Sign petition requesting a more meaningful role for NSF

New Orleans, LA - In light of recent publications of longstanding sexual and physical harassment and abuse in the field, we request that the NSF-directed US Antarctic Program clarify its policies for reporting harassment, investigations of allegations, and enforcements of codes of conduct.  Recent events show that domineering behaviors, mainly by men in power positions (Principal Investigator, lead scientist, senior camp member, etc.) are more common when victims feel empowered to speak out.  However, the remote and physically-challenging environment of Antarctic make this a special case, and a potentially more dangerous one. 

Please sign petition requesting a more meaningful role for NSF in investigating harassment in remote field locations, including Antarctica (login info to left of sign-in). If you are at AGU17, see Brad Rosenheim for details.

Students from Stewart Magnet Middle School visit CMS and FIO

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - A group of 47 students from Stewart Magnet Middle School along with teachers and chaperones visited the College of Marine Science on Friday, December 1st, 2017, to learn oceanographic research practices directly from the scientists themselves.  The magnet school is STEM focused with electives that include aerospace, engineering, environmental, robotics, computer, and video game design.  Their partnerships include NASA, NOAA, Tuskegee Airmen, U.S. Air Force, FBI and more.

Representing the Center for Ocean Technology (COT), the Institute for Marine Remote Sensing (IMaRS), and the Ocean Monitoring and Prediction Lab, students, faculty and researchers of CMS led three groups of Stewart Middle students around the halls and the docks of the peninsular campus in Bayboro Harbor.  Members of the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) enriched the tour with explanations of the research fleet and an in-depth tour of the Weatherbird II, FIO’s flagship research vessel.

The introduction to the day’s studies was given by Frank Muller-Karger who has worked with teachers from Stewart Middle to educate students on marine science and technology for the past 18 years.  Dr. Muller-Karger teaches remote sensing and directs the IMaRS group.  After a tour of the Weatherbird and a hands-on demonstration of marine sensors, the students were provided exercises on sea floor mapping and remote sensing of environmental parameters useful to understanding biodiversity.  The young students kept the faculty and researchers on their toes with some astute questions, offering the prospect of at least a few future oceanographers.

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Written By: Sean Beckwith

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 14:45

The Seas We’ve Hardly Seen: Adaptations to living in the deep dark ocean


Speakers/Affiliations: Peter Girguis, Harvard University

Seminar Title: The Seas We’ve Hardly Seen: Adaptations to living in the deep dark ocean

When: Dec. 8, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Mya Breitbart

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USFCMS Sloan Students and Directors Attend the Institute

ATLANTA, GA - CMS Sloan students, scholars and directors attended the 24th Institute on Teaching and Mentoring in Atlanta October 2017.  The Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, which is sponsored by Compact for Faculty Diversity, is a four-day conference with the largest gathering of minority doctoral scholars in the country.  The Institute focuses on faculty and PhD student diversity. This year the two guest speakers were Judge Glenda A. Hatchett and Margot Lee Shetterly.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

CMS Sloan students and directors met Margot Lee Shetterly the author of “Hidden Figures,” which reached number one in The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Sellers list. The book was partly funded by the Sloan Foundation and was eventually made into a film. Sloan provided autographed books to Sloan students, scholars and directors at the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring.

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Last modified on Friday, 01 December 2017 15:40

Trends and Phenology in Linked Carbon, Oxygen, and Nitrogen Cycles in the Chesapeake Bay Estuary


Speakers/Affiliations: Jeremy Testa, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Seminar Title: Trends and Phenology in Linked Carbon, Oxygen, and Nitrogen Cycles in the Chesapeake Bay Estuary

When: Dec. 1, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Yun Li

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Remote Sensing, a necessary tool for studying biodiversity at effective scales

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - From local to global and micro to macro, the applications of remote sensing are integral to understanding biodiversity across regions and filling the data gaps that exist between them. 

Dr. Frank Muller Karger and his group at the Institute for Marine Remote Sensing collaborate with a larger network of scientists and resource managers to catalog biodiversity as it has never been done before:  with consistency of data from region to region and at scales that reveal the important connectivity among the gradient of marine habitats.

Sanctuaries Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (Sanctuaries MBON) is part of a global consortium of BONs that are building web portals of real-time and historical data through which scientists and environmental resource managers can assess the ecological well-being of the region they are tasked with studying, maintaining or improving. 

On-going bimonthly cruises in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) are conducted by NOAA AOML scientists and members from IMaRS to gather a suite of water quality data.  Pairing water samples with satellite observations, IMaRS member Megan Hepner uses GIS maps to display biodiversity of coral reef fishes along the entire reef tract of the FKNMS.  Simpson and Shannon diversity indices – statistical methods used to classify ecosystem integrity and resilience – show that greater diversity is found in the Lower and Upper Keys than in the Middle Keys.  Dr. Muller-Karger and assistant Dr. Enrique Montes oversee the assimilation of the sampling efforts and observations into the Sanctuaries MBON research initiative. 

Tools like infographics will be a key point of interaction on the sites for both resource managers and members of the general public to learn about the biological composition of some protected ecosystems and any changes in diversity over time.  GIS maps hosted on the MBON web portal provide further spatial and temporal visualizations of ecosystem health and diversity in three National Marine Sanctuaries:  the Florida Keys, Monterey Bay and Flower Garden Banks. 

An additional layer of sampling within the MBON initiative is environmental DNA (eDNA).  The Marine Genomics Lab led by Dr. Mya Breitbart at the USF College of Marine Science is responsible for analyzing seawater samples for trace amounts of genetic material left behind by anything from microbes to whales.  New methods allow for fast, affordable interpretation of the DNA present in concentrated water samples.

