keith Ludwing.  The field crew will be staying aboard the M/V Ft. Jefferson, a National Park Service vessel chartered by the USGS for use by both Ilsa’s research team and Kristen Hart’s (SESC) research team.

posted: 2013-05-13

SPCMSC staff to establish Baseline Map for FY14 Coral Reef Project

From May 20 – May 25, SPCMSC Research Oceanographer Dave Zawada will lead a field expedition to the Florida Keys to map Crocker Reef, using the ATRIS imaging systems ( The imagery will be used to create a benthic-cover map of the site which will serve as a base layer for future data products to be generated during CREST-II a continuation of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies Project (

posted: 2013-05-13

Green Sea Turtles Benefiting from Protected Areas

On Monday, April 29, USGS put out a press release ( on research showing green sea turtles make use of habitats in Dry Tortugas National Park and nearby protected areas. The work, conducted by SESC biologist Dr. Kristen Hart, SPCMSC scientists Dr. Dave Zawada and Barbara Lidz, and a University of Florida colleague, was recently published in the journal Biological Conservation. Media calls so far include Mother Jones and Washington bureau of the Sun Sentinel/Orlando Sentinel. The release was picked up by a number science blogs such as Science Daily, PhyOrg, RedOrbit, Mother Nature News, Biology News Net. It was also run in Discovery News, the Summit County Citizen's Voice, and syndicated by LiveScience.

posted: 2013-05-03

SPCMSC interview with 10 News WTSP Tampa on Hurricane Research

On April 25, SPCMSC-Oceanographer Hilary Stockdon was interviewed by a team from Tampa's Channel 10 News for a special show they will be broadcasting for hurricane season. Mark Collins, a station forecast meteorologist, talked to Hilary about storm surge, waves, sand dunes, beach erosion, and USGS predictions, among other topics.  The TV crew recorded a lot of video of our USGS model runs and maps showing probabilities of coastal change. The show is expected to air on June 1, the first day of Hurricane season.

posted: 2013-05-02

SPCMSC hosts High School Charter Students

On April 30, 2013, a group of 35 junior and senior dual-enrollment high school students from The Villages Charter School, in Sumter County, Florida, visited the US Geological Survey and USF College of Marine Science. SPCMSC staff member Theresa Burress introduced them to the U.S. Geological Survey and the diverse array of ongoing scientific research at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center. Research geologist Jennifer Miselis led a tour of the Science Center. She explained how scientists use the sediment core laboratory and equipment, demonstrated by Julie Bernier, as they conduct field work and seek to advance their knowledge of coastal geomorphology along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States.

posted: 2013-05-02

SPCSMC Post-Doc Presents Crisis Communication Research at IgniteTampa Forum

On Thursday, April 25, 2013 Sophia B Liu, Ph.D., Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), presented her research on crisis crowdsourcing, specifically on coastal hazard classification, at the 3rd Annual IgniteTampa ( held at the historic Tampa Theater in Tampa, Florida. Ignite talks have a strict fixed format: 5 minutes and 20 slides, that automatically advance every 15 seconds. Sophia recounts her personal experience using Twitter during a Colorado wildfire, the long history of crowdsourcing at the USGS with the "Did You Feel It?" earthquake website established in 1999; and her recent research work on the USGS Tweet Earthquake Dispatch system that can detect earthquakes in real-time by crowdharvesting Twitter data. For her Mendenhall research, Sophia is developing iCoast, a web application to ground truth and improve predicative coastal erosion models by utilizing the power of crowdsourcing to help classify thousands of coastal aerial photos acquired in response to Hurricane Sandy.

posted: 2013-04-25

SPCMSC Scientist invited participant to Joint GSA Penrose/ AGU Chapman Conference on Coastal Issues

From April 14 to 19, SPCMSC Oceanographer, Jack Kindinger participated with a select group of 80 coastal scientists in Galveston, Texas, for the Joint GSA/AGU Conference on Coastal Processes and Environments under Sea-Level Rise and Changing Climate: Science to Inform Management. The joint conference was convened to develop criteria to increase scientific and public awareness of the realities of global change and its impacts on coastal environments. There were four days of talks, posters, and a field trip describing: (1) short-term and long-term impacts of accelerated sea-level rise, (2) climatically induced alteration in sediment delivery to coasts, (3) increased frequency of severe storms, and (4) anthropogenic exacerbation of coastal change. On the fifth morning a panel led the small group of scientists in a discussion "Reaching Scientific Consensus and Conveying Science to Policy Makers". This discussion produced twenty-five basic knowledge points that will guide decision and policy makers.

posted: 2013-04-25

SPCMSC Staff participate in undersea research in deepwater canyons off the US East Coast

The USGS DISCOVRE (Diversity & Connectivity of Vulnerable Reef Ecosystems) team will take part in multiple cruise legs between April 30 and May 27 to investigate the biology and ecology of deepwater canyons off the eastern coast of the United States. This cruise will focus on Norfolk Canyon with some visits to Baltimore Canyon. Michael Gray (SPCMSC) will be examining the microbial associates of deep-sea corals and the microbial diversity present in soft sediments. He will also be retrieving a setting plate experiment that has been underwater since last August to look at the microbial biofilms that form on various substances (limestone, sandstone, steel), since those biofilms determine which macrofauna will later colonize rocky outcrops or shipwrecks. Other DISCOVRE scientists include Cheryl Morrison (Leetown Science Center), studying coral population genetics; Amanda Demopoulos (SESC), studying benthic ecology and foodwebs; and Nancy Prouty (Santa Cruz), studying paleoclimate using coral skeletons. The cruise will be a NOAA signature expedition and will have web coverage on the Ocean Explorer website. This work is conducted in cooperation with BOEM-funded contractors from a variety of academic institutions.

Related links:

posted: 2013-04-17

USGS staff participates in Climate Change Symposium for Educators

On April 22, Lisa Robbins and Theresa Burress will present a one-hour workshop to teachers on climate change science to the Coastal Areas Climate Change Education Partnership (CACCE) at Jefferson High School in Tampa, Fl. The workshop will provide an overview of current research underway at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), where scientists study various aspects of climate change such as creating climate histories using microfossils, coral reef calcification, and ocean acidification. USGS scientist Lisa Robbins will discuss her recent research expeditions to the Arctic Ocean where researchers collected ocean chemistry data and shared their experiences with students via an interactive web site and blog. The CACCE Symposium, funded by the National Science Foundation, will bring together hundreds of educators and secondary school teachers working in science institutions from the Tampa Bay area to facilitate discussions about innovative educational practices on climate change science.

posted: 2013-04-11

Continued Media Interest on Regional Sea-Level Rise Paper

On 2/28/13, CNB-TS* contract oceanographer Peter Howd (St. Pete) spoke with reporters from both the Wall Street Journal and the industry publication "Risk and Insurance" about regional sea-level rise due to changing ocean dynamics and how those regional signals interact with more widely quoted global sea-level rise scenarios. Recently published findings by Abby Sallenger, Kara Doran and Peter Howd identified a hot spot of acceleration of sea-level rise along the Northeast US coast. University scientists have followed up on and strengthened these findings and have unveiled additional interactive mapping systems for visualizing some of the hazards associated with sea-level rise.*(Cherokee Nation Business-Technology Solutions).

For more information on the USGS-contributed work, please see:
Sallenger, A. H., K. S. Doran, and P. A. Howd (2012), Hotspot of accelerated sea-level rise on the Atlantic coast of North America, Nature Climate Change, 2, 884-888, doi:10.1038/nclimate1597.

For more information on the university work, please see:
Ezer, T., L. P. Atkinson, W. B. Corlett and J. L Blanco (2013), Gulf Stream's induced sea level rise and variability along the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, Vol. 118, 1-13, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20091

posted: 2013-03-11

SPCMSC Scientist Participates in Bureau Hazard Communication Workshop

From Feb 18 21, a workshop was conducted at the Southern California field seismology office in Pasadena, CA for the USGS Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) project. The projects goals are to identify methods to implement the communication objectives outlined in the Natural Hazards Strategic SciencePlan (SSP) ( and to define the elements and structure of the SAFRR project that could support this implementation. Twelve scientists including representatives from USGS coastal, earthquake, landslide, tsunami, volcano, flood, and geomagnetic hazards attended. Outcomes of the meeting were some top-down recommendations that would provide improved technical and staffing support for this effort and some bottom-up actions and strategies for reaching the SSP objectives. Nathaniel Plant attended this meeting and represented coastal hazard issues.

For more information about the SAFFR project, please see:

posted: 2013-02-27

Australian Coastal Erosion Specialist Visits SPCMSC

For the week of February 25th, Dr. Kristen Splinter from the University of New South Wales, Australia, will be visiting the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center to work with Dr. Joseph Long (SPCMSC-Oceanographer) on forecasting shoreline evolution on Australian and U.S. coastlines. The primary goal is to implement recently published data assimilation tools developed by the USGS (Long and Plant 2012) into the shoreline model developed and used at the University of New South Wales (Splinter et al. 2012). During her visit she will be giving a seminar on February 27th at 10:30am in the Normile Conference Room onThe development and application of a new empirical equilibrium shoreline model across multiple sites and minimum data collection requirements.

For more information, please see:
Long, J.W. and N. G. Plant (2012). Extended Kalman Filter framework for forecasting shoreline evolution. Geophysical Research Letters 39(13): L13603

Splinter, K.D, M.A. Davidson, et. al. (2012) Climate controls on longshore sediment transport. Continental Shelf Research 48: 146-156.

posted: 2013-02-27

SPCMSC Coastal Geologist leaving on 60-day Detail to develop Post-Sandy Guidance

On Friday, Feb. 9th, SPCMSC geologist Cheryl Hapke left to do a two-month detail working with FEMA and other Federal, State, and Local agencies to develop guidance for post-Hurricane Sandy recovery. Cheryl will serve as the coastal processes subject expert working out of the FEMA Joint Field Office in Queens, NY.

posted: 2013-02-14

SPCMSC Research Effort mentioned in International Periodical

In the Feb 9th edition of the international magazine, The Economist, the article entitled Global warming may make the northernmost ocean less productive, not more so", the USGS Arctic Ocean Acidification project was mentioned discussing the rising acid levels in the Arctic Ocean and its ramifications to organism health and the foodweb. The article can be found at:

posted: 2013-02-14

Senior St Petersburg Oceanographer passes away at 63

On Wed., February 6, the USGS St. Petersburg Center received news that senior oceanographer Asbury (Abby) Sallenger passed away at his home the previous evening. Following are some remarks forwarded by CMGP chief, John Haines: Abby's contributions to the USGS, to the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, and to many of us personally cannot be briefly captured. He was the architect of our Coastal Program, and his vision can still be seen in the structure, objectives, and values of that program. In building our program, he insisted that science comes first - while maintaining that the USGS has a unique responsibility to ensure our science makes a difference to issues of national importance. He relished that responsibility, and was our most effective advocate for the role of science, particularly USGS science, in addressing coastal issues.

Abby was an imaginative researcher and was engaged in his own research, and in the broader community, until the end. He was currently participating as an author of IPCC and USGCRP technical reports on sea-level rise and the vulnerability of coastal systems, and within the last year published important research on regional sea-level rise inNature.

Some of Abby's legacy can be seen in our response to Hurricane Sandy - a response that has garnered substantial recognition for the USGS. At the heart of our response to hurricanes you'll find Abby's vision, Abby's science, and Abby's leadership. He was a great friend and mentor to me personally, and he had an enduring impact on the USGS."

For more information, see:
New York Times


Tampa Bay Times

posted: 2013-02-07

SPCMSC scientist one of twelve selected to attend international microscopy course

From February 18-22, 2013, SPCMSC research microbiologist Christina Kellogg will participate in a week-long course in fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) held only once a year by the Department of Microbial Ecology in Vienna, Austria. This International FISH course is an intensive, hands-on training in the technique, which uses fluorescently labeled DNA probes to specifically target microbes in environmental samples for taxonomic identification and enumeration using a confocal microscope. There are no courses in the United States that apply this technique to environmental samples. Due to the intensive participation, the course is limited to 12 individuals. Dr. Kellogg was selected to be one of these twelve. Participating in this training is particularly timely because a colleague at Eckerd College, Dr. Koty Sharp, just acquired a confocal microscope. With Dr. Kellogg bringing back protocols for the newest FISH techniques, together SPCMSC and Eckerd College can create a center of excellence in St. Petersburg, Florida. This will be a resource to the entire state as well as the rest of the USGS, providing both a place to learn the method or a fee-for-service way to process samples, greatly expanding the bureaus investigative capacity.

posted: 2013-01-31

USGS Workshop on Long-Term Coastal Monitoring

On February 6, 2013, a workshop is being held on the 2006-2010 Louisiana Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring (BICM) Program at the Dalton J. Woods Auditorium, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La. The meeting is co- sponsored by USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Center Science and Louisiana State University School of the Coast and Environment, in cooperation with University of New Orleans. The BICM program was developed to provide long-term data on Louisianas barrier islands that could be used to plan, design, evaluate, and maintain current and future barrier island restoration projects. Results from the Phase 1 project will be presented and discussions of future phases of the project will be discussed.

posted: 2013-01-31

Continuing Calibration study in Gulf of Mexico

On February 6, 2013, SPCMSC researchers, Caitlin Reynolds, Julie Richey, Don Hickey, and Chris Reich, will be conducting fieldwork for an ongoing calibration study in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The researchers are trying to establish a relationship between microfossil assemblages and their shell chemistry to modern ocean conditions. They deployed a sediment-trap mooring in January, 2008 in the northern Gulf to measure the seasonal flux and chemistry of planktic foraminiferal shells collected in the trap. The results will provide better calibration of standard climate proxies, leading to improved interpretation and correlation between marine and continental paleoclimate records. The trap will be collected and redeployed for the thirteenth time this February.

posted: 2013-01-31

New SPCMSC Publication compares Field-Friendly DNA Preservation Techniques

An article published in the January issue of FEMS Microbiology Ecology by SPCMSC microbiologists Michael Gray and Christina Kellogg compared a variety of methods that can be used to preserve samples in the field for DNA analysis back in the laboratory. They evaluated factors including cost and ease of use, as well as whether it was necessary to have access to a freezer or to be able to transport samples without flammable chemicals or liquids. The information in this paper will help field researchers, particularly those that work in remote locations with little or no laboratory infrastructure, choose the best method to preserve their precious samples. The abstract is available online at

posted: 2013-01-16

SPCMSC Staff Participating in International Cyber Communication Conference

SPCMSC Staff Participating in International Cyber Communication Conference. Christina Kellogg (SPCMSC) will be attending ScienceOnline2013 January 30-February 2, 2013. This is the seventh annual conference exploring science on the internet and brings together an international community of scientists, students, educators, physicians, journalists, librarians, bloggers, programmers and others interested in the way the internet is changing the way science is communicated, taught, and done. This meeting limits its attendance and is conducted in an 'unconference' style where the participants construct the program in advance and sessions are designed to be driven by group discussions rather than traditional lectures. For more information, you can visit the conference web site at or follow the hashtag #scio13 on Twitter.

posted: 2013-01-02

SPCMSC Staff Featured in New York Times Article on Hurricane Sandy

On Dec. 17, Cheryl Hapke and B. J. Reynolds were featured in an article on Hurricane Sandy by Henry Fountain published in the Times' Tuesday Science Section. The article describes the ongoing field work in measuring the impact from Hurricane Sandy and discusses some of the framework geologic issues that affect the long term coastal erosion hazard potential of Long Island, NY. The article also featured an interactive graphic showing the airborne lidar data, aerial photography, and pre- and post- storm beach profiles.posted: 2013-01-02

SPCMSC Oceanographer Instructor for International Course on Ocean Acidification

From Dec 3-7, 2012, USGS St Petersburg Coastal and Marine Center scientist, Dr. Lisa Robbins participated as an instructor in an ocean acidification short course held at the Universidade de Sao Paulo Cananeia Field Station in Cananeia, Brazil. The short course was sponsored by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) along with the Institute de Oceanografia Universidade de Sao Paulo(IO), Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP), National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and SOLAS-IMBER. About 20 scientists participated in the short course, representing multiple sub-disciplines of biological and chemical oceanography around Brazil. The course was taught by Robbins along with Drs. Joanie Kleypas (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, UCAR), Andrew Dickson (Scripps), and Chris Langdon (University of Miami). Brazilian scientists were provided information on the CO2-system chemistry of ocean acidification and how to measure it; how to design experiments to measure the impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms and communities; and the resources, instrumentation, and tools that are available for conducting ocean acidification research. One of the main goals of this short course was to provide researchers in this new field of ocean acidification information on the “best practices” in the field. Further, this short course provided details on Ocean Acidification Programs around the world that the Brazilian scientists could use to develop their own National Program.posted: 2013-01-02

SPCMSC Scientist to participate in decision on closing new breach in Fire Island, NY from Hurricane Sandy

On Dec. 20th, SPCMSC geologist Cheryl Hapke will participate in a meeting at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USCOE) Headquarters in Manhattan with the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, USCOE, and New York State to decide what actions, if any, should be taken to close the breach in the Fire Island Wilderness Area, which opened during Hurricane Sandy. See: ( Location 3

Prior to that, from Dec. 1215, Cheryl will be conducting post-Sandy beach response field surveys on Fire Island and meeting with the press.

posted: 2012-12-13

SPCMSC graduate student wins Outstanding Dissertation Award

Julia Galkiewicz, (SPCMSC- USFSP) identified and characterized microbial communities associated with the deep-sea coral, Lophelia pertusa for her Ph.D. research, working in the laboratory of SPCMSC research microbiologist Christina Kellogg. Her work was the first to isolate and culture bacteria and fungi from a cold-water coral, describing the microbes based on bar-coding genes as well as additional analyses to determine their antibiotic resistance and metabolic capabilities. Julie's dissertation work has already resulted in three first-author publications. Julie's contributions to deep-sea research have been recognized by the University of South Florida's Graduate School selecting her as one of three winners of the 2012 Outstanding Dissertation Award--the highest award given to students by the university.

Links to research papers:

posted: 2012-11-29

SPCMSC Research on Arctic Ocean Acidification discussed on Radio Talk Show

Sharon Gilberg, volunteer for SPCMSC Ocean Acidification Team, conducted a radio interview with the Hill & Dale Show (LA Talk Radio) regarding USGS ocean acidification research on Wednesday, November 21. The interview can be found between the 12:15 - 28:00 markers at:

posted: 2012-11-29

SPCMSC Conducts Lidar surveys to document coastal topographic change resulting from Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy's landfall on Nov. 4, 2012 affected the coastlines over a broad swath of mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, including New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. The effects included breaching, overwash, and erosion of the many barrier islands along the coast, and the destruction of coastal houses and infrastructure. Before Hurricane Sandys landfall, the SPCMSC Extreme-storms research project coordinated with other agencies and research projects to obtain updated lidar surveys used to evaluate the pre-storm vulnerability of this stretch of coast to extreme storms.

Immediately prior to Sandy's landfall, the experimental EAARLB Lidar was flown over some of the barrier islands in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. These surveys were coordinated with efforts by at least three of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Programs research projects that are underway in the region. The EAARLB Lidar was able to collect both topographic and shallow water bathymetric data that will allow documentation of both elevation changes and sediment redistributions above and below the shoreline. Following the storm, the USGS coordinated post-storm lidar surveys of New Jersey and Fire Island, New York, using EAARLB and contract lidar surveys of Fire Island, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. These data will be made available to emergency responders and other agencies, such as NOAA, Army Corps of Engineers, and FEMA. Lidar data are being analyzed to evaluate predictions of coastal erosion and to provide updates for future assessments of coastal vulnerability.

posted: 2012-11-14

USGS Science Stars in Emmy-Nominated Documentary

Turning the Tide, a documentary produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting, has been nominated for a 2012 Suncoast Emmy for Best Documentary. This is the highest Emmy category for which the program is eligible and is a huge honor. The awards ceremony will be held December 1, 2012, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The film takes an in-depth look at the proposed solutions, proven strategies, and bold engineering that can turn the tide on Louisianas coastal land loss problem. It includes comments from USGS researchers Abby Sallenger, Chris Swarzenski, Charles Demas (retired), and Dan Kroes. NWRC also provided images which were used in the film.

posted: 2012-11-07

SPCMSC Coastal Geologist will participate in upcoming USACE Meeting to discuss Fire Island, New York research

On November 13, SPCMSC Geologist Cheryl Hapke will participate with three other members of the WHCMSC staff on presenting the latest research findings for Fire Island to the New York City District Headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Additional agencies represented will include the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and representatives from New York State. Cheryl will present her work on sub-aerial morphologic change analysis.

posted: 2012-10-25

SPCMSC Oceanographer Speaking at National Coastal Conference on Quantifying Erosion Hazards during Hurricanes

On October 12, Hilary Stockdon will be speaking at the ASBPA National Coastal Conference in San Diego, CA. This meeting provides a forum for engineers, planners, and scientists to work together to address the challenges of development in the coastal zone. Stockdon will present the recently published 'National Assessment of Hurricane-Induced Coastal Erosion Hazards' in the Hurricane Disaster Planning and Technologies session. This analysis quantifies the probability of dune erosion, overwash, and inundation during landfall of category 1-5 hurricanes along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Atlantic coasts. The assessment, as well as the supporting data, provides sound science to a variety of groups in the coastal community tasked with making decisions related to mitigation, emergency response, and coastal planning.

posted: 2012-10-04

SPCMSC Publication Links Leopard Shark Habitats to Nearshore Wave Patterns

On September 3, SPCMSC oceanographer Joe Long was one of several authors of an article accepted and published initially in the online edition of Environmental Biology of Fishes. In "Demography and movement patterns of leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) aggregating near the head of a submarine canyon along the open coast of southern California, USA", Nosal et al analyze the distribution and movement of leopard sharks and identify a potential link between preferential habitats and nearshore wave patterns.

posted: 2012-10-04

Coastal and Marine Geology Program major contributor to Feds Feed Families Food Drive

On September 12, USGS announced that the Coastal and Marine Geology Program contributed over two tons of food to the Federal food drive. While only having ~ 4% of the total USGS employees, the dedicated CMGP group contributed over 30% of the food stuffs, thanks to a fun competition between the three centers. SPCMSC came in second just behind our PCMSC colleagues on the west coast. All St. Pete food donations will go to Metropolitan Ministries in St. Petersburg.

posted: 2012-10-04

UPCOMING: SPCMSC Staff Help Lead Expanded St. Petersburg Science Festival

On Saturday, October 27, U.S. Geological Survey St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center is participating with multiple exhibits in the upcoming Second Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival. The event will take place at the waterfront campus of University of South Florida St. Petersburg, in conjunction with MarineQuest, FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute's annual open house. The science festival is a free, public celebration of science, offering a wide range of engaging, interactive science, technology, engineering, and math-related activities. Last year's inaugural event included 25 science exhibits and drew more than 6,000 festival visitors. In 2012, more than 90 science-related activities and shows have been confirmed, including new exhibitors, dynamic stage shows, and innovative activities hosted by St. Petersburg's vibrant arts organizations that showcase the many connections between art and science.

U.S. Geological Survey, a founding collaborator of the science festival, will contribute the following exhibits:

  • Surf's Up: Visitors will generate large and small waves in a long wave tank filled with sand and then see the resulting changes in beach profiles. Scientists will help visitors understand the extreme movement of sand that occurs as a result of hurricanes.
  • Catch Climate Fever: Build a sediment core with microfossils to see evidence of the Earth's climates of the past, and view foraminifers under a microscope.

  • Diggin' the Past: Festival visitors will see a variety of sediment cores, and collect sediment samples. Scientists will demonstrate how and why they collect sediment cores and show geologic tools used in fieldwork such as a vibracore rig and an airboat used to collect cores in wetlands and marshes.

  • Where in the Wild? Tracking and tagging animals: Festival visitors will see radio tags and techniques that scientists use to track native and non-native animals in the wild.

Participating SPCMSC and SESC scientists and staff include Theresa Burress, Sandy Coffman, Kara Doran, Hilary Stockdon, Kate Bradshaw, Julie Bernier, Noreen Buster, Kyle Kelso, Caitlin Reynolds, Lisa Osterman, Katie Richwine, Rita Beckhorn, and Rachel Pawlitz (Gainesville). Heather Schreppel and Kira Barrera will be helping with the US FWS 'Alligators' exhibit. Theresa Burress is the 2012 St. Petersburg Science Festival Program Committee Chair and Festival Co-Chair.

posted: 2012-10-04

UPCOMING: USGS presentation at Florida Association of Science Teachers (FAST)

On Friday, October 26, Theresa Burress and Sharon Gilberg will present a technical information session at the FAST annual conference, titled "U.S. Geological Survey Ocean Science: Exploring ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean." The presentation will include information about U.S. Geological Survey educational resources and ongoing research activities of the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, highlighting the recent research expedition to the Arctic Ocean where USGS scientists studied ocean acidification and shared their experiences with students via an interactive web site and blog.

posted: 2012-10-04

SPCMSC Ocean Research Featured in Alaska Newspaper

On Friday, August 31, SPCMSC-Oceanographer Lisa Robbins was featured in The Arctic Sounder, an Alaska Newspaper, about her work looking at CO2 in the Arctic Ocean aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Healy. Dr. Robbins was quoted in the article "These [CO2] data will provide a better understanding of the current patterns of acidification and thus they will significantly contribute to society's efforts to understand, forecast, and potentially mitigate impacts to the Arctic ecosystem and its many globally important resources." An online journal of the expedition can be viewed at

posted: 2012-09-12

UPCOMING: DataONE All-Hands Meeting

Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) ( is the foundation of new innovative environmental science through a distributed framework and sustainable cyber-infrastructure that meets the needs of science and society for open, persistent, robust, and secure access to well-described and easily discovered Earth observational data. Supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, DataONE will ensure the preservation, access, use and reuse of multi-scale, multi-discipline, and multi-national science data via three principle cyber-infrastructure elements and a broad education and outreach program. The USGS is currently the only federal agency partner organization in DataONE. Heather Henkel (USGS-St. Pete) is one of two USGS participants on the Community Education and Engagement Working Group, and is part of a team developing educational and data management materials for DataONE. These materials are being repurposed for the soon-to-be released USGS Data Management website. At the upcoming all-hands meeting, to be held in Albuquerque September 18-20, each working group will be meeting to discuss their successes for this year and plans for the upcoming year.

posted: 2012-09-06

Three CMG Centers converge to study coastal groundwater exchange in Hood Canal, Washington
A recent field trip (July/August, 2012) to Lynch Cove, the terminus of the Hood Canal fjord in Washington State, highlights the synergy housed within the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program and the USGS Water Center in Tacoma, WA to study complex coastal processes. This field study was designed to address a suite of physical and biogeochemical processes associated with enhanced submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) by pulling in experts in geochemistry, hydrology, geology, and oceanography. This interdisciplinary approach to study complex coastal processes is the central theme of the recently restructured Coastal Aquifer Project (CAPII). In Fiscal Year 2011, Peter Swarzenski, Kevin Kroeger, and Christopher G. Smith, representing the three CMG offices (i.e., Santa Cruz, Woods Hole, and St. Petersburg, respectively) re-aligned the scope of CAPII to current USGS Science Strategies and opportunities. The linked film highlights some of the activities that took place during the trip, but more importantly, the dynamic nature of the environment.

posted: 2012-08-29

SPCMSC Assesses Potential Coastal-Change Impacts for Tropical Storm Isaac

On Tuesday, August 28, staff at the SPCMSC released an assessment of potential coastal erosion impacts of Tropical Storm Isaac for the northern Gulf Coast. Using USGS observations of beach topography and National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast storm surge and wave conditions (Advisory # 29), scientists calculated the probability of dune erosion, overwash and inundation for sandy beaches in the path of Isaac. The potential impacts were shown for three areas along the northern Gulf Coast: Louisiana, Mississippi/Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. Results show that beach and dune erosion was very likely for 66%, 89%, and 52% of the sandy coastlines in LA, MS, and AL, respectively. Most of the Chandeleur Islands in LA and 20% the MS barriers were very likely to overwash due to waves and surge. The assessments were referenced by national news services, such as AccuWeather, Discovery News, Newsroom America, Live Science among others. For more information, please contact Hilary Stockdon (

posted: 2012-08-29

SPCMSC Scientists Work included in Prestigious NOPP award

On Tuesday, August 14, SPCMSC staff scientist Christina Kellogg was part of a group recognized by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) for its Excellence in Partnering Award. The Lophelia II research program started investigating Deepwater Corals in 2008. This award is only given once a year and last year no recipients qualified. The award nomination cited its exceptionally diverse partnerships, which include scientists, graduate students, technicians, public outreach professionals, and industry specialists from a very broad spectrum of ocean sciences ranging from Federal regulating agency scientists to academic scientists to industry partners. Christina is currently on a research cruise off the U.S. east coast on the RV Nancy Foster. Her blog posts about the cruise can be read at:

posted: 2012-08-23

Joint SPCMSC / SESC Publication Shows Changes in Wetland Composition for Tampa Bay

On August 8, SPCMSC scientist Ellen Raabe and SESC biologist Carole McIvor published an article in Estuaries and Coasts on Tampa Bay Coastal Wetlands: Nineteenth to Twentieth Century Tidal Marsh-to-Mangrove Conversion. Using historic navigation charts form the 1870s, their work showed a conversion of marsh to mangrove wetlands, averaging 72% at four sites across Tampa Bay. Two sources for nineteenth century coastal landscape were in close agreement, providing an unprecedented view of historic conditions in Tampa Bay.

posted: 2012-08-23

UPCOMING: USGS participates in deepwater canyons research cruise off eastern U.S.

The USGS DISCOVRE (Diversity & Connectivity of Vulnerable Reef Ecosystems) team will take part in multiple cruise legs between August 15 and September 30 to investigate the biology and ecology of deepwater canyons off the eastern coast of the United States. Christina Kellogg (SPCMSC) will be examining the microbial associates of deep-sea corals and the microbial diversity present in soft sediments, neither of which has ever been explored in these canyons. She will also be deploying setting plates to look at the microbial biofilms that form on various substances (limestone, sandstone, steel), since those biofilms determine which macrofauna will later colonize rocky outcrops or shipwrecks. Other DISCOVRE scientists include Cheryl Morrison (Leetown Science Center) studying coral population genetics, Amanda Demopoulos (SESC) studying benthic ecology and foodwebs, and Nancy Prouty (Santa Cruz) studying paleoclimate using coral skeletons. The cruise will be a NOAA signature expedition and will have web coverage on the Ocean Explorer website (

Related links:

posted: 2012-08-08

SPCMSC and DOI Scientists Participate in Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration Conference for Coastal Louisiana

On July 26th, a workshop on SEDIMENT DIVERSION: LAND BUILIDING FOR A SUSTAINABLE ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION IN COASTAL LOUISIANA was held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; sponsored by American Society Civil Engineers and Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute (ASCE-COPRI); and hosted by Wetlands and Sediment Management Committee and Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (LACPRA). Presentations and three expert panels were organized to discuss Mississippi River Dynamics, Receiving Basins and Sediment Retention, and Science and Policy Considerations. Panelists for the Science and Policy included Alyssa Dausman (USGS/DOI representative, Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Task Force), Chip Groat (President, Board of Directors, The Water Institute of the Gulf), Jack Kindinger (USGS Coastal and Marine Geology), Rick Raynie (Chief, LA Applied Coastal Engineering & Science (LACES) Division, Robert Twilley (Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, University of Louisiana at Lafayette), and Steve Underwood (North Carolina Division of Coastal Management).

posted: 2012-08-01

SPCMSC authors publish on framework for forecasting shoreline evolution

SPCMSC oceanographers Joseph Long and Nathaniel Plant published an article in the July, 2012 issue of Geophysical Research Letters ( on the use of Kalman Filters to combine models and observations in an effort to better forecast future shoreline change. Application of the technique also provides quantitative estimates of the forecast uncertainty, which is crucial for developing future hazard vulnerability assessments.

posted: 2012-07-18

SPCMSC scientists report on accelerated sea level rise on US northeast coast

USGS scientists Abby Sallenger and Kara Doran, along with Cherokee Nation Businesses contract oceanographer Peter Howd, recently published a paper in Nature Climate Change titled Hotspot of accelerated sea-level rise on the Atlantic coast of North America. The paper was the featured publication for the journals June 24 on-line release, and has been the top emailed and downloaded paper for the past two weeks. It was also the lead Editors Choice article in Science. Over 900 media articles from around the globe have resulted, as well as appearances by the authors on numerous radio broadcasts, including NPRs nationally syndicated Science Friday and The Diane Rehm Show, both available as podcasts. A few of the significant news services or media outlets that ran stories in the US include AP, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, CBS, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, LA Times, NBC, NPR, New York Times, Reuters, UPI, USA Today, and Washington Post. Internationally, stories appeared in Canada, China, Germany, India, Netherlands, Singapore, the United Kingdom and others.

posted: 2012-07-11

SPCMSC scientists television appearance in Mysterious Microbes now online

SPCMSC microbiologist Christina Kellogg was featured in a segment of a TV show focused on Florida coral scientists. The story asks what research on microbes is revealing about coral health and how human activities impact the microbial balance of the reef. Kelloggs work on deep-sea corals and use of new microarray technology is highlighted. This episode is part of a series titled Changing Seas produced by Miami Public Television WPBT2. The 30-minute video can be accessed online at

posted: 2012-07-11

SPCMSC Staffer Responds to T.S. Debby Media Inquiries on Coastal Erosion

As Tropical Strom Debby lingered in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the week of June 24, 2012, Hilary Stockdon (SPCMSC-Oceanographer) responded to a half-dozen media queries about the impact of the tropical storm on local beaches and on coastal erosion in general. Four telephone interviews were conducted for both national outlets (NBC Nightly News) and local outlets: the Bradenton Herald, the Sarasota Tribune, and the Tampa Bay Times. Dr. Stockdon also provided on-camera television interviews for two local news channels: SNN Sarasota News 6 that aired on 6/23/12 and WFLA News Channel 8 (St. Petersburg/Tampa, FL) on 6/26/12. A sample article from the Bradenton Herald describing the local effects of Tropical Storm Debby as related to USGS regional coastal erosion studies can be viewed at: (

posted: 2012-07-09

SPCMSC Scientist Key Participant in International Coral Reef Symposium

On July 6th, SPCMSC Research Ecologist Ilsa Kuffner leaves for Cairns, Australia to participate in the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS2012) ( Ilsa will be chairing a mini-symposium on Environmental and Biogeochemical Controls of Marine Calcification and Coral Reef Accretion on Thursday, July 12, and then on the same day presenting her own work with SPCMSC co-author T. Don Hickey on calcification over space and time in the subtropical Florida Keys, U.S.A.

posted: 2012-06-27

First Coastal National Elevation Dataset (CoNED) Released for Mobile Bay, AL

In a collaborative effort between the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP), and the USGS National Geospatial Program (NGP), the first combined topobathymetric data set of Mobile Bay, Alabama, is being released to the public ( Topobathymetric data are a merged rendering of both topography (land elevation) and bathymetry (water depth) to provide a seamless elevation product useful for applications such as modeling sea level rise and storm surge. This topobathymetric model represents the first Coastal National Elevation Dataset (CoNED) bathymetry-based contribution to the National Elevation Dataset (NED). The CMGP effort was led by John Brock (ERHQ- Reston). The model was constructed using a combination of 71 separate topographic and bathymetric datasets from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The datasets range in age from 1917 to 2011.

posted: 2012-06-21

SPCMSC Summer Outreach Activities

SPCMSC will host groups of University of South Florida (USF) Waterfront summer campers, ages 8-14, in June and July. The tours will feature hands-on science activities designed to showcase research conducted by the USGS. On June 21, the campers will visit the SPCMSC Core Lab to learn about seafloor mapping and then hear about hurricanes, as campers build their own models of coastal erosion. On June 28, campers will complete hands-on activities to identify Florida rocks and minerals and then explore current climate research and the ways in which foraminifera are used as climate proxies as they use microscopes to identify different species of forams. The July tours will highlight a new activity focused on recent cruises to the Arctic Ocean and related investigations into the oceans chemistry ( The campers will test how changes in pH affect calcium carbonate. Contributing SPCMSC staff include Julie Bernier, Noreen Buster, Kara Doran, Jen Miselis, Caitlyn Reynolds, led by librarian Theresa Burress. Eckerd Intern Jordan Kuperberg will also provide assistance for the summer.

