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News & Events

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News stories posted in the last 60 days. For information about a story, contact Dennis Krohn (727) 803-8747 x3062.

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

Mendenhall Post-doc Sophia Liu presents at GEOINTUSGS Post-doc gives talks on new USGS iCoast Crowdsourcing application at AAG and GEOINT in Tampa

USGS Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow Sophia B. Liu gave a series of talks and demonstrations at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting (AAG) and the Geospatial Intelligence Symposium (GEOINT), both held in Tampa, on the new USGS citizen science application iCoast ( "iCoast—Did the Coast Change?" is a USGS citizen science research project that asks volunteers to compare aerial photographs the USGS has taken of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts since 1995 before and after large storms. Volunteers will compare the photographs and identify coastal changes using predefined tags. This crowdsourced data will help USGS improve predictive models of coastal change and educate the public about coastal vulnerability to extreme storms. (see 2013-04-25 Highlight). In addition to her formal talk in the "Disaster Time: Critical Perspectives on Crisis Informatics and the Temporal Aspects of Disasters" AAG session, Sophia presented a 5-minute lightning talk and a demonstration of iCoast at AAG's alternate conference on Big Data. At the GEOINT Symposium, she was among 8 of 52 lightning talks selected to present in the Emerging Technologies session and was featured in the daily symposium handout "What's the Next Big Thing?" She also demonstrated her iCoast project at the USGS booth.

posted: 2014-04-23

Kristine DeLong, former post-doctoral researcher at the USGS SPCMSCFormer USGS post-doc requests tour of Center for LSU students

On April 8, USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) scientist Jen Flannery led a tour of five students from Louisiana State University (LSU) on a tour of the SPCMSC campus. The students were attending the American Association of Geographers (AAG) conference being held nearby in Tampa, Fla. The students are under the advisement of Dr. Kristine DeLong, a former post-doctoral researcher at the USGS SPCMSC. Kristine is currently working with the Paleoclimate and Atlantic Studies (PAST) laboratory at LSU. The tour specifically focused on the coral-core archive collection and the chemistry lab where the Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES) is located.

posted: 2014-04-17

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

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