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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

News Archive

News Archive - stories from June 2014.

For information about a story, contact Ann Tihansky (202) 208-3342.

Nancy Prouty Public Lecture Flyer June 2014.Into the Abyss: Living Without Light

On June 26, Nancy Prouty, USGS Research Oceanographer at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (Santa Cruz, CA), presented a talk titled, “Into the Abyss: Living Without Light” at the USGS Evening Public Lecture Series at the USGS Menlo Park, CA Campus. Nancy’s talk covered the following points:
  • As archives of natural and human activities, deep-sea corals are windows to the past.
  • Scientific studies of these slow-growing and long-living animals lead to good stewardship for healthy ecosystems.
  • Deep-sea coral communities are biological hotspots that are among the most diverse and productive on Earth.
The video of Nancy's presentation is now archived online, and may be watched online or downloaded from the Monthly Evening Lecture Series Archives:
http://online.wr.usgs.gov/calendar/2014/jun14.html
The USGS Evening Public Lecture Series events are usually scheduled for the last Thursday evening of each month. The lectures are free and are intended for a general public audience that may not be familiar with the science being discussed.
The lectures are streamed live online at http://online.wr.usgs.gov/calendar/live.html. Videos of each lecture are archived for viewing anytime at http://online.wr.usgs.gov/calendar/archives.html.
For more information, please visit: http://online.wr.usgs.gov/calendar/.posted: 2014-06-27

USGS staff give tour and technical briefs to undergradsUSGS St. Petersburg hosts NSF funded summer research undergraduate students from Mote

On June 20, 11 undergraduate summer interns and two staff, Krystal Harvey and Allison Gamble from Mote Marine Laboratory, toured the SPCMSC Center. The undergraduates are participating in the NSF–funded (National Science Foundation) REU program (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) at Mote, one of 33 participating centers across the nation. Four SPCMSC staff gave technical briefings during their 2-hour tour: Theresa Burress, Noreen Buster, Joe Long, and Chris Reich.

For more information about the REU program at Mote visit: http://mote.org/research/internships/research-experiences-for-undergraduates-reu-program

posted: 2014-06-25

The dunes are lower on Bay area beachesUSGS oceanographer talks to local TV news channel about coastal change impacts during extreme storms

On June 16, SPCMSC researcher Joseph Long was interviewed by Leigh Spann from WFLA News Channel 8 to discuss the USGS model for predicting coastal change impacts during extreme storms. The interview, timed closely with the June 1 beginning of hurricane season, discussed the importance of both scenario-based and real-time forecasts of storm-induced coastal change hazards. Key findings from the recent USGS assessments of storm related erosion hazards along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts were also highlighted: "According to the USGS model, 71 percent of the U.S. Gulf Coast would see dune overwash with a Category 1 storm."

To see a print version of the interview, visit: http://www.wfla.com/story/25815480/researchers-find-gulf-coast-vulnerable-to-storm-surge

posted: 2014-06-25

Bridge to Success on the local WUSF public media websiteUSGS St. Petersburg hosts combined USF summer camps

The USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center is hosting 80 students who are attending USF St. Petersburg summer-camp programs. This summer, two camps from the University of South Florida (USF) St. Petersburg are sending students to USGS to learn about science. In addition to the original one-week 'Splash Camp' students who have been touring USGS each summer for several years, the USGS is also hosting 'Bridge to Success' students. The new program is a 6-week summer camp that provides hands-on STEM learning for local elementary school children. USGS camp guides this year include Kira Barrera, Theresa Burress, Noreen Buster, Kara Doran, Jen Flannery, Dale Griffin, and Caitlin Reynolds.

For more information about the 'Bridge to Success' program, visit: http://www.wusf.usf.edu/radio/program/university_beat/episode/2013-07/bridge_to_success

posted: 2014-06-18

USGS Partners with University of Maine in Study of Harmful Algal Blooms

On June 3, USGS and University of Maine scientists deployed oceanographic instruments at 3 locations along the Maine coast. The instruments, which measure temperature, salinity, and suspended sediment concentration, were attached to oceanographic moorings that are part of the University of Maine Ocean Observing System (UMOOS) (Neal Pettigrew, PI) and will remain in place for a year. Dormant cysts that cause harmful algal blooms along the Maine coast in the spring overwinter in the bottom sediments offshore. Resuspension of sediments and associated cysts may affect the intensity and timing of the spring bloom. The goal of these observations is to document sediment resuspension, especially by northeasters, in winter and spring. The data will be available in real time online at UMOOS and NERACOOS data portals (http://gyre.umeoce.maine.edu/; http://www.neracoos.org/realtime_map)posted: 2014-06-11

Dr. Nathaniel Plant with Secretary Jewell at Jamestown National ParkUSGS Oceanographer participates in DOI field visit and roundtable discussion at Jamestown National Park

On June 5th, Nathaniel Plant met with Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI), for a field visit. A group then joined in a round-table discussion on the effects of climate change, sea-level rise, and storms. Jamestown, Virginia's historical sites are threatened by inundation and erosion, and the Secretary used this location to point out the need to address these and other climate-related issues. The field trip was led by National Park Service (NPS) staff at Jamestown, and included other USGS researchers, interior department staff, and the media. The round-table discussion included USGS and NPS scientists, non-governmental organizations, state and local government representatives, and other stakeholders.

