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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 Scientist travels to Pacific Panama to study the effects of El Niño on coral-reef development

On February 25th, Lauren Toth (Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow, SPMSC) will travel to Panama for a three-week research expedition to study the impacts of the ongoing El Niño event on coral reefs in the region. The responses of Panamanian reefs to major disturbances like El Niño may help scientists better predict the global responses of reefs to climatic changes in the future. Working with institutional partners from Florida Institute of Technology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Northeastern University, Toth will establish experiments at six sites across Pacific Panama to monitor changes in coral abundance, coral calcification, and bioerosion in relation to oceanographic variability over the next three years. This research is the first phase of a broader NSF-funded research project that is providing a unique opportunity to expand existing USGS research to a new and critically understudied location.

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

posted: 2016-02-11

USGS researchers to receive NOPP Excellence in Partnering Award

USGS scientists and collaborators from more than a dozen research institutions will receive the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) 2015 Excellence in Partnering Award on February 23, 2016, at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans. The award recognizes the research team's Atlantic Canyons: Pathways to the Abyss project. The team received another major award in January 2014, when Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell presented them with the DOI Partners in Conservation Award. USGS scientists on the team studied underwater canyon geology, oceanography, ecology, and biology.

For more information, contact principal investigators:
Amanda Demopoulos (project chief), ademopoulos@usgs.gov, 352-264-3490;
Nancy Prouty, nprouty@usgs.gov, 831-460-7526;
Cheryl Morrison, cmorrison@usgs.gov, 304-724-4464; or
Christina Kellogg, ckellogg@usgs.gov, 727-502-8128.

posted: 2016-02-11

The 61st State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida STEM Competition March 29 - 31, 2016USGS scientists will judge at the 2016 Pinellas Regional Science & Engineering Fair

USGS scientists from the St. Petersburg Coastal & Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) Ilsa Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist) and Dale Griffin (Environmental and Public Health Microbiologist) will be judges at the 2016 Pinellas Regional Science & Engineering Fair held at the Seminole Middle School on Saturday, February 6th 2016, from 8am to 3pm. Over 200 projects in 13 categories and research areas are anticipated from public and private middle and high school students again this year. Twenty-four students will be chosen to represent the Pinellas Region at the 61st Florida State Science and Engineering Fair in Lakeland. The students' interactions with professional scientists will provide valuable experiences for their individual growth in academic studies, as well as assisting them in future career decisions.

posted: 2016-02-03

USGS scientists attend AGU's Ocean Sciences meeting in New Orleans, Lousiana

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is holding its annual Ocean Sciences meeting in New Orleans, Lousiana, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 21–26 February 2016. Cosponsored by AGU, the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, and The Oceanography Society, the Ocean Sciences Meeting will consist of a diverse program covering topics in all areas of the ocean sciences discipline. The USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) will be represented at this meeting by 9 researchers. Research spans a range of topics including coastal sedimentary systems, remote sensing, and numerical modeling.

Name Session Title
Bernier, J. MG44B: Response of Coastal Sedimentary Systems to Anthropogenic Alterations and Climate Change II Posters Morphological controls on barrier-island response and recovery following natural and anthropogenic perturbations, northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana
Brown, J. EC14C: Nearshore Processes IV Posters Extracting Maximum Total Water Levels from Video "Brightest" Images
Dalyander, P. MG14A: Sediment Dynamics in Coastal Settings: Observations and Modeling of Sediment Transport, Morphology, and Change on Event to Decadal Timescale Parameterization of Beach and Dune Recovery to Inform Decadal Scale Prediction of Barrier Island Evolution
Long, J. MG21A-03: Sediment Dynamics in Coastal Settings: Observations and Modeling of Sediment Transport, Morphology, and Change on Event to Decadal Timescales III Combining remotely sensed data and numerical modeling to investigate the impacts of vegetation on barrier island erosion
Miselis, J. MG41A: Response of Coastal Sedimentary Systems to Anthropogenic Alterations and Climate Change I Toward Quantifying Shoreface Contributions to Littoral Sediment Budgets
Nelson, T. MG21A: Sediment Dynamics in Coastal Settings: Observations and Modeling of Sediment Transport, Morphology, and Change on Event to Decadal Timescales III Barrier Island Breaching in Response to Extreme Storms: Morphodynamic Evolution of the Fire Island Wilderness Breach
Torres-Garcia, L. EC24C: Observations and Modeling of Physical Processes along Coral Reef-Lined Coasts II Posters Evaluation and Application of Wave and Ocean Circulation Models to Understand Coral Reef Processes
Wilson, K. MG14A: Sediment Dynamics in Coastal Settings: Observations and Modeling of Sediment Transport, Morphology, and Change on Event to Decadal Timescales II Development of a Probabilistic Decision-Support Model to Forecast Coastal Resilience
Zawada, D. EC23A-03: Observations and Modeling of Physical Processes along Coral Reef-Lined Coasts I An Integrated Study of the Degadation of a Reefscape in the Florida Keys

posted: 2016-02-03

USGS oceanographer has new research article in the Journal of Geophysical Research

