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

USGS Research Marine Biologist to participate in 38th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

From August 7–11, Ilsa Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist, SPCMSC) will represent the Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) at a meeting of the United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF), which was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The USCRTF includes leaders of 12 Federal agencies, seven U.S. States, Territories, Commonwealths, and three Freely Associated States working together to build partnerships and strategies in support of on-the-ground action to conserve coral reefs. The theme for the 38th USCRTF meeting is "healthy reefs for a healthy economy." Kuffner will attend the weeklong meeting to promote USGS science results and lend her scientific expertise as a member of the USCRTF Climate Change Working Group. Kuffner's participation in the meeting will increase visibility of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project and strengthened coordination and collaboration with partner agencies and jurisdictional governments.

posted: 2017-07-20

CMGP Marine Biologist tapped for scientific advice on restoring Caribbean coral reefs

USGS Research Marine Biologist Ilsa Kuffner is serving on the inaugural steering committee of the Coral Restoration Consortium (CRC), the formation of which is being announced to the scientific community this week. The development of a consortium emerged as a priority recommendation from the November 2016 "Workshop to Advance the Science and Practice of Caribbean Coral Restoration." The CRC is a community of practice that comprises scientists, managers, coral restoration practitioners, and educators dedicated to enabling coral reef ecosystems to adapt and survive the 21st century and beyond. The CRC's mission is to foster collaboration and technology transfer among participants, and to facilitate scientific and practical ingenuity to demonstrate that restoration can achieve meaningful results at scales relevant to reefs in their roles of protecting coastlines, supporting fisheries, and serving as economic engines for coastal communities. Kuffner will serve on the CRC steering committee for a three-year term.

posted: 2017-07-13

USGS Microbiologist invited to coral model system workshop

Roger Williams University is sponsoring a workshop August 1–3, 2017 aimed at applying the latest research on model organism Astrangia poculata, the Northern Star Coral, to solutions for tropical coral reef health across the globe. This temperate coral occurs from New England to Florida along the US East Coast. Dr. Christina Kellogg (Research Microbiologist, SPCMSC) was invited to bring her expertise in deep-sea coral systems and microbiomes to the workshop this year to develop new research directions.

posted: 2017-07-13

Scientists from National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards publish data release of lidar-derived beach morphology covering the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines from 1998 to 2016

Scientists from National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards have published information on the dune crest, toe, shoreline, beach width and beach slope for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines. These beach morphology features are extracted at 10-meter alongshore spacing for each available lidar survey. Future surveys, as well as legacy datasets going back to 1996 will be added to the data release. These data form the foundation for the newly expanded USGS Total Water Level Viewer ( Beach morphology data are also used by coastal managers and environmental modelers to characterize suitable habitats and measure coastal resiliency.

posted: 2017-07-13

USGS Research Scientist quoted in Inside Climate News regarding prognosis of reef recovery following coral bleaching

USGS Research Marine Biologist Ilsa Kuffner (SPCMSC) was quoted in a June 21, 2017 article of Inside Climate News. The author of the article asked Kuffner to comment on a NOAA press release out this week regarding the winding down of the 3rd global coral bleaching event and the prognosis for recovery of coral reef ecosystems. Kuffner explained that, while temperatures have abated and some coral populations have survived the bleaching, many corals are now succumbing to disease outbreaks, including in the Florida Keys. Several coral species are trending quickly toward local extinction, forcing decisions and immediate management actions to preserve the remaining genetic diversity.

posted: 2017-06-22

USGS researcher presents research on coastal change assessments at NOAA workshop

Davina Passeri (SPCMSC, Mendenhall Post-Graduate Fellow) will be presenting on-going USGS research on coastal change assessments at the first annual workshop (Apalachicola, FL) of a four-year project called NGOM+N2E2 (, funded through NOAA's Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise Program. The project is focused on evaluating the ability of natural and nature-based features to mitigate present and future effects of storm surge, nuisance flooding and sea level rise in the northern Gulf of Mexico. This is a transdisciplinary effort between researchers at Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, University of Central Florida, and University of South Carolina. Resulting data products will be delivered to coastal resource managers and stakeholders to increase the integration of science into management decisions along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast.

posted: 2017-06-21

USGS Microbiologist interviewed as 'best of' Microbe2017 conference

Dr. Christina Kellogg, SPCMSC Research Microbiologist, was interviewed during a live online segment to highlight the best sessions of Microbe2017, the premiere meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, held June 1–5, 2017 in New Orleans, LA. Kellogg's work was chosen out of 500+ sessions at the meeting and focused on deep-sea coral microbiomes. The 40-minute interview has already been viewed >2,500 times.

