USGS - science for a changing world

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > News & Events

News & Events

Recent News | Archive

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

Photograph of the authors holding Acropora cervicornis dating to several centuries ago from Crocker Reef, Florida, and a typical specimen from today’s reefs in the western AtlanticMarine Biologist and Geologist publish review article on the degradation and conservation of western Atlantic coral reefs

Ilsa Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist) and Lauren Toth (Mendenhall Fellow) of the St. Petersburg Coastal & Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) published a review article entitled "A geological perspective on the degradation and conservation of western Atlantic coral reefs" in the resource-management focused journal, Conservation Biology. The article highlights the importance of geologic processes and geomorphologic structure of reefs in providing ecosystem services such as coastline protection and habitat for fisheries. The authors provide justification for adding direct measurement of biophysical processes to ecologically focused monitoring programs to achieve a more effective and balanced approach to managing coral reefs. The publication is available open-access through the journal's website:

posted: 2016-05-17

USGS Scientist involved in rollout of National Microbiome Initiative

Dr. Christina Kellogg (Research Microbiologist, SPCMSC) represented the USGS at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy's debut of the National Microbiome Initiative (NMI) in Washington, DC on May 13, 2016. The event brought together key Federal and non-Federal representatives to highlight new efforts and actions to advance microbiome applications for areas such as health care, food safety and security, environmental protection, and bioenergy production. The event was livestreamed at and a fact sheet describing past and future commitments was released. The goals of the NMI include supporting interdisciplinary research, developing platform technologies, and expanding the microbiome workforce.

posted: 2016-05-17

USGS Scientists conduct ocean acidification and microbiome research in Virgin Islands National Park

May 16–26th St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) researchers Kim Yates and Christina Kellogg will join Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC) ecologist Caroline Rogers to further characterize mangrove habitats that are providing a coral refuge from solar radiation, thermal stress, and ocean acidification. They will be assisted in their work by Nathan Smiley and Legna Torres-Garcia (SPCMSC) and a team of undergraduate volunteers from Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida.

posted: 2016-05-11

Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts - toolKITUSGS researcher reviews European Union coastal risk project

The European Union is funding a 4-year project that will develop methods, tools, and management approaches to reduce risk and increase resilience to low-frequency, high-impact hydro-meteorological events in the coastal zone. The project held its annual review meeting in Faro, Portugal, 18–20 April, and Nathaniel Plant (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) served as one of the reviewers. The project is making excellent progress developing medium- and high-resolution risk assessment models and developing social-science methods to translate the risk assessments to managers and the general public in 10 different European countries. The project has many similarities to the USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project.


posted: 2016-05-11

Scientists bring the the Gulf of Mexico Sediment Trap on board in April, 2016USGS researchers participate in successful 18th recovery of the Gulf of Mexico Sediment Trap Project

This has been an exciting time of year for the Gulf of Mexico Sediment Trap Project. In the beginning of May, 2016, USGS scientists Caitlin Reynolds and Julie Richey, along with collaborators from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of South Carolina, had a successful 18th recovery of the ongoing Sediment Trap. While onboard, the team also collected live foraminifera from plankton tows and conducted water column sampling to collect in situ suspended and dissolved particulate samples at various depths for a new study. The trap will be redeployed soon and will continue collecting data.

For more information, please contact Caitlin Reynolds (SPCMSC Geologist),, 727-502-8046,
or Julie Richey (SPCMSC Research Geologist),, 727-502-8123.

posted: 2016-05-11

An individual Gt. truncatulinoides after ablating spots on each chamber for Laser ablation ICP-MS analysis.USGS researchers use new laser ablation technique to analyze forams at Davis Stable Isotope Laboratory

At the end of April 2016, the USGS scientists visited the University of California at Davis Stable Isotope Laboratory. While there, they used a new laser ablation technique for analyzing Mg/Ca and other trace elements on individual foraminifera and even individual chamber analysis on the samples collected from the Gulf of Mexico Sediment Trap. The ultimate goal is to develop a Mg/Ca based sea-surface temperature (SST) calibration on Gt. truncatulinoides and better understand how to use this species to reconstruct water column structure.

For more information, please contact Caitlin Reynolds (SPCMSC Geologist),, 727-502-8046,
or Julie Richey (SPCMSC Research Geologist),, 727-502-8123.

posted: 2016-05-11

SPCMSC researchers shown sampling water on cover of NWAMC newsletterUSGS researchers featured on cover of water quality newsletter

The National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC) reached out to St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) for images to feature on the cover of the 12th edition of their online newsletter, National Water Monitoring News. The intention was to spotlight SPCMSC research for NWAMC's upcoming 10th National Monitoring Conference in Tampa, Florida, May 2–6, 2015. The cover images show SPCMSC researchers Christina Kellogg and Christopher Smith engaged in water sampling.


posted: 2016-05-05

Map showing AMLC member locationsUSGS Research Oceanographer participates in AMLC 2016 board meeting in the Turks & Caicos Islands

