Meet and Greet the Science Faculty Fall 2015

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 Aug. 28, 2015. 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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C-IMAGE Spotlight: Chuanmin Hu

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Dr. Chuanmin Hu and his PhD student Shaojie Sun discuss their C-IMAGE research. They are optical oceanographers and are using satellite images to track oil from the Deepwater Horizon and IXTOC-I blowouts.

Update from Christian Haller on the JOIDES Resolution

IODP JOIDES Resolution Expedition 356 Indonesian Throughflow August-October 2015, North West Australian Shelf




August 21, 2015 - Arrival in warmer waters

After the Perth Basin, our present station is in the Carnarvon Basin, one of NW Australia's busiest gas fields. In fact it looks very crowded on the map, but FPSOs and drilling rigs are far away from us. Nevertheless, gigantic gas flares can be seen night and day and are good reference points for when the JR was turned into the wind again.



Now that we got into the core flow at this new site, we traded one inconvenience for another. The previous cores contained ample sponge spicules. And sooner or later everyone had them on their hands even if you were as careful as ever. I picked my micropaleontology samples in rubber gloves to keep those pesky needles at bay. In fact, the transparent spicules floated on top of the samples after sieving and settled highly concentrated on the sample surface. The rumor went around that at some point we even contaminated the bathroom... haha. 

Here at the new site spicules are less abundant, but we got very strong H2S outgassing. Techs are wearing little senors which warn you before you take a whif too deep of this smelly gas and become a headless chicken. Even if critical concentrations are mostly not reached outdoors, the stink now permeates the core laboratory and goes down the staircase all the way to the mess. Additional to the H2S we also got a pungent hydrocarbon smell in some cores. Gas pressure can get very high during recovery to the surface. The catwalk has to be shielded while the liner is pulled out of the pipe since pieces of sediment might become projectiles. Gaps in the sediment caused by the gas have to be closed again by the techs with a piston.


August 17, 2015 - Arrival in warmer waters

We drilled the second site with two holes and found a very homogenous and expanded Pleistocene stratigraphy (and by homogenous I mean sedimentologically quite boring).

Anyway, we were accompanied by breaching Humpback whales and curious Humpback calves circling the JR.

The last two days were our longest transit from the southern sites to the northern site area. We passed Shark Bay on the right and came across bioluminescent jellyfish and little brown/orange seasnakes. We just became stationary again in visibility distance to a big industrial drilling rig and a production rig with a very big flare (otherwise we wouldn't be able to see it). That means we will have competition..... But despite this new site is going to be our deepest one (we're set to drill two holes), we are not planning to get down into the hydrocarbon bearing strata. Too dangerous. Things are now being set up for the core flow routine in the labs and rigfloor. Countdown is ticking. We're using the last remaining hours and minutes for report writing and reviewing or snake watching. Given our previous experience we are curious how conducive the geology is to coreing it with the Full APC. With the Half APC in the last sites the paleo team drowned in Core Catcher samples which needed preparation... having had a core on deck every 20 minutes.


August 12, 2015 - We got a winner

One of the photos of me was among this week's photos that will be uploaded to Facebook. Notice my trusted Zeiss microscope with camera and the blue pocket-sized SEM next to me. In the background there's the rigwatch drilling monitor which can also be switched to rigfloor camera.... or in case of important sport event... to that.

The second picture shows one of the lucky Japanese geochemists who got a special ticket for a core sneak peek before the very first hole was spudded. The PAL team gets the core catchers, which can be processed immediately. In contrary, the sedimentologist team will have to wait 5 hours before they can saw open the cores because they want the sediment to warm up and equilibrate with the laboratory room temperature.


August 9, 2015 - Waiting on Weater to drill the K/Pg?

After Holes A and B were drilled a lot was learned about the local characteristics of dolomitized limestones and how they have to be drilled through. We do have the unfortunate back and forth between soft and hard layers here at our first site. The nanno paleontologists found out that we reached the Miocene target age much before the planned total depth of around 300m. Anyway, the co-chiefs applied for an extension to about 400m total depth since chances are good that the PETM and the K/Pg boundary could be drilled in those following meters. This is in so far interesting since the K/Pg boundary is NOWHERE in whole Australia present. A a high impact publication might be due if that older rock, which was NOT in the scientific prospectus might be hit. During the meeting Craig (UTIG) could confirm that IODP in Texas gave green light to drill deeper since safety concerns are rather non-existant. No methane was detected in the geochem. lab. Right now we are WOWing (waiting on weather) because some very high swell is coming in from Antarctica and creating waves 4-5 m high. That is no problem for the ship, but exceeds the capabilities of the heave compensator. At least until Monday morning we will have to hold out. Nevertheless, the waves didn't stop the Sunday barbecue on deck below the bridge. But you better hold tight to the table when eating your steak on 5 m waves. And also bring a coat, it's quite chilly and windy outside with only 15 degrees. Even the water is 21 degrees.