Joe Long (SPCMSC oceanographer) has a newly published research article in the Journal of Geophysical Research—Oceans which investigates the spatial and temporal scales of nearshore hydrodynamics in a region strongly influenced by offshore submarine canyons. The new study modeled hydrodynamics along a particular section of the coast for 4 consecutive weeks, and highlights the role that wave direction and nonlinear processes play in dictating nearshore rip currents in this complex coastal environment. The full publication can be accessed here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015JC010990/full (DOI: 10.1002/2015JC010990).

posted: 2016-02-03

USGS Researchers meet with Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

On February 3, 2016, USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) researchers will meet with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) in Thibodaux, Louisiana. SPCMSC scientists Jack Kindinger (Geologist), Jim Flocks (Research Geologist), and Stan Locker (Research Geologist) will join CPRA Project Managers and Senior Administrative Officials to discuss Louisiana's Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring Program. Since 2005, the USGS has provided scientific guidance, as well as assistance in developing and implementing the BICM Program. This discussion will address continuing projects that were implemented in 2015; and will plan the multi-year program (2015–2019), which is under the leadership of the USGS. For more information visit http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/geo-evo/research/bicm.html.

posted: 2016-02-03

Photo of beach at Fire Island, NYUSGS Researchers collect surveys before and after the January 2016 Nor'easter on Fire Island

From January 20–27, Owen Brenner and Kat Wilson, research staff from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, are conducting GPS monitoring surveys on Fire Island, New York, as part of the continuing efforts to assess post-Sandy beach recovery. In an extended field effort, the team has been able to collect surveys both immediately prior to and following the January 2016 Nor'easter, capturing storm impacts in the largest storm to make landfall at Fire Island since Hurricane Sandy. The work is part of Hurricane Sandy Supplemental project GS2-2B. Surveys of shorelines and beach profiles were first collected just before Hurricane Sandy, and have been collected frequently in the three years since. The data produced from the surveys will also provide important baseline monitoring for the planned beach nourishment projects at Fire Island.

For more information on the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Fire Island project, visit: http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/fire-island/ or contact Owen Brenner, obrenner@usgs.gov.

posted: 2016-01-28

Chris Sherwood and Steve Suttles measure duneUSGS Beach Erosion Team on front page of the Cape Cod Times

Oceanographer Chris Sherwood and marine technician Steve Suttles (both of the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center) were photographed beneath a new, 8 foot high scarp in the reconstructed dune at Sandwich Town Neck Beach. The photo was part of a front-page story in the 25 January 2016 print edition of the Cape Cod Times. Technician Barry Irwin appears in a separate photo in the on-line version. The team was taking advantage of mild conditions to map changes wrought by the weekend winter storm. Detailed maps made immediately before and after the storm, along with measurements of waves and water levels, will help the USGS test models that predict beach erosion.

For more information, please contact Chris Sherwood (508) 457-2269.

Read the article: http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20160126/NEWS/160129567posted: 2016-01-26


video of Sandwich Beach on Channel 5 NewsUSGS Oceanographer and Technicians featured in Boston Channel 5 News stories before and after the Winter Storm of January 23-24, 2016

USGS oceanographer Chris Sherwood (Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center) appeared on the Boston Channel 5 News at 7 on Friday, January 22, 2016, in a story about the impending winter storm. He was interviewed by Channel 5 reporter Pam Cross. Also interviewed in the story was Mark Galkowski, the Director of the Town of Sandwich Dept. of Natural Resources and a partner with the USGS in ongoing studies of erosion at Sandwich Town Neck Beach. The USGS was conducting pre-storm measurements of beach topography, mapping sand recently placed during a nourishment project conducted the US Army Corps of Engineers. Several local operators of UAS (unmanned aerial systems, aka drones) were flying with cameras (and permission from the Town of Sandwich), so the USGS team placed and mapped ground control-point targets. The USGS is experimenting with using these images to construct a detailed three-dimensional map of the beach before the storm.

Chris and USGS technicians Barry Irwin and Jon Borden appeared in a follow-up story reported by Jack Harper and aired on the Channel 5 News at 7 on Monday, January 25, 2016. This story discussed reactions to the erosion of the newly-placed sand. Part of the reconstructed dune had eroded landward, leaving a vertical scarp that was 2 meters high in places. Nick Lowell (Lowell Instruments, LLC) was also interviewed, and he described the tilt current meter he developed in partnership with the USGS to measure flow in overwash channels. The reporter described the current meter as "the squid" because it has "tentacles" of green line to stabilize it in flowing water. Townspeople visiting the beach expressed disappointment that so much sand had been lost so quickly. However, the detailed maps made immediately before and after the storm, along with measurements of waves and water levels, will help the USGS test models that predict beach erosion.

