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

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

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