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News & Events

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News stories posted in the last 60 days. For information about a story, contact Betsy Boynton.

Nathaniel Plant gives a presentation to Duke TIP CRISIS students at SPCMSCUSGS hosts hurricane talks for middle school participants from Duke TIP Crisis summer program at Eckerd College

The SPCMSC hosted talks for fifth and sixth graders participating in the Duke TIP Crisis (Creative Resolutions of Impending Situations with Intelligent Solutions) summer program at Eckerd College. On 6/29 and 7/6 Hilary Stockdon and Nathaniel Plant (Research Oceanographers, SPCMSC) explained how their research focuses on nearshore processes, coastal geomorphology, and large-scale coastal behavior, and how it helps to anticipate impacts of storms on coastal environments and to predict the response of coastlines to future events. After the presentations Kira Barrera, (Physical Scientist and Outreach Coordinator, SPCMSC) gave a tour of the center and demonstrated the coastal erosion model. On 7/13 Ginger Tiling-Range (Geologist/GIS Specialist, SPCMSC) gave a presentation about the effects of hurricanes on mangrove ecosystems, comparing the effects of Hurricanes Andrew and Wilma on the Everglades National Park. Specifically, it addressed wind effects from the storms and resulting defoliation, storm surge, erosion, and sediment deposition.

posted: 2016-07-21

USGS researchers participate in US Army Corps of Engineers Airborne Coastal Mapping and Charting Workshop

Kara Doran (Physical Scientist, SPCMSC) and David Nagle (Computer Scientist, SPCMSC) will travel to Silver Spring, Maryland, July 19–21 to participate in a lidar technology workshop being organized by the US Army Corps of Engineers Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise. The meeting will bring together federal and private sector lidar engineers, operators, and coastal researchers to discuss new lidar technologies, applications, and collaborations.

posted: 2016-07-14

USGS Powell coral reef working group to meet next week in Ft. Collins, Colorado, July 18-22, 2016

The USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis working group investigating 'Local-scale ecosystem resilience amid global-scale ocean change: the coral reef example,' which includes Principal Investigators Ilsa Kuffner (SPCMSC), Peter Edmunds (California State University Northridge), and Ruth Gates (University of Hawaii); along with Lauren Toth (SPCMSC), Caroline Rogers (USGS Caribbean Field Station), and twelve experts from around the globe will meet July 18–22 in Ft. Collins, Colorado. The working group's goal is to uncover the geographic, biological, ecological, and physical features that characterize coral reef "oases" which seem to be doing better than others at the moment, and to evaluate the potential of these oases to catalyze broader-scale ecosystem recovery. This will be the first of two meetings, with projected products to be two high-impact journal articles.

posted: 2016-07-14

USGS researchers to acquire seafloor imagery and depth data over part of the Florida Reef Tract

From June 25 to July 1 a team including Dave Zawada, Lance Thornton, BJ Reynolds, Kyle Kelso, and Andy Farmer, all from SPCMSC, will collect seafloor imagery and depth data for a portion of the Florida Reef Tract around Molasses Reef off Key Largo. Imagery will be collected using the Along-Track Reef Imaging System (ATRIS) and jet skis will be used to collect the depth data. During the same trip, LiDAR data will be independently collected over an area extending from Biscayne National Park to Molasses Reef. The ATRIS and depth data will be used to validate the LiDAR data. These efforts will support an ongoing study by Zawada and Kimberly Yates (SPCMSC) on the regional-scale erosion of modern coral-reef ecosystems.

posted: 2016-06-30

Spring and Summer: Outstanding Outreach at USGS

SPCMSC Scientists Soupy Dalyander, Kara Doran, Kira Barrera, Kat Wilson, Xan Fredericks, Matthew Hardy, Hilary Stockdon, Nathaniel Plant, and Ginger Range have been busy engaging in numerous outreach activities this spring and summer. Girl Scout troops, school science nights, STEM Clubs, Invention and Science Fairs, and several summer camps are just a few of the events enriched by presentations on diverse topics including hurricanes and coastal erosion, oil spills, and ocean acidification. This year's spring and summer outreach activities have engaged 850 K–12 students!

posted: 2016-06-30

Girls enjoy Oceanography Camp for Girls at SPCMSCUSGS hosts USF Oceanography Camp for girls on June 22nd and 23rd

USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted the University of South Florida, College of Marine Science Oceanography Camp for girls on June 22nd and 23rd. The camp was developed in the 1990s to inspire and encourage young women entering high school to consider career opportunities in the sciences, and the USGS is one of the camps original sponsors. Thirty girls participated in tours of the center led by Kira Barrera and were able to observe laboratory procedures and analysis demonstrated by researchers Max Tuten, Nick Zaremba, Chelsea Stalk, Chris Moore, Kyle Kelso, and Cole Spencer. In addition to the tours, campers conducted career interviews of Alisha Ellis, RC Mickey, Elsie McBride, Davina Passeri, Christopher Smith, Karen Morgan, Ginger Range, and Hilary Stockdon, giving the girls an opportunity to interact and engage with scientists and to gain insight on how to attain their future career path goals.