On June 21 and 22, SPCMSC will host both high school students from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) school of Environmental Science in Tallahassee, Florida, and National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored college interns from Mote Marine Institute in Sarasota, Florida, respectively. Geologists Julie Bernier, Noreen Buster, and Jen Miselis will demonstrate how sediment cores are analyzed in the Core Lab; data analyst Will Pfeiffer will show how SPCMSC scientists process the resulting data for analysis and interpretation; geologist Caitlyn Reynolds will provide an overview of climate research and the ways in which foraminifera are used as climate proxies; and oceanographer Hilary Stockdon will demonstrate a new interactive map predicting probabilities of coastal change in the Gulf of Mexico that may result from hurricanes and extreme storm events.

posted: 2012-06-21

SPCMSC Scientist to Present Poster on Using Microarray Technology to Study Coral Disease

Christina Kellogg (SPCMSC) will be presenting a poster at the 112th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology meeting in San Francisco (June 16-19, 2012) ( titled Using PhyloChip G3 Microarrays to Compare Bacterial-Community Shifts Between Healthy and Diseased Corals. Prior research has indicated that coral diseases may be due to secondary opportunistic infections, rather than primary pathogens, making it imperative to understand the microbial changes that occur from healthy to diseased corals. Microarrays are small chips that are printed with DNA sequences representing 30,000 microbial groups, ranging from family to species. If bacterial DNA from a coral matches any of the microarray DNA spots, a signal is generated that can be used to determine the relative abundance of those microbes in the sample. Healthy and white plague-affected samples of star coral (Montastraea annularis) were collected from the Virgin Islands National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park for this research. For more information, see:

posted: 2012-06-13

May/June SPCMSC Outreach Activities

On May 31, Theresa Burress will present an overview of U.S. Geological Survey science and educational resources to ESTA K-8, an 'Exploring Science Teacher's Association' meeting in Largo, Florida. The purpose of the teacher workshop is to highlight local science resources and volunteer opportunities for 125 local elementary and middle school science teachers. The USGS presentation and booth will focus on St. Petersburg Science Center research, including hurricanes and extreme storms, coral reefs, and ocean acidification.

On June 2, SPCMSC will participate in the annual 'Hurricane and Other Natural Disasters Expo' hosted by the Science & Technology Education Innovation Center ( Kara Doran and Theresa Burress will exhibit the USGS coastal erosion demonstration, educating the public about the impacts that hurricanes and extreme storms have along the Gulf of Mexico coastline.

posted: 2012-05-30

SPCMSC Scientists Complete Next Phase of Coral Growth Studies in Dry Tortugas National Park

Ilsa Kuffner, Chris Reich, Don Hickey, and Kyle Kelso (SPCMSC) completed a sampling expedition to Dry Tortugas National Park (DTNP) on board the M/V Ft. Jefferson May 8 17, 2012. Over 6 m of coral core from six colonies were collected, documenting coral growth from at least the last 150 years. Two of the cores will be used to retrospectively derive sea-surface temperatures adjacent to Loggerhead Key, the site of the historic Carnegie Laboratory from 1905-1939; (Shinn and Jap, 2005, USGS Open-File Report 2005-1357) within the Research Natural Area of DTNP. The four other cores will document coral growth and temperature in the Pulaski Shoals area of the park, where an on-going study measuring calcification rates of corals and algae is also taking place (

posted: 2012-05-23

SPCMSC Scientist describes Historic Changes of Tampa Bay Marshes

On May 3, 2012, Ellen Raabe (SPCMSC) presented an invited talk to the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TPEP) Technical Advisory Committee ( The talk described 'The 19th to 20th Century Tidal Marsh-to-Mangrove Conversion in the Tampa Bay Coastal Wetlands'. Comparison of two historic surveys reveals a dominance of tidal marsh prior to 1880, in contrast to the mangrove-dominated coast of modern times.

posted: 2012-05-23

SPCMSC Oceanographer Presents Arctic Ocean Acidification Results at Science Policy Conference

USGS research oceanographer Dr. Lisa Robbins (St. Petersburg) presented research on Ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean: New data shows large areas of carbonate undersaturation in the Canada Basin, at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Science Policy Conference May 1-2, 2012 in Washington, D.C. ( The poster was co-authored by other USGS St. Petersburg scientists; Kim Yates, John Lisle, and Paul Knorr; and additionally Brian Buczkowski (Woods Hole), Leslie Holland Bartels (Alaska), and scientists from the University of South Florida. Their data showed that 20% of the Canada Basin is already undersaturated with respect to aragonite- a situation that was modeled to occur between 2050 and 2100.

posted: 2012-05-09

Five SPCMSC Staffers Judge Magnet Elementary School Science Fair

On May 3, 2012, five U.S. Geological Survey scientists and staff from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Geology Science Center (SPCMSC) served as science judges for the annual Bay Point Magnet Elementary School Science Fair in St. Petersburg, FL ( Judges assessed third, fourth, and fifth grade students who worked to answer scientific questions from multiple disciplines. Problems ranged from physics questions such as how high different types of balls will bounce when dropped from a particular height, to biology questions such as how different color lights affect how fast a worm moves. Each class contributed 10 or more of their best projects to be judged at the event. Of the 135 projects that were entered into the Science Fair, 32 students were awarded gold medals, 48 students were awarded silver medals, and 55 students were awarded bronze medals. USGS judges included Theresa Burress, Kara Doran, Xan Fredericks, Paul Knorr, and Kathryn Smith.

posted: 2012-05-09

SPCMSC Oceanographer Talks about Arctic Cruise to Women Lawyers Association

USGS research oceanographer Dr. Lisa Robbins (St. Petersburg) presented research on the Arctic and Ocean Acidification to the Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers (HAWL) and their children on Thursday, April 26, 2012. It was Bring your Child to Work Day and coincided with the monthly meeting of HAWL. Over 100 people were in attendance. Dr. Robbins talk focused on living aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Healy for 7 weeks and on collecting data for the USGS Ocean Acidification in the Arctic project. She also talked about how she became a scientist and the types of courses one needs to take for an advanced degree. After her talk, a number of students came up to ask about the iphone App she and her team developed and downloaded it right there!

posted: 2012-05-09

SPCMSC Scientist to Give Invited Talk on Groundwater-Borne Nutrient Fluxes of West Florida Shelf

Christopher G. Smith (SPCMSC) has been invited to give a summary of his work on groundwater-borne nutrient fluxes to the west Florida shelf at the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) meeting to be held at the SPCMSC office on May 18. His work was funded in part by the Mendenhall Program (2008-2010) with continued support from the Coastal Aquifer Project, a Coastal and Marine Geology project focusing on the role of submarine groundwater discharge on ecological and natural hazards.

The technical session of the AWRA will focus on Integrated Water Resource Management. Topics include 'Valuing Southwest Floridas ecosystem services on public lands'; 'Resilient and adaptive urban infrastructures'; 'Public and stakeholder involvement in water management'; 'Adaptive management within an Everglades restoration project'; and 'Water quality monitoring as a means to protecting Floridas water bodies'. Attendees will primarily be local to the state of Florida, and include water management employees, environmental consultants, economists, university researchers, and engineers.

posted: 2012-05-03

USGS Scientists Participate in Planning for Summer East Coast Benthic Sampling Cruise

Christina Kellogg (SPCMSC) and Amanda Demopoulos (SESC) will be representing the USGS DISCOVRE project at a cruise-planning meeting at University of North Carolina-Wilmington on April 19, 2012. This meeting with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) contractors is to work out details of the three research cruise legs that will occur in August-September 2012 in terms of staffing, scientific objectives, and logistics. These cruises will visit two deepwater canyons off the east coast of the United States, deploying long-term benthic landers and using a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) to collect samples of cold-water corals, other invertebrates, and sediment cores. The goal of these research cruises is to fill information gaps about biodiversity and food-webs in these canyons, as well as to locate and investigate shipwrecks of archaeological significance. For more information, please see:

posted: 2012-04-23

SPCMSC Scientist to participate in Mayors Youth Showcase in St. Petersburg

On April 19, Christopher Smith (SPCMSC) participated as a volunteer judge in the Science and Technology section of the Second Annual (St. Petersburg) Mayor's Youth Showcase of Achievement. The purpose of the event is to recognize outstanding achievements from both middle school and high school youth in nine different categories including Science and Technology. St. Petersburg's Mayor Bill Foster will present awards to these outstanding youth on May 8 at the Progress Energy Center's Mahaffey Theater (

posted: 2012-04-23

SPCMSC Scientists Discuss Coastal Groundwater Issues with Local High School Students

On April 25, Christopher Smith and Christopher Reich (SPCMSC) will provide an overview of their research and background science on Coastal Groundwater (, to students at Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Florida.

posted: 2012-04-23

SPCMSC Scientist Releases Report on Hurricane-Induced Coastal Erosion Hazards at Science Policy Conference

The USGS Coastal Change Hazards group in St. Petersburg, Florida will release a report in early May that quantifies hurricane-induced coastal erosion hazards for sandy coastlines in the Gulf of Mexico. Modeled storm conditions and measured beach elevations were used to calculate the likelihoods of dune erosion, overwash, and beach inundation during landfall of category 1-5 hurricanes. Results indicate that approximately 70% of the beaches on the US Gulf of Mexico shoreline are vulnerable to extreme erosion associated with overwash during a category-1 hurricane landfall. USGS Oceanographer Hilary Stockdon will present the results of the study, 'National Assessment of Hurricane-induced Coastal Erosion Hazards: Gulf of Mexico, at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Science Policy Conference in Washington, DC, May 1-2, 2012.

posted: 2012-04-12

SPCMSC Scientist Teaches High School Environmental Science Class

For the 26th time, Dave Zawada (SPCMSC) provided field instruction on Big Pine Key, Florida, to students in the Environmental Science Project from his former high school in Munster, Indiana. Begun in 1974, the class immerses students in field activities and lectures designed to elucidate the floral and faunal similarities between the Indiana Dunes and the Florida Keys, which are geologically linked by the Wisconsin glacial period. In March, Zawada lectured the students on the geology and ecology of Big Pine Key and surrounding marine habitats, and also led dive trips to nearby Looe Key.

posted: 2012-04-12

SPCMSC Scientists host Latin American Visitors for State Department International Leadership Program

On Friday, March 30, the SPCMSC center hosted a trio of Latin American visitors under the auspices of the State Departments International Visitor Leadership Program ( The purpose of the visit was for the visitors to understand how different federal agencies are involved in environmental protection and how the agencies cooperate and integrate their efforts. The three visitors were Captain Luiz De Havila, Jr., Captain, Military Police of Panama; Mr. Rodrigo Victor, Director General, Sao Paulo State Forest Institute; and Mr. Paulo Filho, Head, Federal Environmental Monitoring, The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA). SPCMSC staff Mark Hansen organized the tour; Kim Yates and Kara Doran gave talks on ocean acidification and extreme storms, respectively.

posted: 2012-04-04

SPCMSC Scientists Examine Impact of Ocean Warming and Acidification on Corals in US Virgin Islands

Ilsa Kuffner, Don Hickey, Chris Reich, and Jennifer Morrison (SPCMSC) are going to St. Thomas and St. John of the U.S. Virgin Islands in March 2012, to collect coral cores from three reef-building species. The trip is part of an on-going study using the corals as recorders of sea-surface temperature and possibly ocean acidification. This new effort will expand their analysis from Biscayne Bay and the Dry Tortugas to the larger Caribbean region. Results from these measurements will provide a long-term record (50-150 years) on the variability of ocean temperature and coral growth as corals respond to climate change. Funding for this project is from the DOI Southeast Climate Science Center and USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program.

posted: 2012-03-22

SPCMSC Scientist to Give International Talk on First Deep-Sea Coral Metagenome

Christina Kellogg (SPCMSC) will be giving a talk at the 5th International Deep-Sea Coral Symposium in Amsterdam (April 1-7, 2012) ( about the first metagenome to be sequenced from a deep-sea coral. A metagenome contains the collective genomes of all the microorganisms associated with a particular host; in this case, the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa. These data are the first to reveal archaea (single-celled prokaryotes that are genetically and metabolically very different from bacteria) and viruses associated with this coral, in addition to bacterial and microeukaryote diversity. These data include both taxonomic and functional genes providing insight not only into the WHO of the coral-associated microbial community, but also WHAT they are doing. Coral microbial ecology is an important topic since it is fundamental to our understanding of coral health, disease, and resilience in the face of climate change.

posted: 2012-03-22

Arctic Cruise News on Radio Disney for Earth Day

SPCMSC oceanographer Lisa Robbins will be featured along with Sharon Gilberg, (USGS volunteer and teacher at St. Petersburg College) ( on Radio Disneys' Kids' Concerns, a locally produced public service show aired on Saturday mornings. The show will be taped in Clearwater, Florida, between March 10 11. Host Christian Lemus will be sending questions in advance about the Arctic, ocean acidification, and Earth Day.

posted: 2012-03-07

SPCMSC scientists visit Shorecrest Elementary for Environmental Science Week

Theresa Burress, Kara Doran, and Ilsa Kuffner (SPCMSC) visited Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Florida. On Friday, March 2, Theresa and Kara talked to four 4th grade classes about hurricanes and how they impact our coasts. They also presented a coastal erosion model that illustrates the processes of sediment transport. On Monday, March 5, Ilsa gave a talk titled "Coral Reefs and Their Health", to four classes of 3rd graders.

posted: 2012-03-07

SPCMSC Scientist Collaborates on Arctic Assessment and Mapping

USGS research oceanographer Dr. Lisa Robbins met with Arctic researchers from the Arctic countries in Amsterdam February 13-15, 2012 to coordinate and work on the Arctic Mapping and Assessment Program, Arctic Assessment on Ocean Acidification. Dr. Robbins is one of the lead authors on Chapter 3 of the Assessment. The Assessment will be published Feb 2013 and presented to the Arctic Ministerial meeting in Sweden May, 2013.

posted: 2012-03-01

SPCMSC scientist presents Arctic Research at Athena Society

USGS research oceanographer Dr. Lisa Robbins will present her Arctic research and the adventure of the Summer 2011 Ocean Acidification Arctic Cruise to the Athena Society Inc. on March 5, 2012. The Athena Society is an organization of Tampa Bay professionals who have both demonstrated leadership in the community and committed themselves to promoting equality and opportunity for women.

posted: 2012-03-01

Cub Scout Pack Mighty 475 visits St. Pete

On February 25, Theresa Burress and Kara Doran (SPCMSC) gave demonstrations to Cub Scout Pack 475 of the Central Florida Council. The visit, organized by scout leader Esther Kelley, was designed so the scouts could earn merit badges in Weather and Geology. Theresa gave a talk about Florida geology, showing examples of rocks found in Florida. She followed with a hands-on activity demonstrating the rock cycle using chocolate rocks. Kara gave the Shifting Sands demo on coastal erosion ( In between, Kyle Kelso (SPCMSC) spoke about why he became a scientist, which helped the scouts qualify for their Science badge.

posted: 2012-03-01

SPCMSC hosts Central High School Students

On February 21, scientists in the St. Petersburg field office hosted a group of 55 high school students from Central High School in Brooksville, Florida. The students viewed video podcasts to introduce CMGs current research and then had the opportunity to pose questions to scientists. Lisa Robbins spoke about her work on ocean acidification and her recent experience on an Arctic cruise to collect data. Kara Doran spoke about her work on hurricanes and discussed ways that local governments and emergency managers may use USGS science in storm preparation and response activities.

posted: 2012-02-22

Reference Publication Highlights SPCMSC Microbial Work

Dale Griffin (SPCMSC-Tallahassee) authored a chapter on 'Atmospheric Habitats' (Chapter 4.6) in the 2011 reference book Microbial Ecology, edited by Larry Barton and Diana Northrup. Dale discusses the basics of microbial ecology and explains how microorganisms can interact in and with the environment.

posted: 2012-02-10

Workshop on Geologic Records of Sea Level Rise to be held in St. Pete

On Feb. 1 and 2, staff from the USGS Climate and Land Use Change Research and Development Program will be holding a small workshop in the St. Petersburg field center. SPCMSC staff presenting include Abby Sallenger, Nathaniel Plant, and Christopher Smith. The purpose of the meeting is to identify potential data gaps in sea-level records and explore areas of potential collaboration between CMG and the Climate Program.

posted: 2012-02-02

SPCMSC Coral Research Discussion Topic for Norwegian Ministry of Environment Meeting

USGS Director Marcia McNutt will be meeting with the Norwegian Ministry of Environment next week. One of the talking points will be microbiologist Christina Kellogg's (SPCMSC) deep-sea coral research. Kellogg traveled to Norway in June 2011 to join an international team that is conducting research on the impacts of drilling mud on cold-water corals. Coordinated by the International Research Institute of Stavanger (Stavanger, Norway) and funded by the Research Council of Norway, this project seeks to develop diagnostic tools to monitor non-lethal stress in these corals.

posted: 2012-01-26

Use Case Methodology Presented at Workshop for Potential Future CMGP Database Development

Over 20 scientists from the USGS and academia gathered in St. Petersburg, Fla. from Jan. 18 20 for a workshop, led by Peter Fox of Rensselear Polytechnic Institute ( Peter_Fox) to discuss the concept of Use Cases as a starting point for implementing more effective data base management. Use Cases are a technique to take advantage of the social aspect of the controlled vocabulary needed for optimal data base queries as part of the new field of semantic web technologies ( Semantic_Web_ Tutorial). The workshop was a follow-on to one held in Woods Hole in September 2010. The goal of the meeting was to develop complementary conceptual, logical, and physical data models to represent methods of data access and data analysis, based on the scenarios commonly encountered by USGS scientists in their research. One of the four examples chosen as a pilot Use Case was led by Rob Wertz (SPCMSC) to implement an image retrieval system using aerial photography data collected by the CMG National Assessment team with Karen Morgan (SPCMSC) and by the St. Petersburg-based Lidar acquisition and processing team with Jamie Cormier (SPCMSC).

posted: 2012-01-26

Sound Waves Article on Coral Research Translated into Haitian Creole

Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, many groups of Haitian-Americans have been contacting authors and publishers with requests to translate their material into the Haitian Creole language in an effort to rebuild and improve the countrys education structure. Christina Kellogg (SPMSC) was contacted by a group in the Dominican Republic with a request to translate a Sound Waves article she authored about her deep-sea coral research. It will become part of a collection titled Geek Science that highlights interesting science. The results of this research have also recently been published in a Wiley technical journal.

posted: 2012-01-26

Joint SPCMSC-USACE-NPS Fieldwork Utilizes Combined Lidar/Radar for Bathy/Topo Beach/Nearshore Mapping

Cheryl Hapke (SPCMSC) is participating in a joint fieldwork exercise with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at Fire Island, NY, the week of Jan. 30 Feb. 3. The purpose is to conduct a beach/nearshore survey using the USACE CLARIS system, which is a 4WD truck equipped with ground-based lidar for measuring topography and x-band radar (7.25 8.4 GHz) for measuring bathymetry. The field mission will start with a public presentation on Sat. Feb. 28, at the Fire Island Lighthouse with Jesse McNich (USACE) announced by a National Park Service (NPS) press release (

posted: 2012-01-26

College Tour Highlights Applied Coastal Research for Management/Policy Decisions

On January 24, 2012, SPCMSC researchers Jim Flocks, Cheryl Hapke, Ilsa Kuffner, and Joseph Long hosted a group of Eckerd College students interested in applied coastal research at the St. Petersburg Science Center. The primary focus was to show students the methods and techniques that coastal and marine scientists currently use to collect data and conduct scientific studies that guide management/policy decisions. The interactive event included video presentations, hands-on geophysical samples, and lectures/displays describing ongoing USGS Coastal and Marine projects.

posted: 2012-01-26

USGS scientists participate in State of the Gulf of Mexico (SGM) Summit

A four-day meeting of Federal, State, Academic, NGO, and private stakeholders (~390 participants), hosted by the Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, was held in Houston, Texas, from Dec. 4-8, to assess the status of the Gulf and how the partners can work together in the future. Objectives of the SGM meeting include: Share a vision of a healthy and resilient Gulf of Mexico; Set a criteria to evaluate the health of the Gulf; Provide a platform to initiate implementation of the President's Gulf Restoration Plan; Discuss mechanisms to promote marine and coastal protection and restoration; and Promote international cooperation for ocean management and ecosystem issues. Also discussed among many other topics was development of a Report Card on the State of the Gulf of Mexico. Keynote presentations were given by Lisa Jackson, Administrator, EPA; Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator, NOAA; Nancy Sutley, Chair, White House CEQ; Suzette Kimball, Deputy Director, USGS; and former First Lady Laura Bush. The USGS had a strong participation including many of the Center Directors and their staff from around the Gulf including: Bob Joseph - TWS, Phil Turnipseed (organizing committee) - NWRC, George Arcement -LWSC, Mickey Plunkett - MWSC, also attending Martha Garcia - Ecosystems Mission Area, Alyssa Dausman (presenter) and Jack Kindinger - SEA GOM Coordination; and Gary Mahon, Branch Chief - SESC.

posted: 2011-12-19

New Fact Sheet Details SPCMSC Research and Field Activities

Extreme storms, sea-level rise, and the health of marine communities are some of the major societal and environmental issues impacting our Nation's marine and coastal realm. A new fact sheet highlights scientific research conducted at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center that investigates processes related to these ecosystems and the societal implications of natural hazards and resource sustainability. Examples of research featured in the publication include forecasting impacts of extreme storms and hurricanes on coastal environments, obtaining geologic cores to understand Earths history and predict future trends, and monitoring the health of coral reefs. The fact sheet can be viewed here:

posted: 2011-11-30

USGS Scientist is a Technical Author on National Climate Assessment

Oceanographer Hilary Stockdon is serving as a technical author on the coastal chapter of the U.S. Global Change Research Programs National Climate Assessment. Authors working on the coastal chapter will synthesize recent science relevant to climate change impacts on U.S. coasts and identify major advances and gaps in knowledge. The Assessment aims to incorporate advances in the understanding of climate science into larger social, ecological, and policy systems, while providing analyses of impacts and vulnerability. The new report will be released as a stand-alone document and also serve as the scientific underpinning of a more condensed report given to Congress in 2013. It builds upon the previous Assessment published in 2009.

posted: 2011-11-30

Video Documenting 50 Years of Coral Changes Selected for AGU Workshop

The American Geophysical Union is hosting a video workshop called The S Factor at its annual Fall Meeting, where three Hollywood filmmakers will critique science videos and talk about the secrets behind successful video storytelling. Corals: A 50-Year Photographic Record of Change from the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology podcast series was selected as one of 10 videos out of dozens of entries into the workshop. Produced in St. Petersburg, FL., the video chronicles 50 years of photographic documentation of the changing conditions to coral reefs in the Florida Keys by retired USGS geologist Gene Shinn. The video was directed by Matthew Cimitile, written by Ann Tihansky, and edited by Betsy Boynton. The S Factor workshop will take place on December 6 and is lead by oceanographer-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson, writer and director of the feature film documentaries Flock of Dodos and Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy and author of Dont Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style,. More information can be found here:

posted: 2011-11-28

SPCMSC Research Oceanographer Discusses Ocean Acidification with Pierre-Yves Cousteau

USGS research oceanographer Lisa Robbins met with Pierre-Yves Cousteau and local science leaders at the University of South Floridas College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg, FL. on November 16 to discuss Mr. Cousteaus interest in making St. Petersburg the U.S. headquarters for his international organization, Cousteau Divers. Robbins discussed the USGS science mission and use of scuba diving in various projects. She also talked about USGS scientific role in ocean acidification issues and described the use of portable carbon technologies that ships of opportunity could be outfitted to measure various chemical parameters, including pH, pCO2, and dissolved inorganic carbon. Cousteau was interested in technologies that citizen scientists and dive boats could employ while on dive trips and using these for gathering widespread data to understand ocean acidification.

posted: 2011-11-28

Coastal Erosion Presentation at Tampa Charter Middle School

Theresa Burress and Dennis Krohn gave a follow-up talk for the Great American Teach-In at the Mount Pleasant Standard Base Middle School on November 18. The coastal erosion model developed by Karen Morgan was presented to 73 6th-8th graders, more than two-thirds of the entire student body. The USGS talk was incorporated into the curriculum of several classes at the school. Students across all grades were well versed about different types of natural hazards and were fascinated by hurricane names and the sand model.

posted: 2011-11-28

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science visits SPCMSC

Lori Caramanian, the DOI Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water & Science paid a field visit to the USGS in St. Petersburg, Fla., on November 10. Lori came to the center following a successful two-day tour of viewing manatee tagging at Homosassa Springs with USGS scientists from Gainesville, Fla. At the center, Lori talked with Christina Kellogg about DISCOVRE, the USGS Deep Seas Corals Project that looks at the microbial ecology, population genetics, benthic ecology, and geochemical records of deep sea corals; with Chris Smith on interpretations of paleo-environmental and sedimentary environments in the northern Gulf of Mexico and assessing ground water hazards; and with Hilary Stockdon on the Gulf of Mexico Regional Vulnerability Assessment Project and the new artificial berm on the Chandeleur Islands. In addition, a field tour was organized aboard the R/V G.K. Gilbert with Jim Flocks, Nancy DeWitt, Kyle Kelso, and B.J. Reynolds, where a full sediment core was taken. Center Director Dick Poore, Mark Hansen, and pilot Rich Young accompanied Lori, an avid sailor, on the water. Finally, back at the center, Jim Flocks showed Lori how the sediment cores were processed and Molly McLaughlin gave her a quick tour of the labs.

posted: 2011-11-17

PBS Documentary Crew to Film USGS Scientist Research on Coral Disease

The show Changing Seas, from Miami public television station WPBT2, is currently working on an episode about marine microbes. A video production crew will be visiting SPCMSC on November 22 to film the work of microbiologist Christina Kellogg and her research on coral disease. The PBS station produces a documentary series on topics related to Florida's marine organisms and ecosystems.

posted: 2011-11-17

USGS Participates in Coastal Processes Workshop in Ghana

Cheryl Hapke represented the USGS at a workshop on Coastal Processes hosted by researchers at University of Ghanas Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, in Accra, Ghana from November 5-12. The workshop involved an international team of coastal experts who were invited by the U.S. Navys African Partnership Station and the Office of Naval Research to assist Ghana with developing a sustainable program for measuring and monitoring coastal change and understanding the processes driving change. In addition to the USGS, the expert team included scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of New Hampshire, and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. Presentations, discussions, and field exercises focused on coastal change measurement, understanding wave climate, and regional coastal modeling.

posted: 2011-11-17

Using Microarrays to Compare Microbial Sampling Methods for Corals

Due to declining reef health worldwide, many coral studies have focused on diseases and the resulting changes that occur in the coral-associated bacterial community. As yet, there is no single standardized method for the collection and preservation of coral samples for microbiological analyses. In a new study, researchers from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center and collaborators from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories used the PhyloChip, a high density 16S ribosomal RNA gene microarray, to compare a noninvasive method to a more common technique across two pairs of healthy and diseased corals. While more attractive to resource managers, the noninvasive method were found to be unsuitable for disease studies due to its inability to distinguish between healthy and diseased corals. The paper is currently the science feature for the USGS Genetics and Genomics website.

posted: 2011-11-17

SE Louisiana Green Dream Team Presented Environmental Achievement Award at DOI Awards Ceremony

The Green Dream Team was one of ten teams recognized at a 2011 Department of Interior award ceremony presided by Secretary Salazar. USGS scientists Dawn Lavoie, Asbury Abby Sallenger, and Jim Flocks; U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement scientist Michael Miner; and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist James Harrison were awarded the 2011 Green Dream Team Environmental Achievement Award earlier in the year for exceptional leadership by an interagency team to effectively place a Federal sustainability idea into action. The Environmental Awards were recently featured on the DOI oneINTERIOR homepage. More information about the partnership can be found here:

posted: 2011-11-17

Atlantic Sea Level Study Featured in Bermuda Newspaper

An article in Bermudas Royal Gazette newspaper details a study that is determining how sea levels have changed over the last 2,000 years and features quotes by SPCMSC oceanographer Ryan P. Moyer. The team, which consists of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Villanova University, West Chester University, and the USGS is working on a NASA-funded study to examine the accumulation of sediment in mangroves and growth and erosion of corals to determine past sea levels in the Atlantic Ocean. The goal is to compare and contrast the mangrove and coral reef findings in Bermuda with records from other areas of the world to form a more complete picture of the oceans sea level history.

posted: 2011-11-10

USGS Mapping of Barnegat Bay Featured in Local Paper

An article and video in the Asbury Park Press highlights part of a USGS project that is mapping and surveying Barnegat Bay in New Jersey. The survey is generating 3-D imagery of the bays surface morphology as well as gathering information on the bays geologic history, the movement of water in and out of the system, and the runoff of nutrient pollution from the mainland that are contributing to algae blooms. These mapping activities are a first step in restoring the Bay environment that is experiencing degrading water quality.

With the help of the seafloor mapping group from the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, geologist Jennifer Miselis gave a presentation to project partners and members of the press on November 2nd after two days of data collection. Data collection will be continued in the spring and will inform the water quality modeling component of the project. You can read the full article and see a short video on the research here:

posted: 2011-11-09

Great American Teach In

The Great American Teach In provides an opportunity for scientists and other professionals who have interesting careers and hobbies to share their experiences and encourage students to strive to reach their goals and spark an interest in a career path. This year scientists and staff with the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center are participating at many schools, communicating the importance of science as well as their knowledge and career expertise. Participating in this event are Theresa Burress, Matthew Cimitile, Kara Doran, Kyle Kelso, Dennis Krohn, Joe Long, Karen Morgan, Ellen Raabe, Chris Reich, Kathryn Smith, Hilary Stockdon, and Dave Thompson. They will talk with young students about careers in oceanography, biology, and science communication and discuss the science of hurricanes, coral reefs, Florida geology, and ocean chemistry.

posted: 2011-11-09

Climate Change Symposium and Showcase

Theresa Burress, Matthew Cimitile, and Kara Doran represented the USGS at the Climate Change Symposium and Showcase for educators on November 7, at Blake High School in Tampa, FL. The group displayed a coastal erosion model along with scientific posters and video podcasts that highlight some of the climate change and coastal hazards science being researched at the USGS in St. Petersburg, FL. Teachers who came up to the booth were fascinated by the erosion model as a teaching tool, and eagerly took home the many teacher packets and other USGS educator resources that were distributed. Organized by the Coastal Areas Climate Change Education Partnership (CACCE), the symposium brought hundreds of primary and secondary school teachers together with scientists and engineers working in science organizations to facilitate discussions about innovative educational practices on climate change science, social impacts, and adaptation in communities.

posted: 2011-11-09

Discover the Island Event

Joe Long and Kara Doran will present a small-scale coastal erosion model at the Discover the Island event at Egmont Key State Park on November 12th. Egmont Key is a barrier island located at the mouth of Tampa Bay that has experienced significant erosion over the past decade due to storms, tidal flows, and other natural processes. Long and Doran will discuss the process of erosion on barrier islands and the science behind assessing and predicting coastal vulnerability. Along with science and environmental displays, the event includes self-guided walks of the island, tours of the lighthouse, and Civil War reenactors.

posted: 2011-11-09

Florida Shelf Research to be Presented at CERF Conference

USGS research oceanographer Lisa Robbins will discuss the Florida Shelf habitat as part of highlighting Floridas climate adaptation projects at the upcoming Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) Conference in Daytona, Florida, November 6 to 10. The talk entitled Response of Florida Shelf Ecosystems to Climate Change is co-authored by SPCMSC scientists Kim Yates and Paul Knorr and presents carbon and physical data from estuarine and shelf environments to understand habitat and resource change. The 2011 CERF conference will focus on how societies and coastal and estuarine environments will adapt to changing conditions by focusing on socioeconomic drivers and responses.

posted: 2011-11-04

Environment, Science, and Technology Talk on Thermal Infrared Imagery and Groundwater Discharge

Ellen Raabe was invited to give a talk by the University of South Florida Environmental Science and Policy Department on the use of airborne thermal infrared imagery to estimate groundwater discharge in estuaries. Groundwater discharge to the coast plays an important role in coastal water quality and overall estuarine productivity, especially in karst environments such as Florida. The ability to model and understand groundwater influence in the estuary is limited by knowledge of the location, volume, and quality of groundwater discharge. Along with discussing use of airborne imagery in mapping and estimating groundwater discharge, the talk on November 3 explored the characteristics of the Big Bend estuary and the Floridan aquifer.

posted: 2011-11-04

Research Paper that Calculates Probability of Shoreline Change for U.S. Atlantic Coast Selected as AGU Journal Highlight

A research paper authored by Ben Gutierrez and Robert Theiler of Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center and Nathaniel Plant of SPCMSC has been selected as a highlight by the American Geophysical Union for the Journal of Geophysical Research. Titled Statistical model predicts shoreline erosion rates due to sea level rise, the paper describes a Bayesian network that uses observations of historical oceanographic and geologic processes, coupled with knowledge of geographic features, to calculate the probability of shoreline change for the United States' Atlantic coast. The model draws on measurements collected at 5-kilometer intervals along the coastline representing between 50 and 100 years of observations. Clustering their estimates into five different shoreline change scenarios, they found this method accurately predicted the observed scenario for each 5-kilometer stretch of coastline 71% of the time. Knowledge of the local sea level rise rate was the most important factor contributing to a successful prediction. This method will be valuable towards estimating the local impacts of sea level rise and provides information needed by planners to develop effective strategies against rising waters that has been difficult to obtain so far. Research papers are selected as journal highlights by AGU editors for their significant importance to the geosciences.

posted: 2011-10-27

SPCMSC Scientist to co-host Special Groundwater-Surface Water Session

Research geologist Christopher G. Smith and Ren Price, a colleague from Florida International University, will host a special session entitled Groundwater-Surface Water Exchange of Water and Constituents along Coastlines at the 2011 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) biennial meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida, November 6-11. The session focuses on the exchange of groundwater and surface water at or near coastlines, the influence this exchange has on dissolved constituents, and ecosystem health. Highly respected national and international scientists will present original data quantifying groundwater-surface water exchange rates, chemical fluxes at the land-sea margin, and rates of biogeochemical processes that occur at these mixing zones.

posted: 2011-10-27

Society for Environmental Journalist Conference

Matthew Cimitile and Ann Tihansky are attending the 2011 SEJ Conference in Miami, FL. from October 19-23. This annual conference brings environmental and science journalists, communicators, writers, and filmmakers together with scientists and policy makers from around the nation for thought provoking sessions on todays environmental issues. Everglades restoration, coral reef health, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and sustainable fisheries will be some of the more prevalent issues discussed at the conference. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is providing the opening night talk. U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt is participating in a plenary with other leading scientists and environmental reporters to discuss how the two professions can work together to bring the latest, most relevant and accurate information to the public. Many other USGS scientists and personnel are participating at this years conference.

posted: 2011-10-13

Assessing Coral Bleaching in the Florida Keys

Last week, SPCMSC scientists Dave Zawada, Phil Thompson, and Lance Thornton conducted underwater surveys of corals under stress in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. They used the Along Track Reef Imaging System (ATRIS), which takes geo-located digital images of the seafloor at high resolution, allowing the team to assess the percentage of corals that bleached or died. In collaboration with a multi-agency group including Florida Fish and Wildlife Institute, The Nature Conservancy, University of Miami, and others that are conducting disturbance response and long-term monitoring of reefs, the ATRIS surveys took place at sites where SCUBA-diver surveys were underway. Coral bleaching is the loss of symbiotic plants inside the corals tissues and results from abnormally high water temperatures. Bleaching can be fatal to the corals if temperatures do not cool off. NOAAs Coral Reef Watch Program predicted a major bleaching event at Sombrero reef based upon the record-breaking number of weeks that water temperatures were above the monthly mean. The ongoing work is part of the Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies (CREST) project.

posted: 2011-10-05

SPCMSC Ecologist Interviewed by Miami Herald on Florida Keys Coral Reefs

Ecologist Ilsa Kuffner was interviewed by environmental reporter Curtis Morgan on coral resiliency and calcification rates in the Florida Keys for an upcoming article. Kuffner answered questions about the factors that promote coral reef resiliency, explained preliminary results of a USGS coral calcification study in the Florida Keys, and presented hypotheses regarding the patterns in calcification rates and growth that are evident in the study. Morgan also requested use of USGS images to accompany his article. The images come from a photo gallery that document five decades of changes that have taken place in both the size and the types of corals present at several coral reef sites in the Florida Keys. Taken by retired USGS scientist Gene Shinn, now professor emeritus at the University of South Florida, these photos capture events such as the appearance of coral disease and the die off of coral species like staghorn.

