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News Archive - stories from July 2014.

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

Map showing RRT areas in the US and CaribbeanUSGS oceanographer to give presentation to California Regional Response Team IX

From 8/12–8/13, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science (SPCMSC) research oceanographer P. Soupy Dalyander will participate in a Regional Response Team IX (RRT) meeting held in Signal Hill, California. The RRT is one of 13 teams chartered across the nation, co-chaired by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), for developing incident response plans. Soupy's presentation is titled "Assessing mobility and redistribution patterns of sand and oil agglomerates in the surf zone." The talk covers the work done as part of the Operational Science Advisory Team (OSAT3) in responding to Deepwater Horizon incident (see Highlight from 2014-02-13).

posted: 2014-07-31

Students from Orlando enjoy a visit to USGS St. Petersburg campusOrlando summer science camp students visit USGS St. Petersburg campus

On July 17, approximately 20 campers and counselors from the Orlando Science Center summer camp visited the USGS SPCMSC center. Organized by Monica Cook from the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science, the visit to USGS is part of a day-long tour of the USGS/USF facilities in St. Petersburg. Kara Doran (SPCMSC Oceanographer) spoke to the middle school students about USGS barrier-island research at the center, and ended her talk by sharing personal stories about her experiences measuring beach erosion at the Kennedy Space Center.

posted: 2014-07-24

TechTrek logoUSGS St. Petersburg field center participates in Florida Tech Trek Outreach

On July 14, Theresa Burress and Karen Morgan from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) participated in the Florida Tech Trek at Eckerd College. Sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Tech Trek is a one-week science camp for eighth grade girls. The STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering, and math) summer camp program allows girls to gain confidence in STEM related subjects with hands-on labs and projects. Tech Trek has camps in over 10 states.

Theresa Buress presented an overview of the USGS and the St. Petersburg Center (SPCMSC). Karen Morgan presented the erosion model, "A Pan, a Fan, and some Sand," showing how the model can demonstrate the effects of extreme storms on our coastlines. With two full model setups the girls were divided into groups of 10, and worked together on their ideas to build an island. After the islands were built, participants could watch how their islands eroded when the fans were turned on. While the models were running the girls also used microscopes to view and identify different sands from around the world, and practiced using sieves to sort sand into different grain sizes. Afterward, Theresa and Karen discussed how each group built their island and talked about what worked to deter erosion and what did not. The overview and models were presented to two groups of 20 girls each, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

For more information on the Tech Trek camps, visit:

posted: 2014-07-24

Map of projected flooding (blue shading) at south end of San Francisco Bay under conditions of a 25-centimeter rise in sea level and a 20-year storm. Green-shaded areas are protected by levees but otherwise would be flooded.21st century coastal flood projections to be released for San Francisco Bay

High-resolution flood projections for San Francisco Bay shorelines through the 21st century will be available August 2014 on the Our Coast, Our Future website (OCOF, OCOF offers an interactive tool to help Bay Area communities anticipate likely impacts of sea-level rise and climate change. Using results from the USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS, in a map-based interface, the online tool allows users to select combinations of storm intensity (average conditions to 100-year storm) and sea-level rise (0 to 5 meters) and observe areas that would flood in response. The Bay Area flood projections are an extension of previous work for the north-central California coast, already available on the OCOF website. Partners include NOAA, the National Park Service, and Point Blue Conservation Science. For more information, contact Patrick Barnard,, 831-460-7556.posted: 2014-07-23

maps of study areas showing acoustic backscatter and bathymetry collected with interferometric sonarUSGS research on modification of the Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the inner-continental shelf by Holocene marine transgression, published in Marine Geology.

On July 3, 2014, USGS researchers published an article, Modification of the Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the inner-continental shelf by Holocene marine transgression: An example offshore of Fire Island, New York, by Schwab and others, in Marine Geology.

In this paper, maps of the geometry and structure of the Quaternary sedimentary deposits offshore of Fire Island are presented. These maps and geophysical data are used to form a conceptual model of the Holocene evolution of the inner-continental shelf and shoreface, a consequence of marine transgression of Pleistocene glaciofluvial sedimentary deposits.

To read the article visit Marine Geology

posted: 2014-07-21

coralMillennial-scale history of corals in Florida Keys Reef Tract

In June, 2014, Lauren Toth joined USGS-St. Petersburg as a Mendenhall Post-Graduate Fellow. Lauren will be working with coral ecologist Ilsa Kuffner on the CREST project (Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies) looking at corals from the USGS-St. Petersburg drill core collection. She will be analyzing the rates of reef accretion to understand why some reefs had slower rates of growth over the last 4000 years. Lauren will be utilizing the ICP-OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer) to look at geochemistry of the corals in the drill core sections to understand not only changes in reef development, but also changes in the environment of the reefs through time.

posted: 2014-07-17

Data Series 767 index mapLidar Pre-Post Coverage of Hurricane Sandy for New Jersey released online

On July 16, the USGS released Data Series 767, "The EAARL-B Coastal Topography - Eastern New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy, 2012: First Surface." This publication provides geographically referenced elevation measurements of lidar-derived first-surface (FS) topography for a portion of the New Jersey coastline beachface, acquired pre-Hurricane Sandy on October 26, and post-Hurricane Sandy on November 1 and November 5, 2012. The datasets are made available for use as a management tool to research scientists and natural-resource managers.

posted: 2014-07-17

USF Oceanography Camp Students visit USGS St. Petersburg CenterUSF Oceanography Camp 2014 Students visit USGS St. Petersburg Center