To see a video summary of the visit, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ksBPmMM6ZU

posted: 2014-06-11

Scorpion fish hanging on the side of a rock outcrop covered in sponges and corals. Photograph acquired by ROV on October 11, 2013, during Nautilus exploration of the Greater Antilles. Image courtesy of Ocean Exploration Trust.USGS Will Explore Caribbean Seamounts

NOAA's Office of Exploration and Research has approved a proposal by USGS scientists to explore seamounts off Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands for two weeks in September 2014. The scientists will sail on the Ocean Exploration Trust's exploration vessel Nautilus along with colleagues from other agencies and universities. Using the ship and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), they will acquire multibeam and subbottom data; characterize the seamounts' geomorphology and geology; describe the abundance, composition, distribution, and food-web ecology of fishes and invertebrate communities, including deep-sea corals; measure water-mass properties, such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and currents; and determine habitat specificity of fauna associated with seamount environments. Live video from the ship and ROV will enable some to participate by telepresence. For more information, contact lead-P.I. Amanda Demopoulos, ademopoulos@usgs.gov, 352-264-3490, or (in the Pacific Region) Nancy Prouty, nprouty@usgs.gov, 831-460-7526.posted: 2014-06-06

BOEM funded construction and deployment of pressure sensors designed by UCSB oceanographer Libe Washburn, which collect wave height data otherwise not quantified.USGS-BOEM Workshop Held in Santa Cruz, California

The USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) in Santa Cruz, California, hosted Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) officials on May 28, 2014, for a USGS-BOEM roundtable on research needs, project updates, and future directions. Participants discussed ways to strengthen working relationships between USGS and BOEM, improve understanding of each agency’s science capabilities and planning and funding processes, and identify mutual scientific needs and goals. The day ended with posters highlighting BOEM-funded scientific work. USGS participants came from the PCMSC; Western Ecological Research Center; Alaska Science Center; Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center; Pacific Islands Ecosystems Research Center; California Water Science Center; Oregon Water Science Center; National Research Program; the Pacific, Northwest, and Alaska regional offices; Western Fisheries Research Center; and the Environments Program of the Ecosystems Mission Area. For more information, contact Bob Rosenbauer, brosenbauer@usgs.gov, (831) 460-7401.posted: 2014-06-05

Photo of iCoast creatorsUSGS launches new crowdsourcing application called iCoast—Did the Coast Change?

On May 27, 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey launched a new crowdsourcing application called "iCoast—Did the Coast Change?." The iCoast application allows citizen scientists to identify changes to the coast from extreme storms by comparing aerial photographs taken before and after each storm. Crowdsourced data from iCoast will help USGS improve predictive models of coastal change and educate the public about the vulnerability of coastal communities to extreme storms. Development of the application was led by USGS Mendenhall Postdoc Fellow Sophia B. Liu in collaboration with Barbara Poore, Richard Snell, Nathaniel Plant, Hilary Stockdon, and Karen Morgan

posted: 2014-06-05

Thumbnails provided by speakers.Upcoming seminars at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center open to the public

Next week, USGS PCMSC in Santa Cruz, California will host three science seminars that are open to the general public.
On Monday, June 9 at 11:00AM, Dr. Carolyn Ruppel, Research Geophysicist from the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center in Massachusetts, will present a talk titled, “Hundreds of seeps on the northern US Atlantic Margin: Evidence for warming-induced gas hydrate breakdown?”
On Wednesday, June 11 at 2:00PM, Maureen Downing-Kunz, Hydrologist from the USGS California Water Science Center in Sacramento, will present a talk titled, “Suspended-sediment trapping in the tidal reach of an estuarine tributary channel.”
And finally, on Thursday, June 12 at 2:00PM, Dr. Peter Clift, Professor from Louisiana State University's Department of Geology and Geophysics, will present a talk titled, “Climatic versus Eustatic Controls on Sediment Flux to the Indus Submarine Fan, Indian Ocean.”
For more information, including abstracts and directions, please visit http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/seminar/.posted: 2014-06-05

IAEA–OA-ICCUSGS scientist participates in Second International Ocean Acidification advisory board meeting