posted: 2016-06-30

USGS researcher participates in National Weather Service Wave Run-up Workshop

Joe Long (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) will travel to College Park, MD, July 12–13 to participate in a Wave Run-up Workshop being organized by the National Weather Service. The meeting will bring together weather forecasters and coastal researchers to discuss and evaluate on-going interagency efforts to build a national, operational model for wave runup.

posted: 2016-06-23

Image showing predictions for the future 15-year evolution of the restored Breton Island National Wildlife RefugeUSGS researchers present Breton Island modeling study results to FWS

On June 20, 2016, Joe Long and Soupy Dalyander (Research Oceanographers, SPCMSC), in collaboration with Coastal Engineering Consultants, Inc. (CEC), will present the Fish and Wildlife Service with results of a modeling study designed to predict the future 15-year evolution of the restored Breton Island National Wildlife Refuge. The study takes into account shoreline change rates, relative sea-level rise, and the impacts of tropical storms, and was developed to help resource managers responsible for making decisions about the restoration project.

posted: 2016-06-23

USGS researcher presents new dune erosion model at 35th International Conference on Coastal Engineering in Istanbul, Turkey

Joe Long (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) will be traveling to Istanbul, Turkey July 16–22, 2016 to present on-going USGS efforts to develop and test a new model for dune erosion. He will address researchers at the 35th International Conference on Coastal Engineering which is a biennial conference that aims to promote academic and technical exchange on coastal related studies covering a wide range of topics (

posted: 2016-06-23

USGS Lidar Analyst attends American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) LiDAR workshop in Apopka, Florida

Xan Fredericks (GIS / Lidar Analyst, SPCMSC) will be attending the Joint UF / FL-ASPRS / SJRWMD ASPRS Regions-sponsored LiDAR Workshop on June 29, 2016, in Apopka, Florida, as the Center's Lidar Coordinator and as a 3DEP Working Group committee member. The purpose of this workshop is to bring members of government, academic and private sectors together to discuss updates related to all aspects of LiDAR, with special interest in the USGS 3DEP program. Meeting topics include a USGS 3DEP briefing, Methods for LiDAR QC, and Water Management District Project updates.

posted: 2016-06-23

USGS researchers meet with National Park Service management to launch collaborative project for beach-recovery forecasting at Fire Island National Seashore

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center scientists, Jennifer Miselis and Kathleen Wilson, and computer programmer, Richard Snell, and Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center scientist, Erika Lentz, will travel to Patchogue, New York next week. The group will meet with National Park Service (NPS) personnel and management team from Fire Island National Seashore on June 30. The meeting will launch a three-year collaborative project funded through the National Resource Preservation Program, aiming to forecast beach recovery using probabilistic networks. The work also aims to aid NPS decision-making at the National Seashore.

posted: 2016-06-23

USGS Scientist gives talk at Coastal Zone Canada Conference 2016 in Toronto, Canada

Hilary Stockdon (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) will be in Toronto, Canada, from June 13–15 to participate in the Coastal Zone Canada (CZC) Conference and to share the USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards. The CZC Conference brings together individuals from around the world interested in all aspects of integrated ocean, coastal, lake and watershed management. Hilary will give a talk, 'A national assessment of coastal change hazards for the United States,' detailing the US approach to identifying, quantifying and modeling hazards associated with storms, sea level rise and coastal erosion.

posted: 2016-06-16

New USGS coastal change forecast model featured in Associated Press Big Story for June 11, 3016

SPCMSC Research Oceanographers Hilary Stockdon and Joe Long are interviewed in a June 11 Associated Press feature story 'High waves during storm? New forecast model tries to predict,' which discusses new operational forecasts of total water levels and potential coastal change. The article describes how the model has been used to forecast the impacts of high wave events in four pilot locations, such as Tropical Storm Colin that recently hit Florida. This is the first news story that has talked about, and talked to, potential users of these forecasts.

posted: 2016-06-16

Probabilities of collision, overwash, and inundation for Tropical Storm Colin in based on NHC Advisory 4, 0500 AM EDT Monday June 6, 2016.USGS National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards storm team launches rapid response to Tropical Storm Colin

The National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH) storm team quickly mounted a response to Tropical Storm Colin, including online forecasts, beach surveys, and real-time social media posts, as the storm was soaking St. Petersburg and eroding the beaches. Within a few hours, the team had created forecasts of potential coastal erosion for Florida's west coast, operational forecasts of total water levels (TWL) in Pinellas County, and observations of coastal erosion and storm-induced water levels. Tropical Storm Colin was an excellent opportunity for the team to ground truth National Weather Service and USGS models in one of their four pilot sites and to strengthen relationships with local coastal managers and the St. Petersburg community.

