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

Map of study area at Assateague Island, Maryland and VirginiaUSGS releases 2016 lidar-derived topobathymetric data for Assateague Island, Maryland and Virginia

The USGS has released 2016 lidar-derived topobathymetric data for Assateague Island, Maryland and Virginia. The survey, flown in September 2016, post-Hurricane Hermine (USGS field activity number [FAN] 16CNT03: https://coastal.er.usgs.gov/data-release/doi-F7NP22NH/), was a repeat effort of the survey flown post-Hurricane Joaquin in November 2015 (FAN 2015-344-FA: https://coastal.er.usgs.gov/data-release/doi-F70P0X4G/). The CMGP's National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project uses lidar-derived data to quantify the vulnerability of shorelines to coastal change hazards, such as severe storms, sea-level rise, and shoreline erosion and retreat.

posted: 2017-04-13

NSF-GRIP fellow to visit USGS SPCMSC for research on coral reefs

University of Hawaiʻi Ph.D. candidate, Elizabeth (Beth) Lenz, will arrive in April to work with Ilsa Kuffner (USGS Research Marine Biologist) on the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project. Beth received a Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) award to complete the study "Adding Coral Physiology and Genetic Metrics to USGS Calcification Monitoring on Florida Keys Reefs." The GRIP program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide opportunities for NSF Graduate Fellows to enhance their professional development by engaging in mission related research experiences with partner agencies across the federal government. Beth will be visiting SPCMSC for one month this spring, during which she will join Kuffner's field expedition to the Florida Keys, and again for several months next fall to process her samples in the laboratory. Beth's work will expand the understanding of reef resilience at the reef sites where USGS conducts calcification monitoring by incorporating novel, additional data on the reproductive status and symbionts of the coral colonies being monitored. Her data will allow USGS to test the hypothesis that seawater temperature, bleaching history, and/or symbiont type affect coral fecundity and growth rate.

posted: 2017-04-06

USGS Center Director interviewed by Channel 13 Fox News—Tampa

Cheryl Hapke (Center Director, SPCMSC) was interviewed by Channel 13 Fox News meteorologist Mike Bennett. The interview, which was filmed on site at Pass-a-Grille, St Pete Beach, is for a special on rising seas which is scheduled to be aired in May as part of a series on preparing for this year's hurricane season. Topics discussed included rising sea levels in Florida, including the Tampa Bay area, as well as the importance of barrier islands and their effects in dampening storm surge. As sea levels grow higher, storm surges would cause more erosion and more flooding in places that may not have flooded before. Bennett also asked if the Tampa Bay area could see nuisance flooding such as Miami is already experiencing.

posted: 2017-04-06

USGS releases sediment data from around Breton Island, Louisiana

Sediment data, including core logs and grain-size data, from cores collected in 2014 and 2015 from around Breton and Gosier Islands, Breton National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana, were released online in Data Series 1037 and the accompanying data release https://doi.org/10.5066/F79C6VKF. Together they serve as an archive of sediment data from vibracores, push cores, and submerged grab samples collected from around Breton and Gosier Islands, Louisiana, during two surveys in July 2014 and January 2015. Sedimentologic and stratigraphic metrics derived from these data can be used to ground-truth the geophysical data and characterize potential sand resources or can be incorporated into sediment transport or morphologic change models.

posted: 2017-03-30

USGS Oceanographer Attends One Gulf Summit and Gulf of Mexico Alliance All Hands

Soupy Dalyander, (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC), is attending the One Gulf Summit and Gulf of Mexico Alliance All Hands from 3/27–3/31/2017 in Houston, Texas. The One Gulf Summit (https://www.sgmsummit.org/) brings together managers, scientists, and stakeholders from the United States, Mexico, and Cuba to discuss issues of ecological and human health in the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (http://www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org/) is a regional partnership with representation from the five Gulf states, federal agencies, academia, private organizations, and non-profits, and works to identify priority issues in human and ecological health in the Gulf for several focus areas, including coastal resiliency; Soupy is the DOI representative to this team.

posted: 2017-03-30

USGS researcher advises European-Union coastal hazard project: Risc-kit

From April 5–7, Nathaniel Plant (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) will attend the final meeting of a 12-country coastal hazard project called Risc-Kit in Delft, The Netherlands, to review project results and present a U.S. perspective on coastal hazard research and applications. USGS and the international community help protect coastal infrastructure, economies, and ecosystems. Specifically, the Netherlands looks to USGS for data sets on storm impacts, and many aspects of the Risc-Kit project are modeled on the USGS coastal change assessments. Lessons learned by Risc-Kit and USGS projects are mutually beneficial to understanding and responding to coastal hazards.

posted: 2017-03-22

Lidar Coordinator elected to serve as ASPRS GIS Division Assistant Director

Xan Fredericks, Lidar Coordinator for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, won the 2017 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) National Election for GIS Division Assistant Director (https://www.asprs.org/general/asprs-annual-election-results.html). She will serve as GISD Assistant Director for two years and then move up to the Director position for two more years. Founded in 1934, the ASPRS is a scientific association serving over 7,000 professional members around the world with a mission to advance knowledge and improve understanding of mapping sciences, and to promote the responsible applications of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and supporting technologies.

