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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.

USGS Oceanographer selected for steering committee on West Florida Continental Shelf mapping project

Dr. Lisa Robbins (Oceanographer, St Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) was selected as steering committee member of the "Restoring Fish and Sea Turtle Habitat on the West Florida Continental Shelf: Benthic Habitat Mapping, Characterization, and Assessment Project", PIs Steven Murkowski (University of South Florida) and Luis Barbieri (FWC). Other steering committee members include NOAA reps Steve Giordano, Bonnie Ponwith, Ginny Fay, Matthew Campbell, Rebecca Greene (BOEM), Libby Fetherston (Ocean Conservancy), Larry Mayer (University of New Hampshire) , and Robert Spaeth (Commercial Fisherman and Vessel Owner). This project will map the West Florida Shelf using multibeam and with Camera-Based Assessment Survey System (C-BASS). The first steering committee met on July 20, 2015. Discussions centered on description of the project and the cruises. PIs indicated that additional space on the scheduled cruises will include USGS and carbonate chemistry equipment that could be added onto the C-BASS system and ships. Funding is through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the project is 3 years for over $4M.

posted: 2015-07-27

Sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs)USGS Research Oceanographer to present residual oil research at two public seminars

Soupy Dalyander (Research Oceanographer) will be presenting USGS research into the movement and seafloor interaction of sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs) at two seminars being organized to inform natural resource managers, oil spill responders, and the public on scientific understanding of oil spills. USGS has been a leading agency in investigating the dynamics of SOAs, which can form in the surf zone following an oil spill.

Both seminars are free and open to the public.

The Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Outreach Team and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are presenting, "Oil Spill Science Seminar: Impacts of Oil on Coastal Habitats" (, which will occur on July 22 in Temple Terrace, Florida.

Mississippi-Alabama SeaGrant will present "Navigating Shifting Sands: Oil on our Beaches" (, in Pensacola, Florida, on August 5.

posted: 2015-07-15

USGS Research Oceanographer joins multi-agency meeting to begin development of a new Coastal Resiliency Network

Hilary Stockdon, USGS Research Oceanographer at St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) will be meeting with representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) to discuss plans for development of a new Coastal Resiliency Network in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 7. The goal is to use the wealth of data that already exists in the Corps, USGS, and other federal agencies to quantity coastal resiliency and predict changes through time.

Hilary Stockdon will be representing USGS. USACE leads are Jeff Lilycrop and Julie Rosati. ASBPA lead is Nicole Elko.

posted: 2015-07-08

Participants from Oceanography Camp for Girls tour USGSUSGS Hosts the University of South Florida College of Marine Science Oceanography Camp for Girls

On July 1st and 2nd the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC ) hosted the University of South Florida College of Marine Science Oceanography Camp for Girls. The camp was developed in the 1990s to inspire and motivate young women entering high school to consider career opportunities in the sciences. Thirty girls participated in tours of the Center and labs led by Chris Reich and Kira Barrera, and observed laboratory procedures and analysis. To give the campers the opportunity to interact and engage with scientists, they met with new SPCMSC director Dr. Cheryl Hapke, and conducted career interviews of Nathaniel Plant, Alisha Ellis, RC Mickey, Jaci Overbeck, Kira Barrera, Jenna Brown, Kat Wilson, Lisa Ostermen, and Terrence McCloskey.

posted: 2015-07-08

Resilience-increasing tools for coasts toolkitUSGS Research Oceanographer joins panel of international experts reviewing coastal vulnerability project 'Risc-Kit'

Nathaniel Plant attended a meeting held in Berlin 16-19 June as part of a panel of international experts to review progress and advise a European Union funded coastal vulnerability project called Risc-Kit (Resilience-increasing tools for coasts toolkit, The objectives of the project are to develop methods, tools and management approaches to reduce risk and increase resilience to low-frequency, high-impact hydro-meteorological events in the coastal zone. These products will enhance forecasting, prediction and early warning capabilities, improve the assessment of long-term coastal risk and optimize the mix of prevention, mitigation and preparedness measures that could be implemented. This project included observational analysis, modeling, and social science to address coastal vulnerability at 12 very different settings within Europe and is analogous to the USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change project. Risc-kit is using USGS data and models to accomplish their objectives.

posted: 2015-07-01

Photos showing coral reef degradation over timeUSGS Coral reef scientist presenting research summary to Senior Ocean Policy Team, Main Interior Building, on July 1

Ilsa Kuffner (USGS–Research Marine Biologist) will be giving a talk to the Department of Interior Senior Ocean Policy Team (SOPT). The SOPT coordinates and advises on the DOI's approach to implementing the National Ocean Policy. President Obama signed an Executive Order on July 19, 2010, adopting the final recommendations and establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes. Kuffner will highlight the work of USGS scientists working on coral reefs within our National Parks, NOAA Sanctuaries, and State and Territory waters. Coral reefs are ecosystems in crisis: they are degrading quickly from the effects of climate change, overfishing, and many other stressors. Kuffner will be representing the work of several scientists at St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, including Kim Yates, David Zawada, Christina Kellogg, Julie Richey, and Lauren Toth.