posted: 2011-10-05

Video Podcast Series wins 2011 USGS Shoemaker Award

The Coastal and Marine Geology Podcast Series produced at the USGS in St. Petersburg, FL received the 2011 Shoemaker Award in the Audio/Visual Product Category. Awarded by the USGS Office of Communications and Outreach, the Shoemaker Awards recognize extraordinary examples of communicating complex scientific concepts and discoveries that capture the interest and imagination of the American public or increase understanding among USGS employees about our mission. The video podcast series highlights the science conducted at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center. So far, seven videos have been produced covering topics such as African dust and coral reef health, measuring and forecasting impacts of extreme storms on coastal environments, and ocean acidification research in the Arctic. The series has been enhanced by the tremendous knowledge and support from the scientific staff at the center. Members of the podcast team include Matthew Cimitile (director, writer), Betsy Boynton (graphics, video editing), and Ann Tihansky (editor, producer).

posted: 2011-09-21

SPCMSC participates in Sessions for Semantic Web Development

Rob Wertz, Shawn Dadisman, Jamie Cormier, and Theresa Burress will attend a Semantic Web Development session at the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center on Sept 21-23. During guided working sessions, participants will write a representative set of use cases for the Coastal and Marine Geology Programs Integrated Data Management System. A use case describes the steps or actions between a user (human or machine) and a software system that is being used to achieve a particular goal. The sessions will also include concentrated work on basic and alternative activity flows, activity diagrams and data models, and a discussion of next steps.

posted: 2011-09-21

Uncovering the Geologic History of the Florida Middle Grounds

SPCMSC scientists are conducting field work in the Florida Middle Grounds to identify the composition and geologic history of anomalous features prevalent in the region. The Florida Middle Grounds support giant limestone pinnacles and ledges whose origins have long been a mystery to scientists. Don Hickey, Kyle Kelso, Keith Ludwig, Chris Reich, and BJ Reynolds of the USGS and David Palandro of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be aboard the R/V G.K. Gilbert on September 20 and 21 to conduct the research. The team will take both a short core of the cap rock and a few sediment push cores from exposed sediments at the base of the cap rock. The proposed site for this trip is south of a previous cored site in August 2010 where a 60-ft-deep core was drilled in an effort to understand the geologic history of the area. More information about the research project can be found here:

posted: 2011-09-21

Microbial Ecology of Deep-Water Mid-Atlantic Canyons

A new USGS fact sheet highlights microbiological experiments that will be conducted in submarine canyons located along the eastern coast of the United States. During a series of research cruises in 2012-2014, samples will be collected and experiments deployed in the canyons along the mid-Atlantic bight (a coastal region running from Massachusetts to North Carolina). Characterized by swift currents and steep walls that extend miles deep, these canyons are unique ecosystems that have rarely been studied. Rocky outcrops in the canyons provide important habitat for deep-sea corals, which require hard surfaces to grow on. This study will identify and characterize the beneficial microbes associated with these corals, as well as the microbial biofilms that initially colonize hard surfaces in the canyons to prepare them for settlement by larger invertebrates like corals and sponges. Additionally, the microbial communities in the soft sediments on the floors of the canyons will be counted and classified to incorporate them into food webs and benthic ecology studies. This work is part of the DISCOVRE (Diversity, Systematics, and Connectivity of Vulnerable Reef Ecosystems) Project, an integrated, multidisciplinary effort investigating deep-sea communities from the microscopic to the ecosystem level. You can view the fact sheet here:

posted: 2011-09-07

Discovery Documentary Crew Films USGS Scientists Research on Coastal Impacts from Hurricane Irene

A documentary crew with the Discovery Channel and Paramount Pictures is shooting a 3-part TV series and a full length 3-D film on hurricanes. It will feature the work of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards group. The documentary crew will be aboard a flyover mission with USGS scientists as they collect post-storm aerial photographs of the North Carolina coastline impacted by Hurricane Irene. These images are used to show the extensive changes to coastal environments caused by an extreme storm. The results help the USGS to prepare more accurate predictive models of future coastal impacts. The film crew will also interview USGS oceanographer Asbury 'Abby' Sallenger on the impacts of Hurricane Irene along the North Carolina coast.

posted: 2011-08-31

Coastal Change Hazards Group Survey Storm Damage to North Carolina Coast

The USGS, in cooperation with NOAA, is acquiring airborne lidar (light detection and ranging) topographic surveys of portions of the North Carolina coastline impacted by Hurricane Irene. Members of the USGS coastal-change response team are also obtaining low-altitude oblique photography from a small aircraft August 30 and 31. Together, these data will be compared to earlier surveys to show extensive changes to the coastal environment from the landfall of Hurricane Irene. The surveys will extend along the entire North Carolina coastline and will illustrate areas of dune erosion, barrier island breaching, and the landward movement of large volumes of sand. By obtaining photographs and lidar surveys before and after a hurricane, scientists can discern the degree of change to beaches and coastal environments as well as determine how much the land has eroded and the extent of damage to houses and other infrastructure. Data acquired from the flyovers will be used to make more accurate predictive models of future coastal impacts from severe storms and identify areas vulnerable to extreme coastal change. Once the before and after photographs and surveys are analyzed, they will be posted at:

posted: 2011-08-31

Coastal Change Hazards Group Forecasts Extensive Erosion along North Carolina Beaches during Irene

The USGS Coastal Change Hazards group spent the busy week modeling and forecasting inundation and erosion potential of the North Carolina coastline as Hurricane Irene, currently a Category 3 storm, approaches the eastern coast of the United States. According to their model for hurricane-induced coastal change, extensive dune erosion and overwash, the landward movement of large volumes of sand, is forecasted for the North Carolina coastline. The pre-storm assessment compares measurements of dune and berm elevations to potential hurricane-induced water levels, including surge and runup. Input surge and wave conditions are obtained from NOAA scenario-based models (surge) and operational forecasts (waves). Generated simulations found that extensive erosion was likely, greater than a 66 percent chance, in most coastal environments given a direct landfall in that area. Oceanographer Hilary Stockdon gave an interview to the Orlando Sentinel about the model and forecast.

In addition to modeling activities, several group members departed St. Petersburg, FL. on the morning of August 24, to participate in a flyover of the Georgia and South Carolina coastline to get much needed aerial imagery and data for future modeling activities. Hurricane Irene is the first hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season. It is expected to track over the North Carolina coast Saturday. The model of the hurricane-induced coastal change for the North Carolina coastline should be published shortly here:

posted: 2011-08-25

Research Cruise Exploring Ocean Acidification in the Arctic Featured in National and International News Outlets

USGS scientists Lisa Robbins and Kim Yates were interviewed by Reuters, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and several Alaskan and Canadian news outlets on their work regarding ocean acidification in the Arctic. The Chicago Tribune, Scientific American, MSNBC, and additional news sources across the nation featured articles on the research as well.

Scientists from the USGS and the University of South Florida have embarked on a research cruise to the Arctic Ocean to collect water samples and other data to determine trends in ocean acidification from the least explored ocean in the world. Data collected during the seven-week cruise will provide an understanding of the extent Arctic Ocean chemistry is changing and detail potential implications for carbonate species - like phytoplankton and shellfish - that are vulnerable to greater ocean acidity. The research is taking place on board the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Healy and during the 2011 U.S. - Canada Extended Continental Shelf Survey research expedition; a joint mission led by the University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Canadian Geological Survey, in which the USGS is a principal collaborator. To learn more, go to

posted: 2011-08-18

St. Petersburg Times Article Details New Solar Collectors at USGS St. Petersburg Facility

A new solar heating system installed at SPCMSC to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while saving on energy costs was featured in a St. Petersburg Times article on August 10. Evacuated-tube solar collectors are being installed on the center's Bill Young Marine Science Complex, which houses state-of-the-art laboratories, to supplement the current natural-gas boiler to provide heat in the winter and reheat conditioned air in the summer. The evacuated-tube system uses no fossil fuels and is expected to make up the cost of the solar parts and installation in four to six years.

posted: 2011-08-18

Arctic Cruise Explores Changing Ocean

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science will embark on a research cruise to the Arctic Ocean to determine trends in ocean acidification from the least explored ocean in the world. Researchers are hoping to understand the extent Arctic Ocean chemistry is changing and detail potential implications for carbonate species - like phytoplankton and shellfish - that are vulnerable to greater ocean acidity. Scientists will set sail aboard the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Healy for seven weeks, beginning August 15, and will collect and analyze water samples using an array of highly specialized instruments including sampling bottles that can collect water from as deep as 3500 meters. Instruments will also pick up measurements on dissolved oxygen content, conductivity, temperature, and depth in the water column.

The research is taking place during the 2011 U.S. - Canada Extended Continental Shelf Survey expedition; a joint mission between the U.S. Coast Guard, the USGS, and the Canadian Coast Guard. The Ocean acidification research team consists of USGS scientists Lisa Robbins, Kim Yates, Paul Knorr, Chris DuFore, and John Lisle and USF scientists Bob Byrne, Jonathan Wynn, Sherwood Liu, and Brian Buczkowski. People interested will be able to track the ocean acidification research team during their voyage in the Arctic on their cruise journal at Additionally, a slideshow on USGS arctic acidification research that includes photos from last year's cruise is available at

posted: 2011-08-10

The Florida Shelf Ecosystem Climate Change Project Selected as Featured Case Study

The Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) highlight case studies on their website that show on-the-ground climate change adaptation projects which are providing valuable tools for sharing results, approaches, and inspiration. The Response of Florida Shelf Ecosystems to Climate Change (FLASH) project was recently selected as one of their featured case studies. USGS scientists working on the FLASH project are determining how economically significant fish, shellfish, and sediment-producing organisms are responding to climate change and altering ocean conditions such as acidification in the region. The project involves field work, laboratory experiments, and analysis of historical data and satellite imagery. Results from this project will inform policy and science decisions on potential remediation efforts to protect living marine resources along Floridas shelf. The Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange is aimed at building a shared knowledge base for managing natural systems in the face of rapid climate change. It is intended to help build a community by vetting and organizing the best information available, creating a directory of practitioners to share knowledge and strategies, and identifying and explaining data tools and information available from other sites. View the site and the featured case study here:

posted: 2011-08-03

Isotopes from Coral Skeletons can Record Delivery of Terrestrial Carbon to Coastal Waters

Tropical small mountainous rivers deliver a poorly quantified, but potentially significant amount of carbon to the worlds oceans. However, there are few historical records of landocean carbon transfer that exist for any region on Earth. A new study by USGS geologist Ryan R. Moyer and Ohio State University geologist Andrea G. Grottoli indicate corals have the potential to provide such records. Measurements were conducted on a 56-year-old Monastraea faveolata coral located in the Rio Fajardo in Puerto Rico and stable carbon and radiocarbon isotope values of the river and adjacent coastal waters were gathered during two wet and dry seasons. The study found depletions of the carbon values in the coral skeleton were coherent with timing of peak river discharge and correlation of the carbon values were the same in both coral skeleton and the dissolved inorganic carbon of the river and coastal waters. Coral skeletal are recording the delivery of riverine dissolved inorganic carbon to the coastal ocean and thus could be used to develop proxies of historical landocean carbon flux for many tropical regions. This information could be valuable for understanding the role of tropical landocean carbon flux in the context of land-use and global climate changes.

posted: 2011-08-03

Testing if Coral Reconstructions can Tell of Past Tropical Cyclone Activity

Complimenting modern records of tropical cyclone activity with longer historical and paleoclimatological records would increase understanding of natural tropical cyclone variability on decadal to centennial time scales. A new study authored by USGS geologist Ryan P. Moyer, K. Halimeda Kilbourne of UMCES-Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Terrence Quinn of the University of Texas, and Andrea G. Grottoli of Ohio State University explored if stable oxygen isotope ratios from coral skeletons could identify past tropical cyclone events. Tropical cyclones produce large amounts of precipitation with significantly lower stable oxygen isotope ratios, making them identifiable in the marine carbonate record. The study presents a model of seawater oxygen isotopes expected during tropical cyclones and gathered data from corals in Puerto Rico. The reconstruction methods however, showed no significant distinguishable mark between normal rainfall and tropical cyclone in the coral record. Future studies must focus on species, sampling resolution, and environmental signals. The study was published in the July issue of Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

posted: 2011-08-03

First Study to Culture Bacteria from Cold-water Coral Species

USGS researchers and university scientists have just published the first study to culture bacteria from the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa, in an effort to understand the roles that bacteria play in cold-water coral biology. Microorganisms associated with corals are hypothesized to help their host animal by cycling nutrients, breaking down carbon sources, and producing antibiotics to prevent fouling by other microbes. Lophelia pertusa is a globally distributed cold-water coral that forms complex, 3-dimensional habitat in the deep sea. Two sites in the northern Gulf of Mexico were sampled and bacteria were cultured from coral tissue, skeleton, and mucus. Results showed that both sampling sites shared closely related isolates, indicating possible temporally and geographically stable bacterialcoral associations. Yet isolates that were phylogenetically tightly grouped had varying responses to antibiotics and thus phylogenetic placement cannot predict strain-level differences and highlights the need for greater culture-based experiments. The study was published in the August issue of FEMS Microbiology Ecology and authored by SPCMSC scientists Michael Gray and Christina Kellogg, Julia Galkiewicz of the University of South Florida, and Zoe Pratte from Florida International University.

posted: 2011-07-28

SPCMSC Scientist Wraps Up Field Work on Investigating Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reef Ecosystems in Puerto Rico

USGS scientist Ryan P. Moyer will participate in the final field operation to support an ongoing collaborative, multi-institutional research project at the Atlantic Ocean Acidification Test-bed in La Parguera, PR. From July 29 to August 5, Moyer will be joined in the field by co-Principal Investigators Dwight Gledhill (NOAA-CIMAS), Greg Piniak (NOAA-NCCOS), Wade McGillis (Columbia U.), and Chris Langdon (U. Miami-RSMAS) as they study the link between seasonal water column geochemical fluxes and changes in benthic community structure at a long-term coral reef ocean acidification monitoring site. The project hopes to gain an understanding of how coral reef communities respond to natural short-term variations in water column chemistry and whether the ecosystem tolerance to that range of variability is enough to help mitigate the predicted impacts of long-term ocean acidification. The first seasonal sampling trip for this collaborative effort was conducted in January 2011. A subsequent trip occurred in April/May 2011. The ocean acidification test-bed and all field operations are scheduled to move to the Florida Keys in 2012.

posted: 2011-07-28

USGS Scientist Featured in AGU Promotional Video on Geoscience Congressional Visits Day

Oceanographer Hilary Stockdon appeared in an American Geophysical Union informational video about Geoscience Congressional Visits Day. The video details how the day provides scientists with an opportunity to meet with their legislators and discuss the importance of federally funded science research as well as their own research. Geoscience Congressional Visits Day takes place on September 20-21 in Washington, DC and is hosted by AGU along with other geoscience societies. Meetings are scheduled between scientists and members of Congress and their staff to discuss research and illustrate the importance of supporting federally funded research through agencies such as DOE, EPA, NASA, NOAA, NSF, and USGS. The short informational video can be viewed here.

posted: 2011-07-20

Florida Sea Grant Publication Highlights Marine Science Scholarship and Former Recipients

A new Florida Sea Grant publication that highlights the Aylesworth Scholarship program features several former recipients of the award including USGS microbiologist Christina Kellogg, who received the scholarship while she was pursuing her doctorate from the University of South Florida College of Marine Science. The scholarship supports undergraduate, masters and doctoral students in a variety of academic disciplines that have a direct application to marine science.

posted: 2011-07-20

New Fact Sheet Highlights Research in the U.S. Virgin Islands

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center has published a new fact sheet that details coastal and marine geology "Research Activities in the U.S. Virgin Islands." The publication, authored by Matthew Cimitile, highlights research activities into gathering baseline information for resource management and assessing the health of and environmental changes to vital ecosystems such as coral reefs. In particular, scientists at the center are working in the U.S. Virgin Islands to investigate the effects of ocean acidification and sea-level rise on coral reefs, acquire high-resolution topographic data for resource management, use fluorescence to diagnose coral diseases, and characterize coral disease dynamics. The fact sheet was published on June 23.

posted: 2011-06-30

Publication of Geology Volume of Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota Series

The third volume in the 'landmark scientific reference series from the Harte Research Institute for Gulf Of Mexico Studies' that gives a comprehensive, up-to-date descriptions of the geology of the Gulf of Mexico basin has been published. USGS Geologist Noreen Buster and former USGS scientist Charles W. Holmes edited the Geology Volume, which contains six sections addressing the Gulf's geology including its origin, processes, estuaries, beaches, barrier islands, and coral reefs. Chapters in the book are authored by leaders in the field and provide a synthesis of decades of scientific research in the region to the scientific, management, and policy communities. The first two volumes in this series provided in-depth information on the marine biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico and on the ocean and coastal economy of the region. The book came out of a partnership between Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, the Harte Research Institute, and the USGS.

posted: 2011-06-22

SPCMSC Scientist to Participate in Gulf of Mexico Research Cruise

USGS scientist Ryan P. Moyer will be one of the scientific crew aboard the M/V Weatherbird II for a research cruise in the Gulf of Mexico from June 25-July 2. The ship will cruise along two transects of the West Florida Shelf (WFS) and collect sediment cores from a variety of depths and locations along each transect. Moyer will be part of the coring team and is responsible for the deployment and recovery of the box coring system. The cores collected will be used by Moyer to study proxy records of ocean acidification along the WFS in coordination with Dr. Ben Flower (University of South Florida College of Marine Science). The research vessel will also house scientists from Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection, Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, USF College of Marine Science, and Eckerd College.

posted: 2011-06-22

Coastal Zone 2011 Conference

Matthew Cimitile will be attending the Coastal Zone 2011 Conference in Chicago, IL. from July 17-21 where he will help support communications and media involvement at the conference. He will work with the Department of Interior's Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes Program in this endeavor. Sessions at the conference will touch on the implementation and communication of the National Ocean Policy, climate change and sea-level rise impacts on coastal environments and communities, coastal and marine spatial planning, flood hazard areas, and more. The Coastal Zone conference is a biennial international symposium and is the largest international gathering of ocean and coastal management professionals in the world. Nearly 1,000 people attend representing federal, state, and local governments, academia, nonprofit organizations, and private industry.

posted: 2011-06-22

DOI Green Dream Team Environmental Achievement Award

USGS scientists Dawn Lavoie, Asbury (Abby) Sallenger, and Jim Flocks and U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement scientist Michael Miner were awarded the Department of Interior's (DOI) 2011 Green Dream Team Environmental Achievement Award. This award recognizes exceptional leadership by an interagency team to effectively place a Federal sustainability idea into action. The award came out of a partnership between the USGS, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The hurricane devastated the southeast Louisiana coast and barrier islands which are extremely important as habitat for wildlife and storm protection for coastal communities. The four recipients were members of a team that analyzed island changes based on historical maps and remotely sensed shoreline and topographic data, conducted a series of LIDAR surveys after Hurricane Katrina to determine barrier island recovery potential, analyzed sea floor evolution and sediment dynamics in the refuge over the past 150 years, collected geophysical data through coring to more fully characterize the sediments composing the islands, and modeled potential responses of the island to low-intensity, intermediate, and extreme events likely to affect the refuge over the next 50 years. Results from these studies were published in the report "Sand Resources, Regional Geology, and Coastal Processes of the Chandeleur Islands Coastal System: an Evaluation of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge." This study was later invaluable during the response to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill as coastal managers repeatedly referred to the report and reached out to the scientific authors for further assistance when making decisions in the area.

posted: 2011-06-09

USGS Part of International Study on the Effects of Oil and Gas Exploration on Cold-Water Corals

Microbiologist Christina Kellogg will be traveling to Norway from June 18-29, to begin a collaborative study on the effects of drilling mud on cold-water corals. Drilling mud is a slurry of compounds that greases and cool wells during the drilling process. Kellogg is a participant in a three year grant funded by the Research Council of Norway and will be consulting on experimental design and microbial ecology. A primary objective of this project is to develop diagnostic methods to detect cold-water coral stress that may result from nearby oil and gas exploration activities.

posted: 2011-06-09

USGS Hosts Students from Mote Marine Laboratory Summer Internship Program

On June 24, SPCMSC will host 12 undergraduate college students who are participating in the summer intern program at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, FL. The students will see several videos from the Coastal and Marine Geology Video Podcast series that are produced at the center and highlight current USGS research taking place in and around Florida. Content in the videos pertain to Everglades field research, changes in coral reef health and conditions, and studies on the response of coastal environments to extreme storms. USGS scientists Ilsa Kuffner, Joe Long, Ginger Range, and Chris Reich will field questions and discuss careers in science. Several project posters will be displayed and career and project materials will be distributed to the students.

posted: 2011-06-09

Splash Camp/Lifeguarding Students to Tour USGS in St. Petersburg, FL

SPCMSC will host five groups of summer campers in June and July as part of their participation in University of South Floridas Waterfront programs. Students will tour the facility, speak with scientists about their research, and participate in hands-on activities and demonstrations. One group of Junior Lifeguarding students ages 12-14 will be touring the U.S. Geological Survey on June 15. They will visit the St. Petersburg boating and diving facilities and meet scientists who are involved in ongoing coral reef research. Staff will demonstrate 3-D mapping technology, and students will learn about the hazards of tsunamis. Four groups of Splash camp students ages 9-11 will tour the U.S. Geological Survey on June 23, June 30, July 14, and July 21. Splash Camp brings environmental and water safety awareness as well as fitness to children in a variety of settings. Along with visiting the St. Petersburg boating and diving facilities and meeting scientists who are involved in ongoing coral reef research, campers will learn about Florida geology and have the opportunity to assemble and take home their own Rock and Minerals of Florida identification kit.

posted: 2011-06-09

USGS Hosts United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Water Education Lectures

For the last several years the USGS, South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), and Florida Earth Foundation have sponsored a lecture series that brings students from the UNESCO Institute for Hydrologic and Environmental Engineering (UNESCO-IHE) Institute for Water Education to Florida. Students, who are from developing nations and pursuing master degrees in hydroinformatics, meet with Florida scientists and information specialists from the USGS, SFWMD, National Park Service (NPS), US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Florida. Presentations include talks on various topics including hydrology, modeling, climate change, and data integration. Invited speakers from the USGS include G. Ronnie Best (SESC) "Ecological Challenge of Greater Everglades Restoration" Heather Henkel (SPCMSC), "Challenge of Information Sharing & Exchange: SOFIA and A Working Example: Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN)," Tom Smith (SESC) "Mangroves ... First Line of Defense in a Sea Level of Change," Eric Swain (FLWSC) "Modeling Sea Level Rise and CERP Implementation," Kristen Hart (SESC) "Coastally-disturbed Turtle Populations as Indicators of Climate Change and Ecosystem Restoration," Stephanie S. Romanach (SESC) "Linking Ecological and Hydrological Models to Assess Alternative Futures," and Jeffrey King (FLWSC) "Karst Hydrogeology in the Southeastern United States." During last year's talks, twelve students from Africa, South America, and Asia participated in the lecture series along with representatives from UNESCO-IHE. In addition to the lecture series, students are given the opportunity to participate in field work and observe local water and ecosystem restoration projects. This year's talks will be held June 7-8 in Davie, Florida. For more information, visit UNESCO Institute for Water Educationposted: 2011-06-01

Natural Hazards Presentation Given at Pinellas County Charter School

Matthew Cimitile gave a presentation on earthquakes and tsunamis for a 4th grade class at the Imagine School in St. Petersburg, FL, on June 3. SPCMSC was sent a request by a student and teacher at the school to provide an informative talk on the subject and discuss potential risks of natural hazards to Florida. Cimitile discussed the science behind earthquakes and tsunamis, the tectonic events that caused the Japan tsunami, how science helps inform communities and emergency managers about potential earthquake and tsunami hazards, and the likelihood of a tsunami coming ashore on Florida. A poster as well as earthquake and tsunami animations was presented to the students.posted: 2011-06-01

2011 Pinellas County Hurricane & Natural Disaster Expo

As the start of hurricane season approaches, scientists from the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Program are informing the public about the impact hurricanes and other extreme storms can have on coastal environment and communities. Kara Doran, Joseph Long, and Nathaniel Plant will be participating in the 2011 Pinellas County Hurricane & Natural Disaster Expo on Saturday, June 4 in St. Petersburg, FL. They will display the USGS hurricane wave tank, which simulates the effects of wind and waves on a barrier island. The tank illustrates sediment transport and barrier island breaching processes and provides an interactive exhibit for children to see science in action. Through the exhibit, researchers will discuss the role the USGS plays in modeling, data collection, and vulnerability assessments associated with extreme storms. Along with the USGS, speakers from the National Weather Service, NASA, and The Red Cross will discuss hurricanes, tracking storms from space, and preparedness.

posted: 2011-05-26

Visualizing Geospatial Information Article Picked Up by Tampa Bay Tribune

An article by the USGS in St. Petersburg, FL, which detailed tools and technology that support scientists in visualizing complex geospatial information, was the topic of a Tampa Bay Tribune story on May 21. Ann Tihansky, Shawn Dadisman, and Brendan Dwyer shared high tech images of the Tampa Bay region to generate interest in geoscience information and share resources that can be used by the public. Examples demonstrate what scientists 'see' in 3-D in order to understand complex processes and changes over time. The Tribune story discussed how such detailed maps and charts can help fishermen in the Tampa region by making it easier to interpret the seafloor. For example, using such charts can inform fishermen where cuts and edges along shoals are or to locate grass flats.

The original story was featured in the quarterly publication Bay Soundings: The Tribune article can be found here:

posted: 2011-05-26

New Findings Presented at USGS Northern Gulf of Mexico Annual Science Meeting

SPCMSC scientists presented new findings and posters at the Northern Gulf of Mexico Annual Science Meeting of the Northern Gulf Coast Ecosystem Change and Hazard Susceptibility (NGOM) Project held on May 24-26 in Lafayette, LA. The theme of this year's meeting was "Staging the Delivery of NGOM Project Scientific Findings, Maps, and Geospatial Data." Along with presentations of scientific findings, participants toured the USGS National Wetlands Research Center, took a field trip to the Fish and Wildlife Service Rockefeller Refuge, and had an opportunity to view the ongoing Atchafalaya Basin flooding. New findings presented by SPCMSC scientists included: recent climate variation in northern Gulf of Mexico by Dick Poore; USGS activities in the Chandeleur Islands and on the emergency oil-spill mitigation sand berm by Jim Flocks; Hurricane impacts on coastal wetlands by Bob Morton; Wetland loss due to recent hurricanes in coastal Louisiana by Monica Palaseanu; Holocene stratigraphy and depositional environments of Cat Island by Jennifer Miselis; Historic environmental change within Mobile Bay by Lisa Osterman; Quantifying marsh accretion rates from the Mobile River Delta and Bay Region by Chris Smith; and using the EAARL to estimate bare-earth topography in shallow submerged wetland environments by Amar Nayegandhi. More information about the meeting and the project can be found here:

posted: 2011-05-26

SPCMSC Scientist Gives Guest Lecture at Local High School

USGS Mendenhall Post-Doctoral Fellow Ryan P. Moyer gave a presentation on coral reefs at Palm Harbor University High School on May 24 in Palm Harbor, FL. Ryan was invited to talk to two different sections of Mrs. Lori Bauck's 11th and 12th grade Advanced Placement Environmental Science Class. In his lecture called "Cool Kids Like Corals (And So Should You)," Moyer first gave students a brief introduction to corals and coral reefs. He then went on to inform students about some of the environmental problems currently facing coral reefs and highlighted coral research performed by scientists at the USGS in St. Petersburg, FL.

posted: 2011-05-26

USGS Scientists Complete Field Study on Coral Growth at Four Marine Protected Areas in the Florida Keys

Last week Ilsa Kuffner, Don Hickey, and Caitlin Reynolds completed the first two-year phase of a field study at four reefs across the Florida Keys, including in Dry Tortugas National Park, two sites in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and in Biscayne National Park off Miami. The ongoing work is part of the Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies (CREST) project that involves research on the health and resilience of shallow water reef environments. Changing ocean chemistry and temperature from increased carbon dioxide in the oceans and atmosphere, respectively, are predicted to slow growth (calcification) rates of reef-building corals. The research team measured the amount of calcium carbonate gained by the corals approximately every six months for the last two years. At the end of this portion of the study, the corals were split in half, two 4-mm slabs were retrieved, and the two living halves were epoxied back together at the original collection reef to continue living. These valuable coral-skeleton slabs, along with the growth rate data, will allow scientists to address long-standing questions on the impacts of changing ocean chemistry and temperature on coral growth, and provide a better calibration for determining past ocean temperatures using the Strontium/Calcium paleothermometer (i.e. a natural temperature proxy).

posted: 2011-05-19

SPCMSC awarded USGS GIS/National Map Conference Poster Award

Brendan Dwyer, Matthew Streubert, and Chris Reich were awarded the USGS GIS Workshop/National Map Users Conference Poster Award for "Best Data or Software Integration," for their poster on the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center's Core Archive Portal. The Center houses a unique collection of coral and rock cores from around the world including south Florida, Belize, the Philippines, and the Gulf of Mexico. The core archive portal allows users to search for core material via a world map and zoom in on areas of interest and to download information for a particular core site. The award was given at the USGS 8th biennial Geographic Information Science Workshop and first National Map Users Conference that took place in Denver, CO, from May 10-13. The goal of the conference was to enhance communication and collaboration among National Map users and contributors and to promote advancement of GIS and related technologies with the USGS community.

posted: 2011-05-19

USGS Geologist Presenting on Uranium-cycling at Biogeochemistry Symposium

Christopher Smith will be giving a talk at the 11th International Estuarine Biogeochemistry Symposium that takes place May 15-19 in Atlantic Beach, NC. The title of the talk is 'Uranium-cycling in subterranean estuaries of Florida.' Smith will describe the geochemical process that influences the transport and transformation of uranium through freshwater-saltwater interfaces within coastal and submarine aquifers. The talk incorporates work from Smith's graduate and postdoctoral work in Indian River Lagoon, the Everglades, and Crystal Beach Spring in Florida. The theme of the Symposium is "Crossing Boundaries" and provides a forum for marine, earth, and atmospheric scientists whose focus is on estuaries and the critical role these environments play in the transport and transformation of materials from land to the ocean.

posted: 2011-05-19

SPCMSC Contribute Sea-level Rise Article to the American Planning Association Florida Chapter

Florida faces tough decisions about long-range planning and development strategies as a low-lying peninsula surrounded by water. More than 4500 square miles of land in the state are lower than five feet above sea level and any significant rise in sea level could further erode, alter, and degrade coastal environments and increase risk of flooding in populated areas. To address impacts of climate change, scientific information and monitoring are critical for designing beneficial, cost effective ways to prepare communities. An article titled Sea-level Rise Science: Informing and Preparing Floridas Coastal Communities by Matthew Cimitile describes current USGS scientific information and monitoring programs related to sea-level rise and extreme storms. The article was the cover story for the Spring edition of the American Planning Association (APA) Florida Chapter Newsletter. Collecting USGS data and information from the National Coastal Hazards Assessment Team, the Center for Excellence for Geospatial Information Science, and the Florida Oceans and Coastal Council Report, Cimitile describes the likely scenarios of sea-level rise by the end of the century, the various geologic and oceanographic influences on sea level, and the impact rising seas coupled with extreme storms can have on coastal environments and communities. The article provides critical information to an important audience - the planning community - that a Florida with higher sea level poses a unique set of planning challenges such as how to plan in coastal areas and hot to mitigate potential shoreline retreat. But through scientific expertise and informed planning Florida will be better prepared for the future. The APA Florida Chapter provides statewide leadership in the development of sustainable communities by advocating excellence in planning and working to enhance the natural and built environments.

posted: 2011-05-12

Natural Hazards Mission Area Listening Session Conducted at Coastal Sediments Conference

As part of the USGS Strategic Science Planning process for the Natural Hazards Mission Area, oceanographer Nathaniel Plant held a "listening session" at the Coastal Sediments conference in Miami on May 4th. The purpose of the meeting was to solicit feedback about the role the USGS plays in coastal hazards research and to discuss how this role is coordinated with academic researchers and researchers from other government agencies. The meeting was attended by about 40 researchers, 80% of whom were not USGS employees. Important themes brought up in the discussion included strong support that USGS continue to conduct large-scale observational activities, continue and improve collaborations with Army Corps of Engineers, develop better guidance for academic researchers to engage in cooperative agreements with USGS, and stengthen the visibility of USGS research accomplishments and capabilities.

posted: 2011-05-12

USGS Scientists Participate in Interagency Water Ditching and Survival Course

Dennis Krohn, Karen Morgan and BJ Reynolds participated in the Interagency Aviation Training (IAT) Water Ditching and Survival course on May 4 in Davie, FL. The course is designed to give participants the skills and confidence needed to calmly and safely exit an aircraft after it has made an emergency landing in water. The course is held a few times a year and while it is not required, it is recommended for all Department of Interior personnel whose job requires them to fly in an aircraft over water outside of glide distance from land. The course allows students to become familiar with personal flotation devices (PFDs), water survival techniques, and the techniques to safely exit a downed aircraft and reach the surface after ditching. Consisting of two parts, classroom and hands-on pool exercises, each student gets to experience a simulated aircraft ditching in a controlled environment. Using a dunking apparatus constructed of PVC pipe and webbing, students are strapped in using one of two different seat harnesses and use the techniques taught in the classroom to exit the dunker. You can download a short video, produced by Karen Morgan, of the training here:

posted: 2011-05-12

USGS Oceanographer is Keynote Speaker at Coastal Sediments '11

Oceanographer Asbury (Abby) Sallenger will be a keynote speaker at the Coastal Sediments '11 Conference that takes place May 2 - 6 in Miami, FL. Sallenger's talk is titled 'Hurricanes, Sea Level Rise, and Coastal Change.' He will discuss the magnitude of coastal change that recent hurricanes and the combine impacts of hurricanes and relative sea level rise has had on coastal environments around the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coast. The USGS will also be hosting a booth at the conference that will provide further information regarding hazards research and the coastal environment. The Coastal Sediments 11 Conference provides an international forum for exchange of information among coastal engineers, geologists, marine scientists, shallow-water oceanographers, and others interested in the physical processes of coastal sediment transport and morphology change. More information can be found here:

posted: 2011-04-28

Article on Improving Science Literacy and Education Published in Solutions Journal

An article authored by Matthew Cimitile (SPCMSC) that details the state of science literacy in the country and ways to improve the situation was published in the journal Solutions. Titled 'How Americas Science Education Can Make the Grade,' Cimitile writes how greater teacher training in science and math fields, emphasis on the nature and process of science in the classroom, introducing nontraditional teaching methods like multimedia and blogs to students, and involving both students and the public in science and the outdoors through national park institutes and citizen science collaborations can go a long way in improving science literacy. Cimitile interviewed teachers, scientists, and educational reformers on the frontlines of improving science education and literacy, including USGS National Education Coordinator Bob Ridky. The article was featured prominently on the home page of the journal's website. Solutions is a nonprofit print and online publication produced by the Gund Institute out of the University of Vermont and devoted to showcasing bold and innovative ideas for solving the world's integrated ecological, social, and economic problems. The article is found here:

posted: 2011-04-28

SPCMSC Contributes to Community Resource Awareness through Bay Soundings Newsletter

Personnel with the SPCMSC authored two articles in the 2011 spring edition of Bay Soundings, a publication of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. Matthew Cimitile contributed the article, "Marine Debris: Local Solutions to a Global Problem" highlighting the impacts of this global problem but also highlighting solutions and local actions (involving USGS volunteer staff) that improve the conditions of the Bay for marine life and coastal communities. Ann Tihansky, Shawn Dadisman, and Brendan Dwyer shared high tech images of the Tampa Bay region in another article titled "Better than a 'Birds-Eye' View," which highlights tools and technology that support scientists in visualizing complex geospatial information. The goal was to generate public interest in geoscience information and share resources that can be used at home. Examples demonstrate what scientists 'see' in 3-D in order to understand complex processes and changes over time. The USGS in St. Petersburg, FL, is on the editorial board of Bay Soundings and is a frequent contributor. The spring edition is available here:

posted: 2011-04-28

SPCMSC Hosts St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership Meeting

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership Quarterly Board Meeting on April 27. The St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, which formed in 1962 as St. Petersburg Progress, Inc., is a business-supported, non-profit 501 (c) (6) organization with a purpose to promote business growth and redevelopment in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. The organization was very instrumental in bringing the USGS to St. Petersburg. Center Director Jack Kindinger provided a tour of the facility and gave an overview of USGS research to board members. For many of the new board members this was their first visit to the USGS. More information about the Partnership can be found here:

posted: 2011-04-28

SPCMSC Research Geologist Helps Judge Mayors Youth Showcase

Chris Smith volunteered to be a science judge of projects displaying science technology for the 2011 Mayor's Youth Showcase of Achievement for middle and high school teens. At the showcase, Pinellas County middle and high school students compete for twenty $500 savings accounts from Florida Central Credit union. The event took place April 28 at Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, FL.

posted: 2011-04-28

USGS Eckerd Alumni Participate at Eckerd College's Earth Fest Event

Nancy DeWitt, Xan Fredericks, and Chandra Dreher hosted a booth and shared scientific and career information at Eckerd College's Earth Fest Event on Wednesday April 20th. Earth Fest is hosted by Eckerd Colleges Earth Society club. The all-day event had a strong turn out with graduating, continuing, and perspective students in attendance. The scientists fielded many questions including "How do I become an employee, intern, or volunteer at the USGS?" Of course, they were happy to tell them about various employment opportunities including internships, contracting, and volunteer, as well as share some of their knowledge and experiences of transforming from Eckerd College students to USGS employees. They also shared information about recent events that have impacted the Gulf Coast environment. Many in attendance were interested in the USGS role in supporting the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill response, about which the scientists provided a recently published USGS Fact Sheet detailing this activity -

posted: 2011-04-28

SPCMSC Discuss Coastal Erosion at Family Fun Science Night

Matthew Cimitile and Carl Taylor participated in the University of South Florida College of Education Family Fun Science Night at Lakewood Elementary School on April 27. Cimitile and Taylor hosted a station with USGS handouts regarding recent and ongoing research taking place at the center and a coastal erosion display. The display informs the public on the natural process of coastal erosion and how hurricanes can accelerate this process on barrier islands and in the coastal environment. The community event provided families the opportunity to see the benefits of science in a festive atmosphere.

posted: 2011-04-28

USGS in St. Petersburg Hosts Distinguished Delegation from India, Discuss Hazard Research Activities

On April 8, the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted a delegation of seven distinguished visitors from India. The delegations visit was organized by Mary Ellen Upton, Executive Director of The International Council of the Tampa Bay Region, Inc. The focus of the visit was "Climate Change and Clean Energy." Center Director Jack Kindinger and Computer Scientist Amar Nayegandhi welcomed the group. Kindinger then provided an overview of hazard research activities. After the overview, the group toured the facility and talked with research scientists Lisa Robbins about ocean acidification, Abby Sallenger regarding coastal hazards, Nathaniel Plant about sea level change and coastal vulnerability, and Dick Poore regarding changing ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

posted: 2011-04-20

USGS is Valuable Partner in First St. Petersburg, FL, Science Festival

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center has been heavily involved in the planning and coordination of the first science festival that will take place in St. Petersburg, FL, on April 30. The festival is presented as an engaging, informative event for families and the general public to explore the wonders of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The goal is to have exhibitors let folks know the value of STEM as a career choice for adolescents, as an economic engine for the community and the nation, and as a reliable resource for both individuals and civic leaders to make rational decisions. Center Director Jack Kindinger and Information Specialist Ann Tihanksy have been involved with the festival committee and planning of the event over the past several years. Heather Schreppel currently is engaged in multiple committees this spring and designed the web site. Theresa Burress is on both the program and the arts & media committee. At the festival, geologist Jennifer Miselis will take part in an oil spill panel, discussing her role as a USGS representative on the Operational Science Advisory Team (OSAT) and the oil-spill related work SPCMSC scientists have been involved in. The OSAT Team was tasked with making timely recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator on adjustments to field sampling activities as well as reporting trends and maintaining the status of decision indicators. In addition, Oceanographers Lisa Robbins and Ryan P. Moyer will host a booth about the phenomenon of ocean acidification. They will talk about pH, ocean acidification, marine calcifiers, global food webs, carbon cycling and how all of it relates to human activity.

