News and Events

Congratulations to Anita Thompson in her selection for the Outstanding Staff Award

TAMPA, FL - Anita Thompson of USFCMS wins an outstanding staff award, but she was also selected as one of two Employees of the Year, which comes with a few perks including a designated parking spot, contributed by Gabor and others.  

Congratulations to Anita for this well deserved recognition.

More details can be found here


Construction Begins On New Research Vessel

TARPON SPRINGS, FL - Next summer (2017), a group of marine researchers and local politicians who gathered at a Tarpon Springs shipyard for a ceremonial keel laying plan to return for the dedication of a new research ship. With the touching of a blow torch to the keel Wednesday morning, construction formally began on the 78-foot vessel at Duckworth Steel Boats. The currently unnamed craft will replace the R/V Bellows, a 46-year-old research ship operated by the Florida Institute of Oceanography.

Read the full WUSF story here

Read the full USF story here

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 June 2016 13:31

Corals and their microbial symbionts: a model systems approach


Speaker: Dr. Cory Krediet

Affiliation: Eckerd College

Seminar Title: Corals and their microbial symbionts: a model systems approach 

When: Sept. 2, 2016 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Dr. Mya Breitbart

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Last modified on Wednesday, 31 August 2016 14:10

Corals and their microbial symbionts: a model systems approach


Speaker: Dr. Cory Krediet

Affiliation: Eckerd College

Seminar Title: Corals and their microbial symbionts: a model systems approach

When: Oct. 28, 2016 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Mya Breitbart

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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 Ocean and Me Tour Album on Facebook

Last modified on Thursday, 13 August 2015 17:34

Cristina Subt Publishes Antarctic Deglaciation Paper

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Cristina Subt, a USF College of Marine Science Ph.D. student, has just published her first first-authored paper:

Please join us on congratulating her.

Crossing the Ross Sea Polynya and other antics

ROSS SEA, ANTARCTICA - The JOIDES Resolution is now following RV/IB Nathaniel B Palmer into the Ross Sea Polynya, which is Earth’s largest ice making factory. Cool air temperatures encourage surface water freezing which creates sea ice. Strong winds then move this ice around, freeing up more space for sea ice formation. The Ross Sea is highly productive in the summer months, where sunlight, a stable water column, and abundant dissolved nutrients stimulate huge phytoplankton blooms. These blooms are consumed by krill, which are consumed by predators like penguins, seals, and whales.

View the full article by Imogen Browne

Last modified on Thursday, 18 January 2018 14:18

Crude Oil Plumes in Crossflow AND Underwater Flight by the Sea Butterfly


Speaker: Dr. David Murphy

Affiliation: University of South Florida College of Engineering

Seminar Title: Crude Oil Plumes in Crossflow AND Underwater Flight by the Sea Butterfly

When: Sept. 9, 2016 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Dr. Gary Mitchum

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David Helvarg Lecture on Ocean Policy

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Join the Students, Faculty and Staff of the College of Marine Science in a discussion with author and journalist David Helvarg on the needs issues and of our times, and particularly where our nation is going in terms of policies to manage uses of the ocean.

Date/Time: Tuesday November 8, 2016; 3:30 - 5:00 pm
Venue: College of Marine Science / MSL Conference Room
(End of Bayborough Peninsula, MSL Building)
140 7th Avenue South, St.Petersburg, FL 33701, USA

A Blue Vision to restore our Ocean 

David Helvarg is an author, journalist and Executive Director of Blue Frontier (, an ocean conservation and policy group.

Among his books are ’50 Ways to Save the Ocean’ ‘Saved by the Sea’ and ‘The Golden Shore – California’s Love Affair with the Sea’ (just out in paperback).  In his talk he will share some of the trauma and wonder he has experienced in, on and by the ocean. Whether reporting on coral bleaching and a military coup in Fiji, boarding suspect fishing vessels off Iraq, or watching penguins vomiting krill for science in Antarctica, his are startling and sometimes quite funny reflections on the present state of our seas.

While discussing the cascading disasters that threaten the ocean he will also explain why he is more frustrated than despairing, and provide examples of the common-sense solutions that can solve the many threats to our blue planet – if we can mobilize the political will to enact them.  He will propose actions the next President and Congress can take to restore the blue in our red, white and blue and will discuss what we can each do individually and as citizens - including a Blue Vision Summit that will take place in Washington D.C. in May of 2017 - to effect change from the bottom up and top down to restore our ocean, coasts and the communities – both human and wild - that depend on them.

His presentation with ocean imagery will remind you of the intimate ways in which all of our lives are linked to the natural world around us.

Executive Director, Blue Frontier Campaign

David Helvarg is Executive Director of Blue Frontier and the author of six books: Blue Frontier, The War Against the Greens, 50 Ways to Save the Ocean, Rescue Warriors, Saved by the Sea and The Golden Shore. He is editor of the Ocean and Coastal Conservation Guide, organizer of ‘Blue Vision’ Summits for ocean activists and the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards (co-hosted with Wendy Benchley), and winner of Coastal Living Magazine’s 2005 Leadership Award and the 2007 Herman Melville Literary Prize.

