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News & Events

Recent News | Archive

News stories posted in the last 60 days. For information about a story, contact Dennis Krohn 727-502-8062.

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

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