More information about the festival can be found here:

posted: 2011-04-20

New Scientific Investigation Map Assesses Historical Bathymetry and Bathymetric Changes of Mississippi and Alabama Coastal Regions

Geologists Noreen Buster and Robert Morton recently completed a 160-year evaluation of the historical bathymetry and bathymetric change of the Mississippi and Alabama (MS-AL) coastal regions. The investigative map and accompanying report will help assess the comprehensive dynamics of the MS-AL coastal zone, where land loss and seafloor change are of great concern to the public and to local, state, and federal agencies. Principal physical conditions that have driven morphological seafloor and coastal change in this area include decreased sediment supply, sea-level rise, storms, and human activities such as dredging. In such a rapidly changing coastal environment, understanding historically where and why changes are occurring is essential. The map can be seen here:

posted: 2011-04-20

SPCMSC Researchers Conduct Benthic Habitat Survey of Lignumvitae Key Basin

USGS scientists recently completed a survey that characterized the benthic habitat of Lignumvitae Key Basin in the Florida Bay using the Along-Track Reef Imaging System (ATRIS). ATRIS, a noninvasive observing system that simultaneously acquires geo-located, color digital images and water-depth measurements, was used to detail the abundance, distribution, and size of corals in the Basin. Scientists are using this information to locate ideal coral heads that could provide subannually proxy records for seasurface temperature and salinity in the region dating back 100 to 150 years. Such data will be critical for water managers in deciding what the correct quantity, quality, timing and distribution of freshwater are to maintain a healthy and productive Everglades ecosystem. Authors of the report are SPCMSC researchers Chris Reich, Dave Zawada, Philip Thompson, Caitlin Reynolds, and Dick Poore along with Intern Daniel Umberger. The report can be found here:

posted: 2011-04-20

Refuge Managers Meet to Discuss Priorities and Goals at SPCMSC

Refuge Managers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Area II, which includes personnel in the State of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, will hold a meeting at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center from April 20-22. The managers will discuss budget projections, future priorities for the Region, conservation goals, changes in personnel policy, and updates on individual National Wildlife Refuges. The meeting will also include a field trip to Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge on the morning of April 21.

posted: 2011-04-20

USGS Participates in Earth Island Day at State Park

Matthew Cimitile and Heather Schreppel hosted an interactive booth on the process of coastal erosion at an Earth Day event on Honeymoon Island State Park. The coastal erosion display uses a box filled with water, sand within the box shaped like a barrier island, and a fan. The fan blows against the sand and overtime makes sand grains at the center of the island migrate to the edges, demonstrating the impact wind and waves have on barrier islands throughout the years. Coastal erosion is a significant issue in Florida, where 60 percent of beaches experience some form of erosion and 50 percent experience significant erosion. Cimitile and Schreppel discussed the science of coastal erosion, impacts it has on barrier islands and coastal environments, and processes such as beach nourishment to stabilize beaches. Earth Island Day is a two day event at the state park that educates the local community in environmental and science issues. It took place on April 16.

posted: 2011-04-20

SPCMSC hosts Cub Scout Pack 236

On April 16, SPCMSC hosted a group of local Cub Scouts from Pack 236 based in St. Petersburg, FL. The scouts met with SPCMSC scientist Ryan P. Moyer who spoke to the group about some basic aspects of his research. The scouts then were given a tour of the SPCMSC labs and scientific support facilities by Moyer and Sandra Coffman.

posted: 2011-04-20

USGS Oceanographer Interviewed for Women in Science article for New Scientist Magazine

On April 6, Lisa Robbins was interviewed by New Scientist journalist Becky Oskin about her career as a scientist. Robbins provided information about her career path, why she went into science, and geology in particular, mentoring opportunities, and any possible gender discrimination and gender-related barriers that she may have come up against over her career. For this article, Oskin also interviewed a microbiologist, a computer science professor, the dean of engineering at Tufts, and USGS director Marcia McNutt. The article will come out at the end of April and will be featured in both the print edition and online.

posted: 2011-04-13

SPCMSC Participates in Nature's Classroom Open House

Theresa Burress discussed the process of coastal erosion and demonstrated the coastal erosion model developed at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center for the Nature's Classroom Open House event on April 10, in Thonotosassa, FL. Natures Classroom is a 365-acre environmental studies program and learning laboratory connected to Hillsborough County Schools. Over 2,000 people came to the two day event.posted: 2011-04-13

Paper co-authored by USGS Oceanographer Selected as American Geophysical Union 'Research Spotlight'

A scientific paper published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) and co-authored by oceanographer Kim Yates has been selected by the editors of the publication as an American Geophysical Union (AGU) 'Research Spotlight'. The 'Research Spotlight' highlights new, noteworthy and interesting results published in AGU's journal and is featured on the back page of AGU's weekly newspaper Eos, Transactions. The paper titled "Productivity of a coral reef using boundary layer and enclosure methods" compares a new boundary layer method for analyzing coral reef productivity with the Submersible Habitat for Analyzing Reef Quality (SHARQ) method. The boundary layer method makes unobstructed measurements of vertical gradients in velocity and temperature with chemical constituents to calculate flux of momentum, heat, and O2 in the boundary layer. SHARQ is a transparent bottom-mounted enclosure that isolates water above the coral and allows for scientists to conduct in-situ measurements and assess how corals metabolize, grow, and respond to changing ocean conditions. A general summary of the paper is also be published in GRL's online and print editions and may be distributed to interested news media.

You can read the spotlight here:

posted: 2011-04-06

SPCMSC Hosts and Discusses Current Research with Aspiring Environmental and Marine Science High School Students

On April 6, the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted 100 students from Lakewood High Schools Center for Advanced Technologies. The visit began with Center Director Jack Kindinger welcoming the students, who were participating in the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg STREAMS - Supporting Talented and Remarkable Environmental and Marine Science Students - Scholarship Program. The students watched several video highlights from the Coastal and Marine Geology Video Podcast series that are produced at the center and describe current USGS research taking place in and around Florida. Content in the videos pertained to Evergladess field research, changes in coral reef health and conditions, and studies on the response of coastal environments to extreme storms. USGS scientists Ginger Range, Chris Reich, Don Hickey, and Hilary Stockdon fielded questions and shared their personal experiences of scientific field work. Several project posters were displayed and career and project handouts were distributed to the students.

posted: 2011-04-06

SPCMSC Scientist to Present on Rates of Marsh Accretion at Association of American Geographers Meeting

Research Geologist Christopher G. Smith will present on 'Quantifying marsh sedimentation rates from the Mobile River delta and Mobile Bay region' at the 2011 Association of American Geographers annual meeting in Seattle, WA. Using natural and anthropogenic fallout radionuclides, rates of marsh accretion in southwest Alabama can be computed over the last 150 years, providing insight to the marshes behavior due to changes in sediment supply, sea-level rise, and event deposition. Smith will present at a special session hosted by fellow USGS employees Jeffrey Danielson and John Brock. The meeting takes place from April 12-16.

More information about the meeting can be found here:

posted: 2011-04-06

Seminar at SPCMSC Details Multi-scale Coastal Change Analyses

USGS research physical scientist Cheryl J. Hapke from the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center will be giving a presentation that focuses on research being conducted on a variety of spatial and temporal scales along the U.S. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coasts. The talk will take place at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center on Tuesday, April 12 at 10:30 a.m. For over a decade, the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program have been engaged in conducting national assessments of coastal change, including historical shoreline change analyses. Titled 'Multi-scale Coastal Change Analyses: regional trends, local processes and coastal response,' Hapke will discuss the methods, data, and interpretations that result from these assessments and the critical information they provide a wide variety of management and policy issues.posted: 2011-04-06

USGS Studies Louisiana Sand Berm Evolution

Construction of a sand berm around the Chandeleur Islands has created a unique opportunity to study the interaction of coastal protection and restoration efforts with a dynamically evolving natural barrier island. The objective of the study is to determine sediment transport pathways and mechanisms, understand feedback relationships, and improve forecasting ability. To date, SPCMSC scientists have conducted in situ measurements of waves, water levels, and currents, collected three lidar topography data sets, performed two bathymetric surveys, analyzed satellite and aerial imagery, and modeled the berm-island evolution as it faced winter storms. This phase of the study will be updated in May 2011 with an additional high-resolution bathymetric survey and updated lidar survey that will document the evolution of the sand-source areas used to construct the berm and continue to track the fate of the berm feature and sediment redistributions.

posted: 2011-03-30

USGS Scientist Gives Guest Lecture on Corals and Climate Change at Local University

USGS Mendenhall Post-Doctoral Fellow Ryan P. Moyer was invited by the Student Environmental Awareness Society (SEAS) to give a guest lecture at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg campus (USFSP) on March 24. The lecture was titled "Corals, Carbon, and Climate: Exploring global change using coral-based proxy records." The hour-long seminar informed both students and faculty at USFSP, along with guest from other local agencies, about some of the climate-related pressures facing modern coral reefs, and highlighted Moyer's research on the impact of ocean acidification on coral growth and calcification.

posted: 2011-03-30

SPCMSC Oceanographer Invited to Participate in Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day

USGS Mendenhall Post-Doctoral Fellow Ryan P. Moyer was invited by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) to represent scientists in Florida at Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day (SET CVD) in Washington, D.C. The two-day event features a day of preparatory workshops at the AGU headquarters in Washington, D.C., and then a full day meeting with Senators, Representatives, and Congressional staff. The SET CVD is an annual event that brings scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, and technology executives to Washington D.C. to raise the visibility of science, engineering, and technology occurring in their home states. Uniquely multi-sector and multi-disciplinary, the CVD is coordinated by coalitions of professional societies, educational institutions, and private companies.posted: 2011-03-30

SPCMSC to Host Natural Hazards Science Planning Team Listening Session

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center will host an information collecting meeting for the Natural Hazards Science Planning Team on March 31 at 10 a.m. This will be one of several meetings the planning team will conduct with a variety of audiences who have an interest in USGS hazards research and applications. The meetings will provide a very brief and general description of what the planning team will be doing and then open up the session for comments from attendees. The new Natural Hazards Mission Area has direct responsibility for the following programs: Coastal and Marine Geology, Earthquake Hazards, Geomagnetism, Global Seismographic Network, Landslide Hazards, and Volcano Hazards.

posted: 2011-03-23

New Fact Sheet on SPCMSC Response to Gulf of Mexico Oil-spill Featured on USGS Home Page

A Fact Sheet authored by Jack Kindinger, Ann Tihansky, and Matthew Cimitile detailing the response, mitigation and restoration activities conducted at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center was featured prominently on the USGS home page under latest publications. Immediately after the Deepwater Horizon event, the USGS in St. Petersburg, FL. began responding to data requests, directing response personnel, and providing coastal and shelf geophysical data to coastal-resource managers. The USGS provided oil-spill responders with up-to-date coastal bathymetry, barrier island topography, geologic data, and maps characterizing vulnerability and levels of risk from potential spill impacts. Baseline conditions prior to any spill impacts were documented through programs that included shoreline sampling and sediment coring. USGS scientific staff also participated in the Coast Guard Unified Commands (UC) and Operational Science Advisory Teams (OSAT).

Read the full fact sheet here:

posted: 2011-03-23

New Fact Sheet on SPCMSC Science in Support of Gulf of Mexico Oil-spill Response, Mitigation, and Restoration Activities Published

Immediately after the Deepwater Horizon event, the USGS in St. Petersburg, FL. began responding to data requests, directing response personnel, and providing coastal and shelf geophysical data to coastal-resource managers. The USGS provided oil-spill responders with up-to-date coastal bathymetry, barrier island topography, geologic data, and maps characterizing vulnerability and levels of risk from potential spill impacts. Baseline conditions prior to any spill impacts were documented through programs that included shoreline sampling and sediment coring. USGS scientific staff also participated in the Coast Guard Unified Commands (UC) and Operational Science Advisory Teams (OSAT). In particular, the center focused on research that addressed; assessing the effects of sand-barrier berm construction; identifying oil deposition and inundation to barrier islands; providing geospatial data products of coastal and marine environments; monitoring seafloor habitats; developing protocols that enhance bioremediation processes; and identifying whether exposure to oil or dispersants impacted deep-sea coral communities.

Read the full fact sheet here:

posted: 2011-03-16

AGU to Highlight USGS West Florida Shelf Ocean Acidification Research for State Sheets

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is tapping SPCMSC oceanographer Lisa Robbins to highlight USGS Florida ocean acidification research for AGU state sheets, one page documents that highlight the research of several AGU member scientists in each state. AGU is highlighting the work of about three AGU scientists in each state, which will be presented to policymakers on Capitol Hill to express the importance of funding for basic scientific research and the impact such research has on states. Robbins and other scientists at the USGS are monitoring seawater chemistry associated with ocean acidification and benthic habitats on the West Florida Shelf. Shallow water cruises conducted by the USGS will provide regional information on the saturation state and pCO2 fluctuation at the seawater/air boundary. Laboratory experiments are currently underway to investigate the effect of ocean acidification on the growth of marine calcifying algae that produce calcium carbonate sediments in temperate, subtropical, and tropical marine ecosystems. Data collected will fill data gaps in the Gulf of Mexico for carbon flux (pCO2) and air-sea flux as well as increase understanding of how ocean acidification affects estuarine and shallow shelf marine waters. AGU came across this research through the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center web page dedicated to ocean acidification research:

posted: 2011-03-16

New Website Features USGS Microbiology Research on Deep-sea Coral Ecosystems

Think of coral reefs and you imagine warm, shallow tropical seas, not the cold, dark waters of the deep ocean. Now the deep ocean's best-kept secrets are being revealed ancient coral ecosystems hidden from view at great depths. is an information resource on the cold-water coral ecosystems of the deep ocean. An exciting new section on the microbiology of these corals has been added to the web site featuring content, photos, and video from SPCMSC scientist and coral microbiology expert, Christina Kellogg.

View the site here:

posted: 2011-03-16

Radio Piece Presents USGS Community Work Removing Derelict Crab Traps from Tampa Bay Waters

A radio piece produced by SPCMSC Matthew Cimitile highlights community work done by the USGS in assisting with Tampa Bay environmental programs. On February 28, Tampa Bay Watch, a nonprofit dedicated to protect and restore marine and wetland environments of Tampa Bay, conducted a crab trap removal. Derelict crab traps are traps that are no longer used or badly damaged, yet still trap and kill crabs, fish, turtles and other marine life and pose a navigational hazard. To remove this form of marine debris commonly found in shallow waters, Tampa Bay Watch partners with airboat captains from the Florida Airboat Association and the USGS. Gary Hill, Bureau Watercraft Safety Program Manager for the USGS and one of five airboat captains at the removal, helped to collect about 50 derelict crab traps removed from Bay waters that Saturday. Hill was also interviewed for the radio piece that aired on WMNF Community Radio.

Listen to the piece here:

posted: 2011-03-16

New Postcard Series Highlights USGS Ocean Acidification Research and Lidar Technology

A series of postcards produced by SPCMSC's Heather Schreppel and Matthew Cimitile visually highlight ongoing USGS research efforts in ocean acidification as well as mapping capabilities using lidar (light detection and ranging) technology. Featured in the ocean acidification postcards is research taking place in polar, temperate, and tropical regions. The USGS is participating in international and interagency working groups to develop research strategies to increase understanding of the global implications of acidification. Research strategies include new approaches for seawater chemistry observation and modeling, assessment of physiological effects on organisms, and changes in marine ecosystem structure. In addition, lidar postcards feature the specialized technology used to build high-resolution topographic and benthic maps. These mapped products describe important features affected by coastal-management decision and are a baseline for evaluating resources.

To learn more about ocean acidification visit:

More information about lidar can be found here:

View the postcards here: and

posted: 2011-03-16

SPCMSC Center Director Attends USGS Marine Geohazards Workshop

Jack Kindinger participated in the National USGS Marine Geohazards Workshop in Menlo Park, CA, on March 1-3. The goal of the workshop was to develop a Marine Geohazards Research Initiative. In particular, participants discussed what should be the appropriate roles and responsibilities of the USGS in regard to marine geohazards within the context of the overall USGS mission. Also discussed by attendees that included USGS, state, academic and Canadian researchers and managers was identifying gaps in knowledge and prioritizing research issues. The workshop was hosted by the Earthquake and Coastal and Marine Geology Programs and USGS Director Dr. Marcia McNutt provided introductory remarks for attendees.

posted: 2011-03-09

Oceanographer Selected as Marine Geoscience Leadership Symposium Participant

SPCMSC oceanographer Joseph Long has been chosen as one of 24 researchers to participate in the 2011 Marine Geosciences Leadership Symposium from April 18-22, in Washington D.C. The Symposium is designed to provide training in communicating scientific research and writing effective grant proposals, give a broader perspective on science policy and funding, and develop collaborative relationships among a cohort of early career scientists. Topics to be discussed include media training, the congressional budget, and current events in science policy. The Symposium is sponsored by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. You can find more information here:

posted: 2011-03-09

Two Government Technical Subcommittees to Meet at USGS St. Petersburg, FL, Office

The Inter-Agency Digital Imagery Working Group (IADIWG) and the National Digital Orthophoto Program's (NDOP) Technical Subcommittees will be meeting for their semi-annual face-to-face information exchange at the USGS Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL, March 8-10. The purpose of the IADIWG is to identify requirements and issues relating to digital imagery acquisition, guidelines, and policies common to Federal, state, and local government agencies and to work together to find solutions. The NDOP is a consortium of Federal agencies with the purpose of developing and maintaining national orthoimagery coverage in the public domain by establishing partnerships with Federal, State, local, tribal, and private organizations. The Technical Subcommittee addresses technical issues related to the research, production, distribution, and application of digital orthophotos, product specifications, and standards. Approximately 10 Federal Agency representatives from across the U.S. will be in attendance, and many more will attend via WebEx.

posted: 2011-03-02

USGS Scientist Participating in Resilient Tampa Bay Workshop

Oceanographer Hilary Stockdon is representing USGS science related to hurricanes and sea-level rise at the Resilient Tampa Bay workshop on February 22-23. Stockdon is part of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Project that understands the magnitude and variability of the impacts of hurricanes and extreme storms on U.S. coastlines to improve the capability to predict coastal change that results from severe storms. The conference is bringing together professionals and residents to exchanges ideas with experts from The Netherlands in developing resiliency plays for the Tampa Bay region. The workshop will focus on creating a sustainable region by preparing for events like hurricanes and flooding and also incorporating long-term adaptation to impacts of sea-level rise. The workshop is taking place at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. More information can be found here:

posted: 2011-02-23

Field Trip to Lake Maggiore Enhances Water Quality Lesson for 5th Graders

SPCMSC ecologist Kathryn Smith worked with Bay Point Elementary science teacher Jodi Warson and City of St. Petersburg engineer Carlos Frey to lead a field trip of 5th grade students from Bay Point Elementary to Lake Maggiore in St. Petersburg, FL, February 7-8. The students went to the lake to learn about watersheds, storm water and water quality. Smith and Frey spoke to over 100 students and 25 adult chaperones, describing how rainwater transports materials into Lake Maggiore to impact water quality and what they can do as citizens to reduce these impacts. They also discussed city planning methods to improve water quality and the importance of activities to measure and monitor water quality. The students participated in a hands-on lab to measure several water quality parameters and ended the field trip with a tour of the City of St. Petersburg water quality lab. Smith worked with the school to earn a Splash! grant from the Southwest Water Management District to help pay for the field trip costs and lab supplies. Bay Point recently named SPCMSC their business partner of the year due to the participation of USGS scientists in their science education program.

posted: 2011-02-23

SPCMSC Geologist to Retrieve Water Samples from Gulf of Mexico

Paul Knorr will be heading out to the Northern Gulf of Mexico from February 17-27, to retrieve around 120 discrete water samples during a carbon flux analysis that will analyze dissolved inorganic carbon content and alkalinity in the water. He will be on board the Weatherbird II, a University of South Florida Deepwater Horizon cruise ship, to perform intermittent spectrophotometric analysis of seawater pH and gather continuous temperature, pH, salinity, pCO2 (seawater), and pCO2 (air) data using a flow-through system. He will also be collecting water column profile samples for particulate organic carbon as well as samples for oxygen and carbon isotope analysis.

posted: 2011-02-16

SPCMSC Participates in Elementary School Science Fair

Kara Doran, Ellen Raabe, Chris Smith, and Theresa Burress volunteered as Science Judges for the Bay Point Elementary Science Fair in St. Petersburg, Florida, on February, 10. This is the second consecutive year SPCMSC has helped judge the elementary school science fair. There were 14-16 teams of judges, with each team judging at least 3-4 projects at each grade level. SPCMSC helped judge science fair projects created by 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.

posted: 2011-02-16

SPCMSC Oceanographer Part of International Team Assessing Ocean Acidification in the Arctic

USGS research oceanographer Lisa Robbins participated in a coordination meeting in Copenhagen, Norway from Jan 31- Feb 1, as part of an expert writing team that will assess ocean acidification in the Arctic. The document they produce will be released in the summer of 2012. All countries surrounding the Arctic are involved in the Assessment. The meeting was led by the Arctic Mapping and Assessment Program (AMAP), which is overseen by the Nordic Council.

posted: 2011-02-09

Science Behind Sinkholes Shared with Reporter Writing on Insurance Rates in Florida

On February 8, Julie Patel of the Sun Sentinel interviewed Ann Tihansky about the science behind sinkholes for an article focused on the insurance angle that is spurring legislators to look into increasing insurance rates across the state. Tihansky explained the basics about observed trends in occurrence, how specific activities and hydrologic events are linked to sinkholes, and how science can be used to quantify, advise, and inform about risk and vulnerability. Tihansky also provided photos from the sinkhole event in Plant City, Florida in January 2011. The article is expected to be published Feb.14-15.

posted: 2011-02-09

USGS Presents New Seawater Chemistry Data of Beaufort Sea at Alaska Marine Science Symposium

Lisa Robbins participated in the Alaska Marine Science Symposium on Jan. 16-18, in Anchorage Alaska. Robbins, co-author with Kim Yates (USGS), Bob Byrne, (University of South Florida), Xuewu Liu (University of South Florida), Chris DuFore (USGS), Mark Patsavas (University of South Florida), and Mark Hansen (USGS), presented some of the newest seawater chemistry data from an August 2010 cruise in the Beaufort Sea/Canada Basin. One of the highlights of the presentation was the use of an iPAD to show a 3D image of the data.

posted: 2011-02-09

SPCMSC Ocean Acidification Researchers Attending Aquatic Sciences Meeting

USGS researchers Lisa Robbins, Kim Yates, and Ryan P. Moyer will be participating in the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Annual Aquatic Sciences Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 13-19. Robbins and Yates will be presenting two different posters on ocean acidification data collected from the Dry Tortugas and the Arctic. Moyer will give an oral presentation on his Mendenhall research entitled: "A 114-Year Record of Coral Geochemistry and Growth in Puerto Rico and Their Relationship to Anthropogenic Ocean Acidification." He is also co-author on a second oral presentation entitled: "Divergence in Global Riverine DOC and POC Ages: Implications for the Carbon Cycle," which will be given by Dr. James E. Bauer of Ohio State University. The Aquatic Sciences Meeting is held every two years by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and is a widely recognized venue for scientific exchange across all aquatic disciplines. The conference brings together an international group of freshwater and marine scientists to meet the challenge of global change while exploring diversity and connections across the range of aquatic systems impacted by humans.

posted: 2011-02-09

USGS Mendenhall Post-doctoral Fellow Convenes River Biogeochemistry Session at Aquatic Sciences Meeting

Ryan P. Moyer will co-chair a session on February 14 at the 2011 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Moyer, along with session co-chair James E. Bauer of Ohio State University, will convene a session entitled: "Tropical Small Mountainous River Biogeochemistry: Terrestrial Losses, Internal Processing and Coastal Inputs." Small mountainous rivers (SMRs) transport globally significant amounts of terrestrial materials to the coastal ocean, yet the factors controlling their fluxes are not well understood. Fluxes of organic and inorganic matter between land and the coastal ocean are important components of global biogeochemical cycles. The relative lack of information on the biogeochemistry of organic and inorganic materials exported by tropical SMRs represents a major gap in our understanding of global land-ocean carbon fluxes and biogeochemical cycles. The special session will highlight cutting-edge studies of tropical SMR catchments and associated estuarine and coastal waters, as well as paleo-records of temporal and spatial changes in these fluxes and processes.

posted: 2011-02-09

Annual Spoonbill Bowl Receives USGS Support

On February 5, Theresa Burress, Kara Doran, and Heather Schreppel participated in the Spoonbill Bowl, a regional academic competition by the Consortium of Ocean Leadership's National Ocean Science Bowl. The event took place at USF where 16 high school teams participated. Teams of four students were tested on their science knowledge through quick answer buzzer questions and team challenge questions. Doran served as a Moderator while Burress and Schreppel were Scorekeepers. This year's winning team will advance to the finals in Galveston, Texas for a chance to win a trip providing hands-on field and laboratory experience in the marine sciences. The USGS also supplied take home bags filled with educational materials to the participating teams and their coaches.

posted: 2011-02-09

Interior's Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Participates in USGS Florida Science Activities

Deanna Archuleta visited Florida on January 31 and February 1 with a trip that involved briefings, a tour of the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, and a day participating in a manatee capture and medical assessment organized by the USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center. Willie Rodriguez, the Florida Water Science Center Director, coordinated a data and studies program briefing given by Eddy Simonds and Dave Sumner in the Orlando Office. Jack Kindinger and Ann Tihansky from SPCMSC shared a briefing book about selected programs related to the Coastal and Marine program activities and capabilities. Deanna, Willie, Jack, and Ann then visited the Wildlife Park in Homosassa with Park Manager Art Yerian and Wildlife Care Supervisor Susan Lowe who gave a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility, complete with many of Floria's endangered species and educational exhibits. The backdrop of the facility prompted great conversations and an opportunity to learn more about the interconnectedness of Florida's natural resources. State programs rely on USGS science support that contributes to improving a wide range of resource management strategies.

posted: 2011-02-02

USGS Scientists to Meet with BOEM to Discuss Upcoming Research Project on Deepwater Habitats

USGS scientists Amanda W.J. Demopoulos (Gainesville), Christina A. Kellogg (St. Pete), Cheryl L. Morrison (Leetown), and Nancy Prouty (Menlo Park) are meeting with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and contractors CSA International to discuss target sites, cruise plans, and integrated products for a new study exploring deepwater hard bottom habitats in the Mid-Atlantic. The project "Exploration and Research of Mid-Atlantic Deepwater Hard Bottom Habitats and Shipwrecks with Emphasis on Canyons and Coral Communities" will study and examine selected habitats to refine and extend the understanding of the distribution and complexity of hard bottom communities in this region. It is sponsored by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program and is a collaborative effort between BOEM, NOAA, the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, and the USGS. The meeting will take place on February 11 at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington in Wilmington, NC.

More information about the project can be found here:

posted: 2011-02-02

National Hurricane Center Scientist to Discuss Sensitivity of Hurricanes to Climate Change

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center will host Christopher W. Landsea, NOAA National Hurricane Center science and operations officer, for a talk on Hurricanes and Global Warming on February 24. The talk titled 'Hurricanes and Global Warming: Expectations versus Observations' will be presented from 12-1 p.m. in the Normile Conference Room. Dr. Landsea's contention is that while some increase in tropical cyclone peak wind speed has occurred and will continue to occur if climate warms, the relevant question is what the sensitivity of tropical cyclone intensity, frequency, and overall activity to greenhouse gas forcing will be? Recent, much publicized scientific articles reporting large increases of hurricane energy, numbers, and wind speeds due to warmer sea surface temperatures makes this discussion a very timely and important one.

posted: 2011-02-02

SPCMSC Participates in Filming USGS Manatee Capture

SPCMSC Matthew Cimitile participated in a manatee capture directed by wildlife ecologist Robert Bondee and the USGS Southeast Ecological Center (SESC) at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge on February 1. Cimitile spent the day filming scientists and students from the SESC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine capture, weigh, measure, and analyze the health and genetics of seven manatees in the refuge. SPCMSC is helping SESC develop a video podcast on USGS manatee research in Florida and will likely film and interview USGS scientists as they analyze and evaluate the data recovered at the manatee capture.

posted: 2011-02-02

SPCMSC Director Participates in Oil Spill Response Panel at Conference Focused on Remediation Topics

Jack Kindinger was invited to participate on a panel at SURF 16 (Sustainable Remediation Forum) Feb. 3-4, 2011 in Tampa, FL discussing past, present, and future responses to the Deepwater Horizon spill. The event is hosted by the University of South Florida's Patel Center for Global Solutions, the School of Global Sustainability and the College of Engineering. Kindinger joins other panelists: Bill Hogarth, Acting Director, Florida Institute of Oceanography; Gil McRae, Director of the State of Florida's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute; Larry Langebrake, Director, Marine Technology Program-SRI St. Petersburg and a representative from NOAA that has not yet been announced. The panel brings together experts and program directors for a discussion about habitat management, federal response to habitat and species protection, and the role of technology and baseline analysis in effective management and response. Kindinger will represent the role of the USGS in providing science to support oil spill response, mitigation, and restoration activities. He will also share information about how the SPCMSC helped staff the Unified Command, and the Operational Science Advisory Team (OSAT). SURF is an organization focused on "promoting the use of sustainable practices during implementation of remedial action activities with the objective of balancing economic viability, conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, and the enhancement of the quality of life in surrounding communities."

Read more: SURF 16 Agenda

posted: 2011-02-01

USGS Provides Geologic Maps for Schools in Florida

USGS Provides Geologic Maps for Schools in Florida The Southeastern Geological Society is bringing the 'Geologic Maps in Schools' Project to Florida. Through the support of the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS), the SEGS obtained funding to initiate the program which began in Texas through the Corpus Christi Geological Society ( Ann Tihansky and Robert Ridky (USGS Education Coordinator) provided copies of the USGS map, A Tapestry of Time and Terrain, to defray costs for implementing the program which include map costs as well as framing. The collaborative effort involves other geologic professionals including personnel from the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The maps are being delivered to schools where science educators and teachers who have participated in geologic education workshops throughout the state.

View the USGS map here:

posted: 2011-02-01

USGS Assists Tampa Bay Watch with Derelict Crab Trap Removal

USGS Bureau Watercraft Safety Program Manager Gary Hill, (SPCMSC) represented the USGS and provided airboat support to a Tampa Bay restoration activity Saturday, January 22. Tampa Bay Watch coordinated 12 airboats from the Florida Airboat Association and trained teams to locate and remove derelict crab traps throughout Tampa Bay during one the lowest tides of the year, making the traps more accessible. Airboats are the ideal platform for this activity because of their ability to get into shallow water and the working area on the boat for crew and traps. Throughout the year, Tampa Bay Watch collects information about locations of derelict traps. Once a year they organize the crews needed to remove them. This important activity reduces unnecessary bycatch of marine organisms, removes marine debris from the environment, eliminates a safety hazard to boaters, expands public education on the problems of derelict ghost traps, and provides a community-based opportunity to enhance Tampa Bay.