In his role as a board member, Dave Zawada (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) will be participating in the annual Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean (AMLC) 2016 board meeting, held this year from 5/12–5/15 in Cockburn Harbour, Turks & Caicos. AMLC is a confederation of 33 marine research, education, and resource management institutions endeavoring to encourage the production and exchange of research and resource management information, advance the cause of marine and environmental education in the region, and facilitate cooperation and mutual assistance among its membership.

posted: 2016-05-05

Researchers view a flooded building In Barnagat Bay after Hurricane SandyArticle by USGS Researcher Featured in Newsletter for Coastal Managers

An article published in Estuaries and Coasts (Miselis et al., 2015; was selected by the Coastal Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) to be featured in the current issue of Coastal and Estuarine Science News (CESN), an electronic newsletter for coastal managers. The article addresses the coupled barrier island and estuarine response of Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, to Hurricane Sandy and demonstrates differences in morphologic response between developed and undeveloped shoreline regions. The article was chosen for its "strong implication for management of coastal areas." The newsletter was published on 18 April 2016 and is entitled "Sand and Sandy" (

For more information, contact Jennifer Miselis (SPCMSC Research Geologist),, 727-502-8088.

posted: 2016-04-21

A green sea turtle rests on the seafloor, Palmyra National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by K. Lafferty.USGS Research Oceanographer to give presentation at Climate Change and Sea Turtle Workshop

On April 28–29th Joe Long (SPCMSC Research Oceanographer) will be attending and presenting at a Climate Change and Sea Turtle Workshop, which is being organized by Florida State University (FSU), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and University of Central Florida (UCF). The purpose of the workshop is to bring together regional scientists, conservationists, and other stakeholders to discuss "what we know, what we don't know, and what we need to know" in relation to climate change and sea turtles in Florida. The workshop is being held at the Barrier Island Sanctuary in Melbourne Beach, Florida.

posted: 2016-04-13

NPR Science Desk Correspondent Chris Joyce interviews scientists at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science CenterUSGS Scientists interviewed by National Public Radio Science Desk Correspondent Chris Joyce

On 11 April Chris Joyce, Science Desk Correspondent from National Public Radio, interviewed coastal change research scientists at St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) Nathaniel Plant, Hilary Stockdon, Joe Long, Nicole Khan, Christopher Smith, and Ilsa Kuffner to explore USGS understanding of sea-level rise, storms, geology, coastal change processes, and societal and ecological impacts associated with climate change. Chris Joyce's focus was on the west coast of Florida. Discussions and examples spanned national and global scales.

For more information, contact Nathaniel Plant,, 727-502-8072.

posted: 2016-04-13

Scientist preparing equipment on the beach at Fire Island, New YorkUSGS scientists investigate terrestrial geology at Fire Island, New York

One major component of the USGS Fire Island Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Project GS2-2B is to examine geologic controls on the behavior of the Fire Island National Seashore by quantifying variations in sediment availability in the shoreface. Over the next two weeks and in collaboration with the National Park Service, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) staff Julie Bernier (Geologist), Owen Brenner (Geologist), Kyle Kelso (Geologist), and Jennifer Miselis (Research Geologist) will be using a combination of indirect and direct sampling (ground-penetrating radar and vibracores, respectively) to characterize spatial variability in the geology of the subaerial shoreface. They will also collect elevation data along beach profiles that have been measured quarterly since Hurricane Sandy made landfall in 2012. The morphologic and geologic data will be integrated to better understand the role of shoreface geology in post-Sandy beach recovery and dune-building.

posted: 2016-04-08

Title scene from the new video, New video on USGS investigation of coral disease in Hawai'i

A new video, "Exploring Causes of Coral Disease," follows USGS researchers as they investigate potential causes of black band disease affecting corals on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. In spring 2015, scientists from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (Santa Cruz, California) and the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (St. Petersburg, Florida) ran initial surveys to check water temperature, salinity, and whether water running off the land may be affecting coral health. An expanded team will return this summer for more in-depth work. Healthy reefs protect the shore from wave damage, provide shelter for important fish species, and are vital to tourism. View the 3:46-minute video at

For more information, contact Curt Storlazzi,, 831-460-7521; or Chris Kellogg,, 727-502-8128.

posted: 2016-04-08

Researchers study the coral reefs of Pacific PanamaUSGS Scientist evaluates the impacts of El Niño on coral reefs in Pacific Panama

Lauren Toth (SPCMSC Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow) returned last week from a successful, three-week expedition to study the coral reefs of Pacific Panama. Toth's surveys of the reefs show that high water temperatures associated with the ongoing El Niño event is causing significant damage to reefs in the region as a result of coral bleaching. With the help of graduate students from Northeastern University's Three Seas Program and academic collaborators at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Florida Institute of Technology, Toth established a network of oceanographic and ecological monitoring stations (see photo) that will allow the researchers to measure the response of the reefs to this climatic disturbance over the next three years.

For more information on the project contact Lauren Toth (St. Petersburg Coastal & Marine Science Center,, 727-502-8029).

posted: 2016-03-31

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > News & Events

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Feedback
Page Last Modified: February 19, 2016 11:59 AM