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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 727-502-8062.

Photo showing coral with dark spot diseaseNew USGS publication examines dark spot syndrome in starlet corals

An article published October 7, 2014, by USGS microbiologists Christina Kellogg and Michael Gray, examines one of the most prevalent coral diseases in the Caribbean, dark spot disease (also known as dark spot syndrome). In collaboration with scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, DNA microarrays, a technology that measures a large numbers of genes simultaneously, were used to compare bacterial communities between healthy and dark-spot coral colonies in Dry Tortugas National Park and Virgin Islands National Park. Overall, the findings do not support the hypothesis that dark spot in the massive starlet coral (Siderastrea siderea) is linked to a bacterial pathogen. The dataset does provide the most comprehensive overview to date of the bacterial community associated with this coral species.

posted: 2014-10-15

Photograph of the NOAA Fisheries SE Regional Office buildingUSGS Senior Scientist participates in NOAA strategic planning effort in St. Petersburg, Florida

USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) scientist, Dr. Lisa Robbins, was part of a fact-finding meeting initiated by NOAA Fisheries Southeast Science Center's long-term strategic planning effort on October 1. The goal of the meeting was to gather information about potential opportunities to expand the NOAA Center's science presence in St. Petersburg. The Mayor, other city leaders, and local marine science leaders met with NOAA Director of Southeast Fisheries Science Center Dr. Bonnie Ponwith; NOAA Fisheries Agency Project Manager Mr. John Gorman; and Ms. Julie Bassuk from MAKERS, an architecture-planning/urban design firm, to get a better understanding of marine science research in St. Petersburg, potential future research, and opportunities for synergy and collaboration with the Southeast Science Center. Robbins gave a 10-minute overview of SPMSC's mission and science focus, and emphasized areas of potential relevance to fisheries science. An open dialog followed; participants discussed major trends in fisheries and ocean science and how that will affect research in St Petersburg, opportunities to enhance partnerships, and collaboration and synergy with NOAA Fisheries.

posted: 2014-10-08

oblique aerial photosComplete set of USGS Hurricane Sandy aerial photographs released online

On Sept. 19th, the USGS publications warehouse released the complete set of oblique aerial photographs for Hurricane Sandy as Data Series 858. The collection of 9481 photographs spans from Cape Lookout, NC, to Montauk, NY, and was acquired over three days from November 4th to 6th, 2012. Many of the photographs have been extensively used in USGS websites and publications including on the front page of Fact Sheet 2014-3062 used in the briefing #StrongAfterSandy presented to Congress on Sept. 19th.

To view the oblique aerial photographs, visit: http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/0858/

To view the #StrongAfterSandy Fact Sheet, visit: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=4000#.VCliXPldXRg/

posted: 2014-10-02

estuary photos from Vermillion Bay, LouisianaUSGS scientists initiate fieldwork for Storm and Sea Level Impacts research on estuarine environments

Terrence McCloskey, a new Mendenhall post-doctoral researcher at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), traveled with Christopher G. Smith (USGS Research Geologist), C. Scott Adams (Researcher, Cherokee Nation Technology Solutions), and Christian Haller (USGS/University of South Florida Intern) to the Pascaguola River and Grand Bay coastal regions of Mississippi and Alabama to acquire sedimentary records from Grand Bay marsh platform and the Pascaguola River bayhead delta. The work was carried out as part of McCloskey's Mendenhall Fellowship and the Storm and Sea-level Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines (SSIEES) project. The goal for SSIEES is to develop a decadal time-scale assessment of historical sediment budget changes to help refine estuarine shoreline vulnerability due to storms and sea-level. McCloskey's research, by establishing geochemical proxies, will help quantify the role that storms have played over the last 8000 years.

posted: 2014-10-02

Scientist collecting video data on a coral reef.USGS coral ecologist participates in workshop on coral reef processes

USGS Mendenhall post-graduate fellow, Lauren Toth, is traveling to Miami from 9/24 to 9/27 to contribute to a workshop sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The goal of the workshop is to discuss how Florida reefs should be managed to maintain and promote important reef processes such as accretion, herbivory, and recruitment. Lauren will be giving a short talk describing a geological perspective of coral-reef restoration in the Florida Keys.

posted: 2014-09-25

#StrongAfterSandyYou are invited: The USGS Congressional Briefing Series #StrongAfterSandy—The Science Supporting the Department of the Interior's Response

Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 devastated some of the most densely populated areas of the Atlantic Coast. The storm claimed lives, altered natural lands and wildlife habitat, and caused millions of dollars in property damage. Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of our Nation's need to better protect people and communities from future storms. To inform the Department of the Interior's recovery efforts, the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are collectively developing and applying science to build resilient coastal communities that can better withstand and prepare for catastrophic storms of the future.

