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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

News Archive

News Archive - stories from October 2016.

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

Jon Warrick sits in front of a computer and explains a difference map constructed from structure-from-motion data.New techniques for measuring cliff change from historical photographs

USGS scientists and their coauthors from the California Coastal Records Project have found a way to use historical aerial photographs to accurately measure coastal erosion. Applying a low-cost technique called “structure-from-motion” to five sets of oblique aerial photos spanning the years 2002 to 2010, the scientists measured the volume of material eroded from coastal cliffs at Fort Funston, on the westernmost edge of San Francisco. Their results were published October 21, 2016 in the Journal of Coastal Research. Quantifying coastal change is essential for calculating trends in erosion, evaluating processes that shape coastal landscapes, and predicting how the coast will respond to future storms and sea-level rise, all critical for communities along the California coast.

To learn more, read the USGS news release or contact Jon Warrick,, 831-460-7569. Also, watch Jon's interview which aired on CBS SF Bay Area, October 28th.

posted: 2016-10-31

USGS Scientist Delivers Invited Talk at Workshop to Inform Coral Reef Restoration Practitioners

Ilsa B. Kuffner (Research Marine Biologist, SPCMSC) was invited to give a talk at the 'Workshop to Advance the Science and Practice of Coral Restoration,' at Nova Southeastern University, Dania Beach, Florida, November 15–17, 2016. The workshop's agenda includes sessions focused on both the science and practical nature of coral-reef restoration, and promotes cutting-edge science with a focus on turning science into actionable restoration practices. The primary theme of the workshop is scaling up restoration to provide for meaningful coral reef ecosystem recovery. Kuffner will be speaking during the session on 'New Approaches to Assist in Site Selection and Design' and will be presenting data and science results from the USGS Calcification Monitoring Network.

posted: 2016-10-27

USGS Research Oceanographer invited to visit collection of coral-reef cores at Oberlin College, Ohio

Lauren T. Toth (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) has been invited to visit the extensive collection of Caribbean coral-reef cores collected by Dr. Dennis Hubbard of Oberlin College, 11/1/2016–11/4/2016. Toth will be giving an invited seminar to students and faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies. She will also collect data from the cores that will be used to develop comparative reconstructions of reef development in the Florida Keys and the wider Caribbean.

posted: 2016-10-27

USGS researcher attends 'Coastal Dynamics and Ecosystem Change: Caribbean, Quo Vadis?' workshop

Terrence McCloskey (SPCMSC, Mendenhall Post-Graduate Fellow) is attending a small invitational meeting in Bonaire, Dutch west Indies from 10/18 to 10/21. Researchers will be looking at the state of environmental conditions in the Caribbean, particularly in regard to climate change and sea level rise. It is an international conference, with participants primarily from Caribbean countries and Europe. Only 3 of the 24 invitees were from the United States.

posted: 2016-10-26

USGS researchers at SACNAS conferenceUSGS researchers present research and judge presentations at annual multicultural SACNAS conference

Jennifer Flannery (Chemist, SPCMSC) and Christopher Smith (Geologist, SPCMSC) were invited to speak about their research in a USGS-sponsored session at the annual SACNAS conference, which offers 3 days of elite science, mentoring, training, and cultural activities for all levels of students and scientists. Also attending were Thomas Doyle (Deputy Director, WARC, Lafayette, LA) and Debra Willard (Climate R&D Program Coordinator, Reston, VA). SACNAS is the leading multicultural and multidisciplinary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) diversity organization in the USA. Jennifer Flannery and Christopher Smith also served as judges for several undergraduate and graduate student posters and oral presentations.

posted: 2016-10-26

USGS Oceanographers address the West Florida Barrier Island Governmental Council (BIG C)

On October 26, Oceanographers Joe Long and Hilary Stockdon will address the west Florida Barrier Island Governmental Council (BIG C; to discuss SPCMSC coastal hazards research including recent efforts to measure coastal change following Tropical Storm Colin and Hurricane Hermine. They will also describe the new video camera being installed at Madeira Beach to observe coastal processes and better understand the evolution of Florida beaches. Eleven municipalities residing on the west coast of Florida, from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater will be present at the council meeting.

posted: 2016-10-20

USGS St Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Scientists to attend 2016 Esri Ocean GIS Forum