The size, depth, and unforgiving surface conditions of the ocean make it impossible to continuously monitor conditions from all desired locations.  Satellite-based remote sensing provides solutions at exceptional spatial and temporal scales.  Careful groundtruthing is required to match sea surface conditions to the data derived from sensors orbiting the earth, and once that is accomplished, the result is unparalleled coverage of terrestrial and oceanographic ecosystems. 

Analysis of satellite data has allowed researchers from IMaRS to study phytoplankton blooms off the Texas coast in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, explore outbreaks of Dengue fever in the Caribbean, and improve wetland mapping methods for coastal areas.  In addition, the lab is improving characterization of the impacts to coastal areas from red tides, storm-generated sediment plumes, water quality events, and land cover changes. 

Concurrent satellite observations of biological and physical variables from around the world allow observation networks to map the data in near real-time.  Some records span nearly three decades, and without these long term measurements, our understanding of changes throughout time would be lacking over much of the surface of the earth.  The list of global measurements includes:  vegetation biomass (land and ocean), winds, currents, waves, rainfall, cloud cover, land topography, and more.  As Dr. Muller Karger states, “This allows us to see how biological processes on land and in the ocean react to, or in some cases modify, environmental variables that force them.”

Understanding diversity of life in the oceans is crucial to managing and preserving these resources, and the use of remotely sensed data enables the study of biodiversity on the proper scales.


Written By: Sean Beckwith

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 November 2017 17:34

Cognitive bias is scientific research


Speakers/Affiliations: Pete Rose, Rose & Associates

Seminar Title: Cognitive bias is scientific research

When: Nov. 17, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Gene Shinn

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USF Alumni Roundtable


Title: USF Alumni Roundtable


Merrie Beth Neely, MS '96, PhD '08
Marine Habitat Habitat Resource Specialist II, Earth Resources Technology, Inc.


Beau Suthard, MS '05
Client Program Manager, APTIM

Bio: Beau graduated from Eckerd College in 1997 with a BS in Marine Science (Geology Track), and from USF CMS in 2005 with an MS in Geological Oceanography under Al Hine. After graduating, Beau immediately joined Coastal Planning and Engineering (now known as APTIM) as a Coastal Geologist. Beau is currently a Client Program Manager with APTIM, and is responsible for managing the St. Petersburg, Florida office. This office conducts all of APTIM’s offshore geophysical and geotechnical survey work. This work includes seafloor and sub-seafloor mapping in support of environmental and marine infrastructure projects, including identifying sand resources for shore protection projects and site assessment and clearance for marine infrastructure projects like pipeline routes and offshore wind farms.

Steve Walker, MS '84, P.G.
Principal Consultant, ENERCON Services, Inc.

Bio: Mr. Walker holds a B.A. in Geology from New England College and an M.S. in Marine Science (Geology) from the University of South Florida College Of Marine Science.  He began his career as an applied scientist in 1984 at the Southwest Florida Water Management District working as part of a team establishing an ambient ground water quality monitoring network covering most of west-central Florida.  In 1986, he became a consulting hydrogeologist and environmental consultant for a national environmental firm and in 1990, along with three colleagues, founded an environmental science and engineering firm (Terra Environmental Services, Inc.) located in Tampa, Florida.  Mr. Walker has provided consulting services to hundreds of clients throughout the United States for a wide-range of projects including development of ground water supplies for private companies and municipalities, science and engineering studies at contaminated sites including for some of our nation’s most complex Superfund sites, environmental construction and operations services to implement cleanups at some of those sites, investigations of marine, riverine and lacustrine sediment investigations, and authored hundreds of technical investigation plans and reports.  His work has included extensive interaction and negotiations with state and federal agencies and on some projects, collaboration with academic researchers to bring their knowledge gained from research to difficult-to-solve, real-world environmental problems.  He also has provided technical and regulatory support to private-sector clients and litigation support for parties involved in legal actions related to environmental and regulatory matters.  In 2015, Terra Environmental was acquired by ENERCON Services, Inc., a growing national firm engaged in providing environmental and engineering services  private- and public sector clients throughout the US, where he continues his consulting work.
Mr. Walker is also a volunteer patient advocate for people diagnosed with serious and terminal diseases, and has worked for approximately 17 years to improve patient access to emerging medical progress.  He lives in Saint Petersburg, FL and tries mightily to make it to happy hour on time every Friday.

Monica Wilson, MS ’07, PhD ‘13
Oil Spill Research Extension Specialist, Florida Sea Grant College Program, UF/IFAS Extension

Bio: Monica graduated from Eckerd College in 2003 with a BS in Marine Science (Geology) and Computer Science. She received her MS from USF’s College of Marine Science in 2007 and her Ph.D. in 2013 in Physical Oceanography. After graduate school, Monica joined Florida Sea Grant as a member of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative outreach team. Her role is to transfer information between GoMRI oil spill scientists and coastal stakeholders.  The oil spill science outreach program’s focus is on the two-way transfer of information between the people whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf of Mexico or who are involved in the protection and management of Gulf of Mexico coastal and marine resources; and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative scientists, administrators and board of directors.


When: Nov. 9, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Howard Rutherford

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Last modified on Tuesday, 07 November 2017 17:59

Applied Ecosystem Modeling For Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management


Speakers/Affiliations: Howard Townsend, NOAA Chesapeake Bay

Seminar Title: Applied Ecosystem Modeling For Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management

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

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Cameron Ainsworth

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Revealing mechanisms of biogeochemical metal cycling in the ocean


Speakers/Affiliations: Rene Boiteau, Pacific Northwest National Lab

Seminar Title: Revealing mechanisms of biogeochemical metal cycling in the ocean

When: Oct. 27, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Tim Conway

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