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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

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News Archive - stories from January 2018.

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

Rob Wyland guides students through the USGS Marine Facility, where engineers and technicians design, fabricate, and maintain equipment for field research. Photo by Rex Sanders, USGSElementary school students visit USGS office in Santa Cruz

On January 17, 4th and 5th graders from De Laveaga Elementary School visited the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. Center scientists guided three groups of about 25 students each, plus teachers and parent chaperones, through three exhibit areas. Rob Wyland introduced the students to seismic-reflection equipment and seafloor-mapping techniques in the center’s Marine Facility. Helen Gibbons and Andy Ritchie showed them how scientists use computers and special software to turn aerial photos into 3D maps of the California coast, enabling center scientists to monitor a huge landslide in Big Sur. Tour organizer Carol Reiss shared her enthusiasm for geology as she used fossils, basic rock types, and paper models to illustrate geologic principles and showed the students what it’s like to explore the seafloor from inside a submersible. Contact: Carol Reiss,, 831-460-7480posted: 2018-01-29

Screenshot from Our Coast, Our Future shows a map of the projection of future coastal flooding by the USGS-developed Coastal Storm Modeling System for Pacifica, California.USGS scientist explains how king tides provide a glimpse of future sea levels

USGS geologist Patrick Barnard spoke to the public at a “Coffee and King Tides” gathering held in Half Moon Bay, California, on December 4. King tides are unusually high tides caused by the alignment of the sun, Earth, and moon. County officials invited the public to view the high water levels caused by a king tide on December 4, and learn about county plans for the future, when sea level rise could turn unusually high tides into the norm. A December 7 story in the Half Moon Bay Review quoted Barnard extensively. He is the principal investigator for the USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS), which projects coastal flooding due to both future sea level rise and storms integrated with long-term coastal evolution. Contact: Patrick Barnard,, 831-460-7556posted: 2018-01-29

Photo taken March 2, 2014 during an overwash event in the Republic of the Marshall Islands showing seawater overtopping the manmade perimeter berm on the island of Roi-Namur and covering large areas of the adjacent land surface.USGS coastal-flooding projections inform national defense authorization act

Results of USGS research investigating sea-level rise impacts to Department of Defense (DoD) facilities in Pacific atolls are included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. This act, signed into law on December 12, 2017, authorizes and prioritizes funding for DoD military activities and construction. USGS scientists used Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands as a field site to fine-tune their computer models forecasting how rising sea-level and future storm waves will likely affect the sustainability of low-lying Pacific islands. The act reports their forecasts of flooding projected to threaten a major Air Force radar installation in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in upcoming decades. Contact: Curt Storlazzi,, 831-460-7521posted: 2018-01-29

CMGP Lidar Coordinator participating in National Elevation Assessments and Coordination session at 2018 ASPRS Annual Conference

Xan Fredericks, Lidar Coordinator for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, will moderate and participate in the National Elevation Assessments and Coordination session at the 2018 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado, February 5–8, 2018. The session includes updates on the 3D Elevation Program, the 3D Nation Requirements and Benefits Study, the Interagency Working Group on Ocean and Coastal Mapping, as well as a panel discussion about lessons learned and goals of future national assessments.

posted: 2018-01-25

USGS Research Oceanographer invited to attend the 21st Annual Florida Marine Turtle Permit Holder Meeting to discuss hurricane impacts

Over 400 people representing academia, wildlife managers, non-profit conservation organizations, and state and federal agencies are currently registered to attend the 21st Annual Florida Marine Turtle Permit Holder Meeting in St. Augustine FL February 2–4, 2018. The meeting will be host to a wide range of presentations and discussions about current research, trends, and emerging issues in sea turtle conservation throughout the state of Florida. Research Oceanographer Joseph Long was invited to the meeting to present work performed with collaborators Kara Dora, Justin Birchler, and Hilary Stockdon related to the impact of recent hurricanes to the Florida coast, including observed changes in shoreline and dune positions and beach volumes that could impact successful sea turtle nesting.

posted: 2018-01-25

USGS Researcher assists with Fire Island National Seashore Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

SPCMSC Research Geologist Jennifer Miselis will travel to National Park Service (NPS) Fire Island National Seashore (FIIS) office in Patchogue, New York, to assist the NPS Northeast Region and the Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island with a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for FIIS. As a member of the Natural Resources Workgroup, Dr. Miselis has helped to evaluate existing data and models to provide expert judgements about the exposure and vulnerability of natural assets in the park to climate changes, such as increased inundation and changes in precipitation and air temperature. At the upcoming workshop, assessments from natural, cultural, and facilities resources will be integrated to systematically determine resource vulnerability and adaptive capacity. The effort is supported by the NPS Climate Change Response Program and will result in a report in 2018.

For more information, contact Jennifer Miselis,

posted: 2018-01-25

USGS Researchers publish paper on Florida estuary acidification using 20+ years of data from shellfish industry

USGS researchers Lisa L. Robbins (retired) and John T. Lisle (Research Microbiologist, SPCMSC) published an article, 'Regional Acidification Trends in Florida Shellfish Estuaries: a 20+ Year Look at pH, Oxygen, Temperature, and Salinity,' in Estuaries and Coasts. In the article pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and salinity data from 10 Florida shellfish estuaries and shellfish bed stations are compared. Over 80,000 measurements, spanning from 1980 to 2008, taken on Atlantic Ocean and West Florida coast sites showed significant regional trends of consistent pH decreases in 8 of 10 estuaries. Other significant trends include decreasing dissolved oxygen in 9 of 10 estuaries, increasing salinity in 6 of 10, and temperature increases in 3 of 10 estuaries. The data provide a synoptic view of Florida estuary trends, which reflect the complexity of changing climate and coastal ocean acidification. These data provide context for understanding, and interpreting the past and predicting future of regional water quality health of shellfish and other organisms of commercial and ecological significance along Florida's coasts.

Read the article here:

posted: 2018-01-18

USGS Researchers Attend the Florida Coastal Mapping Program Workshop

Research scientists from multiple agencies and universities will participate in developing a strategy for mapping all of Florida's coastal waters during a 3-day workshop in St Petersburg. The USGS and the Florida Institute of Oceanography spearheaded an effort to bring multiple federal and state agencies and stakeholders together to develop a strategy to map all of Florida's coastal waters, from the shoreline to 200 m water depth, over the coming decade. A year-long effort to assess existing data and undertake a gap analysis will culminate in a 3-day workshop Jan 9–11, 2018, to be held at the Florida Wildlife Research Institute in St Petersburg, Florida. A staffer from Representative Crist's office will be providing opening remarks and plans to attend the entirety of the workshop. Cheryl Hapke, Xan Fredericks, Jim Flocks, Jen Miselis, and Stan Locker from the SPCMSC will be participating, along with invited speaker Sam Johnson (PCMSC), and Jeff Danielson from the EROS Data Center. The technical team engaged in the effort include NOAA, BOEM, USACE, FIO, FWRI, FL DEP, USF College of Marine Science, NOVA Southeastern University, U. Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, and Florida Atlantic University.

posted: 2018-01-03

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