(Note: You do not need to log in to Facebook to watch the video)

posted: 2017-06-14

Florida Region of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote SensingCMGP Lidar Coordinator and SPCMSC Scientists to attend FL-ASPRS/UF Summer 2017 Lidar Workshop

Xan Fredericks (Lidar Coordinator, Coastal and Marine Geology Program), Christine Kranenburg, and Karen Morgan (scientists, St Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) will be attending the Florida Region of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS)/University of Florida (UF) Summer 2017 Lidar Workshop in Apopka, FL, June 22, 2017. The workshop agenda includes updates from attending agencies, an update on the Florida Statewide Lidar Assessment, and technical lidar presentations,with topics such as bathymetric lidar, ele-hydro, and the use of UAVs.

posted: 2017-06-14

Scientists from National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards gave presentations at the 2017 JALBTCX Airborne Coastal Mapping and Charting Workshop

Kara Doran and Justin Birchler presented on data, science, and tools of the Coastal Marine Hazards and Resources Program (CMHR) National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH) project at the 18th annual Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX) Airborne Coastal Mapping and Charting Workshop. In addition, they met with researchers from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to collaborate on interagency efforts to establish routine procedures for beach morphology feature extraction from lidar. JALBTCX research and development supports and leverages work in government, industry, and academics to advance airborne lidar and coastal mapping and charting technology and applications. The 18th annual Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX) Airborne Coastal Mapping and Charting Workshop, held in Savannah, GA, June 6–8.

posted: 2017-06-08

Elevated water levels on Madeira Beach, along the west-central coast of Florida, as predicted by the USGS Total Water Level viewer (top) and observed by USGS video camera (bottom) on January 22, 2017.As Hurricane Season Opens, USGS Is Ready

As the 2017 hurricane season opens, USGS scientists are ready with new tools and data. Our interactive Total Water Level Viewer predicts the timing and height of water levels at select locations along the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines. These advances help forecasters, emergency managers, coastal communities and homeowners prepare for coastal storm impacts and reduce risk in advance of the storm.

Learn more about the USGS' hurricane research and response:

posted: 2017-06-02

Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of ExpertiseCMGP Lidar Coordinator invited to participate in discussion session at 2017 JALBTCX Airborne Coastal Mapping and Charting Workshop

Xan Fredericks, Lidar Coordinator for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, has been invited to participate in the "Coastal Lidar Cleaning and Classification" discussion session at the 18th annual Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX) Airborne Coastal Mapping and Charting Workshop in Savannah, Georgia, June 6–8, 2017. The goal of the "Coastal Lidar Cleaning and Classification" discussion session is to share approaches to cleaning and classification of coastal lidar data, and to begin building consensus on implementation of LAS 1.4 bathy domain profile. In this discussion session, government and industry groups actively involved in cleaning and classifying coastal lidar data will give a brief overview of their approach to cleaning coastal lidar data, and describe how they are using the classes in the LAS 1.4 bathy-domain profile. The moderated discussion that follows can identify commonalities and differences, and begin to develop consensus on what points belong in which classes.

posted: 2017-05-31

USGS Oceanographer Invited to Speak to Local Community About USGS Coastal Hazard Science

Joseph Long (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) was invited to speak to the Sand Key Civic Association, residents of Sand Key, and staff from the City of Clearwater, Florida, about USGS coastal hazard science including the recent installation of a beach monitoring camera on Madeira Beach, Florida. The SKCA and City of Clearwater are interested in partnering with the USGS to install a similar system on Sand Key to monitor an upcoming sand nourishment project and help provide data that the USGS can use to test and enhance models of coastal vulnerability.

posted: 2017-05-31

USGS scientists to conduct bathymetric surveys offshore of Louisiana's Chenier Plain region

Scientists from the SPCMSC will conduct bathymetric surveys offshore of the Chenier Plain in western Louisiana in June and July, 2017. Using shallow-draft vessels, including two personal watercraft outfitted with bathymetric systems, the scientists will survey 230 km of the coastal zone with a 500-m by 1-km grid from the shoreline out to 4 km offshore. Data collected from the western part of the Chenier Plain will be compared to a similar survey conducted in 2006 to monitor change. The eastern portion of the Chenier Plain, including offshore of Marsh Island, has not been surveyed and in part is listed as "unsurveyed" on nautical charts. The study is being conducted in collaboration with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) as part of the Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring Project and will include integrating the bathymetric data with elevation measurements of the Chenier Plain using lidar. Results will be published in Data Series and Open-File Reports, and will be included in the Louisiana Coastal Information Management System. The study will provide a baseline for future monitoring efforts and provide vital information for Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan.

posted: 2017-05-25

USGS scientists continue investigations into the history of coral reef development in Dry Tortugas National Park

Dr. Lauren Toth (Research Oceanographer, SPMSC) will be leading a 10-day reef-coring expedition to collect data on the Holocene history of reef development in Dry Tortugas National Park. USGS researchers have been studying the geology and ecology of coral reefs in Dry Tortugas National Park since the late 1960s, but there are important unanswered questions about the history of reef development in this region. In particular, it is unknown why elkhorn coral, which was historically dominant throughout the western Atlantic, was absent in the fossil record of the Dry Tortugas. Recently, however, SPCMSC CREST scientists Ilsa Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist) and Anastasios Stathakopoulos (Oceanographer) discovered extensive deposits of sub-fossil elkhorn on Pulaski Bank in the northeast part of the park. In mid-June, Toth and her team from SPMSC—Anastasios Stathakopoulos (Oceanographer), BJ Reynolds (Oceanographer & Dive Safety Officer), and Hunter Wilcox (Research Technician, CNT) will collect reef cores and additional samples of sub-fossil elkhorn from Pulaski Bank to better understand the history of elkhorn populations and their role in reef development in the region. The team will also be joined by Christina Kellogg (Research Microbiologist, SPCMC) who will be studying the meta-genome of coral reefs in the park.

posted: 2017-05-25

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