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News Archive

News Archive - stories from September 2014.

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

#StrongAfterSandyYou are invited: The USGS Congressional Briefing Series #StrongAfterSandy—The Science Supporting the Department of the Interior's Response

Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 devastated some of the most densely populated areas of the Atlantic Coast. The storm claimed lives, altered natural lands and wildlife habitat, and caused millions of dollars in property damage. Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of our Nation's need to better protect people and communities from future storms. To inform the Department of the Interior's recovery efforts, the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are collectively developing and applying science to build resilient coastal communities that can better withstand and prepare for catastrophic storms of the future.

Date: Friday, Sept. 19, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: 2325 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Speakers:

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - Dr. Claude Gascon, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer, emcee

U.S. Geological Survey - Dr. Neil K. Ganju, Research Oceanographer

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Eric Schrading, Field Office Supervisor, New Jersey Field Office

National Park Service - Mary Foley, Chief Scientist, Northeast Region

Partner Host: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

For more information, visit http://www.usgs.gov/solutions/2014_sep19.html

To find out more about how the USGS is combining interdisciplinary science with state-of-the-art technologies to achieve a comprehensive understanding of coastal change caused by Hurricane Sandy, read the new fact sheet, "Using Science to Strengthen our Nation's Resilience to Tomorrow's Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts".posted: 2014-09-18


Map showing EDEN project areasEDEN Project Team Annual Meeting to be held at US Army Corps of Engineers office in Jacksonville, Florida

On September 24–25, the Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN) project team—Pamela Telis (FLWSC), Matt Petkewich (SCWSC), and Paul Conrads (SCWSC), Heather Henkel (SPCMSC), and Bryan McCloskey (SPCMSC)—will meet at the US Army Corps of Engineers office in Jacksonville, Florida, to plan new project activities for FY2015. Recent EDEN project updates (http://sofia.usgs.gov/eden) include daily modeled water surfaces now available with only a 1-day delay (upgraded from a 4-day delay), the Explore and View EDEN (EVE) web application, which allows users to visualize this hydrologic information alongside supplemental information (http://sofia.usgs.gov/eden/eve/), and the development of data products and visualization tools for scientists who are using EDEN data to help evaluate restoration scenarios.

posted: 2014-09-18

Photo showing coral bleaching on reefUSGS Press Release on ocean-temperature study generates news coverage

On September 9, the USGS Newsroom posted a release about "Ocean Warming Affecting Florida Reefs." The release describes the findings of a study by Ilsa Kuffner, marine biologist from the USGS, on how ocean temperatures have changed since the late 1800s at two historic lighthouses on the Florida Keys outer-reef tract. The research was recently published in Estuaries and Coasts, "A century of ocean warming on Florida Keys coral reefs: Historic in-situ observations." The story was picked up by ClimateWire and aired on the news reel on radio station WLRN in Miami on September 12.

posted: 2014-09-18

EarthEchoUSGS Coral Reef Researcher to be interviewed by Philippe Cousteau

On September 17, Ilsa Kuffner from the USGS will head to Miami, Florida, to be interviewed by EarthEcho International. EarthEcho is a non-profit organization for environmental education founded by Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau, grandchildren of the legendary film-maker, Jacques Cousteau. Kuffner will be taking Cousteau and the production crew out to visit one of her sites in Biscayne National Park and discussing the coral-growth monitoring study and other work of the Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies (CREST) project.

For more information about EarthEcho, visit: http://earthecho.org/.

posted: 2014-09-18

Photograph of a deep water coral Paramuricea sample.Briefing on deep coral reefs for the Trustee Council for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

On September 18, 2014, Nancy Prouty of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center gave a briefing to the Trustee Council for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (of which USGS and NOAA are members) and the Department of Justice. The briefing was part of a 3-day meeting hosted by the NOAA Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research in Charleston, SC. Prouty gave a short presentation on age and growth of mesophotic reefs (light-dependent coral ecosystems living at depths of 60 meters to more than 100 meters) to the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees of Mesophotic Reefs (specifically the Deepwater Benthic Communities Technical Working Group). The meeting's overall goal is complete documentation for NOAA's Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program (DARRP). For more information, contact Nancy Prouty, nprouty@usgs.gov, 831-460-7526.posted: 2014-09-17

front page of Fact SheetUsing Science to Strengthen our Nation's Resilience to Tomorrow's Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts

A new fact sheet "Using Science to Strengthen our Nation's Resilience to Tomorrow's Challenges—Understanding and Preparing for Coastal Impacts" describes how the USGS is combining interdisciplinary science with state-of-the-art technologies to achieve a comprehensive understanding of coastal change caused by Hurricane Sandy. By assessing coastal change impacts through research and by developing tools that enhance our science capabilities, support coastal stakeholders, and facilitate effective decision making, we continue to build a greater understanding of the processes at work across our Nation’s complex coastal environment—from wetlands, estuaries, barrier islands, and nearshore marine areas to infrastructure and human communities. This improved understanding will increase our resilience as we prepare for future short-term, extreme events as well as long-term coastal change.

posted: 2014-09-16

colony of bleached brain coral on a reef off of Islamorada, FLOcean Warming Affecting Florida Reefs

Increased Temperatures Spell Trouble for Corals.

