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

USGS Oceanographer Invited as Keynote Speaker for International Conference

SPCMSC Research Oceanographer Joseph Long will travel to Delft, The Netherlands, to be a keynote speaker at the upcoming XBeachX conference which takes place November 1–3. Long will speak to the international community about USGS morphodynamic modeling of the coastal environment, including the use of models to predict the impact of extreme storms on barrier islands. The USGS has been integral in the testing and development of numerical modeling tools, such as XBeach, over the last decade. His talk will focus on past USGS advancements and ongoing research activities designed to improve model capabilities.

posted: 2017-09-21

Scientists to publish Open-file Report on the morphologic evolution of the Wilderness Breach at Fire Island

Scientists at SPCMSC are publishing a new Open-file Report summarizing the morphologic evolution of a breach system in the Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness Area on Fire Island, NY, that opened during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The report provides a synthesis of multiple datasets including time series of bathymetry, shoreline change, and hydrodynamics. The data together tell a story of response to storms versus calm periods and reveals that the breach reached a quasi-equilibrium state within 18 months of formation. The data and analyses were integral to the development of breach morphodynamic models (in collaboration with Deltares) and are critical to an Environmental Impact Statement that the National Park Service developed to manage the open breach within Fire Island National Seashore. The USGS-NPS partnership at Fire Island is an excellent example of USGS science being used to inform management planning and decision-making on federal lands.

The authors of the report are Cheryl Hapke, Tim Nelson, Rachel Henderson, Owen Brenner, and Jennifer Miselis.

posted: 2017-09-21

The USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards Storm Team is responding to Hurricane Irma by providing multiple forecasts of water levels and potential coastal change impacts

The operational total water level and coastal change model is running continuously for southeast and southwest Florida, and provided early guidance of increasing water levels. Coastal change forecasts were initiated on Sept. 6 and continued through Sept. 9. Forecasts covered sandy areas in southwest Florida, Atlantic Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Assessments and updates were posted on the Coastal Change Hazards Portal. The team is working with federal partners on lidar collection, and will use the NOAA images for a qualitative look at impacts, for pre/post photo pairs illustrating range of coastal change, and to direct possible ground response.

In addition to the regular NACCH post-storm response, there are a number of post-Irma activities planned for research projects with a storm focus, including:

NACCH forecasting storm-induced total water levels (Joe Long and Jenna Brown, Research Oceanographers, SPCMSC): Prior to landfall, the team deployed an ADCP offshore of Madeira Beach where observations of wave runup have been collected. Ground and drone surveys of Madeira Beach will take place on Friday, Sept. 16.

RSCC quick response (Jenna Brown): Remote Sensing Coastal Change (RSCC) will coordinate with project leads (Jonathan Warrick, PCMSC, Research Geologist; Chris Sherwood, Oceanographer, WHSC; and Nathaniel Plant, Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) on using Structure-from-Motion techniques to measure post-storm topography and quantify coastal change.

posted: 2017-09-14

Coastal Change Hazards Portal - IrmaBeaches from Florida to South Carolina Likely to Erode, Be Overwashed, or Inundated by Hurricane Irma

New projections from the U.S. Geological Survey indicate Hurricane Irma is likely to cause significant beach erosion along the U.S. east coast from Florida to South Carolina, with water overtopping dunes along 80% and inundating 16% of the coast. See data in the Coastal Change Hazards Portal.posted: 2017-09-07

SPCMSC Staff meet with Ms. Sarah Hanson, Representative Charlie Crist Staffer

Ken Rice (acting Center Director), Chris Reich (Deputy), and Vic Hines (Eastern Communications Chief) gave Ms. Sarah Hanson, legislative assistant to Representative Charlie Crist, a tour of the St. Petersburg Center on August 24, 2017. Ms. Hanson is a staffer for Rep. Charlie Crist who represents the 13th District, which includes St. Petersburg and most of Pinellas County. This was the first time in many years that a staffer from the local district requested a tour of SPCMSC. The tour included brief stops to discuss current research: Joe Long and Jenna Brown (coastal change forecasting), Soupy Dalyander (coastal management decision support), Ilsa Kuffner (coral reefs protecting FL coastlines), and Kathryn Smith (marsh sediment dynamics); and Center capability overviews by Noreen Buster (coring/core lab), and Jake Fredericks and Jim Flocks (seafloor mapping).

posted: 2017-08-30

Researcher presenting at Grand Bay Symposium

Christopher G. Smith will attend the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (GBNERR) and Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge (GBNWR) Research Symposium (September 8–9, 2017). Christopher will be presenting research highlights from the Coastal and Marine Geology Program-funded projects, Sea-level and Storms Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines (SSIEES, pronounced Seas) and Estuarine Processes, Hazards, and Ecosystems (EPHE). The SSIEES project is focused on the long-term geologic and geomorphic significance of storms and sea-level on marsh-estuary systems, while the EPHE project focuses on short-term sediment dynamics and processes interacting with the geological and ecological landscape. Christopher will be presenting research on behalf of his colleagues from St. Petersburg (Nicole Khan, Stanley Locker, Marci Marot, Kathryn Smith, and associated USF graduate students Christian Haller and Joseph Terrano) and Woods Hole (Daniel Nowacki and Neil Ganju) Coastal and Marine Science Centers.

posted: 2017-08-30

Scientists re-survey a network of oceanographic and ecological monitoring stations in PanamaSPMSC Scientist travels to Pacific Panama to study the impacts of climatic and oceanographic variability on coral reefs