Many people might gain some kg here. Warm meals are served every 6h. After a first excitement I learned to tone it down from 3 hot meals to only one plus some yoghurt...haha It's good, waiting when you arrive, and very plentiful.


August 4, 2015 - Roots down!

It's going to get busy soon.

Thrusters have been lowered, the Philippinos started working around on the drillfloor, I got a live camera screen next to me to see when the cores are popping up and it's my call to run out and get the core catcher for the paleo people. In two hours, they announced, the first sediments will hit the deck, go into the prep lab and then land under my "Beer" microscope. The microscope units got funny names to keep things clear. Jeroen (Dutch) from Bremen, next to me, is working with "Skull", the nanno microscope in my back used by Jorentje (Dutch) is called"Strawberry", the off-shift girl from Indonesia works with "Grape" for her nannos.

The paleo people started handing out tickets to people who can have the very first look at sediments. We are very sought after, since the sedimentologists will have to wait at least 5 hours until they can have a look at their cores. The reason is that the sediment will first sit on racks in the lab to equilibrate with lab temperature, go through the whole core analyses, and then get split in half. The core catchers for micropaleo though don't require all these processes and can be preped directly and analyzed after.

We're fed round the clock . They cook almost round the clock and for multiple shifts since science and support crews are on different schedules.


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USF Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The physical ocean conditions determine where organisms can thrive or famish.  Monitoring the chemistry and movement of water west of Florida is critical in forecasting oil spill trajectories, red tides, or fishery productivity.  

USF Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System is a network of instruments watching over the West Florida Shelf which include offshore buoys. They link deep ocean processes to the estuaries by feeding data into West Florida Coastal Ocean Model.  See how the buoys are deployed off the RV Weatherbird II in the video below.

Ernst Peebles discusses his C-IMAGE research

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Ernst Peebles discusses his C-IMAGE research, ranging from otolith chemistry to tracking fish in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read more about Dr. Ernst Peebles

Advice for Young Scientists

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - What advice to oil spill researchers have for young scientists? We asked scientists from C-IMAGE studying field like chemical oceanography, ecosystem modeling, and population genomics and compiled their responses.

Teresa Greely shares information about education and outreach initiatives

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Dr. Teresa Greely, C-IMAGE's education officer, shares information about C-IMAGE's education and outreach initiatives.  Dr. Greely provides expertise in the areas of biological oceanography, ecological physiology, marine fishes, and ocean science education. She has broad research interests which encompass teaching and training about the ocean sciences in three areas: graduate and undergraduate education, teacher education, and ocean literacy amongst youth.

She currently coordinates four education programs: The Oceanography Camp for Girls (OCG), the In-service Teacher Oceanography Workshops (In-TOW), the National Ocean Science Bowl's regional Spoonbill Bowl competition, and the OCEANS Teaching Fellowships.

Read more about Teresa Greely

Taking Back the Lion's Share - 2015 Finalist

ST. PETERSBURG, Fl - The Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge has just announced its finalists, and we made the cut! This award provides the opportunity for Dr. Stallings and his team to continue with development of the LAIR Lionfish trap, and compete for nearly half a million dollars of funding that could help bring affordable Lionfish filets to dinner tables along the Gulf. Our social media support played a large part in helping us become finalists, so thank you to everybody who watched our proposal video and clicked like.

For more information about the LAIR, see our Finalist page at GCIC's website:

View the Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge Finalists

CORE Investment Management participates in The Ocean and Me Tour

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Guests from CORE Investment Management participated in “The Ocean and Me” tour at CMS. They experienced what it feels like to be on a research vessel thanks to the Florida Institute of Oceanography as well as learned how ocean technology has increased the precision and resolution of data thanks to the Ocean Technology Group. Many were surprised that our Paleo Lab scientists get to play with mud every day and that most abundant organism in the ocean are viruses as shared by the Marine Genomics Lab.

Everyone left CMS amazed by the vast amount of research underway to better understand the ocean’s vital impact on us and our ability to impact the ocean.


The Ocean and Me Tour

View the embedded image gallery online at:

View the Ocean and Me Tour Album on Facebook

Expedition 356: Indonesian Throughflow Live Video Broadcast

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - One of our own PhD candidates has been chosen to sail on the Integrated Ocean Discovery Program’s (IODP) drill ship, R/V JOIDES Resolution. Christian Haller will be sailing as a micro paleontologist/biostratigrapher on the 60 day cruise to examine the paleoceanography of the Indonesian Throughflow.

He will be broadcasting their real time scientific results as well as other topics such as life on board one of the largest (145 m long) and most unusual research vessels in the world. It is an honor to be chosen to fill one of the scientific positions especially for a graduate student. He will be joining about 26 mostly more senior scientists from approximately 10 different countries making his experience a truly international one. 

Click on the link below to fill out the live video broadcast request form.

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