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News stories posted in the last 90 days. For information about a story, contact Betsy Boynton.

USGS scientist invited to present at Friends of Pinellas Master Naturalists annual meeting

SPCMSC Oceanographer Kara Doran was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Friends of Pinellas Master Naturalists annual meeting on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at the Bay Pines STEM center in St. Petersburg, FL. Kara's presentation, titled "Keeping an Eye on Shifting Sands: Studying the Effect of Storms on Florida Beaches," informed the public of the research being done at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center on the coastal hazards threatening the nation's coasts, including the development of a real-time model to forecast shoreline water levels and predict the probability of coastal change. The talk also focused on recent storm impacts to Florida's coastlines. The presentation demonstrated how these models and observations can be used to better understand the state's shifting sands and enhance the resilience and preparedness of communities.

posted: 2019-03-28

USGS Research Oceanographer receives international award

SPCMSC Research Oceanographer Lauren Toth is the recipient of the 2019 International Coral Reef Society Young Scientist Award. The objective of the International Coral Reef Society is to "promote the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge and understanding of coral reefs, both living and fossil". It currently has more than 1000 members representing more than 60 different countries and territories around the world. The award is given in recognition of an exceptional series of publications that have had a significant influence on coral-reef science. In recognition of this achievement, Toth will be granted lifetime status as an ICRS Fellow and has been invited to present her research at the 14th International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen, Germany.

posted: 2019-03-21

USGS scientists publish long-read microbiome sequences from temperate coral, providing community resource for probe and primer design

Astrangia poculata, the northern star coral, is a temperate scleractinian coral that has been documented on the Atlantic Coast of the United States from Maine to Florida, as well as the Gulf Coasts of Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. In addition to broad geographic distribution, this coral is a natural model for symbiosis, living with and without zooxanthellae (algal symbionts), making it an ideal model organism to study microbial community interactions associated with symbiotic state. However, the ability to develop primers and probes to more specifically target key microbial groups has been hindered by the lack of full length 16S rRNA sequences, since sequences produced by the Illumina platform are of insufficient length (approximately 250 base pairs) for the design of primers and probes. This study demonstrates that Sanger sequencing was capable of reproducing the biologically-relevant diversity detected by deeper next-generation sequencing, while also producing longer sequences useful to the research community for probe and primer design. Partners in the study include Roger Williams University and Georgia Institute of Technology.

To read the article visit:

posted: 2019-03-06

USGS scientists collect and redeploy Gulf of Mexico Sediment

Trap: USGS Scientist Julie Richey (USGS, Research Geologist) and collaborator from the University of South Carolina Eric Tappa will collect and redeploy the Gulf of Mexico Sediment Trap for the 22nd time, from February 26–28, 2019. A sediment trap time series in the northern Gulf of Mexico is used to better assess the control of environmental variables (e.g., temperature and salinity) on the flux of both microfossils and molecular fossils to the sediments. The information gained from sediment trap studies is used to develop better proxy-based estimates of past oceanographic conditions from analyses of microfossils and molecular fossils in sediment cores. Scientists at the USGS are using a long-running sediment trap (2008–2019+) in the northern Gulf of Mexico to calibrate foraminifera, biomarker, and other micropaleontological proxies for use in climate reconstructions.

posted: 2019-02-28

USGS SPCMSC staff participate in the Tools Showcase at Coastal GeoTools Conference 2019

Xan Fredericks (USGS SPCMSC), Heather Schreppel (Cherokee Nation Technologies), and Kara Doran (USGS SPCMSC) participated in the Tools Showcase at the Coastal GeoTools 2019 conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, February 11–14. Their booth in the showcase was focused on "USGS Coastal/Marine Hazards and Resources Program GIS Tools: Total Water Level Forecast Viewer and Coastal Change Hazards Portal." Coastal GeoTools is a conference dedicated to technology and the coastal environment, with an aim to find innovative, proven approaches to address coastal management issues, learn about the latest technologies, and build professional networks. Held since 1999, the biennial event is attended by planners, engineers, natural resource managers, geospatial analysts, and scientists from all sectors.

posted: 2019-02-22

USGS scientists publish results from a long-term study of Globigerinoides ruber in the Gulf of Mexico, aiding in reconstruction of past climatic conditions

The planktic foraminifer, Globigerinoides ruber, is the most widely used proxy recorder for reconstructing past temperature and salinity in the low to mid-latitude oceans. USGS scientists have had a sediment trap mooring in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the past decade, 2008–2019, to investigate seasonal and inter-annual variations in the flux and morphometry in addition to the isotopic and trace metal geochemistry of this geologically important species. This study shows that two chromotypes of this species (pink and white) can be used interchangeably to reflect mean annual surface ocean conditions. This study also demonstrates that the canonical 9% increase in shell Mg/Ca per 1°C increase in temperature is an overestimate of temperature sensitivity, and that pH has an important influence on Mg/Ca-derived ocean temperature records in this species. Partners in the study include University of Texas at Austin, University of Southern California, and Brown University.

To read the accepted article please visit:
Considerations for Globigerinoides ruber (white and pink) paleoceanography: comprehensive insights from a long-running sediment trap
To view the associated USGS data release please visit: Globigerinoides ruber Sediment Trap Data in the Gulf of Mexico

posted: 2019-02-22

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