posted: 2015-06-24

Section cover from Oceanography journalUSGS scientists publish on the state of ocean acidification research

Kim Yates and Ilsa Kuffner (Research Oceanographer and Marine Biologist, respectively), were co-authors of several articles in the June 2015 special issue of Oceanography, the magazine of the Oceanography Society. The special issue is titled "Emerging Themes in Ocean Acidification Science" and summarizes discussions of an international group of experts that gathered for the 2nd U.S. Ocean Acidification Principal Investigators' Meeting at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center, Washington, DC, September 17–20, 2013. Yates was one of four guest editors for the issue as well as co-author on three articles, and Kuffner was a co-author on one article. Ocean acidification (OA) is the chronic decrease in the pH of seawater over recent decades caused primarily by uptake of fossil-fuel derived atmospheric CO2. The excess CO2 is absorbed by the ocean and causes changes in seawater carbonate chemistry that have far-reaching effects on plants and animals living in oceans across the globe.

posted: 2015-06-24

Southeast Region Science Data Coordinator gives presentations on new USGS Open Data policy and support

Heather Henkel (USGS Information Technology Specialist) was invited to give a presentation from June 22–24 to several groups at the USGS in Reston, Virginia. Participants include the Eastern Geographic Science Center and the Ecosystems Mission Area. The talk covered two topics, "What (and Why): Overview of new Survey Manual Chapters/Instructional Memoranda," and "How (and Where and Who): *Free* Data Management Resources to Help You Fulfill the New Requirements." The presentation provided an overview of the new Survey Instructional Memos, as well as walking scientists and managers through available resources and where to go for help.

posted: 2015-06-24

Graphic of DNAUSGS researcher attends 'bioinformatic bootcamp' for microbial ecology

Christina Kellogg, USGS Research Microbiologist, applied for and successfully obtained a seat in an intensive summer workshop imaginatively designated EDAMAME: Explorations in Data Analyses for Metagenomic Advances in Microbial Ecology. Taking place at the Kellogg Biological Station in Michigan from June 22–July 1, 2015, this course will guide attendees through various pipelines and programs used for analyzing microbiomes based on ribosomal tag and shotgun metagenomic sequencing data. For further information, please see the course web site:

posted: 2015-06-10

USGS scientist travels to Florida Keys for a reef-coring expedition

Lauren Toth, USGS Mendenhall postdoctoral scholar, will be leading a research team on a two-week expedition from June 7–21 to collect core records of Holocene coral-reef framework. Cores will be collected at Sombrero, Tennessee, and Crocker reefs in the Florida Keys. Toth will be using the new samples collected on this expedition, in addition to the extensive archive of reef cores ( at USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), to answer critical questions about the long-term history of Florida's reefs. Toth will be joined by Anastasios Stathakopoulos, BJ Reynolds, and Jen Morrison from SPCMSC, and USGS Dive Safety Program Manager Marc Blouin. Emmy-award winning filmmaker Tom Fitz, who runs the educational outreach organization Schoolyard Films (, will meet up with the team at Crocker reef to document the expedition for an educational documentary about Florida's reefs.

posted: 2015-06-10

Researchers preparing for workGeophysical investigation of Grand Bay, Mississippi and Alabama

A team of scientists, lead by USGS research geologists Stanley Locker and Christopher G. Smith, conducted geophysical surveys from May 27–June 4 around the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi and Alabama. The survey methods included bathymetry, side-scan sonar, and CHIRP subbottom. The objectives were to better constrain shallow depo-centers in the modern bay while also investigating the role that geologic framework plays in the evolution of Grand Bay. The research team included Terrence McCloskey (USGS Mendenhall Post Doc), Nancy DeWitt (Geologist), Jake Fredericks (Geologist - CNT contractor for USGS), Cathryn Wheaton (Geologist - CNT contractor for USGS), and Chelsea Kuhs-Stalk (Geologist - CNT contractor for USGS).

posted: 2015-06-10

Seeding potential of Pyrodinium bahamense cyst beds in Old Tampa Bay

USGS Research geologist Christopher G. Smith will be working with state (Cary Lopez and Allina Corcoran, Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI)), and county scientists (Dave Karlen, Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County) to understand some of the factors affecting Pyrodinium bahamense bloom dynamics in Old Tampa Bay region of the larger Tampa Bay estuary, Florida. The group will evaluate at temporal variability in cyst viability and occurrence with depth to help better understand bloom seeding, occurrence and potentially initiation. Funding to support the project was from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program with contributions from the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program and FWRI.

posted: 2015-06-10

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