Steven Douglas (SPCMSC, Researcher), Xan Fredericks (SPCMSC, Cartographer/Lidar Coordinator), Ginger Range (SPCMSC, Geologist/GIS Specialist), and Heather Schreppel (SPCMSC, IT/Data Management Specialist) will be attending the Esri Ocean GIS Forum from November 1–3, 2016 at ESRI in Redlands, California. The purpose of this forum is to encourage knowledge-sharing across disciplines to help shape the future of GIS design and to discuss ways multi-dimensional data and web apps can help people put scientific information to work.

posted: 2016-10-20

Journal article 'Bacterial community diversity of the deep-sea octocoral Paramuricea placomus' published

Compared to tropical corals, much less is known about deep-sea coral biology and ecology. Although the microbial communities of some deep-sea corals have been described, the study described in the journal article published by PeerJ ( is the first one to characterize the bacterial community associated with the deep-sea octocoral, Paramuricea placomus. The authors are Christina Kellogg, Steve W. Ross, and Sandra D. Brooke.

posted: 2016-10-20

USGS Center Director interviewed on syndicated radio program about potential impacts of Hurricane Matthew

Cheryl Hapke (Center Director, SPCMSC) was interviewed live on This Morning in America with Gordan Deal to discuss the potential impacts of Hurricane Matthew. The interview included discussion of potential beach erosion and what the USGS is doing to predict vulnerable areas in advance of the storm.

posted: 2016-10-20

Seismic-reflection profile created by bouncing sound waves off sediment layers beneath San Pablo Bay, and variations in gravity caused by differences in rock density under the bay.Link between two earthquake faults near San Francisco, California, revealed by detailed sub-seafloor mapping

USGS scientists used a suite of complementary techniques to image sediment layers beneath San Pablo Bay, California, revealing an active fault beneath the bay that links two of the most urbanized and hazardous strike-slip faults in the San Francisco Bay area. The discovery, first announced December 2015 at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, is detailed in “Missing Link between the Hayward and Rodgers Creek Faults,” published October 19, 2016, in Science Advances. Longer fault ruptures produce larger earthquakes, so understanding how fault segments connect with one another is critical to assessing the earthquake hazards they pose. This study demonstrates the importance of integrated, high-resolution mapping of sub-seafloor layers for characterizing the often-subtle deformations (as small as a few centimeters) where fault segments meet. Contact: Janet Watt,, 831-460-7565.posted: 2016-10-19

Photograph of researcher Amy East, with her discovery of a salmon carcass on the banks of the upper Elwha River.Salmon Seen Upstream from Former Dam Sites on Washington's Elwha River

For the first time in more than a century, salmon have reached stretches of the Elwha River upstream from two dams built in the early 1900s and recently removed. In August 2016, fisheries biologists observed live salmon there. In September 2016, USGS scientists doing topographic surveys found carcasses of Chinook salmon that died after migrating from the ocean to above the upper dam site, completing their natural life cycle. Although dam removal concluded in 2014, a boulder jam remained a fish barrier until fall 2015, when NPS dynamited the boulders. Now, fish are migrating into the upper watershed—a huge success for the Elwha River Restoration Project, recently honored as a finalist for the international Riverprize. Monitoring ecosystem recovery in the Elwha is a cooperative effort by Olympic National Park, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, NOAA, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Contact: Amy East, 2016-10-07

Melissa Foley, right, and colleagues preparing for the Planning for Cumulative Effects in a Complex World workshop, held 17 August 2016 in Wellington, New Zealand.USGS Ecologist Provides Expert Input to New Zealand Workshop on Ecosystem Stressors

USGS research ecologist Melissa Foley served as an international science expert at the “Planning for Cumulative Effects in a Complex World” workshop held 17 August 2016 in Wellington, New Zealand. Cumulative effects are environmental stressors that overlap in space and/or time. Coastal and marine examples include sea-level rise, fishing, coastal development, and ocean acidification. Foley helped plan and execute the workshop, where participants discussed the challenges of assessing cumulative effects in coastal and marine systems, and ways to facilitate communication among scientists, funding agencies, and policy makers. Foley's USGS research focuses on understanding how systems are connected, how human and natural disturbances affect those connections, and how science can be integrated with management strategies to address coastal and marine issues. Contact: Melissa Foley,, 831-460-7564.posted: 2016-10-07

Coastal Change Hazards PortalStorm team responds to Hurricane Matthew

The storm team is responding to Hurricane Matthew.

View probabilities of coastal change in the Coastal Change Hazards Portal at Check out our new experimental total water level viewer to see timing of storm impacts at Jupiter, Florida, at

posted: 2016-10-05

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