More information can be found at the Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program.

posted: 2011-02-01

USGS Oceanographer Featured in Imagine Magazine Water Issue

SPCMSC Oceanographer Ryan P. Moyer was featured in Imagine Magazine's Water Issue under their 'Exploring Career Options' column in January. In the column, Moyer discussed why he became an oceanographer and his current research, described a typical work day, how he works with other scientists, and the challenging and rewarding aspects of being an oceanographer. Imagine is a magazine for middle and high school students published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. The magazine has an academic focus and features contributions by both students and experts in their fields on issues and topics ranging from mathematics to writing to science and more. You can view the article here: and find out more information about Imagine here:

posted: 2011-02-01

SPCMSC Joins Community Leaders at Ribbon-Cutting of New Green Business

Matthew Cimitile and Ann Tihansky joined Mayor Bill Foster, Senator Nelson's representative Shahra Anderson, Congresswoman Kathy Castor's Representative Nikki Capehart, and City Councilmen Karl Nurse, Jeff Danner, and Wengay Newton in recognizing the opening of the first electric car dealership in Florida and the first designated green city in the state. As a member of the St. Petersburg Ocean Team, the USGS participates in community events related to science and technology that enhance resource management capabilities and awareness.

posted: 2011-02-01

First Microbiological Characterization of Several Gorgonian Coral Species in the Aleutian Islands

USGS and NOAA researchers have just published the first microbiological characterization of three gorgonian (soft coral) species that inhabit the cold waters of the Aleutian Islands. In a paper titled 'Microbial consortia of gorgonian corals from the Aleutian Islands' SPCMSC scientists Mike Gray, Molly McLaughlin and Christina Kellogg and National Marine Fisheries Service scientist Robert Stone used culture-based and 16S rRNA gene-based techniques to characterize the microbial ecology of the deep-sea gorgonian corals Paragorgia arborea, Plumarella superba, and Cryogorgia koolsae. These corals are among a host of diverse and unique cold-water coral communities in the Aleutians. There are more than 50 coral species found nowhere else in the world in the waters of the Aleutians, which lie between Alaska and Russia and divide the North Pacific from the Bering Sea. As much as 85% of the commercially important fish species in the area are associated with such deep-sea corals. By understanding the microbial consortia associated with these corals, scientists gain a better understanding of their relationship with their environment and the ecosystem services they provide. The article was published in the Federation of European Microbiological Societies Microbial Ecology.

It is featured on the USGS Microbiology and the Environment home page:

You can read the study here:

posted: 2011-01-19

USGS Scientist to Give Florida Gulf Coast Lowlands Talk at Public Lecture Series

Ellen Raabe (SPCMSC) will be speaking at the Cedar Key Library in Cedar Key, Fl. on January 29 as part of their winter public lecture series. The title of her talk is 'Coastal Lowlands of Floridas Big Bend Gulf Coast: change and stability of a marsh shore.' Her talk will focus on the unique geology, vegetation, and history of Floridas Gulf Coast lowlands from Franklin to Pasco County. A combination of natural features such as spring-fed rivers, karst limestone, and low-wave energy contribute to the regions natural beauty and productivity. However, both human activities and natural events are causing changes in the region and Raabe will discuss factors that have sustained or may threaten the natural resources and landscapes of the Big Bend coast.

posted: 2011-01-19

USGS Participating in Seminole, Fl. Science Expo

Matthew Cimitile is participating in the Bauder Elementary School Science Expo on January 27, 2011 in Seminole, Fl. The annual Science Expo features over 200 science fair projects as well as booths from the scientific community in Tampa Bay. Cimitile will display the tsunami tank that was created at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center and shows the various types of tsunami waves that can wash ashore. Cimitile will also talk about how tsunamis form, regions where they are likely to occur, and how science is helping to understand the science around tsunamis and enhance warning systems.

posted: 2011-01-19

SPCMSC nominated as Bay Pointe Elementary Business Partner of the Year

Bay Pointe Elementary school in St. Petersburg, Fl. has nominated the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center as their Business Partner of the year. The USGS in St. Petersburg has been associated with the school for over seven years. Each year, SPCMSC scientists have spoken to classes during the Great American Teach-In and worked with classroom teachers to highlight various science topics. Students have learned about diatoms, watched a volcano erupt, and witnessed live action beach erosion using various learning models. The school stated in their newsletter that "Bringing real life scientists to our students has inspired and engaged them in a way that would not have been possible without them working alongside our teachers."

posted: 2011-01-19

USGS Scientists Help in Judging Science Fair

Kara Doran, Peter Howd, Joe Long, Kristy Sopkin and Bryan McCloskey helped judge the Saint Pauls School Science Fair in Clearwater on January 14th. Saint Paul teaches grades K-8 and USGS personnel helped judge a variety of 7th and 8th grade science fair projects.

posted: 2011-01-19

USGS Scientists to Depart on 9th Research Cruise of the Gulf of Mexico Climate and Environmental History Project

SPCMSC scientists Jessica Spear, Don Hickey, Caitlin Reynolds, and Kathryn Richwine are setting out on a research cruise to recover and redeploy a sediment-trap mooring that collects planktic foraminifers in order to better calibrate foraminiferal shell chemistry to environmental conditions. The Gulf of Mexico Climate and Environmental History project looks to use those samples collected to better understand the seasonal succession and preference of over 25 foraminifer species and to establish a relation between microfossil assemblages and their shell chemistry to modern ocean conditions. The scientists will retrieve material that was collected in the trap from mid-September, 2010 to late January, 2011 and set the next round of cups to collect samples from late January to early August, 2011. The sediment-trap mooring was first deployed in the Gulf of Mexico in January, 2008 at approximately 1,150 m of water depth, and the trap is positioned at 700 m on the mooring to guarantee the collection of deeper dwelling species of planktic foraminifers. The trap is equipped with 21 collection cups that are mounted on a rotating plate that is programmed to rotate every 7 to 14 days. Each cup contains a buffered formalin solution to preserve the samples. The trap is recovered and redeployed every 3-6 months, depending on sampling frequency. Eric Tappa from the University of South Carolina will also be a part of the research cruise. The cruise will take place January 20-21.

More information about the study can be found here: 2011-01-12

Sinkholes, Insurance Rates and Science in the News

On January 10, Ann Tihansky spoke with FOX News about a Florida sinkholes story they are working on pertaining to new proposed insurance changes and the baseline need for science to guide policy decisions. Ann referred him to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Landfill Sinkhole Technical Advisory Group (TAG). Tampa Hydrologist Patricia Metz currently serves on this TAG. The next meeting will be held on January 26, 2011 in Tampa where new landfill application requirements in sinkhole prone areas will be discussed. In addition, the 108 ft wide by 60 ft deep sinkhole that formed under the South Hillsborough County Landfill on December 14, 2010 will be viewed by the TAG members.

More information pertaining to this issue can be found here:,0,3798356,print.story

posted: 2011-01-12

New Podcast Highlighted as Science Feature, Posted on USGS Twitter Accounts

A video podcast that documents 50 years of photographic records of changing coral conditions in the Florida Keys is exhibited on the Science Feature slide show of the USGS home page. The video shows five decades of changes that have taken place in both the size and the types of corals that were present at coral reef sites from the early 1960s to today, capturing events such as the appearance of coral disease and the die off of coral species like staghorn. The USGS Podcast and Aquatic Life twitter accounts also posted information regarding the video.

Watch the podcast:

posted: 2011-01-12

USGS Scientist Lead Author on IPCC's 2013 report titled 'Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

Abby Sallenger will participate in the First Lead Authors Meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Tsukuba, Japan, January 11-14, 2011. He is one of two USGS scientists who will participate in writing IPCC's next (5th) assessment report. He is a member of working group II, which is responsible for writing the 'Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability' section of a document titled IPCC's CLIMATE CHANGE 2013.posted: 2011-01-05

USGS Scientist Part of Collaborative Project to Investigate Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Puerto Rico Coral Reef Ecosystems

SPCMSC scientist Dr. Ryan P. Moyer is set to begin work on a collaborative multi-institutional research project at the Atlantic Ocean Acidification Test-bed in La Parguera, Puerto Rico in 2011. The focus of the project is to link seasonal water column geochemical fluxes with changes in benthic community structure at a long-term ocean acidification monitoring site in southwest Puerto Rico. This research will help gain an understanding of how coral reef communities respond to natural short-term variations in water column chemistry, and whether ecosystem tolerance to that range of variability is enough to help mitigate the predicted impacts of long-term ocean acidification. Moyer will be joined in the field by co-Principal Investigators Drs. Dwight Gledhill (NOAA-CIMAS), Greg Piniak (NOAA-NCCOS), Wade McGillis (Columbia U.), Chris Langdon (U. Miami-RSMAS), Derek Manzello (NOAA-AOML), and Jorge Corredor (U. Puerto Rico). The first seasonal sampling trip will be conducted January 8-14, 2011, with subsequent field trips scheduled for April, July, and October of 2011.

posted: 2011-01-05

Annual Occupational Safety and Health Council Meeting to Convene in St. Petersburg

The Bureau is convening their annual face-to-face Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Council meeting in St. Petersburg, Fl., on January 11-13. This meeting will be held in conjunction with the full time USGS OSH staff across the nation for the purposes of addressing OSH programs and establishing future directions. Agenda topics include updates from the Associate and Deputy Directors for Administrative and Enterprise Information on safety realignment decisions, Department of the Interior Safety Staff programs and their impact on the USGS, Specialized Safety Program Managers safety initiatives, and USGS Headquarter OSH staff review of accident statistics, program metrics, and 2011 efforts to provide enhanced safety support to the field. Approximately 30 employees from across the country will be attending.

posted: 2011-01-05

Documenting 50 Years of Coral Changes is Newest SPCMSC Video Podcast

For 50 years former USGS geologist Gene Shinn has been chronicling conditions at seven coral reef sites in the Florida Keys. This photographic documentation and research is the subject of a new video podcast. The video shows 5 decades of changes that have taken place in both the size and the types of corals that were present at the coral reef sites Grecian Rocks and Carysfort Reef from the early 1960s to today. The images capture events such as the appearance of coral disease and the die off of coral species like staghorn, which have been observed throughout the greater Caribbean.

The video can be seen here:

posted: 2011-01-05

USGS African Dust Video to be Incorporated into University Website and Geology Class

The University of Puerto Rico and Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley, California requested permission to use segments of the USGS video podcast African Dust, Coral Reefs and Human Health for use on their website and for an education video for a geology class. The video was produced at the USGS in St. Petersburg and features SPCMSC scientists Ginger Garrison and Christina Kellogg. The video highlights how recent changes in the composition and quantities of African dust transported to the Caribbean and the Americas might provide clues to why Caribbean coral reef ecosystems are deteriorating and human health may be impacted. In addition, Garrison was asked to participate in a webinar on February 11 at the University of Puerto Rico about African dust and its effect on corals.

The video can be seen here:

posted: 2011-01-05

SPCMSC Releases New Home Page for Website

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center has redesigned its websites home page to create an easily useable, visually appealing page that incorporates multimedia features for which the public and partners can access USGS science. The home page now includes a FLASH animation slideshow that features new and ongoing research taking place at the center, a news section that keeps the public and partners up to date on publications, field work, events and interactions with the media and the centers podcast series that highlights the centers involvement in issues such as changing ocean chemistry, impacts of African Dust on coral reefs, and measuring hurricane impacts to coastal environments. The new home page went live on Thursday, December 17.

Go to the SPCMSC website to check out the new look:

posted: 2010-12-21

USGS Director Recognizes St. Petersburg Center Staff for Oil Spill Response

USGS Director Marcia McNutt recognized a large number of staff at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center for their various contributions supporting the Interior's response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill including the initial assessment and development and implementation of plans and preparations for sampling, monitoring, and sharing scientific resources and expertise with other federal, state and local agencies, academic institutions, and stakeholders. Staff included: Gordon Anderson, Karen Balentine, Julie Bernier, Sandy Coffman, Nancy DeWitt, Kara Doran, Jim Flocks, Jolene Gittens, Kristy Guy, Don Hickey, Chris Kellogg, Jack Kindinger, John Lisle, Joe Long, Keith Ludwig, Marci Marot, Bryan McCloskey, Molly McLaughlin, Jennifer Miselis, Karen Morgan, Paul Nelson, Nathaniel Plant, Dick Poore, Ginger Range, Chris Reich, BJ Reynolds, Lisa Robbins, Abby Sallenger, Chris Smith, Tom Smith, Hilary Stockdon, Dave Thompson, Phil Thompson, Ann Tihansky, Rob Wertz, Wayne Wright, Kim Yates, Dave Zawada. As work continues, it is likely more names will be added to this list.

posted: 2010-12-15

Ocean Acidification Research in South Florida Highlighted as Science Feature on USGS Homepage

Research that is establishing baseline rates for coral and algal growth in south Florida is highlighted prominently on the USGS homepage as a science feature. The science feature links to a Sound Waves article written by Matthew Cimitile and Ilsa Kuffner that describes how Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project scientists are monitoring coral growth and calcification rates as ocean conditions change. At four coral monitoring stations in South Florida, corals are transplanted onto concrete cinder blocks and are fixed onto a disc with a bolt that can easily slide into a hole at the top of the block and just as easily be removed to weigh the coral. Corals are periodically removed from the monitoring stations and weighed using the buoyant-weight technique. They are also stained with a dye, alizarin red, that becomes incorporated into the outermost skeletal layer of the coral. The stain provides a reference mark for scientists and knowing the date of the staining and later measuring coral growth above the stain line provides the linear extension rate of newly calcified material. This is year two of the CREST five-year plan for studying processes that affect the status of shallow coral-reef resources in three federally protected areas: the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Biscayne National Park in Florida, and Virgin Islands National Park on St. John.

The full article can be read here:

posted: 2010-12-15

SPCMSC scientists attend Ocean Carbon Biogeochemistry Workshop

Oceanographer Lisa Robbins and Mendenhall Post-doctoral Fellow Ryan P. Moyer participated in the Coastal Synthesis Workshop on December 11-12 in San Francisco, CA. The goals of the workshop were to gather active members of the coastal research community to identify existing datasets, publications, and ongoing studies that could contribute to the development of regional coastal carbon budgets. Determining the fluxes and processes that should be included in regional carbon budgets and associated models to ensure consistency and inter-comparability were also discussed. The final outcome of the Coastal Synthesis Activities will be a science plan for coastal ocean carbon and related biogeochemical research that identifies knowledge gaps and ranks research priorities to guide relevant program and agency activities and initiatives. The focus of the activity has been divided geographically into five regions of North America: East Coast, West Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Arctic, and Great Lakes. The workshop was sponsored by NASA and convened in cooperation with the US Carbon Cycle Science Program and the North American Carbon Program. A follow-up workshop is planned for the summer of 2011.

For further information see:

posted: 2010-12-15

SPCMSC Study Featured in Special Issue of Deep Sea Research on Deep-sea Environments and Corals

A Special Issue of Deep Sea Research II was released on December 14 and features an article by USGS microbiologist Christina Kellogg that documents the distribution and abundance of viruses in deep-sea cold-seep environments. Marine viruses, mainly bacteriophages (viruses that specifically infect bacteria) are the most abundant organisms in the ocean and underwater sediments. These viruses affect bacterial diversity and population succession, productivity, and the flow of carbon. Little is known about the distribution and abundance of viruses in deep-sea, cold-seep environments. Push cores were collected using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to see whether sediments close to seeps host higher numbers of viruses than non-seep areas. Data obtained from the cores suggests that greater microbial activity in or near cold-seep environments results in greater viral production and therefore higher numbers of viruses. This paper is the first to present data on viral dynamics from cold-seep environments and sediments below 1000 meters water depth in the Gulf of Mexico. The special issue consists of articles from the CHEMO III project (2005-2009). The projects objective was to explore, survey, and conduct experimental work on chemosynthetic communities and other hard bottom habitats, with an emphasis on deepwater corals. The project was sponsored by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Kelloggs full article can be read here:

More on the special issue of Deep Sea Research II can be found here:

posted: 2010-12-15

USGS Scientists to Participate in Coastal Synthesis Workshop to Discuss Carbon Budgets

Lisa Robbins and Ryan P. Moyer will attend the first Coastal Interim Synthesis Workshop on December 11-12 in San Francisco, California, that looks to assemble and synthesize relevant observations, data and modeling results on carbon cycle fluxes and processes along the North American continental margins. The workshop is hosted by the Ocean Carbon & Biochemistry Program and the North American Carbon Program and will bring together scientists from federal science agencies and universities. Major goals of the workshop are to identify existing datasets, publications and ongoing studies that could contribute to the development of regional coastal carbon budgets and to determine the fluxes and processes that should be included in regional carbon budgets and associated models. The workshop will also develop a science plan that identifies knowledge gaps and ranks research priorities. Other USGS scientists attending are Omar I. Abdul-Aziz, Brian A. Bergamaschi, Richard A. Champion, and Kevin D Kroeger.

Further information about the workshop can be found here:

More information about the carbon budget in the Gulf of Mexico can be read here: (1.3 MB PDF).

posted: 2010-12-13

St. Petersburg Times contacts SPCMSC for Florida Spring Story

Environmental reporter Craig Pittman of the St. Petersburg Times contacted information specialist Ann Tihansky to help identify USGS science contacts for a feature article he is writing on springs in Florida. Pittman will likely follow up with several USGS Florida Water Science Center hydrologists for the article.

posted: 2010-12-13

USGS Southeast Area Science Center Directors Meeting held in St. Petersburg, FL

Southeast Regional Director Jess Weaver convened a meeting with science center directors throughout the southeast area to discuss the progress and future direction for USGS regional science initiatives at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center December 1-2. The agenda of the meeting included discussion about annual review, tasks, timetables, and pre and post impact sampling for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Regional executive staff and liaisons also attended.

posted: 2010-12-02

Members of Coastal Hazards Research Team to Present Talks at American Geophyiscal Union Meeting

Oceanographers Hilary Stockdon, Peter Howd, and Nathaniel Plant will be presenting talks at the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco on Dec 13-17. Stockdon will discuss various parameterizations and distributions regarding the elevation of wave runup that allow for a wider range of runup statistics that is vital when predicting overtopping of dunes during a storm and coastal vulnerability. Howd will present results of a Bayesian Model that looks at coastal-change vulnerability in the northern Gulf of Mexico with specific emphasis on the rate of relative sea-level rise. In addition, Joe Long (oceanographer) will convene the Nearshore Processes session that presents research focused on the dynamics of waves, tides, currents, and sediment transport from the beach face to shelf break along sandy, muddy, and mixed sedimentary coasts. He is also presenting a poster that focuses on using nonlinear process-based numerical models to stimulate hydrodynamics and sediment transport during hurricanes and pre- and post-observations of coastal topography. Abby Sallenger and Kara Doran will also attend the meeting.

posted: 2010-12-02

USGS Scientists Discuss Careers, Answer Questions at Great American Teach In

About a dozen St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center scientists and staff participated in the Great American Teach In at elementary, middle, and high schools across Hillsborough and Pinellas County on November 18, 2010. The participants discussed earth science research they conduct such as studying coral reef health, changing ocean chemistry, diatoms, and microbiology. The scientists also talked about the environments in which they conduct their research and answered questions pertaining to their careers. Participants included Theresa Burress, Don Hickey, Paul Knorr, Dennis Krohn, Ilsa Kuffner, John Lisle, Ryan P. Moyer, Ellen Raabe, Chris Reich, Kathryn Smith and Rudy Troche. The Great American Teach In occurs during the American Education Week and brings scientists, journalists, pilots and many other professionals into the classroom to talk to students about their careers. This was the 17th year it took place in schools across Tampa Bay.

posted: 2010-12-02

Annual Meeting of National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards Team

Team Leaders and science leads from across the nation met in St. Petersburg, Fl., November 17-18 to discuss accomplishments, technologies and future plans for the program. Approximately 20 scientists and staff attended representing USGS offices in St. Petersburg, Woods Hole, MA. and Santa Cruz, CA. University researchers and scientists with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attended as well. Topics included long-term change, Lidar technology, sea-level rise, storm-induced change, and future directions of the Assessment Program.

posted: 2010-11-18

USGS Florida Center Directors Meet to Discuss Synergistic Opportunities

Jack Kindinger, Director of the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center and Information Specialist Ann Tihansky met with Wilie Rodriguez, Director of Florida Water Science Center, on November 10, 2010, at the USGS Tampa office. They discussed opportunities for collaborating, communicating, and developing resources that can be shared or expanded to increase USGS capabilities in Florida.

posted: 2010-11-18

SPCMSC Tunes in to Interiors Briefing on the National Ocean Policy

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center assembled to hear the webex seminar from Interiors Ocean and Coastal Activities Coordinator Terry Holman. Holman presented the latest overview of the status and plans of Interiors actions in implementing the National Ocean Policy.

More information is available at:

posted: 2010-11-18

Science Festival Planning Continues with Community and Corporate Partners

Community host partners including USGS, USFs College of Marine Science, NOAA, Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, and The Pier Aquarium met to discuss the festival footprint, logistics, marketing and options for sponsorships in two separate meetings November 16 and 17. Ann Tihansky represents the USGS on the Steering Committee. The St. Pete Science festival is envisioned to follow formats of other festivals around the nation with the first being focused on the theme of Marine and Environmental Activities and Technologies. USF and the Pier Aquarium will be presenting the vision to local marine and environmental industry leaders on November 18 to engage the business sector in festival planning and sponsorship.

posted: 2010-11-18

Quarterly Meeting with Bay Soundings Editorial Board

Ann Tihansky attended the quarterly meeting of the Bay Soundings Editorial Board to discuss plans for the upcoming winter issue. The publication is a quarterly information newsletter of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council that presents information about natural resources and trends in human development and environmental impacts. The USGS in St. Petersburg, FL., which is a frequent contributor to the publication, brings national topics to a local level perspective to raise awareness and further improvements in resource management strategies.

Bay Soundings

posted: 2010-11-18

US Senator Nelson Recognizes Important Role of Open House for Community

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Centers 12th Annual Open House was held November 5 and 6. The theme of this years Open House was Liquid Earth: Our Fluid Planet and over 40 interactive booths highlighted USGS science activities pertaining to the ocean and coastal environment along with many of our community partners. Approximately 800 4th grade students attended the Earth Science Day for Fourth Graders, while nearly 500 visitors attended the Public Day. Senator Bill Nelson recognized the event in a letter expressing his appreciation to the Center for contributing to the community by promoting ocean research, education and stewardship. Other notable attendees included Nancy Bostock of the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners; Nikki Capehart representing Congresswoman Kathy Castor; RB Johnson, Mayor of Indian Rocks Beach; Peter Betzer of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, and Stephen Andrasik, the Academic Chair of Physical Science at St. Petersburg College.

posted: 2010-11-10

USGS Scientists receive DOI Departmental Safety Awards for Diving Safety

Don Hickey (SPCMSC) and Marc Blouin are members of the Dive Safety Board that will receive the Department of Interiors Safety Award for Excellence in the Group category on November 10 in Washington, D.C. The Secretarys Honor Award Convocation honors individuals within the Department of Interior for Distinguished Service and Departmental Safety. A lot of research conducted at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center and other USGS science centers across the nation take place in underwater environments where scuba diving is essential for scientific research. Examples include calcification and disease studies of coral reefs in Florida, geologic coring projects in the northern Gulf of Mexico and studying impacts of invasives on benthic communities in the Great Lakes. Hickey and Blouin are both experienced dive instructors who have been involved in many of these research projects. Recently, they were part of a field crew that collected four cores from the Florida Middle Grounds at water depths of 85 feet. Researchers were interested in understanding the geologic evolution of the features found 120 miles offshore the Tampa Bay area. Rotary core drilling took place to collect cores ranging between 2 to 57 feet. During the research trip, 65 safe SCUBA dives were conducted with divers spending a total of 101 hours underwater. Both Blouin and Hickey are involved in TRUE, Teen Research Underwater Explorers, a non-profit organization that focuses on involving teens in SCUBA education and scientific research in St. Petersburg.

posted: 2010-11-10

Mapping Benthic Habitats and Tracking Sea Turtles Highlighted on USGS Science Feature

A Sound Waves article written by Matthew Cimitile that details work conducted in Dry Tortugas National Park by SPCMSC oceanographer Dave Zawada and USGS biologist Kristen Hart is highlighted on the Science Feature section of the USGS homepage. The article discusses how ATRIS ( Along-Track-Reef-Imaging System), an observing system that simultaneously acquires geo-located, color digital images and water depth measurements, is deployed to map the benthic habitat of Dry Tortugas National Park in order to characterize the composition and condition of benthic habitats and provide a basis for assessing changes and monitoring the progress of restoration efforts. The system is also being used to monitor the foraging, grazing, and transiting of threatened and endangered sea turtles in the national park. Data acquired by ATRIS is helping to determine the amount of time sea turtles spend in and around various habitats and along with the collection of blood and tissue samples will be essential towards protecting these marine species.

The Science Feature can be found here:

And the full article here:

posted: 2010-11-10

Student Journalist Covers USGS St. Petersburg as News Beat for Journalism Class

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center was chosen by a University of South Florida St. Petersburg journalism student as his news beat for the fall semester. Aaron Dalley will cover the research and events taking place at the center and produce several stories for his class and the universitys online publication. So far, the student journalist has written about the USGS Open House and Arctic acidification research.

posted: 2010-11-10

USGS Scientists Collect Geomorphology Data of Cat Island as part of the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP)

The USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center scientists collected high-resolution geophysical and bathymetric data (including Chirp sub-bottom, sidescan-sonar, interferometric swath bathymetry and single-beam seismic) around Cat Island, MS. in September, 2010. This data is being used to map the subsurface geology and was used to develop a coring strategy around this unique "T-shaped" island located six miles off of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. During the week of October 18, USGS SPCMSC scientist collected 26 vibracores within the near-shore waters surrounding the island. The vibracores will groundtruth the geophysical and bathymetric data and provide textural classification of the sediments. The team of scientists that conducted the field work for each cruise is as follows: Geophysical and bathymetric surveys: Jack Kindinger, Jennifer Miselis, Noreen Buster, Dana Weise, Lance Thornton, and Capt. Dave Bennett; Vibracoring survey: Jack Kindinger, Chandra Dreher, Kyle Kelso and Capt. Rich Young. MsCIP is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to link structural and nonstructural hurricane and storm damage risk reduction elements with ecosystem restoration to provide for more resilient coastal communities to hurricanes and storms.

posted: 2010-11-03

Imagine Magazine Interviews USGS Scientist for Career Option Column

The editor of Imagine, a magazine for middle and high school students published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, requested Ryan P. Moyer to participate in an interview for their Exploring Career Options column. Imagine has an academic focus and features contributions by both students and experts in their fields on issues and topics ranging from mathematics to writing to computer science and more. Moyer was targeted because he has taught at the Marine Science Consortium, a program previously listed in the magazine and familiar with student readers. Moyers research - related to the acidification of the oceans - is a topic that they want to include in their upcoming Water Issue. The interview focuses on Moyers current work, his description of a typical work day, working with other scientists, and what is challenging and rewarding about being an oceanographer.

Examples of recent issues can be found here: Biotechnology and Environmental Science.

posted: 2010-11-03

SOFIA Information System and Tools to be Highlighted at Everglades Data Integration Meeting

Information Technology Specialist Heather Henkel will be presenting on the South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) portal at an Everglades data integration meeting on November 19th at Florida International University in Miami, FL. The talk entitled Sofia: Managing Data and Publications will look at how SOFIA is providing scientific information access to support research, decision-making, and resource management for the South Florida ecosystem restoration effort.

posted: 2010-11-03

Science of Coastal Vulnerability to Extreme Storms Video Podcast Featured on

A SPCMSC video podcast on how the USGS Coastal Change Hazards research team measures the vulnerability of coastlines to hazardous storms was featured on on October 27, 2010. The podcast, titled In Harms Way: Measuring Storm Impacts to Forecast Future Vulnerability, documents how USGS scientists model potential changes to coastal environments to identify communities vulnerable to extreme erosion during storms. It also highlights how data is collected before and after storm landfall to verify past forecasts and improve future predictions. The video features interviews with oceanographers Abby Sallenger and Hilary Stockdon. is a website focused on geology and earth science news, maps, satellite imagery, and career information.

You can watch the video here:

posted: 2010-10-28

SPCMSC Contributes Article Highlighting Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

An article by Matthew Cimitile (SPCMSC) on a new planning process that brings together local stakeholders to determine the most appropriate locations to allow certain types of activities in ocean and coastal environments was published in the fall edition of Bay Soundings. The process, called coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP), will match different activities like marine protected areas, commercial shipping and aquaculture to places in the ocean and coastal environment where there uses can be sustained and they do not interfere with other activities. Overall, the process aims to accommodate necessary and value uses while maintaining ecologically sensitive places. CMSP is a major part of the nations first-ever ocean policy that looks to strengthen ocean governance and coordination. Bay Soundings is a quarterly news journal that covers the news and issues affecting Tampa Bay. The USGS is a member of the editorial board.

Read the article: Ecosystem Resource Planning Extends Offshore

posted: 2010-10-28

USGS Scientist Participates in Florida Geological Survey State Map Meeting

Physical Scientist Ellen Raabe was the USGS representative at the State Map Advisory Meeting (SMAC) for the Florida Geological Survey (FGS) on October 1, 2010, in Gainesville, Fl. She was part of a panel that discussed justification for mapping priorities, GIS-compatible products, completion of "slivers" (mostly coastal), improved use of "private" core/well data, and potential collaboration with University resources. STATEMAP is a USGS program that directs funds to State geological surveys in order to improve and enhance existing geologic maps. FGS has a small, but competitive team under the direction of principal investigator Rick Green. Each year they successfully compete for and receive funding. This year the Ocala West quadrangle was completed, providing helpful information to local agencies and resource managers when making planning decisions and conserving natural resources. The Inverness East 1:100,000 quad is next in line for this coming year's FGS STATEMAP efforts, partly in support of hydrologic evaluations being conducted by the USGS Tampa Water Science Center.

More information about the STATEMAP program can be found here:

posted: 2010-10-28

SPCMSC Scientist Presents New Research at Scientific Meetings in Florida

Ellen Raabe presented a 20 minute talk on a recently published paper she authored with Elzbeita Bialkowska-Jelinska, Kristen Ebersol, and David Stonehouse titled Thermal Infrared Imagery Reveals Groundwater Seeps and Highlights the Potential Inland Movement of Seawater in Levy County, Florida at the 47th American Institute of Professional Geologists meeting in Orlando held on September 11-15. The talk roused great interest that Raabe received an invitation by Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute Chairman Scott Nyhof to make a similar presentation at their meeting held on October 13-14, in Lakeland, Fl. The topic of her talk at this meeting was Emerging Science Issues, Geology, and Application of Thermal Infrared in Coastal Lowlands. The talk was designed to cover a broader realm of USGS topics including geologic mapping, emerging science issues, and hazard response.

Further information about use of thermal infrared imagery to identify groundwater-discharge locations can be found here:

More information about both conferences can be found here: and

posted: 2010-10-28

SPCMSC Geologists Provide Advice, Guidance on Operational Science Advisory Team

Marci Marot, Chris Smith, Julie Bernier, and Jennifer Miselis of the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center have been rotating in for several weeks at a time on location at the Unified Area Command for the BP oil spill in New Orleans, LA. They are serving as USGS representatives on the Operational Science Advisory Team (OSAT). The OSAT Team is tasked with making timely recommendations to the USCG Federal On-Scene Coordinator via the NOAA Science Support Coordinator on adjustments to field sampling activities as well as reporting trends and maintaining the status of decision indicators. The OSAT is made up of representatives from member agencies including USGS, NOAA, USCG, EPA, BOEMRE, and BP. The OSAT provides a cross-agency analysis of near real-time data from the sub-surface monitoring efforts.

posted: 2010-10-06

SPCMSC Scientists Receive a Best Publication Award

Bob Morton and Chuck Holmes (retired) have been invited to the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS) Awards ceremony on Sunday Oct. 10 in San Antonio, TX to receive 3rd place in best publication in the 2009 Transactions. GCAGS serves as a forum for the discussion and publication of papers on subjects concerning the geological profession as they relate to the Gulf Coast and Transactions is the associations yearly publication.

posted: 2010-10-06

CREST Scientists to Attend Florida Keys Marine Ecosystem Conference and Workshop

Several Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies Project (CREST) scientists will be attending the Florida Keys Marine Ecosystem Conference and Workshop titled Linking Science to Management that is held on October 19-22, 2010, in Duck Key, Florida. This conference brings together scientists, natural resource managers and stakeholders to discuss science related to the Florida Keys marine ecosystem. CREST scientists Kristen Hart, who is on the conferences steering committee, Jen Flannery, Chris Kellogg, Ilsa Kuffner, Dick Poore, Kim Yates and Dave Zawada will present talks and posters on assessing the status and functioning of various components of the Florida Keys marine ecosystem resources.

You can find out more information about the conference here:

And about specific talks and posters here: (72 KB PDF)

posted: 2010-09-30

USGS DISCOVRE Embarks on Final Year of Deep-sea Coral Research in Gulf of Mexico

The USGS DISCOVRE project has embarked on its first research cruise of the project's fourth and final year and is out to sea from September 20 to October 3. The DISCOVRE research project focuses on a greater understanding of deep-sea coral environments in the Gulf of Mexico. The project is a collaboration of scientists from the USGS, University of North Carolina Wilmington and Chapel Hill, NOAA, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, the Scottish Association for Marine Science and other organizations and academic institutions. The R/V Cape Hatteras departed out of Gulfport, Florida with the ROV Kraken to collect samples of deep-sea coral at depths of 300 to 1,000 meters - for a variety of research objectives: trophodynamics, population genetics, reproduction, microbiology, and ecology. Cruise blogs are posted regularly during the cruise and twitter updates are broadcasted @USGSLive. The cruise will conclude in St. Petersburg, Florida.

You can find more information about Discovre research cruises here:

You can keep current on the cruises research by following the blog here:

posted: 2010-09-27

SPCMSC Scientists Gather Data to Decipher Origins of Cat Island, Mississippi

A survey team from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center collected high resolution geophysical data from around Cat Island, MS. from September 6 to 15 as part of an ongoing geomorphic study of the islands origins. The team consisted of research geologists Jack Kindinger, Jennifer Miselis, and Noreen Flocks, electronics engineers Dana Wiese and Lance Thornton, Capt. Dave Bennet and USGS volunteer Kate Rose. Data collected during the survey included more than 250 line miles of single-beam, swath, sidescan, and subbottom bathymetry data. Cat Island has a very unusual shape (T-Shaped) and is the western most island of the Mississippi Barrier Island chain. On August 14, vibracores were collected on the island and in the next couple of weeks 15 to 20 more vibracores will be collected. Sites for taking the remaining vibracores are being selected using the geophysical data just collected. The study is funded by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District.

posted: 2010-09-27

SPCMSC Provides Congressional Briefing Material Detailing Oil Spill Response Activities

The USGS in St. Petersburg, Florida developed Congressional briefing materials highlighting the numerous oil spill response activities that scientists at the center are working on, from creating geospatial data products to providing pre and post-spill analysis as well as coordinating with other USGS offices nationwide. SPSMSC provided the briefing materials to USGS Louisiana Water Science Center Director Charles Demas for his annual congressional visit to Washington D.C. Demas will be delivering these materials to Congressman and Senators during the week of September 13. The materials describe how the center has been providing up-to-date coastal bathymetry and geologic data for the Gulf areas since the beginning of the spill. The SPSCMSC Center continues to manage data requests, conference calls, directing response personnel, and providing coastal and shelf geophysical data to on the ground responders as well as pre and post-spill sample planning and collection.

posted: 2010-09-14

SPCMSC Office Hosts Youth Fishing Program Summit

The first ever Youth Fishing Program Summit workshop was held at the St. Pete USGS Office September 9-10, 2010. The workshop was sponsored by Florida Sea Grant as a forum for those working in youth angling programs to share resources, network and develop ideas for a statewide Young Angler Program. The program brought participants from across the state working at local, state, and national levels and tied to many national initiatives including No Child Left Inside, Get Outdoors, and Youth Environmental Alliance. Sandy Coffman coordinated the visit at the USGS facility. The event was organized and run by Karen Blyler of Univ. of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

posted: 2010-09-14

Coastal Maps Requested for Historical Society Presentation

The Mayor of Indian Rocks Beach, R.B. Johnson, requested assistance from the USGS for locating maps that tell the story of the shifting coastline of west-central Florida. Johnson, who works with many communities and municipalities to manage his citys coastal resources, is interested in sharing the idea that beaches can move substantially over the course of time. Mark Hansen and Ann Tihansky provided R.B. Johnson with maps and several web sites for telling a story that spans the last century. Johnson is tying these resources to old maps he obtained from other older historical sources.