Researchers indicate that the warmer water temperatures are stressing corals and increasing the number of bleaching events, where corals become white resulting from a loss of their symbiotic algae. The corals can starve to death if the condition is prolonged.

The study, “A century of ocean warming on Florida Keys coral reefs: Historic in-situ observations,” was recently published in the journal Estuaries and Coasts and is available via open access.posted: 2014-09-11


A variety of corals growing under mangrove treesUSGS scientists discover previously undocumented refuge for corals as an adaption due to recent climate change

On August 19th lead authors oceanographer Kim Yates from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science (SPCMSC) and research biologist Caroline Rogers from the Southeast Ecological Science Center (SESC) published a peer-reviewed article in Biogeoscience documenting a previously unknown refuge for coral growth in the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, St. John, VI, along with four other USGS and university scientists. The findings show that mangrove habitats are providing refuge for over 30 species of scleractinian corals from solar radiation, thermal stress and ocean acidification, and potential adaptation of these corals to higher water temperatures. To the authors' knowledge, this has never before been documented in the geologic or modern record. Co-authors contributing are Nate Smiley from SPCMSC, Gregg Brooks and Rebecca Larsen from Eckerd College, and Jimmy Herlan from Universidad Católica del Norte.

To view the journal article, visit http://www.biogeosciences.net/11/4321/2014/bg-11-4321-2014.html.

posted: 2014-09-11

Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZEUSGS Researcher chosen for judging panel of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE

XPRIZE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development, has announced the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE. On the heels of the successful Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE aims to spur global innovators to develop accurate and affordable ocean pH sensors that will ultimately transform our understanding of ocean acidification. Current sensors are limited in their capacity to detect ocean acidification changes in the deep ocean and in coastal waters, and we cannot assess change unless we understand and measure what is out there. Eighteen teams from around the world have registered for this 22-month competition. USGS Research Microbiologist Dr. Christina Kellogg has been chosen to be on the five-member judging panel. Judges were vetted by the competition's Science Advisory Board and chosen based on scientific expertise, objective outlook, credibility, and ethical reputation. Judges will award points during several testing phases including laboratory trials, coastal trials and open ocean trials. The judging panel has the sole authority to declare the winners of the competition, and the final decisions will be announced during an award ceremony in July 2015.

For more information on the XPRIZE, visit: http://oceanhealth.xprize.org.

posted: 2014-09-11

Steven Douglas and Joseph Terrano, with USGS Ecologist Kathryn SmithUniversity of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) students take GIS skills to USGS

On August 1, the USFSP online student news website posted an article written by Jessica Blais about two student interns working at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC). Two Environmental Science Policy and Geography students, Steven Douglas and Joseph Terrano are working with USGS Ecologist Kathryn Smith on computer-aided mapping projects to identify coastal hazards using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Douglas, a Masters student, and Terrano, a rising senior, are students of Barnali Dixon, chair of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Geography.

To read the article, see: http://www.usfsp.edu/blog/2014/08/01/students-take-gis-skills-to-usgs/.

posted: 2014-09-11

Photograph of the 2 March 2014 overwash event on Roi-Namur Island.New Project Website: “The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls that House Department of Defense (DoD) Installations”

Pacific atolls and the people who live on them are well known to be among the most vulnerable to the impacts of future climate change and sea-level rise. The USGS is leading a multiagency project to assess the impacts of sea-level rise and storm-wave-induced overwash and inundation on small Pacific atoll islets and their freshwater resources under various sea-level rise and climatic scenarios. Current research is being conducted on Roi-Namur Island on Kwajalein Atoll, which is in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Pacific Ocean. The website highlights the project's goals, field techniques, climate modeling, and progress.
Explore the new project web site at: http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/climate-change/atolls/posted: 2014-09-10

marine biology studentsSt. Petersburg Marine Microbiology Laboratory hosts St. Petersburg College marine biology student group

On September 10, SPCMSC Research Microbiologist Christina Kellogg will host St. Petersburg College (SPC) sophomore and junior marine biology students. Kellogg will give a presentation about marine microbiology and her recent work on coral diseases.

posted: 2014-09-04

Underwater view of a wave crashing over a coral reef on the low-lying Kwajalein Atoll (Republic of the Marshall Islands) illustrates how healthy coral reefs cause waves to break offshore and dissipate their energy before reaching the shoreline, lessening the probability of coastal erosion and inundation.USGS Scientist Will Brief Office of Insular Affairs on Coral Reef Issues in the Pacific

USGS research geologist Curt Storlazzi will brief Lori Faeth, DOI's Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, during the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) meeting on Maui, Hawai‘i, 8-13 September 2014. Storlazzi will explain USGS research on coral reef health and sustainability for fisheries and shoreline protection. A recent study co-authored by Storlazzi shows that coral reefs provide substantial protection against natural hazards by reducing wave energy that would otherwise impact coastlines. He will also discuss USGS efforts to understand the likely impacts of sea-level rise and climate change on freshwater and agriculture on low-lying Pacific atolls, some of which have already experienced saltwater flooding related to sea-level rise and changing climate. For more information, contact Curt Storlazzi, cstorlazzi@usgs.gov, 831-460-7521.posted: 2014-09-03

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