On June 25 and 26, thirty 8th grade students attending University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science's (CMS) Oceanography Camp for Girls visited the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) to learn about how hurricanes and other extreme storms impact our coastline. Kara Doran simulated a hurricane using the Center's coastal erosion model, which illustrates how wind and waves transport sediment from a barrier island during storms. Fifteen students also had the opportunity to interview Center scientists one-on-one about their work. Participating St. Petersburg SPCMSC and Southeast Ecological Science Center (SESC) scientists included Kara Doran, Alisha Ellis, Jennifer Flannery, Caitlin Reynolds, Julie Richey, Lisa Robbins, Jaci Smith, Tom Smith, and Lauren Toth.

posted: 2014-07-10

Map showing study areaSt. Petersburg Center to conduct Louisiana Gulf Coast Islands fieldwork in July

From July 11th to the 31st, SPCMSC geologists Jim Flocks and Jen Miselis will lead a major field expedition to the Breton and Chandeleur Islands, part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, offshore of the Mississippi River Delta. The first of two field efforts at the Refuge this summer, the team will deploy from Venice, La., and Biloxi, Ms., and remain at the islands for the duration of the survey. The fieldwork will gather shallow-water bathymetry, near-surface geology, and island elevation using the R/V Sallenger among other vessels. SPCMSC staff participating in the field work include Julie Bernier, Trevor Browning, Nancy DeWitt, Jake Fredericks, Kyle Kelso, Stan Locker, BJ Reynolds, and Dana Wiese.

posted: 2014-07-10

image of workshop participantsUSGS Water Mission Area holds training on Field Techniques at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Hydrologists in the USGS Water Mission Area held a training class at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center and nearby Quashnet River on "Field Techniques for Groundwater/Surface-Water Interactions" from June 9 through 13. The inaugural field class drew 35 scientists and students from across the country to learn several traditional and emerging techniques to characterize the locations, rates, and chemical quality of groundwater discharge to streams, lakes, and coastal zones. USGS scientists were joined in the class by researchers and students from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, and Oregon Water Resources Department.

Students and instructors spent two days along the Quashnet River in Mashpee and Falmouth participating in demonstrations and experiments that are anticipated to improve the understanding of the links between groundwater discharge to the river and the ecology of the river's Brook Trout population. The experiments included direct measurements of groundwater discharge with seepage meters, groundwater-head measurements with temporary streambed piezometers, streamflow and groundwater temperature measurements with fiber-optic cables laid along the river's streambed, and stream tracer tests to monitor surface-water and groundwater exchange rates. Data collected along the river were analyzed by the class on Thursday and Friday at the Science Center's Tilley Conference Room.

Groundwater exchange with surface waters is an important research and applied-science activity of the USGS that is motivated by the many environmental and water-resource management challenges that result from the complex hydrologic and chemical interactions that occur at the interface between surface and subsurface waters.

posted: 2014-07-08

Researchers collect data in Fire Island, New YorkUSGS jet-ski team successfully maps Fire Island nearshore

On June 25, the field team obtaining shallow water bathymetric data from jet-skis as part of the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Funding effort returned from their fieldwork in Fire Island, New York. The mapping effort was very successful and the team, which included personnel from both the Santa Cruz and St. Petersburg Science Centers, acquired almost twice the amount of data that had been originally been tasked. Members of the team also mapped portions of the flood shoal of the Sandy breach on foot to collect data in water that was too shallow for the jet-skis. Coastal and Marine Geology staff participating in the data operations include Cheryl Hapke, B.J. Reynolds, Owen Brenner, Dave Thompson, Tim Nelson, Kyle Kelso, Andrew Stevens, Tim Elfers and Jackson Currie.

For more information on the Fire Island, New York, fieldwork see Highlight from 2014-05-22.

posted: 2014-07-02

Monitoring underwater sampling equipment in the Florida KeysMultidisciplinary field effort at Crocker Reef, Florida Keys

From July 7–17, researchers from the USGS will be engaged in integrated data and sample collection at Crocker Reef in the Florida Keys as part of the Coastal and Marine Geology Program's Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project. Reefs are complex ecosystems where environmental and biological factors are constantly affecting each other, creating a heterogeneous and ever-changing landscape on both spatial and temporal scales. We are combining expertise in three specific areas (geochemistry, geology, and metabolic processes) to better characterize the processes that affect carbonate precipitation and dissolution. This effort will combine sediment sampling for mineralogy with water sampling for carbonate chemistry and reef metagenome analyses. This summer sampling trip will be followed by another collection trip in December/January to capture seasonal variation. Understanding the processes that underlie whether the reef is accreting (growing) or dissolving is fundamental to questions of reef health and resiliency. Principal investigators are Christina Kellogg (metagenomes), Kim Yates (carbonate chemistry) and David Zawada (sediments). Assisting on this field trip are Chris Moore, Nathan Smiley, and Molly McLaughlin.


posted: 2014-07-02

Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Summer MeetingSt. Petersburg Oceanographer presents talk to Earth Science Information Partners on coastal Digital Elevation Models (DEMs)

On July 8th, Joseph Long will present a talk entitled 'Online; on-demand access to coastal digital elevation models (DEMs)' at the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Summer Meeting in Frisco, Colo. The project is part of the 2014 USGS Community for Data Integration projects, and aims to build an online tool to construct DEMs that span the terrestrial/marine boundary for use in numerical models and coastal change research.

For more information about the ESIP Summer Meeting, visit:

posted: 2014-07-02

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