Find out more: Maps of Tampa Bay | Office of Coast Survey Historical Map & Chart Project

posted: 2010-09-14

SPCMSC Participates in USGS Emergency Communications Test

On September 9, 2010, the USGS St. Petersburg Office personnel participated in the test of the newest USGS Emergency Notification Communication system designed to track personnel during an emergency situation. Employees were contacted at each of the locations currently entered in the emergency contact database. The test provided an opportunity to see who needed to update information and where other technical difficulties occurred so that the office is prepared for disasters and breaks in communication networks.

posted: 2010-09-14

USGS Biologist Participates with USF-St. Petersburg on Eco-Cruise

Marc Blouin (SPCMSC) will be representing the USGS and diving as a tool for scientific study for the October 29 program that takes participants out on a sailboat into Tampa Bay to learn more about the coastal marine environment and related science and technology going on in the area. The USGS is a partner with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the USF-St. Petersburg Waterfront Office and Faculty who organize the outing on a 37-ft sailboat called the Wanderer. Discussion topics include climate change, water pollution, and technology.

posted: 2010-09-14

Science of Coastal Vulnerability to Extreme Storms Highlighted in Newest SPCMSC Video Podcast

Hurricane Earls approach towards the east coast demonstrates the importance of understanding how coastal environments will respond to these extreme storms. A new video podcast documents the work of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Program in measuring the vulnerability of coastlines to such hazardous storms. The podcast, titled In Harms Way: Measuring Storm Impacts to Forecast Future Vulnerability, shows how USGS scientists model potential changes to coastal environments to identify communities vulnerable to extreme erosion during storms. It also highlights how data is collected before and after storm landfall to verify past forecasts and improve future predictions. The video features interviews by oceanographer Abby Sallenger and Hilary Stockdon. The video podcast is currently a Science Feature on the USGS home page.

Watch the video podcast: or

posted: 2010-09-02

Coastal Change Hazards Project Provided Photos to Evening News for Approaching Hurricane Stories

The USGS Coastal Change Hazards Project supplied photographs showing coastal erosion in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a report about potential inundation and erosion to the region that may come from Hurricane Earl for the CBS Evening News. The images detail a breach at Hatteras Island and beach erosion and overwash in Hatteras Village due to Hurricane Isabel in 2003. The story was aired during the evening news on August 31.

Watch the program: CBS Evening News Program

posted: 2010-09-02

Media Interest in Coastal Vulnerability

Hurricane Earl, the 1st hurricane for 2010 that is a potential threat to the U.S., has triggered annual media interest in coastal vulnerability and hazards. Inquiries from CBS and Thailand are being supported by USGS communications and web resources. A new podcast on coastal vulnerability is featured on the USGS site and the USGS channel on YouTube and makes available USGS research to a diverse, international audience. Web pages maintained by the SPCMSC team serve up supporting technical information.

Watch the padcast: In Harm's Way: Measuring Storm Impacts to Forecast Future Vulnerability

See the Web site: Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms

posted: 2010-09-02

New Fact Sheet Highlights USGS Research into the Impact of Climate Change on the Florida Shelf Ecosystem

A fact sheet by SPCMSC scientists Lisa Robbins and Ellen Raabe titled Response of Florida Shelf Ecosystems to Climate Change: from Macro to Micro Scales focuses attention on marine environments of the Florida shelf at three levels; regional, estuarine, and the individual organism. The USGS is partnering with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the University of South Florida (USF) to improve understanding of the effects of ocean acidification on regional carbonate processes, changes in individual estuaries, and organism-level response. This understanding will assist in developing appropriate Federal, State, and local management responses to climate change in coastal areas.

Read the Fact Sheet: Response of Florida Shelf Ecosystems to Climate Change: from Macro to Micro Scales

posted: 2010-08-26

SPCMSC Researchers Part of Field Crew that Obtained Deep Sea Cores from Florida Middle Grounds

At water depths of 85 feet, a field crew of researchers on board the M/V Spree successfully collected four cores from the Florida Middle Grounds. Researchers are interested in understanding the geologic evolution of the features found 120 miles offshore the Tampa Bay area. The Florida Middle Grounds is a 1,193 square km area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico that houses stony corals, nearly 200 fish species, sponges, crustaceans, and other marine life. Rotary core drilling took place August 1 August 7, and scientists collected cores ranging between 2 to 57 feet. Overall, 65 safe SCUBA dives were conducted with divers spending a total of 101 hours underwater. The research divers are Chris Reich, Keith Ludwig, Paul Knorr, Jordan Sanford, Adam Brame, BJ Reynolds, and Don Hickey from SPCMSC, Lee Bodkin (USGS Texas Water Science Center), Kayla Gibbs (USGS Ft. Worth, TX), Justin McInnis (USGS Austin, TX), Libby Carnahan (Florida Department of Environmental Protection), Nesti Stathakopoulos (National Coral Reef Institute), and Marc Blouin (USGS Great Lakes Science Center).

posted: 2010-08-26

Posters Display SPCMSC Data Integration Networks and Information at Workshop

Community for Data Integration (CDI) Workshop, held at the USGS Federal Center in Denver from Aug 10 - 13. Posters displayed information on the Everglades Depth Estimation Network, Conceptual Components for the Coastal Everglades Depth Estimation Network, Hindcasting Water-Surface Elevations for Water Conservation Area and Building a Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System to Improve Data Management and Integration. CDI's goal is to develop and execute a plan for the integration of Bureau data resources in an effort to facilitate access to scientific data and information for scientists and decision makers. It also provides a forum to focus on data integration issues, planning, and execution, as well as to assist in providing Bureau level guidance to implement the USGS Data Integration Strategy.

posted: 2010-08-26

Mendenhall Post-doctoral Fellow to Attend NOAA Fisheries Science Center Workshop on Ocean Acidification Research

Ryan P. Moyer, a Mendenhall Post-doctoral Fellow at SPCMSC, was also invited to attend the NOAA Fisheries Science Center Workshop on Ocean Acidification Research from 29 August to 1 September in Seattle, WA. This workshop seeks to update NOAA science centers on on-going ocean acidification projects within NOAA and by other federal and academic partners. The organizing committee also seeks an exchange of information on the latest developments in ocean acidification research while coordinating research activities within NOAA and between its partners to avoid redundancy.

posted: 2010-08-26

USGS Scientist to Participate in Workshop on Paleo-ocean Acidification and Carbon Cycle Perturbation Events

Ryan P. Moyer, a Mendenhall Post-doctoral Fellow at SPCMSC, was selected to participate in a workshop to improve the network and interaction between researchers studying biogeochemical consequences of past carbon cycle perturbations, and improve the collective understanding of paleo-ocean acidification and its biogeochemical consequences The Workshop on Paleo-ocean Acidification and Carbon Cycle Perturbation Events will be held from August 25-29 on Catalina Island, CA and brings together 50 leading experts on Cenozoic paleoceanography, carbon cycle modeling, biological, chemical and physical oceanography, and paleobiology. The workshop aims to discuss existing evidence and define future goals of paleo-ocean acidification research as well as generate the first comprehensive synthesis publication on the topic.

More information is available at: PAGES (Past Global Changes)posted: 2010-08-26

Arctic Acidification Research Highlighted as Science Feature on USGS Homepage

Ocean acidification research taking place on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy is highlighted prominently on the USGS homepage as a science feature. The science feature details the joint USGS/USF team currently working to characterize the carbonate system of the Arctic Ocean with respect to potential impacts from climate change and ocean acidification. SPCMSC scientists Lisa Robbins and Kim Yates and University of South Florida College of Marine Science Professor Bob Byrne lead the team. The scientists on board the ship include Chris Dufore (SPCMSC), Xuewu Liu (USF) and Mark Patsavas (USF). This water sampling team are collecting a first of its kind data set that will enable scientists to determine the present state of carbonate mineral saturation in both surface and deep water; measure current levels of seawater pH, pCO2, total alkalinity, and dissolved inorganic carbon; and to better characterize the carbon cycling system. The researchers have been working a grueling schedule, sampling surface water every 2 hours since the cruise began at the beginning of August. Arctic acidification research is taking place in collaboration with the 2010 Extended Continental Shelf Project that is mapping areas of the seafloor to determine limits of the extended continental shelf.

Keep up to date on the ongoing acidification research in the Arctic by following the blog.

Additional information about the expedition can be found at the 2010 Extended Continental Shelf Project.posted: 2010-08-20

SPCMSC Coastal Change Hazards Research Featured in Science News

SPCMSC Coastal Change Hazards research is highlighted in an article titled Scour Power that discusses the large impact extreme storms can have on coastal erosion and the need for better estimates of future erosion in the August 28, 2010 issue of Science News. Oceanographer Asbury Abby Sallenger was quoted in the article and talked about how recent technology like aircraft with laser altimeters and GPS has transformed the way in which researchers collect data. The wealth of information that can now be collected provides insight into the amount of coastal change that takes place during storms. Models and pre and post-storm images produced by the Coastal Change Hazards research team were used in the article to highlight the impact storms can have on populated coastal areas and the environment. Science News is the magazine of the Society for Science & the Public.

The article can be read here:

posted: 2010-08-20

Multi-agency Crew Collects Coring Data for Mississippi Coastal Improvement Plan

A multi-agency crew of scientists lead by Jack Kindinger (SPCMSC) collected vibracores in the northern Gulf of Mexico as part of the US Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Coastal Improvement Plan (MsCIP) sponsored by the Cat Island Geomorphic Study from August 3rd to 6th. The onshore sampling portion of the Cat Island project was conducted over a three-day period with 14 vibracores acquired. Most core penetrations were to ~ 2.75 m depth below sea level, with the deepest being 4.75 m. The crew conducted very physically strenuous activities through very warm (heat index < 110˚F) conditions each day. Mike Brown and Dallon Weathers (University of New Orleans) operated the boats, shared gear, and provided valuable experience and indispensable help. Jennifer Miselis (SPCMSC) and Kate Rose (USGS Stennis) supplied background data and maps, great ideas for coring sites, and did much or all the recording. Kyle Kelso (SPCMSC), Meghan Alesce (USACE) and Mike Potts (NPS) provided additional support during the coring activities. In the next phase of the project, the team will conduct offshore geophysical surveys and coring around Aug. 30th.

posted: 2010-08-20

USGS Contributes Article Documenting Freeze Event Impacts on Florida Resources

Matthew Cimitile (SPCMSC) wrote an article for Bay Soundings describing the impacts of the unprecedented freezing temperatures on water resources and wildlife in Florida. The epic cold spell lasting 11 consecutive days with temperatures below 34 degrees resulted in the deaths of many fish and manatees, bleached corals, frostbitten mangroves, more than 65 sinkholes and hundreds of dry wells. SESC scientists Robert Bonde and Tom Smith were quoted in the article discussing the role the historic freeze had on manatee populations and mangrove ecosystems around the state. Evaluating current water use as a method of crop freeze protection is still being addressed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District due to the sinkholes and impacts on domestic wells. Understanding the impact such extremes can have on natural resources can improve management practices and resource planning for the future. Bay Soundings is a quarterly news journal that covers the news and issues affecting Tampa Bay. The USGS is a member of the editorial board.

Read the article: Extreme Weather Stresses Ecosystemsposted: 2010-07-29

USGS Coastal and Marine Science Podcasts Featured on Science Websites

Podcasts from the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology podcast series have been featured on several science websites within the past few months. Podcasts on "Summer Fieldwork in Everglades National Park" and "Submersible Habitat for Analyzing Reef Quality (SHARQ)" appeared on, a site published by retired Mansfield University geography and geology professor Hobart M. King. The site focuses on geology and earth science news, maps, satellite imagery, and career information. The podcast "African Dust, Coral Reefs, and Human Health" was featured on, a website aimed at sharing science discoveries, news and laboratory research findings, and included an excerpt from the podcast transcript and commentary from LabGrab publishers. The African dust video was also highlighted on Earth Online Media, a media support blog for Earth Online: An Internet Guide for Earth Science, one of the first books concerning the use of the internet by earth scientists.

posted: 2010-07-21

USGS Ecologist to present African dust findings at World Soil Conference

Ginger Garrison will be giving a presentation on findings from an African dust, coral reefs, and human health study at the 19th World Congress of Soil Science that is being held from August 1-6, 2010 in Brisbane, Australia. The Congress is held every four years and brings together scientists, researchers, academics and professionals from around the world. This years theme is 'Soil Solutions for a Changing World.' Garrison will discuss findings pertaining to the enrichment/depletion of trace metals in African dust from source and down-wind sites in the Caribbean.

posted: 2010-07-21

EARTH Magazine Features USGS Science on Sinkholes in August Issue

USGS scientists Terrie Lee and Ann Tihansky were featured in the August issue of EARTH Magazine, a monthly periodical focused on earth science, energy and environment news that has a readership of over 50,000 per month. Titled Sinkholes: Florida Grapples with the Wonders of the Not-So-Deep, the article focuses on the factors contributing to the surplus of sinkholes in southwest Florida during the winter of 2010, as well as Floridas underlying geology and the importance of understanding karst in managing water resources. Tihansky discussed how the number of sinkholes is probably underestimated, while Lee explained how demands on water resources impact the development on sinkhole formation.

posted: 2010-07-21

USGS Scientists Use Thermal Infrared Imagery to Develop Greater Understanding of Groundwater in Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park, Florida

The USGS report "Thermal Imaging of the Waccasassa Bay Preserve: Image Acquisition and Processing," authored by SPCMSC scientists Ellen Raabe and Elzbieta Bialkowska-Jelinksa was published on July 8, 2010. The study used thermal infrared imagery to identify groundwater-discharge locations in Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park during winter, when groundwater being discharged from the Florida aquifer is thermally distinct from the surrounding cold surface waters. The imagery was used to detect interconnected and restrained water flow paths, and contributes to scientific understanding of the underlying geology of the area. This information can assist with resource management and strengthen understanding of the effects of land and water use on the coastal lowlands, estuarine habitats, and natural resources of the State Park.

Read the report: Thermal Imaging of the Waccasassa Bay Preserve: Image Acquisition and Processing

posted: 2010-07-14

Coastal and Marine Geology Programs Project Hosts Meeting with National Park Service to Facilitate Remote Sensing Research

The use of remote sensing technology, mapping, research and product development will be the focus of a meeting hosted by The Decision Support for Coastal Science and Resource Management (DSCSM) Project and the NPS Assateague Island National Seashore on June 15 to 17, 2010. Scientists at the meeting are discussing the use of remote sensing technology supported by DSCSM, facilitating discussions for continued collaboration between the two federal agencies and other project partners, and providing updates relating to remote sensing technology and research. The meeting is taking place at Assateague Island National Seashore in Berlin, Maryland.

posted: 2010-06-16

USGS Supports Interiors Coasts and Oceans Activities at The Coastal Societys 22nd International Conference

Kyle Kelso represented the USGS as he accompanied the Department of Interiors booth at The Coastal Societys 22nd International Conference, Shifting Shorelines: Adapting to the Future held in Wilmington, NC from June 13-16, 2010. The booth featured USGS science as well as other Interior coasts and oceans topics including materials from programs within US Fish and Wildlife Service, Minerals Management Service and National Parks. More than 300 coastal managers, scientists and policy makers attended the conference. The meeting, which is partly sponsored by the USGS, addresses a variety of coastal and ocean topics such as climate change, coastal environments, changing shorelines, and coastal economies. More information about the event can be found here:

posted: 2010-06-16

Oceanography Camp for Girls to Tour USGS Center in St. Petersburg, Florida

On July 8 and 9, SPCMSC is hosting a group of 8th grade girls from the University of South Florida Oceanography Camp for Girls. Personnel at the center will give the group a tour of the building and labs as well as providing interview time with scientists. Scientists will show the girls research being conducted and talk to them about choosing a career in marine science.

posted: 2010-06-16

USGS Scientists Shed Light on Possible Geological and Environmental Impacts of Building a Barrier Berm to Protect Coastal Ecosystems

A USGS report entitled Effects of Building a Sand Barrier Berm to Mitigate the Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Louisiana Marshes, highlights impacts and long-term monitoring requirements involved with building a berm in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Three SPCMSC scientists - Jack Kindinger, James Flocks and Abby Sallenger - along with lead author Dawn Lavoie and David Twichell of the USGS, authored the critical report that was released on June 4, 2010. The study is in response to the State of Louisiana's request for emergency authorization to build a barrier berm to protect coastal wetlands from oil and perform spill mitigation work on the Chandeleur Islands and nearby barrier islands. Issues of concern are timely construction of the sand berm, difficulty of construction, scarcity of sand resources along coastal Louisiana, and the impact of storms on the berm, which could result in the transportation of oil and sediment across the island and into the back bays. The barrier berm is a new strategy for protecting the coast from oil and long-term monitoring is recommended to determine the geological and ecological impacts that construction of the berm would have on the environment.

Read the report: Effects of Building a Sand Barrier Berm to Mitigate the Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Louisiana Marshesposted: 2010-06-09

SPCMSC Director Discusses Sand Berm Construction with Media Outlets

Jack Kindinger conducted interviews with CNN, the Los Angeles Times, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune pertaining to the building of an oil protection berm along the Louisiana coastline. Kindinger discussed the science behind building a sand berm as protection against oil washing into marsh and coastal ecosystems as well as the possible environmental impacts from the construction. In answering many of the reporters' questions, Kindinger referred to the newly released USGS report 'Effects of Building a Sand Barrier Berm to Mitigate the Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Louisiana Marshes'.

Read the Los Angeles Times article: Scientists skeptical about rush to build sand barriers

posted: 2010-06-09

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response Products

A new web page is displaying products being developed at SPCMSC in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Current products on the site include lidar topography and bathymetry maps of barrier islands and coastal wetlands and potential inundation and overwash prediction maps of islands and shorelines in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The center is also providing a whole range of lidar, bathymetry, sediment cores, and other data to help with response efforts.

Visit the site: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response

posted: 2010-06-08

USGS Helps to Develop Elementary Teacher Presentations for Earth Science Education Class

Ann Tihansky and Matthew Cimitile, SPCMSC, are working with education professor Malcolm Butler in developing project guidelines for an earth and physical science education class that is part of the Elementary Education: Math/Science Emphasis Graduate program at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. Elementary school teachers taking the class will produce a three to five minute presentation on how they would present an Earth science topic to their classroom. Topics include wetlands, ocean acidification, ocean currents, oil spills in the Gulf, science in our everyday lives, and others. Presentations will be recorded and several will be picked to be hosted on SPCMSC website as a resource for elementary science teachers.

posted: 2010-06-08

USGS Scientist Interviewed on Geology of Sinkhole Formation

On June 1, 2010, Ann Tihansky was interviewed by ABC News NYC about the geologic explanation for sinkholes, like the recent one that occurred in Guatemala on May 31, 2010, along with the heavy rains associated with Tropical Storm Agatha. Tihansky provided historical context for this sinkhole and discussed the variables that contribute to sinkhole occurrence as well as human activities that are often associated with them. In addition, she spoke about the hazards sinkholes can pose to water quality and infrastructure. She referred the reporter to the USGS report: for further information.

posted: 2010-06-08

Oceanographer to Give Extreme Storm Presentation at Hurricane Expo

Hilary Stockdon, SPCMSC, will be one of the speakers at The Science Center of Pinellas annual Hurricane and Other Natural Disasters Expo on Saturday, June 5, 2010. The expo focuses on how the public can prepare for unexpected storms and natural disasters. Stockdon will present information regarding potential impacts from hurricanes and extreme storms to Tampa Bays coastal environment. Scientists Karen Morgan, Kara Doran, and Joe Long will use interactive displays to teach the public about coastal change during hurricanes. More information about the event can be found here:

posted: 2010-06-08

USGS Mangrove Specialist Interviewed by Media About Potential Oil Spill Effects

Tom Smith was interviewed by the ABC affiliate WFTS-ABC Action News Channel 28 on the topic of potential impacts of the oil spill on mangroves and their associated ecosystems. Tom shared his historical perspective from an oil spill in Panama (1968 and his work there in 1989) and explained basic mangrove growth and physiology. He also discussed his current research at monitoring sites along the west Florida Gulf Coast including Tampa Bay and Everglades National Park. The news story is aired on WFTS at 5 and 6 p.m. EST May 7 and is available on-line.

Read the story: Local biologists worried about impact of oil on West Coast wildlife and vegetation

posted: 2010-05-12

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response: Potential Inundation and Overwash Prediction Maps Available

Maps describing the potential for inundation and overwash of the islands and shorelines along the northern Gulf of Mexico were created by the SPCMSC Coastal Hazards team to assist oil spill response and to support science planning. The maps are being updated to include new regions and environmental conditions as this situation evolves. They are available on-line and are also part of the USGS Multi-media gallery.

See: Barrier-Island Inundation and Overwash: Application to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spillposted: 2010-05-12

Florida Science Centers Featured in Mays USGS Science Picks

A podcast on deep water corals with Christina Kellogg and a video podcast about African Dust, Coral Reefs, and Human Health, featuring several USGS scientists including Ginger Garrison and Christina Kellogg, were picked up as part of the monthly USGS Science Picks (See last weeks highlights). Science Picks are a communications service that targets topics and items of interest and shares them with the media and the general public.

See the May Science Picks: May Science Picks - Hot News about Cool Science

Listen to the podcast: Diving for Deep-Sea Coral Critters

posted: 2010-05-12

Coastal Hazards Science to be Included in Upcoming Hurricane Special

Abby Sallenger was interviewed by WFLA, News Channel 8, on May 5 about barrier islands, flooding, and other impacts of hurricanes along the west-central coast of Florida. It is expected to be part of their annual upcoming Hurricane Special to air the first week of June.

posted: 2010-05-12

New Web Page Hosts Video Podcast Series

The recently created Coastal and Marine Geology podcast series now has its own web page. The video podcasts relate to USGS science conducted at SPCMSC and within the Coastal and Marine Geology program. Currently, there are three videos found on the site SHARQ, African Dust, Coral Reefs, and Human Health, and Summer Fieldwork in Everglades National Park. The videos are located on the USGS Social Media site and the SPCMSC website:

posted: 2010-05-12

USGS Scientists Interviewed About Tampa Bay Regions Most Vulnerable to Oil Spill

Jack Kindinger and Kim Yates were interviewed by St. Petersburg Times environmental reporter Craig Pittman about areas in Tampa Bay that would be most vulnerable to oil impacts if the spill reaches the area. Kindinger and Yates provided Pittman with information regarding protected and preserved areas in the Bay region.

posted: 2010-05-12

EPA Invites USGS To Present Findings on African Dust

Ginger Garrison was invited by EPA Region 4s Air Quality Monitoring Managers' Meeting on April 21, in Athens, GA. Her talk, "African dust and implication for the SE United States", was delivered to an audience consisting of national and regional EPA, state and county government managers and scientists.

posted: 2010-04-29

USGS Works with NASA on Dune Vulnerability Study

On April 20, 2010 scientists from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center installed a camera to monitor waves and dune erosion at the Kennedy Space Center. The camera will collect images for 10 minutes every hour. That data will be sent back to the St Petersburg office for analysis and will be shared with collaborators at NASA and University of Florida. Participating in the installation were Nathaniel Plant, Ann Marie Ascough, Phil Thompson and Karen Morgan from the USGS and Ron Schaub from NASA.

posted: 2010-04-29

Student Paper Wins Award at the Association of American Geographers Meeting

On April 17, SPCMSC staff Marilyn Montgomery won the Coastal and Marine Specialty Group's Norb Psuty Student Paper Merit Award at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) annual meeting in Washington, DC week. Her award was for presenting her paper, "Spatial Analysis of Vulnerability to Coastal and Inland Flood Hazards in Tampa Bay, Florida".

posted: 2010-04-29

Mendenhall Researcher Presents Seminar on Ocean Acidification at USGS Reston

Ryan Moyer presents a Mendenhall Research Seminar at the USGS Visitor Center in Reston, VA on April 30. The presentation, "Historical records of coral geochemistry and calcification and their relationship to anthropogenic ocean acidification" will discuss how corals are used as recorders of changes in seawater chemistry as they depositing calcium carbonate (aragonite) skeletons in discrete annual layers that can span several centuries. Moyers work is looking at recent increases in a combination of anthropogenic and climatic stresses that may be contributing to the degradation and decline of many coral reef communities world-wide. Measurements of annual variations in coral skeletal density combined with isotope and/or trace metal geochemistry of the coral skeleton can serve as proxies for a suite of paleo-environmental events and conditions.

posted: 2010-04-29

USGS Participates in Ocean Acidification Workshop For Fisheries Industry

On April 26, Lisa Robbins and Kim Yates participated in a workshop on ocean acidification at the USGS St. Petersburg office. The workshop was hosted by the Seafood Choices Alliance to educate the fishery industry in west-central Florida. The Cutting Through Complexity Workshop was designed to clearly present scientific information regarding possible impacts of ocean acidification on fisheries and seafood industry stakeholders. The workshop also solicited participants for feedback about how to inform and engage the community on this issue. Ned Daly, the North America Director of SeaWeb-Seafood Choices kicked off the event. Robbins and Yates, along with Dennis Heinemann, a Senior Scientist with the Ocean Conservancy, presented talks to the group about the basic science behind ocean acidification. The attendees included resource managers, universities, fishery industries and conservation groups with representatives from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Florida Sea Grant, Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission and Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Ocean Conservancy, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, University of Florida, Univ. of South Florida- College of Marine Science, members of the Aquaculture Industry, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation.

posted: 2010-04-29

USGS Scientist to Participate in Workshop on Assessing Ocean Acidification in the Arctic

Research Oceanographer Lisa Robbins has been invited to participate in the Scoping Workshop for the Arctic Ocean Acidification Assessment, in Troms, Norway in May 10-12, 2010. This workshop is being organized by the Arctic Mapping and Assessment Program (AMAP) 23rd Working Group (part of Nordic Council). The objectives of the Scoping Workshop include clarifying the priority questions on ocean acidification and discussing related work that might contribute to the Arctic assessment. Work will also include preparing the draft of contents/extended outline for the assessment report.

posted: 2010-04-26

USGS Participates in Marine Quest with Booth Focused on Ocean Acidification

The USGS is participating April 17 with a display at the annual community education event hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute called Marine Quest that draws over 4,000 people. The USGS is one of many community research neighbors sharing expertise and educational materials about science and marine-related topics. The USGS theme for this years display is Ocean Acidification. Ryan Moyer, Ann Tihansky, Heather Schreppel and Ilsa Kuffner will host a display that illustrates basic concepts about pH, ocean chemistry and carbon cycling.

posted: 2010-04-26

Science Literacy Article is Cover Story for Bay Soundings

An article on science literacy written by USGS journalist Matthew Cimitile was the cover story for the spring edition of Bay Soundings. The article titled Reawakening the Scientific Mind of the American Public, explored the critical importance and yet weakening state of science literacy among American adults and students when compared to other industrialized nations. It also described solutions to the problem through academics and community outreach. The Tampa Bay scientific and environmental community was highlighted for sparking scientific interest and curiosity in people through teacher workshops, environmental student programs and public engagement.

Read the story: Reawakening the Scientific Mind of the American Public

posted: 2010-04-26

New African Dust Documentary Chosen for USGS Monthly Science Picks

The African Dust, Coral Reefs and Human Health documentary video featuring work being done by USGS scientists at SPCMSC and in Denver, CO. was chosen as a USGS Science Pick for the month of April. The documentary was written by Matthew Cimitile and Ginger Garrison and illustrates concepts about how recent changes in the composition and quantities of African dust transported to the Caribbean and Americas might provide clues that explain why Caribbean coral reef ecosystems are deteriorating and human health may be impacted. Science Picks are a monthly compilation of science ideas for potential news and feature stories and are issued by the USGS Office of Communication.

Watch the video: USGS Channel on YouTube

posted: 2010-04-26

New Article Summarizes State of Knowledge and Research Gaps in the Microbial Ecology of Mesophotic Coral Environments

USGS Research Microbiologist Christina Kellogg has co-written a mini-review article focused on the diversity, connectivity, and importance of microbes hosted by corals, sponges, and algae in mesophotic coral ecosystems. These twilight zone habitats occur at depths ranging from 30 to 200 meters and are of great scientific interest as they appear to be less impacted than shallower reefs and therefore may be critical refuges for some tropical species. The article is to appear in the Wiley InterScience Journal on Microbiology Ecology sponsored by the Federation of European Microbiological Societies and is available on-line in advance of print copies:

posted: 2010-04-26

Leadership St. Pete Class of 2010, Visits USGS, Learns About Science in the Community

The USGS Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted the Leadership St. Pete Class of 2010 as part of their day out in the Marine Science Research Community at Bayboro Campus in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida on April 9. They started their day with a welcome from Governor Charlie Crist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, visited other facilities located within the Bayboro campus and finished their day at the USGS. Center Director Jack Kindinger welcomed the group to the facility and Abby Sallenger gave a presentation describing the research being conducted to evaluate coastal hazards and extreme storms with time for questions and discussion. The group of 40 received information packages about USGS science as well.

posted: 2010-04-26

USGS Scientists Participate in Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Workshop

USGS scientists Abby Sallenger and Virginia Burkett presented USGS scientific findings about climate change and sea-level rise at the Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Workshop titled Building a Community of Practice for Long-Term Engagement with Coastal Communities . It is a series of workshops with the initial workshop being held in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida April 19-21 focusing on the topic of Sea Level Rise. Burkett provided the keynote presentation discussing rates and impacts of sea level rise in the Gulf of Mexico, summarizing the state of the science. Sallenger discussed impacts to the natural coastal systems and the response of barrier islands in introduced policy-related issues to consider. Jack Kindinger, Chris Smith, Ann Tihansky and Matthew Cimitile also attended. The meeting is being held as part of a SeaGrant funded program to bring together organizations that are or will be conducting outreach, extension and/or education on sea-level rise as well as helping organizations share tools, discuss strategies and gather the scientific information needed to help communities address questions related to climate change.

Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Program

NOAAs Sea Grant Awards Eight Climate Engagement Mini-Grants

posted: 2010-04-26

USGS Scientists Serve As Technical Experts in Second of Three Groundwater Use Meetings

The USGS continues to participate in the Southwest Florida Water Management Districts January 2010 Freeze Event Meetings that bring together technical experts and invited stakeholders on the issue of crop freeze protection, groundwater use and sinkhole development. Ann Tihansky and Patricia Metz attended the April 21. Topics discussed included the topic of establishing caps for groundwater use for crop freeze protection to reduce impacts of dry public wells and sinkholes. They also discussed alternative means for crop protection that do not involve groundwater. Elected Officials and media attended the meeting. The issue continues to be part of the local and national news focusing on impacts of sinkholes on the community.

Read more: This Town Is Going Down, and Strawberries Share the Blame

Students head back to Trapnell after sinkhole repairs

posted: 2010-04-26

USGS Represented At St. Petersburg Marine Science Industry Cluster Summit

The USGS was invited by the City of St. Petersburgs Mayor to attend a discussion April 20 about enhancing the economic and scientific impact of the St. Petersburg Marine Science Cluster. Jack Kindinger and Rob Wertz represented the USGS along with members of Mayors Ocean Team and other stakeholders who are being brought together to discuss the Marine Science Cluster, its future direction and opportunities for further job creation.

posted: 2010-04-26

USGS Interacts with Media and Coastal Community Representatives at National Hurricane Conference

USGS representatives of the Coastal Change Hazards Team participated in the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando Florida from March 30 through April 2, 2010. Abby Sallenger, Hilary Stockdon, Karen Morgan and Ann Tihansky fielded inquiries and provided publications about coastal hazards as well as other areas of USGS expertise pertaining to hurricanes and extreme storms, sea-level rise and flooding. Many media outlets were conducting interviews for their upcoming specials scheduled to air in late May and early June to coincide with the beginning of hurricane season and the USGS scientists conducted interviews with a variety of local, national and international media outlets including Barometer Bob, Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel, John Gerard-Weather Plus-NBC-Miami, Paul Dellegatto-WTVT FOX-13 Tampa, Denis Phillips-ABC-Tampa, Javier Serrano-Noticias 41, a local Miami Spanish station and Casanova Nurse from Tallahassee News Channel WTXL, Galveston Daily News, Stormpulse, Cayman Free Press, and the Meteorological News Service-Aruba. Environmental News Service picked up the press release in an article that ran April 1, 2010.

Read more: Active 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Likely, Gulf Coasts Vulnerableposted: 2010-04-08

Earth Magazine Interviews USGS Scientists for Article on Wetlands in Karst Landscape

A writer with Earth Magazine recently interviewed Ann Tihansky, Terrie Lee and Kim Haag about a recent flurry of sinkholes associated with record-setting low groundwater levels due to groundwater pumping. The link between sinkhole development and groundwater levels prompted interest in the topic of how sinkholes affect water resources in the landscape. As many of the abundant wetlands in west-central Florida are of sinkhole origin, the hydrologic links between sinkholes and wetlands has led the writer to explore the relations between wetlands and water-resource development in west-central Florida. The USGS also provided images from the newly released Wetlands Primer.

Read the Primer: Hydrology and Ecology of Freshwater Wetlands in Central FloridaA Primer

posted: 2010-04-08

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Launches Podcast Series

The St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center has launched its podcast series as a way to reach a broad public audience with multimedia content. The series has been approved by the Office of Communications and joins several other series being produced in USGS offices across the Nation. These products are designed to highlight science research topics and provide this content to a variety of social media channels including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. The podcasts are available on the USGS-YouTube channel, the USGS social media webpage, the USGS multimedia gallery and also on specific USGS program web pages that originated the content. The first two videos released in the series are: African Dust, Coral Reefs and Human Health, written by Matthew Cimitile and Ginger Garrison, and Summer Fieldwork in Everglades National Park, written by Paul Nelson. There are others currently in the production pipeline. These formats will help USGS scientists share capabilities, discoveries and other engaging aspects of our science with an active on-line community who is interested in our work and in sharing it with others.

Watch the video: Summer Fieldwork in Everglades National Park

Watch the video: African Dust, Coral Reefs and Human Health

Visit the multimedia gallery: USGS Multimedia Gallery

posted: 2010-04-08

St. Petersburg Hosts Science Meeting for the Northern Gulf Of Mexico Project

From March 30-April 1, the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center is scheduled to host the 2010 Science Meeting for the Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Change and Hazard Susceptibility Project. John Brock is convening the meeting of Task and Subtask leaders, cooperative partners, and members of the project Science Advisory and Region Advisory committees. Attendees from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center include: Dick Poore, Rudy Troche, Jim Flocks, Bob Morton, Lisa Osterman, Monica Palaseanu, Amar Nayegandhi, and Abby Sallenger. The goals of this meeting are to present updates on project-related scientific progress and deliverables, plan and coordinate upcoming field activities, identify what is/is not working well and plan any needed course corrections, and review strategies for new partnership development. Sessions follow four major task themes: 1-findings from studies of the Northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf, 2-recent evolution of the Northern Gulf of Mexico terrestrial landscape, 3- land ocean linkages: processes that drive fluxes across the shoreline, and 4- synthesis modeling: landscape and hazard forecasting for the Mississippi Alabama coastal margin. There will be an audio conference bridge and webex available for the duration of the meeting.posted: 2010-03-31

Expert on Coral Reefs and Ocean Acidification Interviewed by Canadian University Class

Ryan P. Moyer, a Mendenhall Post-doctoral Fellow at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, was interviewed by a group of students participating in an Environmental Issues class at The University of Western Ontario. They are working on a project focused on contemporary environmental challenges and sustainable technologies. Moyer provided information on coral reefs and ocean acidification to be used as a component of a research paper for the class that will also be shared with the Western Ontario community in a public Environmental Expo held on 1 April 2010.posted: 2010-03-31

USGS Coastal Hazards Team Attends National Hurricane Conference, Orlando

The 2010 National Hurricane Conference being held in Orlando, Florida from March 29 to April 2 brings together scientists, emergency managers and those in the recovery industry from all over the country with the goal of improving preparedness, mitigating the effects of, and speeding the recovery after a hurricane. Abby Sallenger, Hilary Stockdon, Karen Morgan and Ann Tihansky are planning to represent the USGS to increase awareness about USGS expertise and capabilities regarding coastal hazards and emergency planning. They will use examples of the disastrous coastal impacts associated with Hurricane Ike (2008) to illustrate why understanding coastal change is important. Information about the National Hurricane Conference can be found at

posted: 2010-03-26

USGS Participates in Technical Advisory Meetings With Southwest Florida Water Management District Concerning the January 2010 Freeze Event

The impacts of ground-water pumping during the January 2010 freeze are the subject of continued resource management issues in the SWFWMD. The SWFWMD is planning to convene at least three meetings focused on separate issues that aim to bring technical expertise to discussions with affected members of the region including industry, political leaders, agricultural interests, emergency managers and local citizens. Ann Tihansky and Patricia Metz participated as Technical Experts during the first of three scheduled meetings, March 24. The meeting was led by David Moore, Executive Director of the SWFWMD and attendees included representatives from Florida State Legislators offices; Senator Storms, Representative Glorioso, and Stargel. Also present was a representative from Congressman Bilirakiss office, and a number of basin board members. The next meeting will take place on April 21.

posted: 2010-03-26

Girls Scouts Explore Geology through Joint Educational Program between USGS, Association of Women Geoscientists

On March 13-14, more than 50 Girls Scouts ranging in age from middle to high school participated in a weekend geology camping trip called Discovering Geology Weekend. The program was jointly sponsored by the Association of Women Geoscientists and the USGS. Ann Tihansky and Heather Schreppel of the SPMSC, worked with Allison Amram (AWG) and the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida to arrange and lead the two-day long field trip. The participants took a tour of an operating limestone quarry where they learned about why limestone is mined and also got a chance to look for fossils. They explored a variety of ecosystems unique to karst landscapes including caves and springs. At the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, Ivan Vicente of the USFWS, provided access to Three Sisters Springs where the girls were able to observe more than 50 manatees taking refuge in the warm spring water. Girls cite the lasting impact of interactions with role models and work site field trips on their academic and career choices. This trip was designed to encourage interest in the natural sciences through hands on experience that increased understanding of hydrologic interconnections, societal impacts on karst landscape, and the importance of natural resource stewardship.

posted: 2010-03-26

USGS Participates in Environmental Science Career Day at USF

On March 25, Ann Tihansky, Kara Doran, Kathryn Smith and Chris Smith will represent the USGS at the first Environmental Science Career Day hosted by the Student Chapter of Environmental Professionals at University of South Florida-St. Petersburg. The Student Club is affiliated with the Tampa Bay Chapter as well as the National Chapter of Environmental Professionals. The goal is to provide mentoring, networking, career opportunities, and internships for students interested in the environmental sciences. Dr. Jack Gove, a research associate in the Section of Fishes at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History (LACM) and leading authority on the fishes and marine environments of the Galpagos Islands will be a guest speaker at the event.