Helvarg worked as a war correspondent in Northern Ireland and Central America, covered a range of issues from military science to the AIDS epidemic, and reported from every continent including Antarctica. An award-winning journalist, he produced more than 40 broadcast documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel, and others. His print work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, LA Times, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Popular Science, Sierra, and Parade. He’s done radio work for Marketplace, AP radio, and Pacifica. He has led workshops for journalists in Poland, Turkey, Tunisia, Slovakia and Washington DC. He is a licensed Private Investigator, body-surfer and scuba diver.

Last modified on Thursday, 03 November 2016 18:56

Deep-sea corals and methane seep communities of Atlantic submarine canyons


Speakers/Affiliations: Sandra Brooke, Florida State University Coastal and Marine Lab

Seminar Title: Deep-sea corals and methane seep communities of Atlantic submarine canyons

When: June 15, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Chris Stallings

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Last modified on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 14:06

Detailed numerical modelling of fluid flow and morphodynamics with OpenFoam


Speaker: Dr. Niels Jacobson

Affiliation: Deltares

Seminar Title: Detailed numerical modelling of fluid flow and morphodynamics with OpenFoam

When: Sept. 15, 2016 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Patricia (Soupy) Dalyander (USGS)

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Last modified on Friday, 23 September 2016 15:39

Detection of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and tropical storm activity during the last 2900 years using Beppu Bay anoxic sediment cores


Speakers/Affiliations: Masanobu Yamamoto (Hokkaido University) & Leonid Polyak (Byrd Polar Research Center, the Ohio State University)

Seminar Title: Detection of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and tropical storm activity during the last 2900 years using Beppu Bay anoxic sediment cores

When: Feb. 20, 2017 3:00pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Brad E. Rosenheim

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Last modified on Friday, 17 February 2017 15:46

Developing the Capacity to Generate Coastal and Shallow‐Water Basemaps for Tropical Island Nations and Territories of the Pacific

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, through Dr. Frank Muller-Karger, has partnered with researchers at the University of Fiji to map coral reefs at two study sites in Fiji using satellite imagery, field surveys, and local knowledge from the native Fijian villagers who have used the resources of these habitats for centuries. In addition to creating high-resolution benthic habitat maps, the purpose of this project is to train Fijian researchers to conduct reef-monitoring research and build their capacity to carry out long-term habitat conservation goals. During the summer of 2016, USF Ph.D. candidate Matt McCarthy traveled to Fiji for 4 weeks to train Fijian personnel in reef-assessment field work and satellite-imagery mapping. The on-going project should establish a baseline from which future monitoring may be done to evaluate changes in Fijian reefs, and help guide management of these vital resources.

Device that detects faux fish is catching on

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The market is showing an interest in technology developed through the University of South Florida that can instantly determine whether a grouper is really a grouper. In the future, similar technology may signal whether wild-caught shrimp, tuna and red snapper live up to their claims, and even whether that glop floating offshore is really an example of the scourge known as red tide.

A USF professor and former graduate student obtained a patent last year on GrouperChek, a test that identifies the target gene in grouper to determine whether it’s actually grouper or a common substitute such as tilapia or catfish.

Read the full article here

Downscaling Simulation of Oceanic Responses to Climate Change


Speaker: Changsheng Chen

Affiliation: Univ. of Massachusetts - Dartmouth

Seminar Title: Downscaling Simulation of Oceanic Responses to Climate Change: A Global-Basin-Coastal-Estuarine Resolving FVCOM System

When: Feb. 3, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Chuanmin Hu

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Dr Tim Conway awarded USF New Researcher Grant

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Dr Tim Conway, a new Chemical Oceanography Faculty member at USF College of Marine Science and School of Geosciences, has received a USF New Researcher Grant from USF Office of Research and Innovation (April 2017), entitled "Investigating the influence of the Gulf Stream System on micronutrient cycling in the North Atlantic Ocean".

This grant will fund a biogeochemistry cruise onboard RV ANGARI transecting the Southern Gulf Stream Jet from Florida to the Bahamas, working with the ANGARI non-profit foundation ( to educate the public about ocean issues and communicate results from the cruise. The scientists on board from Conway's MarMITE laboratory and Dr Kristen Buck's group at CMS will investigate the distribution and biogeochemical cycling of metals such as iron and zinc, metals which are vital trace nutrients for marine organisms. Overall, the project aims to better understand the importance of the gulf stream in providing connections in trace metal cycling between the Gulf of Mexico, the loop current and the North Atlantic Ocean - especially important in the light of events such as oil spills in the Gulf.

This project will also be the first to make use of CMS' new multi-collector mass spectrometer (Thermo Neptune Plus) recently acquired as part of the new Tampa Bay Plasma Facility in the College of Marine Science at USF. This new instrument will allow us to measure tiny variations in the isotopic ratios of the trace metals even at the vanishingly-small concentrations of these metals in seawater.

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 April 2017 14:14

Drawn to the Sea: Florida Women in Marine Science

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - A short film developed as part of Julie Meyer's 2015 L'Oreal USA For Women in Science fellowship. This video prominently features several people from our the College of Marine Science and the St Pete community and highlights diversity of scientists at USFCMS.