Dr. Lisa Robbins (St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) attended the 2nd Advisory Board for the Ocean Acidification–International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC). This Centre, located in Monaco, was launched in 2012 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is aimed at communicating, promoting and facilitating global actions on ocean acidification (http://www.iaea.org/ocean-acidification). The Advisory Board has representatives from the SOLAS-IMBER Ocean Acidification Working Group (of which Robbins is a member), representatives of major OA programs and projects around the world (including IMBER, SOLAS, NOAA, IAEA, UK Ocean Acidification Programme, MedSea Project, and others), representatives from international organizations (UNEP, World Bank, IOC-UNESCO, EC-JRC, etc.), government and Foundations (Prince Albert I Foundation, NOAA, Monaco Foreign Affairs Dept.). The OA-ICC is a multinational research project funded by the U.S. Department of State and other UN member states. The 2nd advisory Board meeting was held at the IAEA in Monaco on May 27, 2014. Robbins is the lead on the task for Capacity Building for OA for students from developing nations (http://www.iaea.org/ocean-acidification/page.php?page=2197). This year, two OA capacity building workshops are planned, one in La Spieza, Italy, and one in Dichato, Chile. The U.S. Dept. of State will be hosting a conference June 16–17 on Our Oceans in which Ocean Acidification will be one of three major global concerns. Discussions will include on-going efforts for coordination of ocean acidification research, such as the OA-ICC is promoting.

posted: 2014-06-05

USGS and NOAA scientists collaborate in multidisciplinary study of National Marine Sanctuary

Scientists from the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program and NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off Boston, MA are collaborating in a study that focuses on how the surficial geology of the Bank determines the distribution of sand lance fish (the major prey for whales, cod, haddock, other fish, and seabirds) on the Bank.

Page Valentine and Dann Blackwood (USGS) and Dave Wiley (Sanctuary Science Coordinator) have been conducting day trips from the Sanctuary office in Scituate, MA using the Sanctuary’s vessel RV Auk to collect sediment samples and video imagery of the seabed and the sand lance. The sediment samples will document the preferred substrate of the sand lance and are necessary to the USGS’ ongoing geological mapping of the seabed in the Sanctuary region.

Contact: Page Valentine, pvalentine@usgs.gov.

posted: 2014-06-05

image of usgs educaton resources handoutUSGS Education Resources for Teachers

Discover a wealth of curricular ideas, scientific data, maps, and other resources to support biology, geography, geology, geospatial data, and hydrology!

To see the complete USGS Education Resources Handout, go to http://education.usgs.gov/docs/USGSEducResources.pdf

posted: 2014-06-05

USGS Woods Hole hosts Japanese scientists for ongoing gas hydrates collaboration

On June 30 and July 1, 2014, the USGS Gas Hydrates Project will host researchers from the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science (AIST) and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to finalize results on the collaborative analysis of special sediment cores that were obtained in the Nankai Trough, offshore Japan in preparation for the first-ever deepwater gas hydrate production test in March 2013. In January 2013, researchers from the USGS, AIST, JOGMEC, and Georgia Institute of Technology spent two weeks at AIST’s facilities in Sapporo, Japan to measure the physical properties and the amount of gas contained in hydrate-bearing sediment cores recovered from the Nankai Trough with a pressure coring system.

Gas hydrate is a naturally-occurring combination of methane and water that forms “methane ice” in sediments, and it is only stable at intermediate pressure and low temperature conditions. The pressure coring technology maintains recovered seafloor sediments at sufficient pressure to prevent the gas hydrate from breaking down in the laboratory. The USGS contribution to the January 2013 pressure core analyses was operation of the Instrumented Pressure Testing Chamber (IPTC), a device that can measure the seismic, strength, and electrical properties of hydrate-bearing sediments. The IPTC was originally built at Georgia Tech and is now maintained by the USGS Gas Hydrates Project to support US and international gas hydrates drilling programs. During their visit, the Japanese researchers will also tour the Gas Hydrates Laboratory and meet with other members of the Gas Hydrates Project about future collaborations.

Contact William Waite, wwaite@usgs.gov

posted: 2014-06-04

International Research on Greenhouse Gases in the Arctic

From June 20-30 2014, the US Geological Survey’s (USGS) Gas Hydrates Project will characterize ocean-atmosphere methane flux along the Svalbard continental margin with an analytical system that includes two cavity ring-down spectrometers. This margin contains hundreds of methane seeps; some known to be emitting methane into the water column from the dissociation of seafloor gas hydrate. While there is concern that this methane could reach the atmosphere where it acts as a powerful greenhouse gas, measurements of the sea-air methane flux for this region are lacking.

Collaborating with researchers from the Centre of Excellence at the University of Tromso, Norway (CAGE or the Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment, and Climate), we will continuously record the concentration of CO2 and CH4 and the carbon isotopic signature of these dissolved gases in the near-surface waters aboard the R/V Helmer Hanssen. We will also use a unique, USGS-designed air intake system to measure these same gases in the atmospheric marine boundary layer at three different elevations. When combined with environmental parameters, the near-surface methane data can be used to determine ocean-atmospheric methane fluxes. Partners from the University of Tromso, the Norwegian MOCA (Methane emissions from the Arctic Ocean to the Atmosphere) and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany will provide complementary data from the seafloor, water column and atmosphere that will allow us to comprehensively characterize the sources, flux and fate of methane in this dynamic methane system.

Contact: John Pohlman jpohlman@usgs.gov.

posted: 2014-06-03

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