posted: 2017-03-16

Splash screen of new project webpageJoint USGS/USEPA Soil Pathogens Webpage and Interactive Map Application is now live

USGS researcher Dale Griffin (Environmental and Public Health Microbiologist, SPCMSC), in partnership with the USEPA Office of Homeland Security, has published a new project webpage, “Joint USGS/USEPA Pathogens in Soils Geographic Information Systems Project,” featuring an interactive web mapping application. This application, created by Steven Douglas (Researcher, SPCMSC), helps researchers determine background concentrations of select pathogens in soils of the contiguous U.S. and the influences of geochemistry, weather and climate on these pathogen populations. The application will be used to display future predictive geospatial modeling and research results.

posted: 2017-03-16

USGS Research Scientist quoted in Inside Climate News regarding coral bleaching

USGS Research Marine Biologist Ilsa Kuffner (SPCMSC) was quoted in a March 15, 2017 article of Inside Climate News. The author of the new article asked Kuffner to comment upon the results of a study published in Nature this week about the connection between ocean-heat stress and coral bleaching on the Australian Great Barrier Reef. The new study found that 2016 coral bleaching intensity was almost entirely explained by the amount heat-stress and not by reef-management status, water quality, or bleaching history. Kuffner explained that the study provides further evidence that the primary agents of coral mortality, mainly bleaching and coral disease, do not have to be the same as those preventing reef recovery. It is to the process of reef recovery that secondary stressors—like poor water quality and overfishing—are important.

posted: 2017-03-16

Local-scale ecosystem resilience amid global-scale ocean change: the coral reef exampleUSGS Powell Center coral reef working group to meet for 2nd workshop in Ft. Collins, Colorado, March 20–24, 2017

USGS Research Marine Biologist Ilsa Kuffner (SPCMSC), Research Ecologist Caroline Rogers (Caribbean Field Station), Research Oceanographer Lauren Toth (SPCMSC), and eleven other colleagues from around the world will meet to discuss and analyze existing datasets on coral reef status in concert with remotely sensed physical oceanographic data at the John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis. The working group’s goal is to uncover the geographic, biological, ecological, and physical features that characterize coral reef “oases” which have maintained populations of corals against a background of reef ecosystem degradation. For this second and final meeting of the working group, members will finish one manuscript and conduct analyses for a second that will assess the physical, biological, and oceanographic settings where areas qualifying as “reef oases” presently exist.

posted: 2017-03-16

Growing the right coral for the job: Fine tuning coral nursery techniques for coral-reef restoration

USGS Research Marine Biologist Ilsa Kuffner, Research Oceanographer Lauren Toth, Oceanographer Anastasios Stathakopoulos, and colleagues from NOAA and Mote Marine Tropical Laboratory published a research article in the journal Coral Reefs entitled "Plasticity in skeletal characteristics of nursery-raised staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis." The Staghorn Coral is a threatened species and is the primary focus of reef restoration activities throughout Florida and the Caribbean. This study provides valuable new data demonstrating that the two most common rearing techniques used in offshore coral nurseries produce colonies with different skeletal characteristics. The results also indicate that variability in coral-calcification performance is genetically based. These results will be of great interest to coral restoration practitioners, reef conservationists, governmental resource managers, and other scientists in the field of coral reef research and restoration.

posted: 2017-03-08

USGS Scientist invited to speak at Claremont Colleges

Jennifer Flannery (Chemist, SPCMSC) will will travel to Claremont, California, to meet with undergraduate students working in the Marine Environmental Change Laboratory directed by Dr. Branwen Williams, at the W.M. Keck Science Department at Claremont McKenna - Pitzer - Scripps Colleges. Flannery will deliver a science seminar to students featuring ongoing coral research at the USGS SPCMSC, and will also provide training and guidance to students wishing to analyze calcium carbonate-producing organisms for trace elements using an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer.

posted: 2017-03-06

New USGS SPCMSC webpage launched: "Video Remote Sensing of Coastal Processes"

The SPCMSC National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH) group has released a new webpage, "Video Remote Sensing of Coastal Processes" under the primary "National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards" webpage. The new page describes how video remote sensing is being used to quantify a range of coastal processes and to monitor storm-induced hazards. The webpage also highlights recent snapshots updated hourly from a digital video camera installed at Madeira Beach, Florida, which is operated by the NACCH group.

posted: 2017-03-06

Lidar Coordinator to moderate sessions at IGTF 2017 ASPRS Annual Conference

Xan Fredericks, Lidar Coordinator for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, will moderate the GIS Division sessions for the Imaging and Geospatial Technology Forum (IGTF) 2017 conference in Baltimore, MD, March 12–16, 2017. IGTF, presented by the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), is a technical conference with interactive discussions, hands-on workshops on emerging geospatial capabilities, and workflows to enhance integration of current technologies.

posted: 2017-03-06

USGS Researcher Co-Chairs Coral Microbiome Session

SPCMSC Research Microbiologist Christina Kellogg will attend the ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, Feb. 26–Mar 3, 2017, to co-chair a coral microbiome session. She will give two talks: one about deep-sea coral microbiomes and one about careers with the USGS (https://www.sgmeet.com/aslo/honolulu2017/).

posted: 2017-02-23

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