Coastal and Marine Geology Program
News stories for the last 30 days.
On December 5, 2013, Christopher Reich, geologist at SPCMSC, presented findings from a 2010 research project in a talk titled “New Geologic Discovery at the Florida Middle Ground.” The presentation was given to the general public at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center in St. Petersburg and hosted by Libby Carnahan, who works for the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (UF/IFAS) Florida Sea Grant program. Libby was a member of the dive team that collected the cores. The coring took place August 1-7, 2010 and required 6 teams of divers to pull off this daunting task. This was the first time anyone had successfully taken cores in the Florida Middle Ground (FMG), which is located 120 miles northwest of Tampa Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. The unique geologic structure has had many researchers curious about its development and geologic composition since it was first discovered in the early 1900s.
Our findings changed the long-standing theory that the FMG had developed as a coral reef. Four cores were drilled during the week. No coral material was found in any of the rock samples. We found that the FMG ridges range in water depths from 86ft to >180ft with some dramatic ledges. Rather than corals, the walls consist of a thick sequence of muddy sands that are capped by Vermetid gastropods (marine snails).
For detailed information on the findings of the research project you can find the journal article at http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2112/SI63-005.1
For more information about the Weedon Island Preserve visit their website at http://weedonislandpreserve.org/
On Friday, December 6, Cheryl Hapke (SPCMSC) will speak to the Long Island Natural History Conference at 10 am for a 45-minute talk, 'Coastal Response to Hurricane Sandy at Fire Island, NY'. The conference is being held in the Berkner Auditorium of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY. Cheryl's talk, the lead talk listed in the program, will be about the profound morphologic changes to the beach and dune system at Fire Island before and after the storm and will also explore the long term (decade to century) behavior of the system and regional geology.
Barbara Lidz, (SPCMSC) the original editor of Sound Waves, the Coastal and Marine Geology Program newsletter, is stepping down. Theresa Burress (SPCMSC) will take over her responsibilities. Below is a description from Barbara's “Passing the Torch” letter about the early history of Sound Waves:
“For those of you who don’t know, the newsletter was initiated in the St. Pete Field Office in 1999 at the request of Reston headquarters. I was asked to be its first editor, and a member of my family coined the name Sound Waves, intending to encompass the many types of waves experienced in the natural terrestrial, hydrologic, and atmospheric realms of the Earth, as well as those propagated by the many types of man-made scientific-research instruments. The newsletter has been and remains a successfully established outreach tool that highlights Bureau-wide research on coastal and marine-science efforts. It is widely read throughout the country by members of academia, scientists of all disciplines in state and federal agencies, as well as by congressional staffers who keep Congress informed of the work done by the USGS.”
USGS–University of South Florida (USF) Pathways graduate student, Paul Knorr, is doing research on ocean acidification alongside research oceanographer Lisa Robbins (USGS–SPCMSC). Knorr is studying benthic foraminifera, which are single celled animals that produce calcium carbonate shells, and which are prolific sediment producers in Florida. He is studying how ocean acidification at different carbon dioxide levels in the ocean will affect shell formation and how that will influence sediment production.
On Nov. 21, Knorr participated in his third annual American Teach-In at Ridgecrest Elementary. American Teach-In is a national day where professionals go to schools and teach kids real-world applications of what grown-ups do. He taught a total of four classes of First, Second, and Third graders about ocean acidification with carbonate foraminifera and sediments. This may sound a little complex for children, but Ridgecrest is “a gifted magnet school” claims Knorr, “the third graders were able to absorb the information as if they were sixth or seventh graders”.
For the students, Knorr brought in some hands-on activities and samples. The first graders played with rocks and geological tools. “The first graders really liked the tools, particularly the hammer. It weighs about 8lbs, and to a first grader that appears to be a big weapon!” laughed Knorr. The second and third graders were able to individually conduct experiments. “The students were especially interested in the acid base reaction, where baking soda reacts with vinegar in a balloon to show its releasing of CO2.”