Date: Friday, Sept. 19, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: 2325 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Speakers:

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - Dr. Claude Gascon, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer, emcee

U.S. Geological Survey - Dr. Neil K. Ganju, Research Oceanographer

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Eric Schrading, Field Office Supervisor, New Jersey Field Office

National Park Service - Mary Foley, Chief Scientist, Northeast Region

Partner Host: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

For more information, visit http://www.usgs.gov/solutions/2014_sep19.html

To find out more about how the USGS is combining interdisciplinary science with state-of-the-art technologies to achieve a comprehensive understanding of coastal change caused by Hurricane Sandy, read the new fact sheet, "Using Science to Strengthen our Nation's Resilience to Tomorrow's Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts".posted: 2014-09-18


Map showing EDEN project areasEDEN Project Team Annual Meeting to be held at US Army Corps of Engineers office in Jacksonville, Florida

On September 24–25, the Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) project team—Pamela Telis (FLWSC), Matt Petkewich (SCWSC), and Paul Conrads (SCWSC), Heather Henkel (SPCMSC), and Bryan McCloskey (SPCMSC)—will meet at the US Army Corps of Engineers office in Jacksonville, Florida, to plan new project activities for FY2015. Recent EDEN project updates (http://sofia.usgs.gov/eden) include daily modeled water surfaces now available with only a 1-day delay (upgraded from a 4-day delay), the Explore and View EDEN (EVE) web application, which allows users to visualize this hydrologic information alongside supplemental information (http://sofia.usgs.gov/eden/eve/), and the development of data products and visualization tools for scientists who are using EDEN data to help evaluate restoration scenarios.

posted: 2014-09-18

Photo showing coral bleaching on reefUSGS Press Release on ocean-temperature study generates news coverage

On September 9, the USGS Newsroom posted a release about "Ocean Warming Affecting Florida Reefs." The release describes the findings of a study by Ilsa Kuffner, marine biologist from the USGS, on how ocean temperatures have changed since the late 1800s at two historic lighthouses on the Florida Keys outer-reef tract. The research was recently published in Estuaries and Coasts, "A century of ocean warming on Florida Keys coral reefs: Historic in-situ observations." The story was picked up by ClimateWire and aired on the news reel on radio station WLRN in Miami on September 12.

posted: 2014-09-18

EarthEchoUSGS Coral Reef Researcher to be interviewed by Philippe Cousteau

On September 17, Ilsa Kuffner from the USGS will head to Miami, Florida, to be interviewed by EarthEcho International. EarthEcho is a non-profit organization for environmental education founded by Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau, grandchildren of the legendary film-maker, Jacques Cousteau. Kuffner will be taking Cousteau and the production crew out to visit one of her sites in Biscayne National Park and discussing the coral-growth monitoring study and other work of the Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies (CREST) project.

For more information about EarthEcho, visit: http://earthecho.org/.

posted: 2014-09-18

front page of Fact SheetUsing Science to Strengthen our Nation's Resilience to Tomorrow's Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts

A new fact sheet "Using Science to Strengthen our Nation's Resilience to Tomorrow's Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts" describes how the USGS is combining interdisciplinary science with state-of-the-art technologies to achieve a comprehensive understanding of coastal change caused by Hurricane Sandy. By assessing coastal change impacts through research and by developing tools that enhance our science capabilities, support coastal stakeholders, and facilitate effective decision making, we continue to build a greater understanding of the processes at work across our Nation’s complex coastal environment—from wetlands, estuaries, barrier islands, and nearshore marine areas to infrastructure and human communities. This improved understanding will increase our resilience as we prepare for future short-term, extreme events as well as long-term coastal change.