More information: Tampa Bay Association of Environmental Professionals

posted: 2010-03-26

NGOM Offshore Mapping Efforts Coordinated Between Coastal and Marine Offices

Coastal and Marine Geology teams from Woods Hole and St. Petersburg have been coordinating field efforts in the northern Gulf of Mexico since March 1 mapping the region around the Mississippi barrier islands for the National Park Service and as part of the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program. They are tasked with providing updated post-Katrina bathymetry, subsurface geology and sand resource information the USACE multiagency team as part of the restoration program. This large reimbursable task is building on knowledge gained from the Northern Gulf of Mexico Project. Two vessels, the RV Tommy Monro working offshore with Dave Twichell's group from WH and the Glacier Bay working in shallow water with Jim Flock's group from St. Petersburg, have been collaborating provide near real-time data and preliminary interpretations to the modeling and coring groups in the multiagency team. If the entire region is not completely surveyed by March 30, the St. Pete team will stay to complete the work on a survey vessel provided by the USACE Mobile District.

posted: 2010-03-26

Sea Technology Article Features USGS Deep ATRIS Design and Capabilities

The February issue of Sea Technology included an article highlighting various research applications that use an open-design tow vehicle system for real-time data collection. The article, Coastal Zone Research Gets Assistance From an Open System Tow Body Tool, highlighted the development of the USGS Deep ATRIS capabilities for mapping coral ecosystems. USGS Oceanographer Dave Zawada, worked closely with the design team to create the custom-built data collection platform to ensure its technical design met the needs and capabilities of USGS research.

Read more: Sea Technology

posted: 2010-03-18

Eminent Scholars Lecture Series Hosts Panel Discussions on Ocean Acidification, Ice Sheets and Sea-Level Rise

The Eminent Scholar Lecture Series (ESLS) is held annually by the College of Marine Science (CMS), University of South Florida and is presented by the CMS and the USGS, and is sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times. This year the topic for discussion: Current Challenges in Marine Science: Ice Sheets and Sea Level; Ocean Acidification. The ESLS brings in four speakers to address this topic over two days. On March 3, Dr. Steven Nerem and Tad Pfeffer (both from Univ. of Colorado) discussed aspects of sea-level rise. On March 4, Joanie Kleypas of the National Center for Atmospheric Research presented her talk, The Clear Causes and Muddy Effects of Ocean Acidification. Following the lectures, a panel discussion was assembled in place of a scheduled NSF Speaker who was unable to attend. The panel covered all of the topics with a focused on communication of climate change science to the public and policy makers and and panelists included Ilsa Kuffner, and Kim Yates (both of USGS SPSC) along with Joanie Kleypas, Gary Mitchum-USF-CMS, Steve Nerem, and Tad Peffer. This lecture series serves at least eight research and education institutions in the St. Petersburg area, including the CMS, the USGS, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, USF St. Petersburg, USF Tampa, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Florida Institute of Oceanography, and Eckerd College. All lectures are open to the public.

Download the Flyer (1.3 MB PDF)posted: 2010-03-10

SPSC Speaker Highlights Florida Shelf Carbon Chemistry Work at USGS Climate Change Conference

Lisa Robbins will be presenting a talk on March 11 at the USGS Climate Change Conference about baseline data and modeling efforts currently underway for understanding carbonate saturation and carbon dioxide gas exchange rates in coastal waters along the west Florida shelf. Data collected during a joint field campaign with the University of South Florida (USF), and with remote sensing support from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is being used to fill data gaps and bolster understanding of nearshore carbon flux variability. The talk is coauthored by Ilsa Kuffner, Paul Knorr, Xuewu Liu, Mark Hansen, Chris Smith, Robert Byrne, and Ellen Raabe and is titled, Monitoring Florida shelf carbonate saturation state and calcification rates: setting a baseline for response of ocean acidification on marine habitats and is part of the session, Focus Area 5: Research Funded by USGS RFPs, Expanded Research Topics in Global Change Science.

Read more: Climate Change Conference

posted: 2010-03-10

USGS Expertise Tapped to Assist FDEP with Establishing Nutrient Numeric Criteria for Estuaries and Coastal Waters

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists Mark Zucker and Jeff Woods attended a public meeting held by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) March 2, 2010 at the University of Miami Rosenstiel Center School for Marine and Atmospheric Science on establishing numeric nutrient criteria for estuaries and coastal waters in Florida Bay, Florida Keys, Biscayne Bay, and Southeast Coastal Reef Tract (Key Biscayne to Vero Beach). This meeting brought together scientists, representatives, and experts from numerous federal, state, and local government agencies as well as many academic institutions. Zucker and Woods provided flow data for all major creeks and rivers flowing from the wetlands of Everglades National Park to Florida Bay that were used in conjunction with nutrient concentration data collected by Florida International University to calculate the nutrient load entering the Bay.

FDEP plans to develop numeric criteria for phosphorus and nitrogen that take into account the hydrologic and spatial variability of the nutrient levels in the states waters and the environmental response to those concentrations. The FDEP has been actively working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the development of numeric nutrient criteria since 2002. FDEPs preferred approach is to develop cause/effect relationships between nutrients and valued ecological attributes, and to establish nutrient criteria that ensure that the designated uses of Floridas waters are maintained. To limit nutrient enrichment, Florida will develop nutrient criteria for all waters, guided by recommendations from a technical advisory committee composed of technical experts from throughout the state.

For more information, visit Development of Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Florida's Waters

USGS Information:
Water Quality
Nutrient Loading at Card Sound Canal; a tidally driven canal that experiences highly stratified bi-directional flow conditions
Nutrient Inputs Along Coastal Transects Within Everglades National Park, Floridaposted: 2010-03-10

Radio News Story Covers Sea-Level Rise, Climate Change

On March 4, WMNF Community Radio aired a news story about sea-level rise produced by USGS journalist Matthew Cimitile at the SPSC. Cimitile attended and recorded the Eminent Scholar Lecture Series at Univ. of South Floridas College of Marine Science where Steven Nerem, the Associate Director of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research at the University of Colorado, gave a lecture titled, "What's Happening in the Bathtub? 
An Overview of Present-Day Sea Level Change". Cimitile also interviewed Nathaniel PlantSPSC about trends in sea-level rise, climate change and coastal vulnerability as he had just returned from the International Conference on Sea Level Rise in the Gulf of Mexico held in Texas.

The story is available on-line:

Read more: Eminent Scholar Lecture Series - Current Challenges in Marine Science: Ice Sheets and Sea Level; Ocean Acidification

posted: 2010-03-10

Topic of Science Literacy Featured on Community Radio

On March 4, Matthew Cimitile, USGS-SPSC, attended the monthly Science Caf, hosted by the Poynter library on the USF St. Petersburg campus. The Science Caf, a casual meeting aimed at discussing science topics with a non-technical audience, was focused on the theme of why science literacy is important to society. USF Science Education professor Malcolm Butler, presented a talk titled, The Science of Our Lives: Bridging the Parallel Universes. Butler used everyday examples of how science understanding is critical to our society and used group activities and group discussion to encourage exchange and discussion. The science caf is just one of many community efforts that are aimed at improving scientific literacy. Cimitile, who has been following the topic of science literacy, prepared a news story for WMNF Community Radio. It will likely air on March 10 and is available on-line:

posted: 2010-03-10

USGS Participates in the Regional Competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl

On March 6, Ann Tihansky and Kara Doran, both of the SPSC, participated in Spoonbill Bowl, the regional academic competition of the Consortium for Ocean Leaderships National Ocean Science Bowl. There were 16 teams at the regional event with 4 members at a time participating in the team competition. Winners at regional competitions taking place nationwide will advance to the national competition scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg, FL in April. Doran served as a Moderator and Tihansky was a Science Judge along with other volunteers for the morning session. The USGS furnished take home educational materials for the participating teams and their coaches.

National Ocean Sciences Bowl

posted: 2010-03-10

News Angle: Understanding Earthquake/Tsunami Hazards

On March 1, CBS affiliate in Tampa, 10 Connects, interviewed Rob Wertz and Uri ten Brink (USGS-CMG Woods Hole-via televideo conference lines) about the cause of earthquakes, tsunamis and how 3-D visualizations, such as the Geowall, are used to educate the public and give scientists better tools to visualize in three dimensions and through time. The focus of the final story addressed earthquake frequency and risks for Florida. The story ran on their 5 p.m. newscast and highlighted USGS earthquake monitoring capabilities worldwide.

It is available on-line:

posted: 2010-03-04

SPSC Represented at Harte Research Institutes Sea Level Rise 2010 Conference

Jack Kindinger and Nathaniel Plant (SPSC) attended the conference, International Conference on Sea Level Rise in the Gulf of Mexico, in Corpus Christi, Texas from March 1-3, 2010. Barry Rosen presented a poster by Tom Smith and others representing work on modeling efforts in response to climate change. The conference was convened by the Harte Research Institute with a large number of organizing committee members including Jeff Williams of the USGS-Woods Hole office and Al Hine of the University of S. Florida College of Marine Science along with NOAA, USFWS, EPA and the US Army COE. Other USGS personnel attending include: Sonya Jones, Martha Garcia and Virginia Burkett.

Read more: Sea Level Rise 2010 Conference

posted: 2010-03-04

AGUs EOS Cover Story: USGS Research Forecasting Hurricane Impact

Oceanographers Nathaniel Plant, Hilary Stockdon, and Abby Sallenger highlighted work being done by the USGS Coastal Hazards Program in an article, "Forecasting Hurricane Impact on Coastal Topography" as the cover story of the February 16, 2010 issue of EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union journal. The USGS research program assesses coastal vulnerability and predicts coastal topographic changes and changes to vulnerability expected with future storms. The article emphasizes that capabilities in understanding the likely interactions between extreme storms and coastal topography can provide rapid forecasts and verification of information for multiple uses. Providing updated information to the public, coastal managers and emergency response teams, guiding future research efforts, and testing predictive models are some of the ways this research contributes to preparing communities for coastal hazards.

posted: 2010-03-04

Florida Science Centers Represented at USGS National Climate Change Conference

A number of researchers from Florida will participate in a nationwide conference March 9-11, 2010 in Denver, CO on the topic of climate change.

  • Tom J. Smith will share background on a multidisciplinary project including contributions from other USGS authors in Florida (Hal Davis, Don DeAngelis, Ann Foster, Tim Green, Wiley Kitchens, Nathaniel Plant, Dan Slone, Brad Stith, Eric Swain, Dave Sumner, Ann Tihansky, and Susan Walls) and multiple partners (Univ. of Florida, Florida State Univ., Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute) through a poster looking at downscaling climate change models. The project, titled, A Land of Flowers on a Latitude of Deserts: Aiding Conservation and Management of Floridas Biodiversity by using Predictions from Down-Scaled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Model, will take scenarios and modeling results and will share these with resource management groups via workshops in which the scenarios will be used to predict responses of additional selected species, habitats and ecosystems. Smith will represent work by scientists in the Southeast Ecological Science Center, the Florida Water Science Center and the St. Petersburg Science Center.
  • Eric Swain will also discuss hydrodynamic modeling representing his collaborations with Catherine Langtimm, Tom Smith, Dennis Krohn, Don DeAngelis, Brad Stith, Jeremy Decker and Melinda Lohman in their poster, Development of hydrodynamic models for evaluating climate change and ecosystem landscape effects in Southern Florida, USA
  • Ryan P. Moyer, a Mendenhall Post-doctoral Fellow at the St. Petersburg Science Center, will be presenting a talk on his Mendenhall research, titled Coral-based records of boron isotopes and skeletal density: Useful proxies of anthropogenic ocean acidification?. This work is co-authored by collaborators Brbel Hnisch (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory), Kevin Helmle (NOAA AOML), and Kim Yates, Chris DuFore, and Nate Smiley of the SPSC. The work features the first coral boron isotope record from the Caribbean Sea, and represents one of four known coral boron records from around the globe.
  • John Brock, Monica Palaseanu-Lovejoy, Amar Nayegandhi will be sharing a poster titled: Oscillating Late Holocene Sea Level and Coral Reef Ecosystem Structure at the Dry Tortugas.
  • Lisa Osterman will be presenting the poster Development and spread of low-oxygen bottom water on the Louisiana and Texas coasts, Gulf of Mexico: the paleo record representing coaithors Peter Swarzenski and Richard Poore.
  • Stephanie S. Romaach will be presenting a poster entitled, Climate envelope modeling for evaluating climate change on threatened and endangered species in South Florida.
  • Cathy Langtimm of SESC will be presenting information about a sea level rise project and work of Dennis Krohn, Tom Smith, Don DeAngelis, Eric Swain and Brad Stith, titled, Past and Future Impacts of Sea level Rise on Coastal Habitats and Species in the Greater Everglades.
  • Lisa Robbins of SPSC along with coauthors, Ellen Raabe, John Lisle, and Sherman Wilhelm of the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services will present the poster, Florida estuaries reflecting climate change: decreasing pH, increasing salinity and temperature.
  • Lisa Robbins of SPSC is also giving a presention about baseline data and modeling efforts currently underway for understanding carbonate saturation and carbon dioxide gas exchange rates in coastal waters along the west Florida shelf. The talk, titled Monitoring Florida shelf carbonate saturation state and calcification rates: setting a baseline for response of ocean acidification on marine habitats is coauthored by Ilsa Kuffner, Paul Knorr, Xuewu Liu, Mark Hansen, Chris Smith, Robert Byrne, and Ellen Raabe.

The agenda and proceedings are available online:

posted: 2010-03-04

Eastern Geographic Science Center student to present at 26th Annual Symposium on Caribbean Geology

Coral Roig of the Eastern Geographic Science Center will present Active Faulting in Southwest Puerto Rico at the 26th Annual Symposium on Caribbean Geology: Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Geological Hazards Study and Mitigation February 24-27, 2010, at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagez. This presentation documents Ms. Roigs thesis work relating to new discoveries about geologic hazards in southwest Puerto Rico, which may represent higher earthquake risks than previously believed.

posted: 2010-02-19

Sea Level Rise Workshop

The Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University, the Florida Sea Grant College Program and the USGS held a sea level rise workshop in Boca Raton February 16 - 17, 2010. Dr. Ronnie Best, Everglades Coordinator, co-chaired the workshop, and USGS staff from St. Pete and Ft. Lauderdale presented a brief synopsis of their current research. The purpose of this workshop was to engage Florida university faculty and Florida resource management agencies on the issue of sea level rise and its effects on coastal zone marine or upland ecosystems and hydrological dynamics potentially impacted by future sea level rise and storm surge. The workshop highlighted (a) ongoing research by Florida university faculty and agency scientists, (b) identified needs of Water Management Districts and other agencies, and (c) identify cutting edge issues at the federal, state and local level that can address with multi-disciplinary multi-institutional teams.

posted: 2010-02-19

USGS Presents Work on Coastal Habitats and Species at Sea Level Rise Conference

On March 1st, Dr. Barry Rosen (SE Rex Office) will be presenting the FISCHS project (Future Impacts of Sea level rise on Coastal Habitats and Species), which includes Drs. Catherine Langtimm, Don Deangelis, Tom Smith, Brad Stith (all SESC) as well as Dennis Krohn (St Pete) and Eric Swain (FLWSC) at the Sea Level Rise 2010 Conference. Nathaniel Plant (St Pete) will also present his work on "The impact of sea-level rise and changing coastlines" at the conference. The goal of the conference is to share the latest research on natural processes and human dimensions of sea-level rise in the Gulf of Mexico and to engage decision makers and the public in planning for the future. Dr. Rosens presentation will be part of a speed-dating session that allows researchers from diverse disciplines to become familiar with the variety of research being conducted on Sea Level Rise by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA).

posted: 2010-02-19

Joint Agency Workshop on Deep Sea Corals

USGS, Minerals Management Service (MMS), and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are jointly presenting a workshop on Deep Sea Corals on February 17-18, 2010 at the National Conservation Training Center. The workshop will feature presentations on the latest research on exploration of deep sea coral sites, animal distributions in the coral reefs, and ecology of the reef communities. USGS presenters include Drs. Amanda Demopoulos (SESC), Christina Kellogg, Cheryl Morrison, and Gary Brewer.

posted: 2010-02-19

USGS Measuring Trophodynamics of Deep Sea Food Webs

USGS has been working with other federal and university partners to examine the food web linkages of deep sea coral reefs in an unprecedented effort to examine food webs from the bottom of the sea floor to the waters surface, including seabirds. Dr. Amanda Demopoulos (SESC) will be presenting the results of the study at the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Ocean Sciences meeting taking place in Portland, Oregon on February 22-26, 2010. Dr. Demopoulos will also be the lead presenter of Discovering the Mysteries of the Deep, lecture in Reston on Friday, February 19.

posted: 2010-02-19

USGS Communications Staff To Serve on Bay Soundings Editorial Advisory Board

Ann Tihansky was invited to serve on the Editorial Advisory Board for the quarterly publication called Bay Soundings. Bay Soundings is a printed and on-line publication produced by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council with the mission of protecting Tampa Bay and its watershed. The Editorial Advisory Board helps identify storylines that communicate scientific and community activities relevant to this mission. The USGS now joins other board member representatives from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the Tampa Bay Estuary program, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and other private groups working to protect and restore Tampa Bay. The USGS has been contributing content to this publication for the past several years.

posted: 2010-02-17

USGS Science Featured in Community Discussion about Sea-Level Rise Impacts, Makes Local News

Matthew Cimitile, USGS-St. Petersburg, attended the public workshop, Planning for Sea-Level Rise and Hurricane Storm Surge in Sarasota County held on Feb. 8 at the More Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. The community discussion was sponsored by Penn State, the University of Idaho, the Marine Policy Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory, the USGS and NOAA. The workshop was designed to help local officials integrate sea-level rise into their future planning efforts. Cimitile prepared a news story for WMNF Community Radio about the way scientific findings are contributing to community discussions and planning scenarios. The story aired on Feb. 9 and is available on-line.

posted: 2010-02-17

Mendenhall Fellow Presents Research at Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland, OR.

Ryan P. Moyer, a Mendenhall Post-doctoral Fellow at the St. Petersburg Science Center will attend the 2010 Ocean Sciences Meeting from 22-26 February in Portland, OR. Moyer is lead author and will give an oral presentation on his Mendenhall research entitled: Historical records of coral geochemistry and growth and their relationship to anthropogenic ocean acidification. He is also co-author on a second oral presentation entitled: Carbon isotope geochemistry of two tropical small mountainous river systems and adjacent coastal waters of the Caribbean. The Ocean Sciences Meeting, which is co-sponsored by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, The Oceanographic Society, and the American Geophysical Union, occurs every two years and is one of the largest gatherings of coastal and marine scientists from around the globe.

posted: 2010-02-17

Students Provide Community Service at USGS St. Petersburg Science Center

On February 16, 20 students from Shorecrest High School volunteered for a program of marine science community service at several institutions within the C.W. Bill Young Marine Science Complex in downtown St. Petersburg. Their week began at the USGS where they prepared hand out materials for the Regional and National Ocean Science Academic Competition Bowls that will be hosted here in March and April, helped organize publications and map resources, moved map files and other large office filing furniture, helped prepare samples for rock and mineral kits that are part of an educational resource partnership between the USGS and the Florida Geological Survey, and prepared sediment samples collected from around the world with display onto Google Earth. The students learned a lot about activities that take place behind the scenes at the USGS and many inquired about volunteer and intern possibilities. Lisa Robbins coordinated the event and Lisa, Ann Tihansky, Jordan Sanford, Heather Schreppel and Theresa Burress prepared and directed the students through their tasks. It is likely to become an annual USGS event as part of Shorecrests annual service learning week. Robbins organized the student volunteer week to include service time at NOAAs National Marine Fisheries Service Office, the State of Floridas Fish and Wildlife Research institute, and the University of South Florida College of Marine Science Educational Learning Laboratory, Clam Bayou.

posted: 2010-02-17

USGS Scientists Participate in National Park Research Natural Area Science Workshop

USGS scientists Kristen Hart (USGS-Davie) and Ilsa Kuffner (USGS-St. Petersburg) presented their work at the Dry Tortugas National Park Research Natural Area Science Workshop in Homestead, FL on January 12, 2010. Dry Tortugas National Park and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hosted the workshop to review progress in the joint implementation of the Dry Tortugas National Park Research Natural Area (RNA) Science Plan. Hart presented her work on the Use of protected areas by threatened and endangered marine turtles in the Dry Tortugas and Kuffner presented her work on Trophic relationships on coral reefs of Dry Tortugas National Park: inside and outside of the RNA. Their presentations were part of approximately 15 presentations addressing the Science Plan topics of abundance and size structure of exploited species, immigration/emigration of exploited species, catch composition and rates, benthic resources, egg production/larval dispersal, social sciences and submerged cultural resources.

posted: 2010-02-05

USGS Scientist Invited to Present Scoping Paper on Ocean Acidification to AMAP

Lisa Robbins (USF-St. Petersburg) has been invited to present a scoping paper on ocean acidification in the Arctic region to the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) 23rd Working Group. AMAP is one of five working groups of the Arctic Council. AMAPs primary function is to advise the governments of eight Arctic countries about threats from pollution and associated issues. Robbins, along with Richard Feely (NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory), Kim Magraw (DOI Office of Policy Analysis) and Tom Armstrong (Senior Advisor for Climate Change, Office of the Deputy Secretary, DOI) had previously discussed the need for a scoping paper for the AMAP in a conference call in early December 2009. Robbins, Feely, Kim Yates (USGS St. Petersburg) and Vicki Fabry (California State University, San Marcos), then worked together to prepare the document for the group. Robbins will present this paper at the AMAP meeting in San Francisco on February 12, 2010.

Read more about AMAP: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme

Find out more about the Artic Council: Arctic Council

posted: 2010-02-05

USGS Scientists to Participate on Sinkhole Public Hearing and Panel Discussion

The Southwest Florida Water Management District has requested the USGS to provide hydrogeologic expertise on a panel they are assembling for a public meeting and panel discussion. The meeting is being held to address the recent sinkhole activity in the Dover and Plant City region of west-central Florida that occurred as farmers pumped unprecedented volumes of groundwater for crop freeze protection in early January. Ann Tihansky (USGS-St. Petersburg) and Patricia Metz (USGS-Tampa) will represent the USGS at the meeting scheduled for February 17, 2010.

posted: 2010-02-05

USGS Scientists Judge Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Deputy Center Director Jack Kindinger, and Mendenhall Post-Doctoral Fellow Ryan P. Moyer (both USGS-St.Petersburg) will serve as judges for the 2010 Pinellas Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday, 6 February 2010. The science fair will take place in Seminole, FL and is expected to showcase over 200 science projects from Pinellas County middle and high school students. Judges will be responsible for choosing 24 students to represent the Region at the State Science and Engineering Fair in Orlando, FL, and two students who will advance to participate in the International Science Fair in San Jose, CA.

posted: 2010-02-05

Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science LogoCrowdsourcing The National Map

Barbara Poore, Eastern Geographic Science Center, has helped organize a workshop on volunteered geographic information January 12-13, 2010 in Herndon, VA. This workshop will explore how citizen mapmakers might contribute to The National Map, the USGS' source for topographic information for the nation.

The emergence of the Internet and social networking technologies have allowed volunteer amateur mapmakers to collaborate or crowdsource online maps that are beginning to rival maps made by professionals in government and the commercial sector. The USGS is in the process of developing a new business plan for effective and efficient incorporation of volunteered geographic information into The National Map given the rapidly changing technical landscape and the mandates for more transparency in government.

USGS managers will meet with representatives from other federal agencies; the private and non-profit sectors that have initiated successful citizen science, volunteered geographic data, or crowdsourced projects; and with university researchers who have studied these issues. Presentations will be made by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and by leaders of successful projects such as Open Street Map, the Audubon Societys Christmas Bird Count, the Library of Congress Flickr project, and Wikipedia.

More information can be found at the workshop web page and workshop results will be posted there.posted: 2010-01-07

Mangroves and Invasives

On 28 November 2009, an article co-authored by Dr. Tom J. Smith III titled "Are mangroves in the tropical Atlantic ripe for invasion? Exotic mangrove trees in the forests of South Florida" was published online in the journal Biological Invasions.

The article, aimed at resource managers and botanical garden directors, analyzes two non-native species of mangrove trees that were planted in South Floridas intertidal zone in 1940s and have since increased their population. If the invasive mangroves do become established, the ecological impacts on coastal mangrove forests are currently unknown.

Read the article: 2010-01-07

Coral Reef Ecologist Shares Information with Australian Cosmos Magazine

Ilsa Kuffner, a participant in the AGU press feed, responded to an inquiry from COSMOS magazine about potential effects from ocean acidification and coral reefs and possible impacts to other coastal resources. John Pickrell sent a note thanking AGU for providing the link to the scientists. He is working on a story and will provide it as soon as it is posted.

posted: 2010-01-05

Special Issue of Journal of Coastal Research Highlights LiDAR Applications, Features USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Expertise

The Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 53, (Nov. 2009) is focused on LiDAR applications and features USGS contributions from the St. Petersburg Office.

Four of the 10 articles in the issue were authored by USGS scientists located in the St. Petersburg Office including Dave Zawada, Hilary Stockdon, Kara Doran, Abby Sallenger, Monica Palaseanu-Lovejoy, Amar Nayegandhi, and Wayne Wright. Other USGS authors included John Brock and Dean Gesch.

The articles highlighted the work of the USGS as it pertains to providing technical tools and innovation to partners and resource managers in coastal settings with an overview article titled, The Emerging Role of Lidar Remote Sensing in Coastal Research and Resource Management by John Brock.

Read the articles: 2010-01-05

USGS Participates in Hernando County Water Awareness Public Education Series

On December 4, Ann Tihansky participated in a public education series and addressed over 130 community residents with her talk, Sinkholes! Why Here? Why Now? How Water Moves Through Our Landscape.

The presentation shares information about basic hydrologic principles, linking sinkholes to related water-resource issues as part of the annual Hernando County Utilities Water Awareness Series.

Monthly presentations focus on water resource education and feature work of state and local agencies. Representatives from the Southwest Water Management District also attended the event. The programs are available online and are televised on the community public access cable station.

Read the flyer for the Series: (830 KB PDF)

posted: 2010-01-05

Sound Waves Article Picked up by Newsletter To Improve Fishery Industry Knowledge about Ocean Acidification

A freelance journalist and a representative with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, an industry group up in Seattle WA, followed up on a Sound Waves article by interviewing USGS research oceanographer Lisa Robbins for an upcoming newsletter.

Freelance journalist Peter McDougall interviewed Robbins on November 16 about USGS ocean acidification studies currently in progress and in particular the Florida Shelf Ecosystems Response to Climate Change project. McDougall is writing a newsletter article with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership representative Brad Warren, who is working on a project that involves bringing the latest science and research about ocean acidification to the industry groups in Maine, and the other states of the Gulf of Maine.

Read the Sound Waves Story: 2010-01-05

Press Inquiries About Science Behind Understanding Sea-Level and Climate

Steve Nichols, a reporter with WTVT, FOX-13 in the Tampa Bay area and Kathy Fountain, who hosts a noon panel discussion television program have made inquiries about resources and expertise for possible upcoming shows focused on climate change, sea-level changes and other topics related to the Copenhagen conference. The St. Petersburg office has provided web pages, pdf references and is working to coordinate any interviews and follow-up.

posted: 2010-01-05

USGS Participates in Short Course on Ocean Acidification Sponsored by National Science Foundation

USGS St Petersburg scientists, Lisa Robbins, Kim Yates, and Chris Dufore participated in a NSF sponsored short course on Ocean Acidification, November 2-13, 2009, at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Robbins, a member of the Ocean Carbon Biogeochemistry committee on Ocean Acidification, the organizing committee for this short course, worked with the other members on the agenda and contents of this unique short course since NSF gave the go-ahead in May. Yates was chosen as one of 20 international expert scientists who lectured on specific topics. Yates discussed manipulation of carbonate system parameters in ocean acidification experiments and she and Dufore demonstrated field and laboratory techniques in spectrophotometric pH and alkalinity measurements.

posted: 2010-01-05

USGS Scientist Featured on Puerto Rican Radio About Chemicals in African Dust Air Mass

On December 7, 2009, Ginger Garrison was interviewed live on the Puerto Rican radio station WALO (Univision Puerto Rico) by Susan Soltero for her program "Susan en su Ambiente" (Susan in the Environment). The focus was on chemical contaminants in African dust air masses. The interview was conducted bilingually reaching both Spanish and English speaking audiences. Of special note, Soltero has previously won an Emmy for her environmental reporting. Garrison found the interview to be of excellent quality with Soltero asking questions in English, translating them to Spanish then translating the English response into Spanish.

posted: 2010-01-05

USGS Scientist To Participate in Media Feed During Copenhagen Conference

Ilsa Kuffner will be one of approximately 10 USGS scientists nationwide who will participating in the in AGU assembly of scientists that will be available to answer media questions during the Copenhagen Conference. This effort has been organized to help media acquire accurate scientific facts needed for their coverage of the conference.

posted: 2010-01-05

USGS Scientist Quoted in Article About Hurricane Hazards

Abby Sallenger (USGS-St. Petersburg) was quoted in an article on-line at WPTV based on a Scripps-Howard poll looking at hurricane hazards and public perception.

Read more: Poll: Hurricanes pose a greater threat nowposted: 2009-11-25

Community Partnership Offers Two Water-Resources Workshops To Teachers in Florida

The USGS partnership with the American Groundwater Trust secured funding through the Pier Aquarium in St. Petersburg to offer two one-day teacher workshops on November 23-24. The workshops focused on basic hydrological concepts such as streamgaging, groundwater hydrology, water-quality, and related water-resource issues. Nearly 50 teachers attended and received a variety of educational resources to help incorporate water-resource concepts into the classroom. The program was so successful that it is being planned again for next year.

posted: 2009-11-25

Multi-media Slide Show Describing Field Work in Everglades Posted On-line

Interest in USGS field work, especially in the Everglades National Park spurred the creation of a multi-media slide show that gives a personal perspective to what it takes to conduct field work in this remote and challenging environment.

The slide show, titled "Everglades Summerwork Presentation", is a day in the field and provides background information on the research being conducted as well as its purpose. Paul Nelson, who at the time was a summer intern and is now a full-time employee, narrates a descriptive story that gives other potential interns a real appreciation for working with the USGS.

Watch the slide show: Summer Fieldwork in Everglades National Park: A Pictorial Overview from a USGS Intern

posted: 2009-11-25

USGS To Represent USGS Expertise and Capabilities at the 33rd Caribbean Central American Action Conference

Jean Weaver and Ann Tihansky will be representing USGS expertise and capabilities at the 33rd annual Caribbean Central American Action Conference in Miami, November 29 through December 2. The theme of the conference is Responding to Global Challenges recognizing that the Caribbean Basin is located at the geographical center of the inter-American system. The USGS will highlight critical USGS science expertise provided through USGS programs and the State Department including hazards such as hurricanes, tsunamis, landslides, volcanoes, as well as energy issues and petroleum deposits, water quality, availability, droughts and floods, atmospheric transport of contaminants, and important biological topics including endangered/invasive species and tracking across political boundaries.

posted: 2009-11-25

Media Interested in USGS Research Featured at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

A USGS press release featuring the work USGS scientists who were presenting results at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference in New Orleans, November 19-23 has led to numerous requests for interviews and responses to journalist emails as they are developing articles. Freelance writers from Discover magazine and New Scientist contacted Ginger Garrison. There will be more to come as these articles reach the press.

Read press release: From Toxic Dust and Algae to Ill Winds From Africaposted: 2009-11-25

Julie Bernier discusses sediment cores with Open House visitorsSt. Petersburg USGS Office Hosts Eleventh Annual Open House

The St. Petersburg Office of the USGS hosted its eleventh annual Open House November 6 and 7. An estimated 1,500 people visited the facility over the course of two days consisting of nearly 1,000 fourth graders and their teachers, community partners, educators and the general public. On the public day, nearly 500 people visited and took advantage of the educational resources organized by Theresa Burress. Two USGS personnel attended from out of state to help. Barbara Strait attended from the Office of Communications in Reston and Ed Klimasauskas from the USGS Water District Office in Nevada to gain hands on experience to prepare for hosting a similar event in Carson City, Nevada.

Get more information: Annual Open Houseposted: 2009-11-18

Two Florida USGS Scientists Participate At USGS Booth At Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Conference in Orlando

On November 1-2, Arturo Torres and Ann Tihansky participated at the USGS display booth at a recruiting event supporting diversity in the USGS workforce. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Conference brought students from across the nation to learn about career and education options and opportunities. The booth was organized by Alexandra Hadley-Chavez and was staffed by USGS scientists from across the nation. The effort was headed up by Pam Malam and Rafael Rodriguez.

posted: 2009-11-18

Abby SallengerUSGS Coastal Science Included in Congressional Briefing

On November 18, Abby Sallenger will represent the USGS during a briefing about coastal erosion. Sallenger will talk about coastal storm impacts and will be joined by Jon Boothroyd with the Univ. of Rhode Island and Jim Titus of the EPA. The briefing was organized by the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America.

posted: 2009-11-18

USGS Scientist Gives Guest Lecture on Corals and Climate at Local College

USGS Mendenhall Post-Doctoral Fellow Ryan P. Moyer (St. Petersburg) was invited to give a guest lecture at the St. Petersburg College (SPC) Science Lecture Series on 15 October 2009 in St Petersburg, FL. The Lecture Series was sponsored by the Environmental Science Club at SPC. The lecture was titled Corals and the Carbon Cycle: Exploring climate change using coral-based proxy records. The hour-long seminar informed both students and faculty at SPC about some of the climate-related pressures facing modern coral reefs, and highlighted Moyers research on the impact of ocean acidification on coral growth and calcification.

posted: 2009-10-26

Press Inquiry about Invasive Snakes

Ann Tihansky was contacted following the USGS press release and an NPR story on Sunday October 18 covering the issue of invasive snakes. The inquiry came from a freelance journalist who is interested in pitching ideas to Discover and Scientific America about new scientific research directions and implications for managing invasive species. He had also received the USGS press release.

posted: 2009-10-26

Florida Century Commission May Hold Summit to Discuss Offshore Drilling

Jack Kindinger (FISC-St. Petersburg) met with St. Petersburg Mayor Baker and Economic Development staff, University of South Florida College of Marine Science, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to discuss hosting a summit meeting, similar to the Coastal Cities Conference, to bring scientists and communities together on the topic of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The hope is to host an event prior to the Congressional Special Session.

posted: 2009-09-25

Sinkhole Information Requested by Library of Congress

A representative from the Library of Congress contacted Ann Tihansky (FISC-St. Petersburg) about sinkholes in Florida and USGS research and available publications. They were preparing a response to a Congressional Inquiry.

posted: 2009-09-25

USGS Everglades

The USGS EDEN Hydrologic Data Portal was highlighted in University of Florida (UF) press release following the publication of "Validation and ecosystems application of the EDEN water-surface model for the Florida Everglades," in the journal Ecohydrology by Pamela Telis (FISC-Ft. Lauderdale) and UF's Frank Mazzotti. It was picked up by Brown and Caldwell Florida Water News and the science website The Palm Beach Post also ran an article on September 19.

posted: 2009-09-25

USGS Scientists Study Ocean Acidification and Carbon Cycling on West Florida Shelf

Dr. Lisa Robbins, Paul Knorr, Mark Hansen, Nate Smiley (FISC-St. Petersburg) and University of South Florida scientists finished a 5 day cruise in August off the west Florida Shelf collecting water data as part of the USGS "Response of the West Florida Shelf to Climate Change" project.