Scientists from USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center shared their enthusiasm for a diverse array of science careers with students at ten different schools during the Great American Teach-In, an annual event that is held at schools across the Tampa Bay area during the week of November 18. Ten scientists led interactive activities related to chemistry, Florida geology, coastal hurricane impacts, and microscopic investigations, showcasing the variety of ongoing research in St. Petersburg. Participating scientists and staff included Kira Barrera, P. Soupy Dalyander, Kara Doran, Jen Flannery, Sharon Gilberg, Paul Knorr, Kathy Pegram, Nathaniel Plant, Kathryn Smith, and Dave Thompson.
USGS scientists Jack Kindinger (SPCMSC), James Flocks (SPCMSC), Devin Galloway (WMA, WSFT), and Don Cahoon (PWRC) were invited to attend the 1st International Workshop on Coastal Subsidence, November 19-21, 2013, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The workshop was hosted by the state of Louisiana’s Water Institute of the Gulf and sponsored by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Tulane University, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Deltares, and the USGS. Over 40 scientists from around the world with a wide range of expertise in subsidence related issues attended the workshop. Case studies from diverse coastal areas, including the Mississippi River Delta, the Rhine-Meuse Delta, and the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta were presented, along with overviews of recent advances in measuring, monitoring and modeling land subsidence. Ultimately the goal of the discussion was to identify the drivers of subsidence, and assess how subsidence risk is computed, considered and communicated in coastal management, and how society can remediate and adapt to coastal issues. Results of the workshop will be published in an international newsletter such as EOS as well as provide guidance to the State of Louisiana and a broader group of researchers, resource managers and stakeholders on how to manage sensitive coastal ecosystems. The successful outcome of this workshop generated interest in convening future workshops in other coastal subsidence affected areas within the next several years.
The St. Petersburg Center is sending six scientists to the Fall American Geophysical Union Meeting (AGU) 12/9 - 12/13 in San Francisco, CA. Department of Interior Secretary Jewell at her televised staff meeting on 11/7 in Menlo Park, CA made a promise to have more USGS scientists to attend this internationally-recognized scientific conference. Below is a listing of the SPCMSC authors and the times and sessions where they are presenting.
For more details on the AGU meeting, visit: http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2013/scientific-program-2/
|Hapke, C||Influences on Morphologic Response to Sandy at Fire Island,NY||Talk||OS33C||Wed PM|
|Miselis, J||Sandy-related Morphologic Changes in Barnegat Bay, NJ||Talk||OS33C||Wed PM|
|Plant, N||Predicting Geomorphic Evolution thru Numerical-model Scenarios||Talk||EP21A||Tues AM|
|Richey, J||Isotope differences between 2 planktonic foraminifera in NGOM*||Poster||PP31A||Wed AM|
|Robbins, L||Ocean Acidification Research in western Arctic Ocean||Poster||PP11A||Mon AM|
|Wright,W||Multiple View LiDar for Submerged Topographic Mapping||Talk||EP41E||Thur AM|
An Introduction to Marine Biology class from St. Petersburg College visited the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center on Nov. 13 to learn more about coastal and marine science at the U.S. Geological Survey. Chris Kellogg, Research Microbiologist, spoke about coral microbial ecology. Dave Zawada, Research Oceanographer, demonstrated the ATRIS (Along-Track Reef Imaging System) and discussed some of the ways that it is used to create benthic habitat maps and also to help learn more about the activities of marine animals such as sea turtles. Jen Flannery, Chemist, gave a tour of the Coral Core Archive and discussed some of the ways that coral skeletons are used to obtain geologic and climate data. Theresa Burress, Librarian, wrapped up the tour with an overview of research activities.
On November 12, Barbara Wainman, Associate Director of the Office of Communications, announced the Winners of 2013 USGS Shoemaker Awards for Communication Excellence and Lifetime Achievement. One person is awarded the lifetime achievement award and products in 5 different categories are given awards. For the Internet Product category, USGS-St. Petersburg staff Lisa Robbins and Mark Hansen along with Joanie Kleypas and Stephan Meylan produced the C02calc App and Software:
http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1280 and iTunes App Store
For the Internet Product Category, USGS-St. Petersburg staff Heather Henkel and Trent Faust along with Viv Hutchinson, Liza Zolly, Rebecca Uribe, and Michelle Chang produced the USGS Data Management website.