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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

News Archive

News Archive - stories from November 2013.

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

USGS Scientists participate in Great American Teach-In

Scientists from USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center shared their enthusiasm for a diverse array of science careers with students at ten different schools during the Great American Teach-In, an annual event that is held at schools across the Tampa Bay area during the week of November 18. Ten scientists led interactive activities related to chemistry, Florida geology, coastal hurricane impacts, and microscopic investigations, showcasing the variety of ongoing research in St. Petersburg. Participating scientists and staff included Kira Barrera, P. Soupy Dalyander, Kara Doran, Jen Flannery, Sharon Gilberg, Paul Knorr, Kathy Pegram, Nathaniel Plant, Kathryn Smith, and Dave Thompson.

posted: 2013-11-27

USGS Scientists Invited to First International Workshop on Coastal Subsidence

USGS scientists Jack Kindinger (SPCMSC), James Flocks (SPCMSC), Devin Galloway (WMA, WSFT), and Don Cahoon (PWRC) were invited to attend the 1st International Workshop on Coastal Subsidence, November 19-21, 2013, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The workshop was hosted by the state of Louisiana's Water Institute of the Gulf and sponsored by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Tulane University, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Deltares, and the USGS. Over 40 scientists from around the world with a wide range of expertise in subsidence related issues attended the workshop. Case studies from diverse coastal areas, including the Mississippi River Delta, the Rhine-Meuse Delta, and the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta were presented, along with overviews of recent advances in measuring, monitoring and modeling land subsidence. Ultimately the goal of the discussion was to identify the drivers of subsidence, and assess how subsidence risk is computed, considered and communicated in coastal management, and how society can remediate and adapt to coastal issues. Results of the workshop will be published in an international newsletter such as EOS as well as provide guidance to the State of Louisiana and a broader group of researchers, resource managers and stakeholders on how to manage sensitive coastal ecosystems. The successful outcome of this workshop generated interest in convening future workshops in other coastal subsidence affected areas within the next several years.

posted: 2013-11-27

Sound Waves Editor steps down after 14 years

Barbara Lidz, (SPCMSC) the original editor of Sound Waves, the Coastal and Marine Geology Program newsletter, is stepping down. Theresa Burress (SPCMSC) will take over her responsibilities. Below is a description from Barbara's 'Passing the Torch' letter about the early history of Sound Waves:
"For those of you who don't know, the newsletter was initiated in the St. Pete Field Office in 1999 at the request of Reston headquarters. I was asked to be its first editor, and a member of my family coined the name Sound Waves, intending to encompass the many types of waves experienced in the natural terrestrial, hydrologic, and atmospheric realms of the Earth, as well as those propagated by the many types of man-made scientific-research instruments. The newsletter has been and remains a successfully established outreach tool that highlights Bureau-wide research on coastal and marine-science efforts."

posted: 2013-11-27

USF Graduate Student Teaching Kids About Ocean Acidification

USGS–University of South Florida (USF) Pathways graduate student, Paul Knorr, is doing research on ocean acidification alongside research oceanographer Lisa Robbins (USGS–SPCMSC). Knorr is studying benthic foraminifera, which are single celled animals that produce calcium carbonate shells, and which are prolific sediment producers in Florida. He is studying how ocean acidification at different carbon dioxide levels in the ocean will affect shell formation and how that will influence sediment production.

On Nov. 21, Knorr participated in his third annual American Teach-In at Ridgecrest Elementary. American Teach-In is a national day where professionals go to schools and teach kids real-world applications of what grown-ups do. He taught a total of four classes of First, Second, and Third graders about ocean acidification with carbonate foraminifera and sediments. This may sound a little complex for children, but Ridgecrest is "a gifted magnet school," claims Knorr, "the third graders were able to absorb the information as if they were sixth or seventh graders."

For the students, Knorr brought in some hands-on activities and samples. The first graders played with rocks and geological tools. "The first graders really liked the tools, particularly the hammer. It weighs about 8lbs, and to a first grader that appears to be a big weapon!" laughed Knorr. The second and third graders were able to individually conduct experiments. "The students were especially interested in the acid base reaction, where baking soda reacts with vinegar in a balloon to show its releasing of CO2."

posted: 2013-11-27

Photograph of Curt Storlazzi with Michael Field holding his award.USGS Scientist Honored by U.S. Coral Reef Task Force

USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center emeritus geologist Michael E. Field (pictured at right in the photo shown here, with Curt Storlazzi) received the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) 2013 Outstanding Scientific Advancement of Knowledge award for his “outstanding leadership in developing the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program’s Pacific Coral Reef Project…to better understand the influences of natural processes and impacts of human activities on coral reef health.” Presented on Nov. 15 at a USCRTF meeting in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the award commends Field and his team for continuing “to provide the foundational science helping to preserve and protect the biodiversity, health, and social and economic value of coral reef ecosystems.” The USCRTF, established in 1998 by former President Clinton, includes leaders of 12 Federal agencies, 7 U.S. States, Territories, Commonwealths, and 3 Freely Associated States. For more information, contact Curt Storlazzi, 831-460-7521.posted: 2013-11-26

Six USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Scientists to attend Annual Fall AGU Meeting

The USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center is sending six scientists to the Fall American Geophysical Union Meeting (AGU) 12/9 - 12/13 in San Francisco, CA. Department of Interior Secretary Jewell at her televised staff meeting on 11/7 in Menlo Park, CA made a promise to have more USGS scientists to attend this internationally-recognized scientific conference. Below is a listing of the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center authors and the times and sessions where they are presenting.