SCMSC Research Oceanographer Lauren Toth will lead a research expedition in Pacific Panama this month to study the growth, erosion, and oceanography of coral reefs in Pacific Panama. On this trip, Toth will visit the Gulf of Chiriqui, a region that experienced severe coral bleaching and mortality in response to the 2016 El Niño event, and the Gulf of Panama, which did not experience coral bleaching because the waters were cooled by seasonal upwelling. With the help of academic collaborators from Florida Institute of Technology and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Toth will re-survey a network of oceanographic and ecological monitoring stations designed to measure the long-term effects of climatic and oceanographic variability on coral reefs in the region. Panamanian reefs are especially sensitive to environmental disturbances and may, like “canaries in a coal mine,” help scientists predict the future of coral-reef ecosystems on a global scale. coral bleaching

For more information on the project contact Lauren Toth,

posted: 2017-08-30

HarveyAug. 25 Update - Many Texas Beaches Likely to Erode, Be Overwashed, or Inundated by Hurricane Harvey

Updated projections from the U.S. Geological Survey indicate Hurricane Harvey is likely to cause significant beach erosion along the Texas coastline, with water overtopping 47% of dunes and inundating low-lying areas. Read more: 2017-08-25

potential coastal change impacts from Hurricane HarveyMany Texas Beaches Likely to Erode, Be Overwashed, or Inundated by Hurricane Harvey

New projections from the U.S. Geological Survey indicate Hurricane Harvey is likely to cause significant beach erosion along the Texas coastline, with water overtopping dunes and in some cases inundating areas. Read more: 2017-08-25

Closeup image of a single Eumunida picta squat lobster perched on a live Lophelia pertusa thicketSPCMSC Microbiologist gives invited talk at BOEM Information Transfer Meeting on Gulf of Mexico research

Dr. Christina Kellogg (SPCMSC Research Microbiologist) gave an invited talk titled "Multidisciplinary Assessment of Deep-Water Coral Ecosystems: Tools to Detect Impacts of Sub-Lethal Stress" during the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) 27th Gulf of Mexico Region Information Transfer Meeting (ITM), August 22–24, 2017 in New Orleans, LA. The Gulf of Mexico Region ITM began in 1980 as an annual meeting to foster sharing, results, methodologies, and ideas related to BOEM environmental studies. Scientists present, discuss and share their findings in support of the BOEM Gulf of Mexico outer continental shelf (OCS) oil and natural gas, renewable energy, and marine minerals programs.

posted: 2017-08-23

Tampa Bay Times interviews USGS researcher about sea level rise

Davina Passeri (SPCMSC Mendenhall Post-Graduate Fellow) was interviewed by Justine Griffin, a business reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, for a story about obstacles that stand in the way of proposed development in Tampa, Florida, including sea level rise. The article was published on Sunday, August 11, and can be found online:

posted: 2017-08-17

USGS Corals and Paleoclimate Group Tours New Florida Aquarium Facility in Apollo Beach, FloridaUSGS Corals and Paleoclimate Group Tours New Florida Aquarium Facility

A group of SPCMSC researchers, staff scientists, and visiting students visited The Florida Aquarium Center for Conservation's brand-new facilities currently being built in Apollo Beach, Florida. The new buildings presently under construction will include state-of-the-art coral arks (greenhouses) to protect and restore coral genetic diversity and stocks of Florida's threatened corals. Scott Graves, director of the Florida Aquarium Center for Conservation (CFC), led the tour of the partially built main building, showed plans for future buildings, and explained the mission and vision of the Center. Keri O'Neil, (CFC, marine invertebrate specialist), explained the logistics of coral husbandry while leading the tour of the temporary coral facility that presently holds 92 specimens of the threatened pillar coral rescued from an ongoing disease outbreak in the Florida Keys. Collaboration between USGS and CFC could provide opportunity for scientific advancement in understanding the environmental determinants of coral growth, as well as providing data critical to optimizing the strategies for restoring populations of threatened coral species in the Florida Keys.

posted: 2017-08-09

USGS met with the National Hurricane Center to discuss the USGS storm-tide monitoring and coastal change hazards programs

Personnel from the USGS met with the scientists from the Storm Surge Unit at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to collaborate on the USGS storm-tide monitoring program, including providing NHC with water level observations for model verification, and to discuss how to provide the NHC with wave runup and coastal erosion forecasts. The NHC team was very complimentary of the USGS program, noting the value of the information our scientists provide and citing datasets collected by the USGS in 2016 for Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew as examples. The USGS and NHC will work together to make USGS coastal hazards data and products available to NOAA during landfalling hurricanes.

posted: 2017-08-03

Panelists discuss impacts of sea level rise in Florida on WUSF Public Media's weekly public affairs programUSGS researcher interviewed on WUSF Public Media about the impacts of sea level rise in Florida

Davina Passeri (SPCMSC Mendenhall Post-Graduate Fellow) was interviewed on "Florida Matters," a weekly public affairs program on WUSF Public Media, the Tampa Bay area's NPR station. The show focused on the impacts of sea level rise in Florida and what local governments are doing to prepare for it. The interview can be heard here:

posted: 2017-07-27

USGS Coastal Geologist Cheryl Hapke to brief New York Senator Charles Schumer's Long Island staff on the Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Plan

On Monday July 31, Cheryl Hapke (SPCMSC) and Rob Thieler (WHMSC) will provide a science briefing to the staff at Senator Charles Schumer's Long Island, NY staff on the Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Plan (FIMP). A DOI Advisory Team consisting of staff from USGS, NPS, FWS, and DOI provide input to the FIMP process by working closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assure the plan meets the requirements of the regulatory agencies and is based on sound science. The goal of the plan is to provide long-term storm damage risk reduction to Long Island. The USGS has been providing science and the interpretations of the science to the team, and to the public, for over a decade. The briefing will provide an overview of the issues and the science behind FIMP to new staff in Senator Schumer's Long Island office.

posted: 2017-07-27

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