posted: 2014-09-16

A variety of corals growing under mangrove treesUSGS scientists discover previously undocumented refuge for corals as an adaption due to recent climate change

On August 19th lead authors oceanographer Kim Yates from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science (SPCMSC) and research biologist Caroline Rogers from the Southeast Ecological Science Center (SESC) published a peer-reviewed article in Biogeoscience documenting a previously unknown refuge for coral growth in the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, St. John, VI, along with four other USGS and university scientists. The findings show that mangrove habitats are providing refuge for over 30 species of scleractinian corals from solar radiation, thermal stress and ocean acidification, and potential adaptation of these corals to higher water temperatures. To the authors' knowledge, this has never before been documented in the geologic or modern record. Co-authors contributing are Nate Smiley from SPCMSC, Gregg Brooks and Rebecca Larsen from Eckerd College, and Jimmy Herlan from Universidad Católica del Norte.

To view the journal article, visit http://www.biogeosciences.net/11/4321/2014/bg-11-4321-2014.html.

posted: 2014-09-11

Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZEUSGS Researcher chosen for judging panel of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE

XPRIZE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development, has announced the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE. On the heels of the successful Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE aims to spur global innovators to develop accurate and affordable ocean pH sensors that will ultimately transform our understanding of ocean acidification. Current sensors are limited in their capacity to detect ocean acidification changes in the deep ocean and in coastal waters, and we cannot assess change unless we understand and measure what is out there. Eighteen teams from around the world have registered for this 22-month competition. USGS Research Microbiologist Dr. Christina Kellogg has been chosen to be on the five-member judging panel. Judges were vetted by the competition's Science Advisory Board and chosen based on scientific expertise, objective outlook, credibility, and ethical reputation. Judges will award points during several testing phases including laboratory trials, coastal trials and open ocean trials. The judging panel has the sole authority to declare the winners of the competition, and the final decisions will be announced during an award ceremony in July 2015.

For more information on the XPRIZE, visit: http://oceanhealth.xprize.org.

posted: 2014-09-11

Steven Douglas and Joseph Terrano, with USGS Ecologist Kathryn SmithUniversity of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) students take GIS skills to USGS

On August 1, the USFSP online student news website posted an article written by Jessica Blais about two student interns working at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC). Two Environmental Science Policy and Geography students, Steven Douglas and Joseph Terrano are working with USGS Ecologist Kathryn Smith on computer-aided mapping projects to identify coastal hazards using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Douglas, a Masters student, and Terrano, a rising senior, are students of Barnali Dixon, chair of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Geography.

To read the article, see: http://www.usfsp.edu/blog/2014/08/01/students-take-gis-skills-to-usgs/.

posted: 2014-09-11

marine biology studentsSt. Petersburg Marine Microbiology Laboratory hosts St. Petersburg College marine biology student group

On September 10, SPCMSC 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.

posted: 2014-09-04

USGS conducted joint sonar/lidar bathymetric survey at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to support U.S. Air Force erosion vulnerability study

On 18 August 2014, researchers from the Saint Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) began a bathymetric survey of the complicated shoals, channels, and bars that are connected to the Cape Canaveral shoreline. This region has complex patterns of erosion and deposition that are evolving due to storms and sea-level rise. The survey approach utilized the both sonar and lidar observation technologies to optimize data coverage over a wide region with variable water clarity. The two data sets will be integrated into a single data set used to estimate bathymetric change and provide new input to numerical models. Additional data were collected to quantify survey accuracy and to develop improved assimilation of oceanographic, lidar, and sonar data and models.

posted: 2014-08-28

USGS scientists travel to Fire Island, New York, to continue post-Sandy monitoring

From 9/7–9/11, USGS geologists Cheryl Hapke, Owen Brenner, and Kat Wilson will return to Fire Island after an extensive field data collection trip in June to re-survey the shoreline and beach profiles ongoing coastal recovery studies. They will also present an update of field activities and preliminary findings to the NPS staff. Fire Island is one of the principal USGS areas of interest to document geologic processes related to Sandy erosion and recovery.

posted: 2014-08-28

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