USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program
Recent News - stories from the last 14 days.
From October 11–15, a multi-agency team led by Ilsa Kuffner (SPCMSC-Research Marine Biologist) will be meeting at a long-studied reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) to complete an experiment that began in 1998. Along with Kuffner, Harold Hudson (retired NOAA-FKNMS), Bill Goodwin (NOAA-FKNMS), and Lauren Toth (SPCMS- Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow) will attempt to locate 29 markers that were installed by Hudson and Goodwin in the reef structure nearly 20 years ago. They will make measurements to see how fast the reef is being eroded by natural, destructive processes of fish grazing, mechanical and chemical dissolution by sponges, and the activities of other biological agents of erosion. Data gathered during the expedition will allow a quantitative assessment of the rate of decrease in reef elevation (height above the seafloor). Scientists and managers are concerned that the rates of reef loss may be increasing due to ocean acidification (declining ocean pH due to absorption of atmospheric CO2) and eutrophication (nutrients added to the ocean by man), resulting in a cascade of ecological impacts like loss of habitat for economically important fisheries and loss of reef functioning as natural breakwaters against waves and storms. This information will help DOI, State, and U.S. Territory agencies charged with stewardship of coral reef ecosystems to better manage for reef resilience under future ocean change. Together on this project, USGS and NOAA are providing the science to put the recent changes observed on coral reefs into a geologic context to assist in making sound management decisions.
The USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (http://marine.usgs.gov/coastalchangehazards/) project team will meet at the NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Regional Office in St. Petersburg, Florida, on October 6–8 to discuss progress and future plans. The National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH) provides robust scientific findings that help to identify areas that are most vulnerable to diverse coastal change hazards, including beach and dune erosion, long-term shoreline change, and sea-level rise. There will be 25 participants at the meeting, representing all three USGS Coastal and Marine Geology science centers and several academic institutions.