For more information, please contact Chris Sherwood (508) 457-2269.

Watch the videos:
http://www.wcvb.com/weather/beach-erosion-flooding-concerns-on-cape-islands/37582210
http://www.wcvb.com/news/experts-survey-damage-on-cape-after-weekend-storm/37633900
http://www.wcvb.com/news/measuring-erosive-impact-of-the-winter-storm/37592592

posted: 2016-01-26

screenshot from Coastal Change Hazards PortalUSGS Scientists responding to January 2016 storm

USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center scientists are engaged in a number of research activities aimed at understanding and predicting coastal change due to the January 2016 storm, which brought record snowfall to the mid-Atlantic region. Using USGS observations of beach topography and NOAA forecast storm surge and wave conditions, scientists calculated the probability of dune erosion, overwash and inundation for Mid-Atlantic sandy coastlines. Forecasts of storm-induced coastal change are available on the Coastal Change Hazards Portal.

Other research activities include: Forecasting operational water levels for locations along the New Jersey coast, collecting field-based profile data at Fire Island, New York, and refining scenario-based models for coastal change during nor'easters.

For more information, please contact Hilary Stockdon (hstockdon@usgs.gov).

posted: 2016-01-25

USGS Researchers continue monitoring surveys on Fire Island

From Jan. 20–22, Owen Brenner and Kat Wilson (Research staff, SPCMSC) will conduct GPS monitoring surveys on Fire Island, New York, as part of the continuing efforts to assess post-Sandy beach recovery. The work is part of Hurricane Sandy Supplemental project GS2-2B. Surveys of shorelines and beach profiles were first collected immediately prior to Hurricane Sandy, and have been collected frequently in the three years since. The data produced from the surveys will also provide important baseline monitoring for the planned beach nourishment projects at Fire Island.

For more information on the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Fire Island project, visit: http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/fire-island/ or contact Owen Brenner, obrenner@usgs.gov.

posted: 2016-01-13

USGS St. Petersburg Science Center Director participates in Fire Island Breach Management Plan discussions as subject matter expert

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) Director Cheryl Hapke will be traveling to Patchogue, New York, from 1/10–1/13 to participate as a subject matter expert in science discussions focused on the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the breach at Fire Island. The meeting is being organized by Environmental Associates, Inc., the firm hired by the National Park Service (NPS) to develop the EIS. Participants include USGS, NPS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers NY District, and State University of New York at Stony Brook (SUNY Stonybrook).

posted: 2016-01-06

The living surface of a Quaternary coral reef in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Keys, USA. Photo by Ilsa B. Kuffner.USGS scientists publish new record of a now-extinct coral species from the fossil record of the Dry Tortugas National Park

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) researchers Lauren Toth (Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow) and Ilsa Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist) have just published a paper documenting what could have been one of the last records of a once-dominant Caribbean coral species that suddenly went extinct during the late-Pleistocene. The coral, Pocillopora palmata, was preserved in a reef core collected in Dry Tortugas National Park as part of a USGS-led expedition in 1976, and housed in the SPCMSC core archive since then. Toth identified the coral while collecting new data from the archive as part of her research with the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies project. The coral’s occurrence in the Dry Tortugas significantly expands its known range and may help scientists better understand the controls on species extinction in the past and in the future. The article was published in the December issue of PALAIOS, and the cover features a photograph taken by Kuffner.

posted: 2016-01-06

Image showing the scientist collecting and processing in situ and remote sensing data to initialize and validate numerical modelsUSGS Research Oceanographer presents shoreline change research at Coastal Armoring and Sea Turtles Workshop

Joseph W. Long (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) was invited to attend a Coastal Armoring and Sea Turtles Workshop hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Jacksonville, Florida, 1/27-1/29. He will present research related to quantifying and forecasting shoreline change, and will discuss other tools developed by the USGS to help identify how ecosystems and habitats are affected by changing morphology.

posted: 2016-01-06

The Coral Reef Example project slide on the John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis websiteUSGS Research Marine Biologist gives invited talk at California State University, Northridge

Ilsa Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist, SPCMSC) gave a talk entitled "Rise and Demise of Western Atlantic Coral Reefs" at the CSUN Biology Department on December 7, 2015. Kuffner also met with CSUN professor Peter Edmunds and Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology Director Dr. Ruth Gates to discuss a new Working Group at the John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis, whose focus is "Local-scale Ecosystem Resilience Amid Global-scale Ocean Change: The Coral Reef Example." This Working Group will gather 16 experts from around the globe to examine the geographic, biological, ecological, and physical features that characterize 'oases' in coral reef communities, and to evaluate the potential of these oases to catalyze broader-scale ecosystem recovery. The first meeting of the working group will take place in July of 2016.

posted: 2015-12-16

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