For more details on the AGU meeting, visit:

Author Abbreviated Title Format Session Time
Hapke, C Influences on Morphologic Response to Sandy at Fire Island,NY Talk OS33C Wed PM
Miselis, J Sandy-related Morphologic Changes in Barnegat Bay, NJ Talk OS33C Wed PM
Plant, N Predicting Geomorphic Evolution thru Numerical-model Scenarios Talk EP21A Tues AM
Richey, J Isotope differences between 2 planktonic foraminifera in NGOM* Poster PP31A Wed AM
Robbins, L Ocean Acidification Research in western Arctic Ocean Poster PP11A Mon AM
Wright,W Multiple View LiDar for Submerged Topographic Mapping Talk EP41E Thur AM
*NGOM = Northern Gulf of Mexico

posted: 2013-11-21

Thumbnail of the cover of the Marine Geology journal.Marine Geology Special Issue on Sediment Transport and Geomorphic Evolution in the San Francisco Bay Coastal System

The San Francisco Bay coastal system—encompassing the lower San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta, San Francisco Bay, and the adjacent outer Pacific coast—is marked by strong waves and tidal currents, intricate estuarine circulation and sediment-transport patterns, and a long history of human influence. A special issue of Marine Geology, edited by USGS scientists and released November 1, 2013, is the first compilation focused on sediment transport in this complex system. The volume’s 21 papers—12 of them authored by scientists at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center—advance fundamental understanding of sediment-related coastal/estuarine processes through state-of-the-art investigations of sand provenance, circulation patterns, geomorphic change, and transport of fine sediment in one of the most altered estuarine systems in the world.
View the special issue here:
For more information, contact Patrick Barnard, 831-460-7556 or visit the "San Francisco Bay Sand & Mud" web site.posted: 2013-11-15

Staff bring home Two Shoemaker Communication Awards

On November 12, Barbara Wainman, Associate Director of the Office of Communications, announced the Winners of 2013 USGS Shoemaker Awards for Communication Excellence and Lifetime Achievement. One person is awarded the lifetime achievement award and products in 5 different categories are given awards. For the Internet Product category, USGS-St. Petersburg staff Lisa Robbins and Mark Hansen along with Joanie Kleypas and Stephan Meylan produced the C02calc App and Software: and iTunes App Store

For the Internet Product Category, USGS-St. Petersburg staff Heather Henkel and Trent Faust along with Viv Hutchinson, Liza Zolly, Rebecca Uribe, and Michelle Chang produced the USGS Data Management website.

posted: 2013-11-14

Intro Marine Biology Class Tours USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

An Introduction to Marine Biology class from St. Petersburg College visited the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center on Nov. 13 to learn more about coastal and marine science at the U.S. Geological Survey. Chris Kellogg, Research Microbiologist, spoke about coral microbial ecology. Dave Zawada, Research Oceanographer, demonstrated the ATRIS (Along-Track Reef Imaging System) and discussed some of the ways that it is used to create benthic habitat maps and also to help learn more about the activities of marine animals such as sea turtles. Jen Flannery, Chemist, gave a tour of the Coral Core Archive and discussed some of the ways that coral skeletons are used to obtain geologic and climate data. Theresa Burress, Librarian, wrapped up the tour with an overview of research activities.

posted: 2013-11-14

Mississippi Barrier Island Structured Decision Making (SDM) Meeting

USGS National Wetlands Research Center Branch Chief Greg Steyer and Ecologist Michelle Meyers, USGS Southeast Region Science Advisor Alyssa Dausman, and USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Research Oceanographer P. Soupy Dalyander will meet with a small group of stakeholders in an SDM meeting November 12 – 15, 2013, in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The group will work to develop a prototype decision structure for the Mississippi Coastal Improvement Program (MsCIP) Comprehensive Barrier Island Restoration (CBIR) project on Ship Island. The MsCIP CBIR is a 400 million dollar project with the goal of sustaining estuarine habitat in the Mississippi Sound by restoring barrier island habitat and augmenting natural sediment transport quantities prior to breaching and inlet formation along Ship Island. The SDM project was funded by the USGS Southeast Climate Science Center in FY13-14 to help address how coastal managers can optimize decision making relative to barrier island restoration given the uncertainties in budgets, climate change and the response of physical, biological and ecological systems.

posted: 2013-11-08

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