To evaluate ocean acidification, the cruise followed a "zig zag" track from Crystal River, Florida to the 10,000 Islands area, about 100 miles off shore, covering over 1000 miles to collect data such as pCO2 air, pCO2 seawater, pH of seawater, total carbon, radon (groundwater input), salinity, temperature, fluorescence, and blue green algae cell counts. These data are being used to evaluate where or whether the west Florida shelf is a sink or source of carbon dioxide and to elucidate carbon cycling on the shelf. The carbonate saturation state of the water will also be calculated and used in conjunction with data collected over the same area in February 2009 and August 2008, to evaluate seasonal variability.

Find out more: Florida Shelf Geochemistryposted: 2009-09-11

Discover Magazine to Feature Article about Fertilizers, Mining and Watershed for December Issue

On September 2, Ann Tihansky (FISC-St. Petersburg) was interviewed about Florida geology, mining of phosphate deposits and watershed impacts associated with both fertilizer use and mining activities in west-central Florida. The article is expected to be an overview report using the Peace River watershed as an example of fertilizer-related impacts to watersheds and coastal waters based on previous USGS reports. The article is slated to appear in the December magazine issue.

posted: 2009-09-11

Abby Sallenger being photographed by Mike Weimer for the New York Times  along the western shore of Tampa Bay not far from the USGS St. Petersburg office.USGS 'Scientist at Work' featured in the New York Times

Abby Sallenger, chief of the USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project, was featured in the New York Times September 1, 2009 in an article by Cornelia Dean.

The article: "Scientist at Work: Asbury H. Sallenger Jr. The Geologists Tale: A Storm, a Survivor and a Vanishing Island" highlighted Abby's work as both a coastal geologist and as a science communicator.

Learn more about the USGS Coastal Change Hazards program at: Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Stormsposted: 2009-09-02

Mayor's Mentors and MoreUSGS Recognized by St. Petersburgs Mayor at Top Apple Awards

On August 12, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker presented Top Apple Awards to schools and their corporate partners who have earned an A rating or improved their standing with the state of Florida. The Top Apple awards recognized the USGS partnership with Baypoint Elementary. It is the fifth year that this partnership has received this award. Jack Kindinger and Ann Tihansky (FISC-St. Petersburg) along with Baypoint Principal Gaye Lively, received the award in the City Council Chambers. The event was attended by community leaders from local and state government including representatives from Senator Nelson and Governor Crist's offices.

For more information, see Mayor's Mentors and More

posted: 2009-08-27

Scientists are studying ocean chemistryUSGS Scientist Participant in International Working Group on Ocean Acidification

Lisa Robbins, FISC-St. Petersburg, has accepted the invitation to serve on the international working group of ocean acidification that is comprised of the two groups: SOLAS (Surface Ocean- Lower Atmosphere Study) and IMBER (Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research). Lisa represents the US along with Richard Feely of NOAA. Other participating nations include: Germany, China, France and the United Kingdom.

Read more about ocean acidification: Response of Florida Shelf Ecosystems to Climate Change

posted: 2009-08-27

MayorUSGS Invited to City of St. Petersburgs Top Apple Awards

On August 12, Mayor Rick Baker will present Top Apple Awards to schools and their corporate partners who have earned an A rating or improved their standing with the state of Florida. Jack Kindinger and Ann Tihansky (FISC-St. Petersburg) will represent the USGS at the ceremony in the City Council Chambers along with representatives from Baypoint Elementary School who have been partners in the city program since 2003.

For more information, see Mayor's Mentors and Moreposted: 2009-08-14

USGS Supports NASA and DOI Coastal Facilities, Resources Management

USGS scientist Nathaniel Plant (FISC-St Petersburg) was invited to contribute his expertise on quantifying dune vulnerability to a NASA-sponsored workshop on "Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation: NASA Mission & Infrastructure" held July 28-30 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

The workshop addressed management issues on NASA facilities in coastal and arid environments susceptible to effects of climate change. NASA's climate change scientists met with their environmental and facilities managers to determine how to apply climate change science to managing NASA's resources and capabilities. These properties also contain natural resources managed by Department of Interior. USGS expertise can support NASA's global climate prediction by providing knowledge and observations of surface and ground water, geology, and topography.

posted: 2009-08-07

Decision Support for Coastal Science and Management home pageCoastal Science and Management Website Provides USGS LIDAR, Maps, Publications

The Decision Support for Coastal Science and Management project has a new website. This project, sponsored by the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP), uses remote-sensing, mapping, and point-monitoring tools based on aircraft and satellite sensors. This unique integrated package supports improved timing and scale of conservation and management decisions by National Park Service (NPS) and other agencies. Visit the site to learn more about project objectives, existing mapping capabilities, on-going research and collaboration, publications, and published LIDAR data products.

Visit the site: Decision Support for Coastal Science and Managementposted: 2009-08-07

Surprising Diversity and Abundance of Corals Found Growing on Mangrove Prop Roots

USGS-research biologist Caroline Rogers (FISC-St. John, USVI) documented 28 species of scleractinian corals growing on or near red mangrove prop roots in Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument in St. John, US Virgin Islands. Growth of such a high diversity of coral species has not been previously documented in the scientific literature. The discovery also suggests the diversity in these mangroves may be higher than in any other Caribbean mangrove systems. The 1-page article was published on-line July 12, in Coral Reefs, the Journal of the International Society for Reef Studies.

posted: 2009-07-30

Coral Cores Collected to Study Trends in Coral Growth, Ocean Acidification

USGS scientists Ryan P. Moyer (Mendenhall Fellowship), Nathan Smiley, and Chris DuFore (FISC-St. Petersburg) traveled to Puerto Rico 14-23 July 2009 where they collected eight coral cores from large colonies of star and brain corals from the reefs of La Parguera. Preliminary estimates indicate the cores contain multi-century archives of coral growth and ocean chemistry that will help scientists understand the impacts of ocean acidification on coral growth and calcification. Data on historical coral growth, calcification, and skeletal geochemistry will be extracted from the cores. Collaborators at USGS and NOAA plan to combine the core data with modern ocean pH measurements to better understand how corals have responded to past changes in ocean chemistry. This work will better enable scientists to predict future coral response to ocean acidification.

posted: 2009-07-30

USGS Contributes to Long-term Planning for St. Petersburg Science Festival

The City of St. Petersburg downtown partners, along with other local, state and federal science agencies, universities, and high-tech companies in the area are in the early planning stages of a major downtown science festival currently slated to be held in 2011. The festival is to be modeled after the San Diego or Cambridge science festivals, which are part of a National Science Festivals Network. The experience of planning and holding the annual USGS Open House and other community outreach events are valuable expertise to the planning consortium. Jack Kindinger and Ann Tihansky represent the USGS along with partners from NOAA, the states Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, SRI and many others.

For more information see:

posted: 2009-07-30

NEW DISCOVRE Kicks off Second Field Season With Exploratory Cruise off Cape Canaveral

From August 6-17, Amanda Demopoulos (FISC-Gainesville), Cheryl Morrison (Leetown Science Center), and Julie Galkiewicz (FISC-St. Petersburg), Steve Ross (UNCW, Chief Scientist), and several others from outside USGS will take part in the first of four cruises for the second field season of DISCOVRE. DISCOVRE (Diversity, Systematics, and Connectivity of Vulnerable Reef Ecosystems) is a 4-year, multi-agency project to characterize the biological diversity, population connectivity, and food webs of deep coral habitats. The first cruise will focus on the deep water off Cape Canaveral using the 4-personsubmersible Johnson-Sea-Link (JSL) and other methods to collect organisms associated with the reefs, from the tiniest microbes up to the largest fishes and invertebrates. Scientists will be making daily blog entries on the ships log that will be accessible to the public and will enable scientists to share new discoveries in near real-time.

Maps of the field sites, cruise plans and scientists blogs are available online at:

posted: 2009-07-30

Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) logoSouth Carolina WSC hosts Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) data management meeting in Columbia, SC

South Carolina WSC hosts Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) data management meeting in Columbia, SC. EDEN is an integrated network of real-time water-level gaging stations, ground-elevation models, and water-surface models designed to provide scientists, engineers, and water-resource managers with real-time water-depth information for the entire freshwater portion of the greater Everglades. Members of the EDEN project team from Texas, the South Carolina Water Science Center and FISC met in Columbia during the week of July 27 to address ways to improve the efficiency of data transfer and data management issues.

Find out more: The Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN)

posted: 2009-07-30

Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL) is an airborne lidar systemUSGS Scientist to Discuss Lidar Technology at Gulf Beaches Rotary Monthly Meeting

Amar Nayegandhi (FISC-St. Petersburg) will be speaking to the Gulf Beaches Rotary Club at the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club on August 4. The group requested a science luncheon speaker and is particularly interested in Lidar technology. Amar will be talking about lidar technology and applications pertaining to better understanding of coastal hazards and measuring resiliency of coastal communities.

Read more about LIDAR: Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL)

See: Lidar for Lunch at St. Petersburg, Florida, Propeller Club

posted: 2009-07-30

FOX-13 Tampa Preparing Pre-Storm Programming with USGS Coastal Hazards Science

The local Fox affiliate in the Tampa Bay area interviewed Abby Sallenger about possible expectations for coastal communities during hurricane season using Hurricane Ike and the Texas coastline as a comparison to encourage communities to prepare. The news station is anticipating programming needs in advance of an approaching storm. The story is likely to air in late July or August unless a hurricane threatens the west-coast of Florida sooner.

Read more:Southeast Regional Highlights from the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (316 KB PDF)posted: 2009-07-02

USGS Scientist Radio Interview with Barometer Bob Show Kicks Off Hurricane Season

Hilary Stockdon (FISC-St. Petersburg) appeared as one of three guests on the Barometer Bob Radio Show marking the first day of hurricane season.

Hilary discussed the role of USGS research in understanding coastal change and working with other agencies to coordinate forecasting of coastal vulnerabilities in advance of extreme storm landfall. The other two guests were Dan Brown (senior forecaster for the National Hurricane Center), and Will Shaffer (chief of the National Weather Service evaluation branch in Silver Spring, Maryland also known as the 'godfather' of storm surge).

Listen to the podcast: Hurricane Hollow's Eye on the Storm June 1, 2009 Season Openerposted: 2009-06-29

Aquifer Microbial Ecology Presented to Broward County

On June 19, John Lisle (FISC-St. Petersburg) presented The Significance of Bacteria, Viruses and Ciliates in the Upper Floridan Aquifer to Broward County, Floridas Water Advisory Boards Technical Advisory Committee.

His presentation summarized recent research data on the microbial ecology within the Upper Floridan Aquifer and how microbial processes influence geochemical and water quality variables of regulatory interest. The Upper Floridan Aquifer in this region of Florida is being considered as a resource for drinking water and a repository for injected treated waters.

posted: 2009-06-29

2009 Hydroinformatics student group from UNESCO-IHEUSGS Hosts United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Water Education Lectures

For the last several years, USGS, South Florida Water Management District, and Florida Earth Foundation, have sponsored a lecture series with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations International Institute for Hydrologic and Environmental Engineering (UNESCO-IHE) Institute for Water Education.

On June 10-11, Heather Henkel (FISC-St. Petersburg) presented a lecture on "South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) website" and "The Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN)" in addition to coordinating 12 other talks covering various topics including hydrology, modeling, climate change, and data integration.

Speakers included those from USGS, US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Park Service (NPS), the University of Florida, and Florida Atlantic University. Twenty students from Africa, South America, and Asia, participated in this lecture series along with Dr. Biswa Bhattacharya from UNESCO-IHE.

For more information, visit UNESCO Institute for Water Educationposted: 2009-06-25

Bad ChemistryFormer FISC Journalism Intern Writes Story on Ocean Acidification for Maui Time

As a follow-up to World Oceans Day on June 8, previous USGS journalism intern and now reporter with Maui Time, Kathryn Bradshaw, is writing a piece about ocean acidification that will feature USGS science and images that is expected to appear as the cover story on June 18.

Bradshaw spent the summer of 2006 as a journalism intern at FISC-St.Petersburg where she covered the topic for a Sound Waves article: "Discovering the Effects of CO2 Levels on Marine Life and Global Climate."

Read the Maui Time story: Bad Chemistryposted: 2009-06-25

Coral Genomics for the Non-Genomic ScientistFISC Scientist Participates in Coral Genomics Workshop

On June 21-27, Christina Kellogg (FISC-St. Petersburg) will attend an intensive workshop titled Coral Genomics for the Non-Genomic Scientist sponsored by NOAA and the National Coral Reef Institute. Twenty students (from Italy, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Spain,Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the USA) will meet at the US FWS National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, to learn about genome biology, transcriptomics, new sequencing technologies, microarray analyses, and bioinformatics tools and databases.

For more information, visit the course web siteposted: 2009-06-25

Focus EarthUSGS Ecologists Interviewed on Everglades Restoration for Focus Earth Series

Ecologists Drs. Stephanie Romaach and Kristen Hart (USGS-Florida Integrated Science Center) appeared on an episode of Planet Green Channels nationally-broadcasted television show Focus Earth dedicated to the restoration of the Everglades.

Stephanie and Kristen, along with colleagues from FWS, NPS, and University of Florida, were interviewed about issues surrounding Everglades restoration, and how the science conducted by USGS helps meet restoration goals. The interviews as well as highlights of Dr. Hart's field work appear on the show 'Focus Earth' throughout the week starting June 13.

For more information, visit: Focus Earth: June 13, 2009: Everglades Nevermore and Snake Invadersposted: 2009-06-25

figure from the reportSea-Level Rise, Coastal Vulnerability, Key Issues for Climate Change in Southeast US

A report prepared by the US Global Change Research Program, "Southeast Regional Highlights from the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States" included research conducted by the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Team. USGS work is discussed in the context of sea-level rise and increased vulnerability of coastal communities as being among the most serious consequences of climate change for the region. USGS images and calculated land loss after Hurricane Katrina in the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana are used to illustrate potential impacts for other coastal communities throughout the southeast.

Read the report: Southeast Regional Highlights from the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (316 KB PDF)posted: 2009-06-17

SCUBAnauts logoFISC Scientist leads SCUBAnauts to Capitol Hill during Oceans Week

Chris Moses, one of several leaders of the local SCUBAnauts groups, will be taking a group of 22 SCUBAnauts to Capitol Hill during Oceans Week June 9-10. The SCUBAnaut International program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that trains youth ranging in age from 12-18 to become stewards of the ocean environment and explorers of tomorrow. The group is scheduled to meet with key NOAA officials as well as several Congressmen. The SCUBAnaut program will also be recognized at the Seventh Annual National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Leadership Awards Dinner for its efforts in education and ocean stewardship.

Visit the web site: SCUBAnauts International

posted: 2009-06-16

Coral Coring Used To Analyze Ocean Chemistry, Climate Change

Ryan P. Moyer is collaborating with a team of scientists who collected four coral cores from large brain corals in the shallow waters near Stuart, in Martin County, Florida on June 5-6. Analysis of the cores will generate data on historical coral growth, calcification, and skeletal geochemistry related the historical seawater geochemistry and water quality in the region, providing insights into ocean chemistry and climate change. Moyer will relate the core data to past changes in sea surface pH recorded in the coral skeletons to investigate ocean acidification as part of his Mendenhall Fellowship research.

posted: 2009-06-16

fram from film trailerFISC Scientist Speaks on Ocean Acidification For World Oceans Day

To celebrate World Oceans Day 2009 on June 8, Ilsa Kuffner (FISC-St Petersburg) joined Research Engineer Lori Adornato and Ocean Conservancy Southeast Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Director in a panel discussion following the public screening of the movie, A Sea Change: Imagine a World without Fish. Dr. Bill Hogarth, Dean of University of South Florida's College of Marine Science, kicked off the event, which was hosted by the International Ocean Institute, USA and shown at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute's Auditorium. The film, which is not yet released, is geared for general audiences to raise awareness about global effects from changes in ocean chemistry. The film's trailer is available online.

Find out more: A Sea Change: Imagine a World Without Fish

posted: 2009-06-16

FISC Geologist Discusses Coastal Impacts of Extreme Storms with Journalists

Abby Sallenger was invited to speak at this summer's Scripps Howard Institute on the Environment held June 1-6, 2009 at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter, Florida.

The program offers "an intensive week-long program of continuing education for professional journalists...who report on environmental topics."

Sallenger's session, titled "The Impact of Extreme Storms as the World's Oceans Rise: Disappearing Barrier Islands" shared impacts of Hurricane Katrina on the Chandeleur Islands of Louisiana and how the observed degradation may be an indication of future impacts in the southeast U.S. from hurricanes riding on rising seas.

Find out more: USGS Coastal Hazards Featured on NPR First Day of Hurricane Season

Dr. Abby Sallenger, FISC-St. Petersburg, was interviewed by Jon Hamilton at WUSF in Tampa, Florida for a radio story that aired on National Public Radio June 1, the first day of Hurricane Season. Sallenger talked about coastal vulnerability and the historical context for rebuilding on barrier islands.

Read/listen the NPR story: 'Hurricane Highway' Islands: Rebuild Or Retreat?

posted: 2009-06-08

Loggerhead KeyUSGS Providing Lidar Data to Analyze Dune Vulnerability at Cape Canaveral

Between the backdrop of NASA's space shuttle "Endeavour" and trails of nesting sea turtles scattered across the beach, eroding sand dunes protect NASA's infrastructure from storms while supporting a rich coastal habitat.

On May 28, 2009, USGS scientists and collaborators teamed up to survey the dunes using Experimental Advanced Airborne Lidar system. The Lidar topographic and bathymetric data are being used to support a dune vulnerability study that is documenting changes in the beach due to recent storms. This information can help predict changes due to future storms and will be used by NASA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to manage the coast in a way that balances the needs of the space program and the wildlife at Cape Canaveral.

Read more: Integrated Remote Sensing and Modeling Group

posted: 2009-06-08

SHARQUSGS Conducts Ocean Acidification Research in Florida Bay

USGS scientists deployed the SHARQ underwater incubation chamber on the seafloor of Lignumvitae Basin off the Peterson Keys in Florida Bay from May 3 to 14, 2009.

This deployment was part of a collaborative field expedition to standardize field and laboratory methods among partner academic institutions participating in ocean acidification research. Data were collected to examine diurnal trends in coral reef community calcification and metabolism, benthic microbial respiration, and water column geochemistry related to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Additional work was completed on developing standardized geochemical methods needed for concurrent work being performed by the partner institutions.

Read more: Coral Reef Builders Vulnerable to Ocean Acidificationposted: 2009-06-08

paricipants at meetingUSGS to Participate in Dialogue on Climate Change and Coastal Conservation

The Dialogue will be a half day session bringing together a variety of coastal interests (economic, energy, academic, social, environmental) to discuss anticipated impacts from climate change and potential strategies to mitigate and adapt to those impacts.

The dialogue is meant to stimulate a discussion of issues pertaining to climate change and coastal conservation and is scheduled for October 23, 2009. USGS scientists Lisa Robbins and Ann Tihansky currently are participating in planning this community education event and representing USGS science. It is likely that other USGS scientists will be involved as planning progresses.

Read more: Cutting Edge Conservation

posted: 2009-06-08

hurricane offshore of FloridaUSGS: Your Resource During Hurricane Season

When hurricanes strike, you can find critical information to help protect lives and property at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) hurricane Web site.

More than half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coast and coastal populations are increasing. Many of these areas, especially the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, will be in the direct path of hurricanes.

Read the Press Release

posted: 2009-06-05

Hurricane IkeNewsChannel8 Interviews USGS Scientist for Hurricane Season Special

Meteorologist Leigh Spann, with News Channel 8, Tampa-St. Petersburg, interviewed Abby Sallenger as part of an hour-long special on Hurricanes that will air on May 30. Spann was particularly interested in using Ike as an example of what could happen along the west coast of Florida during hurricane season. Sallenger discussed the effects of seawalls, storm surge levels and current considerations based on elevation and construction types throughout west-central Florida.

learn more: Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Stormsposted: 2009-05-13

Encrusting algae that developed on surfaceCommunity Discussion About Ocean Acidification in Tandem with Film Screening

FISC-St.Pete scientist Ilsa Kuffner will be participating on a discussion panel about ocean acidification along with John Ogden, Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and member Florida Oceans and Coastal Council along with other scientists. The panel discussion will take place after the community viewing of the film, "A Sea Change."

The film will be shown June 8, 2009 at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institutes Auditorium in St. Petersburg, FL. The event is being organized by the International Ocean Institute USA to raise awareness and focus public attention on this urgent but little-known crisis.

The film follows retired educator and concerned grandfather Sven Huseby back to stunning ancestral sites (Norway, Alaska the Pacific Northwest) where he finds cutting-edge ocean research underway. His journey of self-discovery brings adventure, surprise and revelation to the hard science of acidification.

posted: 2009-05-13

SHARQUSGS Conducts Ocean Acidification Research in La Parguera Puerto Rico

USGS scientists deployed the SHARQ underwater incubation chamber on the fore-reef slope of Cayo Enrique Reef at La Parguera, Puerto Rico during March 18 - 31, 2009. This deployment was part of a multi-agency field expedition to standardize ocean acidification research field and laboratory methods among partnering agencies participating in ocean acidification research. Data were collected for examining diurnal trends in coral reef community calcification and metabolism related to elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Additional work was completed on developing standardized geochemical methods needed for concurrent work being performed by partnering agencies.

posted: 2009-04-17

Abby talking to Eric Berger of the Houston ChronicleHazards of Storm Surge and USGS science recognized in Houston Chronicle article

USGS science featured prominently in an article by Eric Berger as a result of an interview at the National Hurricane Conference in Austin, Texas April 8, 2009. Abby Sallenger, USGS Florida Integrated Science Center St. Petersburg conducted the interview and used the exhibit display graphics to illustrate the significance that storm surge had on the low-lying Texas coast and how these conditions leave it vulnerable to future storms.

Read the story: Hurricane leaves Bolivar open to surges Houston Chronicle

posted: 2009-04-17

Abby holding his award with Max MayfieldAbby Sallenger Receives Award at 2009 National Hurricane Conference

Abby Sallenger, USGS Florida Integrated Science Center - St. Petersburg, was recognized with a Special Award for Outstanding Achievement in Oceanography by the 2009 National Hurricane Conference for revolutionizing the study of hurricane impacts through more quantitative measurements of coastal erosion after severe storms and helping emergency managers cope with coastal erosion following Hurricanes Ike and Katrina. Abby was recognized with other award recipients at a special luncheon for all conference participants.

posted: 2009-04-17

seafloor mappingWorkshop for Recreational Boaters

Sponsored by the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Observing System and SeaGrant.

The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Observing System (GCOOS) is offering a free workshop February 4-5 at the USGS-St. Petersburg to provide a forum for the recreational boating community to learn about integrated ocean observing, observational data and other products designed to meet the needs of recreational boaters. Learn how to find data about ocean temperature, wave heights, satellite observations and more.

Workshop sessions will cover topics such as: search and rescue, fishing, diving, and offshore cruising. Pre-registration is required. For more information: GCOOS

posted: 2009-01-27

2008 Annual Open House a Success

The USGS FISC - St. Petersburg welcomed more than 1,300 visitors to its 10th annual Open House, a 2-day event held November 5-6, 2008. The first day was Public Day, with the campus open to the general public; the second day was dedicated to 4th-grade students and followed the American Geological Institute's 2008 Earth Science Week theme: "No Child Left Inside."posted: 2008-12-17

Gordon AndersonNew National Geographic series features USGS science in the Everglades

The program, called "America's Wild Spaces, The Everglades," aired on November 27, 2008. The crew filmed USGS scientists Gordon Anderson and Karen Balentine (contracted through Jacobs Technology, Inc.) as they conducted field measurements and assisted Everglades National Park staff. The USGS scientists were invited to participate by Vic Engel of Everglades National Park. The National Geographic crew, supervised by Brian Armstrong, filmed work being done as part of the joint study between the USGS and the National Park Service. Both USGS scientists assisted Vic Engel, a NPS hydrologist, with his measurements as part of his study looking at atmospheric carbon dioxide while National Geographic filmed. In addition, the National Geographic crew filmed Karen and Gordon measuring coastal sediment at a sediment elevation table. National Geographic videographer gets a shot with a 'bird's eye view' from the 80-foot tower instrumented to measure atmospheric carbon and other climatic parameters. The final film product, a 50-minute TV program slated for National Geographic television has the working title "Secret Everglades" and follows two earlier released programs called "Secret Yosemite" and "Secret Yellowstone." All are part of a series about America's National Parks in time to coincide with the National Parks Centennial. The program aired November 27th and copies should be available on DVD for sale at the Park's visitor's center by the end of 2008.

posted: 2008-12-04

Gene Shinn and Pat ShinnGene Shinn wins the Twenhofel Award

Dr. Gene Shinn, who retired from the USGS after more than 30 years, will receive the 2009 William H. Twenhofel Medal from the Society of Sedimentary Geology (SEPM). The highest award given by the SEPM, the Twenhofel Medal is awarded annually to a person for his or her "Outstanding Contributions to Sedimentary Geology."

Nominees are chosen for having made outstanding contributions to paleontology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, and/or allied scientific disciplines. The contributions normally involve extensive personal research, but may involve some combination of research, teaching, administration, or other activities which have notably advanced scientific knowledge in Sedimentary Geology.

According to Gray Multer, a geologist well-known for his work in the carbonate environments of the Bahamas and Florida, "Congratulations to Gene Shinn for being awarded the prestigious Twenhofel Medal by the Society for Sedimentary Geology The honor is long overdue. As a lifelong friend I have always been impressed with his ability to often perceive truths before others do, to warn us of risks, and to seek realistic and appropriate solutions. Some important challenges he alone has solved yet stays open for dialog. We are lucky to have Gene Shinn on our side."

As a researcher dedicated to working in the field, Gene encourages discussion and innovative thinking. He is never afraid to speak his mind or get on the hot seat amidst controversy and heated discussion. Gene joins the ranks of some very distinguished geologists such as Bouma, Folk, Ginsburg, Imbrie, Schlager, and Vail, who have shaped major concepts in understanding earth processes and history. Congratulations Gene!

William H. Twenhofel (1875-1957) Yale PhD (1912), is regarded as the "patriarch of sedimentary geology", was member of the National Research Council, and retired in 1945 from an illustrious academic career at the University of Wisconsin Madison. The Department of Geology at the University of Wisconsin has been one of the top programs in the US for decades. Twenhofel co-founded the Journal of Sedimentary Petrology (now, Journal of Sedimentary Research) one of premier journals in this field.

Gene will receive the award at the Society's annual meeting in Denver June, 2009.

posted: 2008-08-15

snapperUSGS scientist Ginger Garrison was interviewed by National Geographic

USGS scientist Ginger Garrison was interviewed by National Geographic about her presentation on the impact of dust on coral reefs.

Read the July 14 article: Tainted African Dust Clouds Harm U.S., Caribbean Reefsposted: 2008-07-24

USGS Science in USA Today Article

USGS participation in the 11th Coral Reef Symposium was included in an article in USA Today on July 13.

Read the article: Rough seas: One-third of coral reef species face extinction

posted: 2008-07-24

The cumulative effects of hurricanes on coastal regions are seen in lidar and aerial images from Dauphin Island, Alabama.Using Science to Stay Informed and Prepared for Hurricanes

More than half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coastline. Hurricanes affect the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and as population and development trends escalate in coastal areas, future storms will inflict greater destruction. The USGS web page offers resources and tools used to assess coastal changes and coastal vulnerabilities to extreme storms that may help emergency planners better prepare themselves for a potential landfall.

When a hurricane approaches the coast, USGS scientists will update potential inundation maps. Please visit:

posted: 2008-06-05

Robert Doyle, Lisa Robbins, C.W. Bill Young, Peter Betzer, Martin Normile, Judy Genshaft, Jack KindingerUSGS St. Petersburg Dedicates New Building

Jack Kindinger, Associate Center Director of the Florida Integrated Science Center - St. Petersburg, welcomed Congressman C.W. Bill Young; USGS Deputy Director Robert Doyle; Florida Integrated Science Center Director Barry Rosen, USGS Oceanographer Lisa Robbins, University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft; Peter Betzer, President and CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, and Martin Normile of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay to the dedication ceremony of USGS - St. Petersburg's newest building.

The 11,400 square-foot building, which features six state-of-the-art labs, a dive locker, and 12 offices, is the third within the USGS campus and is the latest addition to the C.W. Bill Young Marine Science Complex located along the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg. The C.W. Bill Young Marine Science Complex consists of the USF College of Marine Science and its Center for Ocean Technology, the USGS Florida Integrated Science Center, the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, the Southwest Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Florida Sea Grant, Eckerd College, and the Florida Institute of Oceanography.

posted: 2008-04-04

TRACES logoDr. Chris Kellogg's guest blog post on Deep Sea News

Christina Kellogg is featured as a guest blogger on Deep Sea News. Here is an excerpt from the blog:

"Corals don't usually know what country they are living in, and those that do assure me that it does not affect their biology, just their politics. So, imagine the enthusiasm greeting the announcement of an Atlantic Ocean-wide research program to study coldwater coral ecosystems. That's right, we're talking about big picture science from the ground (or seafloor) up!"

Read the blog: 2008-03-14

CoralUSGS FISC scientist Ilsa Kuffner to participate in press conference at the 2008 Ocean Sciences Meeting Orlando, March 4, 2008

Ilsa Kuffner will be participating in a press conference based upon the findings of the Ocean Science Meeting Session #144 "Coral Reefs: Impacts of Environmental Alterations and Climate Change on Coral Biology and Biogeochemistry, and Links Between Dissolved Organic Matter." Three abstracts were chosen from the session to participate in the press conference. Ilsa will be joined on the panel by Andrea Grottoli (Ohio State University) and Christopher Shank (University of Texas at Austin).

The press conference will occur in room W307D at 10:00AM, March 4, 2008.

More information: 2008 Ocean Sciences Meeting

posted: 2008-02-28

USGS scientists participate in international science plan workshop on deep-sea coral ecosystems

Florida Integrated Science Center scientists Amanda Demopoulos and Christina Kellogg, along with Leetown Science Center scientist Cheryl Morrison, are participating in the TRACES (Trans-Atlantic Coral Ecosystem Study) workshop February 28 and 29 at University of North Carolinas Center for Marine Science in Wilmington, North Carolina. The meeting, which is partly sponsored by the USGS, is one of two international meetings planned to bring together scientists and partners to develop a science plan for future deep coral research. One of the workshop organizers is Dr. J. Murray Roberts, who presented a seminar at FISC St. Pete in January 2008. This collaboration relies on cooperation between Canada, the European Union and the United States. TRACES program development also is supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Marie Curie International fellowship grant from the European Commission.

Benefits of this research include:

  • Better understanding of North Atlantic climate history and ecology using cold-water coral records.
  • Better understanding genetic and biodiversity links among Atlantic coral ecosystems used to develop sound long-term conservation management policies.
  • Develop expertise and international partnerships between Canada, E.C. and U.S.
  • Raise public understanding and awareness of these hidden coral worlds.

The other workshop will be held in March in Portugal.

posted: 2008-02-22

Gulf of MexicoUSGS FISC St. Petersburg hosts Sea Grant Gulf of Mexico Research Planning Workshop

USGS Florida Integrated Science Center St. Petersburg is hosting a Sea Grant Gulf of Mexico Research Planning Workshop on February 19, 2008. Over 75 participants are expected to attend this workshop, which is one of five being held as part of the Gulf of Mexico Research Plan. The mission is to prioritize research needs for the Gulf of Mexico for 2006-2011 by working through regional stakeholder inputs and implementation strategies.

More information: Gulf of Mexico Research Planposted: 2008-02-15

Abby Sallenger and Arturo Torres were interviewed by Roy DeJesus of Bay News 9 en espanol

Abby Sallenger and Arturo Torres were interviewed by Roy DeJesus of Bay News 9 en espanol, a local television channel broadcasting news 24-hours a day in spanish. Abby talked about future coastal impacts in Florida using present trends observed in Louisiana as a likely scenario for Florida in the next 50 to 100 years. Arturo also reviewed climate change in terms of Earth history and human impacts but conducted his interview in Spanish. Their interviews are part of a 5-part series on climate change and sea-level rise impacts in Florida. It will likely air within a few weeks.

More infomation: Bay News 9 en espanol

posted: 2008-02-15

Conversation Between Scientists and the MediaGlobal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise in Florida A Conversation Between Scientists and the Media

February 6, 2008
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
To be held at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies
801 Third Street South, St. Petersburg, Florida

This intensive day-long training will help scientists and journalists communicate more effectively with each other and therefore with the public. By helping scientists and the media work more productively together, the conference will facilitate the flow of critical scientific information to the public and policy makers. The topic of this conference is the predicted effects of global climate change and the susceptibility of coastal Florida to a one-meter sea level rise.

More information: Science and Media

posted: 2008-01-30

Encrusting algae that developed on surfacesCoral Reef Builders Vulnerable to Ocean Acidification

USGS News Release: 1/4/2008 6:39:20 PM.

As pH declines in the world's oceans, the effects on coral reefs could be more harmful than previously thought. This pH decline, a process known as "ocean acidification," occurs due to absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As a result, the growth of reef builders may be severely inhibited.

More information: USGS News Release

posted: 2008-01-30

Strategic Science for Coral EcosystemsStrategic Science for Coral Ecosystems

Shallow and deep coral ecosystems are being imperiled by a combination of stressors. Climate change, unsustainable fishing practices, and disease are transforming coral communities at regional to global scales. At local levels, excessive amounts of sediments, nutrients, and contaminants are also impacting the many benefits that healthy coral ecosystems provide.

This Plan, Strategic Science for Coral Ecosystems, describes the information needs of resource managers and summarizes current research being conducted by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and partners. It outlines important research actions that need to be undertaken over the next five years to achieve more accurate forecasting of future conditions and develop more effective decision-support tools to adaptively manage coral ecosystems.

The overarching outcome of this Plan, if fully implemented, would be in transferring relevant knowledge to decision-makers, enabling them to better protect and sustain coral ecosystem services. These services include sources of food, essential habitat for fisheries and protected species, protection of coastlines from wave damage and erosion, recreation, and cultural values for indigenous communities.

Read the plan: Strategic Science for Coral Ecosystems (837 KB PDF)

posted: 2008-01-30

Abby SallengerUSGS Oceanographer Abby Sallenger recognized for Communications

The USGS Office of Communications and Outreach recognized USGS Oceanographer Abby Sallenger for Lifetime Achievement in Communication.

Read more: Abby Sallenger recognized for Communications

posted: 2008-01-30

USGS To Host Congressional Briefings on How Science is Used to Respond to Hurricanes

Media Advisory: 1/24/2008 12:04:56 PM

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will host Congressional briefings on how science can be used to prepare for and react to hurricanes and will issue a new report, "Science and the Storms: The USGS Response to the Hurricanes of 2005." The peer-reviewed report covers scientific studies performed after Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. Some of this response took place days after the hurricanes; other responses included fieldwork and analysis through the spring of 2006.

More information: Media Advisory

posted: 2008-01-24

Open HouseThe Florida Integrated Science Center's 9th Annual Open House and Earth Science Day

The "Pulse of Earth Science" was the theme for the 2007 Open House. Keeping track of earth processes on our changing planet is much of what scientists do. Scientists monitor the pulse of many different natural systems. By measuring, monitoring, and observing, scientists keep track of many fascinating secrets of our natural world. Come visit with scientists and see how they keep their fingers on the pulse of our changing planet.

Read more: Florida Integrated Science Center's Annual Open House

posted: 2008-01-24

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