posted: 2016-06-09

USGS Research Marine Biologist attends NSF-sponsored workshop on coral bleaching coinciding with 13th ICRS in Hawaiʻi

Ilsa Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist, SPCMSC) will be attending a NSF-sponsored workshop on coral bleaching as an invited participant just prior to the International Coral Reef Symposium in Oahu, Hawaiʻi. The purpose of the workshop is to convene a group of U.S. researchers to discuss current research and to deliver a white paper to NSF summarizing the most pressing research issues on the topic of coral bleaching. The researchers are also tasked with providing guidance on prioritization of research topics for the next five to ten years.

posted: 2016-06-09

USGS Research Marine Biologist quoted in Inside Climate News

Ilsa Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist, SPCMSC) is quoted in the June 8, 2016, Inside Climate News article, 'As Coral Bleaching Goes Global, Scientists Fear Worst Is Yet to Come.' The article describes the longest and most widespread coral bleaching event on record. According to the latest report from NOAA's Coral Reef Watch and other research, bleaching worldwide has reached reefs near at least 38 countries and island groups. Corals in the areas continuing to be affected by El Niño, including corals near Florida and in the Caribbean, will likely be hit hard again this summer.

posted: 2016-06-09

USGS scientists attend 13th International Coral Reef Symposium in Oahu, Hawaiʻi

The International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) is sanctioned by the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) and is the primary international meeting focused on coral-reef science and management. This year's Symposium will bring together an anticipated 2,500 coral reef scientists, policy makers and managers from 70 different nations. Researchers from USGS are well-represented, chairing sessions and giving talks, listed below.

Ilsa B. Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist) and Lauren T. Toth (Mendenhall Post-Graduate Fellow) are co-chairing Session 18 "Geology and Paleoecology as Tools to Decipher the Modern Coral-Reef Crisis." Kimberly K. Yates (Research Oceanographer) is co-chairing session 28B "Coral Reefs in Extreme, Compromised and Marginal Environments and Their Roles as Refugia–Low Diversity, Non-Reef and High Latitude Reef Systems." Christina Kellogg (Research Microbiologist) is co-chairing Session 29 "Mesophotic and Deep-Sea Coral Ecosystems." Kuffner is also an elected council member of the International Society for Reef Studies and will be attending an ISRS council meeting during the conference.

Date/Time Scientist Name Session Title Description
10:45 am Christina A. Kellogg 12. The coral reef microbiome and reef microbial interactions and changes Biogeographic Comparison of Lophelia-associated Bacterial Communities in the Western Atlantic Over the last decade, publications on deep-sea corals have tripled. Most attention has been paid to Lophelia pertusa, a globally distributed scleractinian coral that creates critical three-dimensional habitat in the deep ocean.
10:00 am Lauren T. Toth 18. Geology and paleoecology as tools to decipher the modern coral-reef crisis Environmental Controls on the Development and Demise of Florida's Coral Reefs The extraordinary scale and magnitude of recent coral-reef degradation highlights the urgent need to better understand the long-term controls on reef decline and resilience. One way to gain insight into the future of coral-reef ecosystems is to evaluate their response to environmental disturbances in the past.
10:45 am Ilsa B. Kuffner 18. Geology and paleoecology as tools to decipher the modern coral-reef crisis Reef Construction and Deconstruction in the Florida Keys, U.S.A. Mirroring global trends, coral reefs in the Florida Keys have lost significant coral cover since the 1970s. The main reef-building process, coral calcification, has undoubtedly slowed on a region-wide scale resulting from declines in cover of massive head corals and the large, branching Acropora spp.
11:00 am Kimberly K. Yates 18. Geology and paleoecology as tools to decipher the modern coral-reef crisis Regional-scale Erosion of Modern Coral Reef Ecosystems Coral reefs serve as natural barriers that protect adjacent shorelines from coastal hazards such as storms, waves and erosion. Projections indicate global degradation of coral reefs due to anthropogenic impacts and climate change will cause a transition to net erosion by mid-century.

posted: 2016-06-09

USGS scientist briefs Congressional Coastal Communities Caucus on USGS coastal change hazards science

On June 1, Hilary Stockdon (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) will be in Washington, DC, to brief the Congressional Coastal Communities Caucus on USGS science and tools related to coastal change hazards. The briefing will cover current USGS research efforts for use by policy makers, emergency managers, and citizens to understand coastal hazards, and to take action to improve coastal resilience.

For more information, contact Hilary Stockdon,, 727-502-8074.

posted: 2016-05-26

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