HOMESTEAD, FL - This past week, while diving to collect data for our ongoing lionfish study, Fish Ecology Lab members noticed that the reefs of South Florida are a lot less vibrant than usual. It appears that reefs along the edge of Biscayne National Park are currently experiencing a “bleaching” event.
Coral bleaching occurs when the algal cells that live within corals tissues, tiny dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae, become stressed and are expelled by the coral polyps. These algae give corals their bright colors, so corals without zooxanthellae appear white, or bleached.
What causes these stressors is not fully understood, but it has historically been linked to increases in water temperature. Our divers can attest it is HOT, with some sites registering 87 digress F in 65 feet of water! Check out this paper for more information about this connection: ftp://ftp.unc.edu/pub/marine/brunoj/Bleaching%20papers%20for%20NCEAS%202/Glynn%201993_coral%20bleaching.pdf
Why does bleaching matter?
These microscopic algae are symbionts, living inside the coral for protection and in-turn providing energy to the coral via photosynthesis. Corals use this energy to drive their basic life functions. Without the algae, corals must rely on direct feeding to provide all of their energy needs. This method is less efficient and over time the corals will begin to die as they struggle to keep up with their energy demand.
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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - As respiratory irritation and fish kills from the current red tide began to affect northern Pinellas County, the USF College of Marine Science deployed the robotic underwater glider “Bass” on Monday for a two week mission. Bass monitors conditions including water temperature, salinity, and oxygen and sends these data to USF each time it comes to the water’s surface. This deployment complements other efforts by USF, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Mote Marine Laboratory (MML) to observe and model the development of the red tide.
Red tides caused by the harmful algae Karenia brevis are natural and occur regularly off the west coast of Florida. Changes in circulation in the Gulf of Mexico affect bloom development, frequency, and severity. For example, circulation did not favor bloom formation in 2010 or 2013, but did favor it in the current year.
Bass was deployed on the western edge of the surface bloom and is heading offshore to deeper waters before altering course back to the coast. After the first two days, Bass has detected high levels of algae and low levels of oxygen near the bottom, indicative of red tide. Offshore mapping provides valuable information since the red tide populations are delivered to the coast via near bottom currents.
The current glider deployment will help to improve forecasts by USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides (CPR) by providing information on bloom structure below the surface where satellites cannot see. Recent CPR forecasts show slow surface water movement offshore and slow bottom water movement towards the coast over the next 3 days.
This glider deployment was made possible by an emergency response grant from NOAA and internal support by USF College of Marine Science.
During blooms, FWC provides a midweek red tide status update on Wednesdays and a full red tide status report on Fridays.
If you need immediate assistance regarding health related issues, please call the Marine and Freshwater Toxin hotline at 1-(888) 232-8635. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Please report dead or dying fish to FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline at 1-800-636-0511.
For current beach conditions including reports of respiratory irritation along Florida’s Gulf Coast, visit
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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Join us Tuesday, September 9, 2014 for the Tampa Bay Marine Science Networking Happy Hour from 5-7pm. This month's event will be located at Ceviche, in St. Petersburg in the Flamenco Room downstairs located at 10 Beach Dr. NE, St Petersburg, FL 33701. It's Tapas Tuesday and they will have tapas drink specials. Street parking is available or you can park in a nearby garage.
Nametags will be provided and you may want to bring business cards to share. There were many job seekers at the September event. If you are looking to hire or in search of a new opportunity plan to attend. Please feel free to share this invitation with others who may be interested in attending. You may sign up for the networking event here.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Every first Friday of the spring/fall semester we have a faculty seminar series to let you get more familiar with every research group at CMS. To view the faculty members speaking this year please see the following link.
This semester we'll start with the faculty seminars series on Sept. 4, 2014. Then the guest speaker seminars will be held each Thursday or Friday during the semester. They cover a wide range of topics.
Finally at 4:30pm, there will be student-faculty interactions until 6:00pm.
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ST. PETERSBURG -
Speaker: Brian Bingham
Affiliation: Western Washington University
Speaker’s lab interests: We are interested in symbioses between cnidarians (sea anemones, corals, and their relatives) and single-celled algae that reside within them and provide them with photosynthetic energy. These symbioses are particularly widespread in the tropics and are a key feature of reef- building corals, but we focus our attention on symbiotic sea anemones in the genus Anthopleura along the Pacific coast of North America. Along the northern extent of their range, these sea anemones can host one or both of two distinct symbionts: the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium and the chlorophyte Elliptochloris. This flexible association with symbionts from completely different phyla is unique among cnidarians and provides a fascinating system for testing a variety of hypotheses about the biology of cnidarian-algal symbioses.
When: Sept. 4, 2014 3:30pm EST
Where: MSL Conference Room (134)
Host: Mya Breitbart
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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Professional Development Series Event - Part One for Educators of Grades 5-12
WHEN: Saturday, October 4, 2014 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
In Partnership with University of South Florida, College of Marine Science and Hosted by the Clam Bayou Marine Education Center St. Petersburg, Florida.
An essential component of the NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) mission is to enhance ocean science literacy and to build interest in careers that support ocean-related work. To help fulfill this mission, the Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection was developed to encourage educators and students to become engaged in real time with the voyages and discoveries of the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer - America’s first Federal ship dedicated to Ocean Exploration.
Join NOAA OER Facilitator Melissa Ryan, as you are introduced to Volume 1 of the Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection: Why Do We Explore? Participants will learn how to use standards based lessons and other online resources that guide classroom inquiries into important reasons for ocean exploration including Climate Change, Energy, Ocean Health and Human Health. This is Part One of a two-part professional development series. Part Two will be offered at a later date.
Registration is required and space is limited. Educators attending the full day will receive Volume 1 of the Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection, Why Do We Explore?, other resources, a NOAA Ocean Exploration Certificate of Participation, a continental breakfast and lunch. Those educators attending Part One and Part Two will receive a $100 stipend.
Registration deadline is September 12, 2014
Return it to her by email or fax it to her attention at 727-552-2581.
ST. PETERSBURG - JOIDES Resolution has arrived at their destination and are setting up to drill their first holes at site BON-2A. This first webcast is for general audiences, and will basically be a tour of the JR and its labs and facilities.
Time: Aug 20, 2014 10:00 PM (GMT+09:00) Tokyo (August 20, 9:00am, EST time)
Where: Dean's Conference Room (KRC 3111)
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ST. PETERSBURG - The most recent issue of Oceanography includes a paper by a team of marine scientists from around the nation on a framework for a Marine Biodiversity Observing Network (MBON). The keys to building an effective MBON will be to:
- Determine the minimum set of observations needed to define ocean biodiversity, and
- Establish connections between existing international ecological time-series programs and standardize methodologies to enable comparison of data.
ST. PETERSBURG - USF College of Arts and Sciences' Trailblazers Series hits the road this coming Shark Week in St. Pete. This amazing event if free. Join us for our first Road Scholars event with Professor Phil Motta presenting a Jawesome lecture on Shark and Fish Research. This event takes place Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 7 PM at the Dali Museum. In partnership with the USF College of Marine Science and the Poynter Institute. Please RSVP for this event.