Last modified on Thursday, 11 May 2017 18:13

Ernst Peebles – New CMS Chair of Alumni Outreach

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Having sat in classes as a College of Marine Science (CMS) student through two degrees, and having taught as a professor of biological oceanography for a decade at CMS, Dr. Ernst Peebles is an excellent fit as the next chair of alumni outreach.  
Dr. Peebles’ work began in various ecosystems of southeast Louisiana, where he earned a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University.  Working in creeks, rivers and other freshwater bodies, he surveyed fish in both pristine and agriculture-impacted areas to better understand baseline ecosystem conditions.  Later work in estuarine waters led to an interest in the early-life stages of fish.

The appeal of estuarine work steered him towards pursuing a Master’s degree and eventually a Ph.D. at CMS.  After getting his Master’s degree, he did extensive work for Florida’s water management districts, for environmental engineering firms, and for the FWC, and this public- and private-sector experience greatly enhanced his ability to apply the principles of marine science and ecology to practical problems.  Completing his Ph.D. eventually led to the opportunity for a tenure-track position at CMS as a fish ecologist.  Although his central focus remained on estuaries, Dr. Peebles’ winding career path provided first-hand study of the ecology of both freshwater and oceanic end-member ecosystems, allowing the kind of big-picture perspective that was necessary for understanding why coastal aquatic animals require different habitats at different stages in their lives.  Novel methods (eye-lens isotope records) allowed this effort to expand to studies of the lifetime movements of individual organisms, including attempts to compare and contrast the health conditions of individual fish that had different habitat-use histories.  
Another tool, DNA barcoding of fish eggs, has been highly effective in locating fish spawning grounds; this work is being done in conjunction with Dr. Mya Breitbart’s lab at CMS.  Newly fertilized eggs collected by plankton net give the location of fish spawning, but the problem has been that no one could visually differentiate the eggs of different species, which often look alike.  Comparing fish-egg DNA with an online database provided the solution.
Message to Alumni
Over the decades, CMS has experienced continual improvement. The core courses are in their best shape ever, thanks largely to the feedback provided from student evaluations.  A new, shared analytical instrument center is under construction, and a new vessel in the FIO fleet, the R/V Hogarth, offers an improved research and education platform over the well-loved R/V Bellows, which has since been retired.  The alumni support and genuine interest in the college has always been great, and we look forward to continued strong interactions between alumni and CMS’s students, researchers and professors.  In future editions of Rising Tides, we hope to include articles highlighting alumni in each generation of CMS, from the ′70s to the present.  

Personal Bio
Ernst loves outdoor activities, especially fishing and hiking; his love of being in remote locations is “almost an obsession.”  Although Pinellas County does not offer much in the way of remote living, Ernst finds solitude in offshore excursions on his Calcutta catamaran, through visiting the more pristine locations in Florida, and by planning his “off-the-grid” retirement, which may be awhile coming due to the steep investment required to go off the grid in a remote setting with reasonable comfort.  In the meantime (and while he still has ample access to electricity), Ernst enjoys all kinds of woodworking, whether it’s furniture making, renovation carpentry or even making his own wooden fishing lures, with which he has recently caught several king mackerel.  He and his artist/illustrator wife, Diane, have two teenage children who don’t quite understand why their parents are fixated on fish, but tolerate them anyway.

Please contact Ernst Peebles if you have any exciting alumni news to share with the college.  We would like to hear from you.

Article written by:  Sean Beckwith

Last modified on Friday, 16 March 2018 14:00

Evaluating impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Cam Ainsworth's laboratory is evaluating impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the biota and fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico.  A key aspect to this study is using the 1979 IXTOC oil spill as an analog to understand long-term consequences of the spill and mitigation decisions.  His lab is also developing next generation tools and strategies for ecosystem-based fisheries management in the United States.  Efforts include evaluation of potential management instruments such as harvest control rules, marine protected areas and artificial reefs.  Cam Ainsworth and his students and staff use a range of statistical, agent-based, and box models to consider the interplay between physics, chemistry and biology of the oceans.

Visit The Fisheries and Ecosystem Ecology Lab

Last modified on Friday, 08 April 2016 17:26

Evolutionary and Ecological Dynamics of Extracellular Electron Transfer


Speakers/Affiliations: Jeffrey Gralnick, University of Minnesota

Seminar Title: Evolutionary and Ecological Dynamics of Extracellular Electron Transfer

When: Feb. 16, 2018 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Larry Dishaw (USF Health)

Jeffery Gralnick's Research

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Last modified on Wednesday, 14 February 2018 16:10

Examining groundwater connections between the Mississippi River and adjacent deltaic wetlands in Louisiana


Speaker: Dr. Jaye Cable

Affiliation: University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Seminar Title: Examining groundwater connections between the Mississippi River and adjacent deltaic wetlands in Louisiana

When: April 22, 2016 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Christopher Smith (USGS)

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Last modified on Tuesday, 19 April 2016 20:10

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.

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 August 2015 18:09