ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Constantly scanning the earth in large swaths, satellites remotely sense the oceans and continuously transmit their data, 0’s and 1’s representing infrared and visible electromagnetic radiation, the portions of the spectrum most relevant to life on earth. Dr. Chuanmin Hu and his group, the Optical Oceanography Laboratory, specialize in using optics and remote sensing to study algal blooms and water quality.
By taking optical measurements of the surface of coastal and inland waters and by examining samples of floating seaweed, Dr. Hu and fellow researchers look for improvements to algorithms that are used to interpret remotely sensed data. Students in the lab group play an integral role in conducting field work and processing data.
Through the Virtual Buoy System (VBS), a vast network of virtual stations that receive georeferenced satellite information, the lab group provides a wealth of physical and optical water parameters on their website, with updates performed weekly.
Additionally, the Sargassum Watch System (SaWS) uses standard and custom algorithms to monitor and track Sargassum seaweed and other floating algae. An Integrated Red-tide Information System (IRIS) has been established to monitor red tides in coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. These three projects and more, along with data and map links to Google Earth can be found on the Optical Oceanography Laboratory website.
Funding by NASA and NSF allows Dr. Hu’s lab to provide these products to agencies and the general public in order to make informed decisions, whether they be for resource management or for personal occupation and leisure.
Written By: Sean Beckwith
RED SEA, ANTARCTICA - PhD student Imogen Browne is currently aboard the JOIDES Resolution (JR) with the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 374. in Antarctica. Imogen Browne is a Fulbright student from New Zealand doing her Ph.D. in Marine Science at the University of South Florida. Get an up-close look at this fascinating two-month expedition to research 20 million years of ice sheet history.
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.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Scientists say that climate change is having an effect on the levels of the world’s oceans. But it’s also apparently affecting the oxygen levels throughout the oceans, as well as our coastal waters including the Gulf of Mexico. That’s according to a study published in the Jan. 4 issue of Science by a team of scientists from the Global Ocean Oxygen Network (GO2NE), a working group created by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
TAMPA, FL - Mya Breitbart is a Professor of Biological Oceanography in the USF College of Marine Science, and a pioneering scientist in the field of viral metagenomics. She leads this rapidly growing field, publishing novel viral genomes from diverse hosts and environments. Her efforts have changed the way we view viruses and their impacts on our world, laying the groundwork for a whole new body of knowledge. She is recognized by colleagues as one of the top five microbial ecologists at her career level in the world. Breitbart's recent work has demonstrated the widespread occurrence of single-stranded DNA viruses in multiple ecosystems and diverse invertebrate hosts, leading her to develop novel methods for viral classification and produce a field guide of genomic characteristics for this previously overlooked viral group.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Dr. Eugene Domack (Gene), Professor in Geological Oceanography at the USF College of Marine Science (CMS), died on Nov. 20, 2017 after a brief illness.
Gene received his Ph.D. in Geology from Rice University in 1982. He was hired at Hamilton College in 1985, after working for two years as an Exploration Geologist for Union Oil Company of California. He joined USF College of Marine Science in 2014. His scientific career was dedicated to the study of climate change, which he advanced through the development of international interdisciplinary programs. He was highly recognized for his research, including awards in 2011 as Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and 2012 as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His fieldwork led him all over the globe, on both land (Namibia, Australia, Greenland, Svalbard, Oneida Lake NY, and Whidbey Island WA) and sea (Chief-Scientist or Co-Chief Scientist on 15 Antarctic cruises).
His primary passion was Antarctic research and he generously shared that passion with others, including numerous students. He captured the interest and imagination of young scholars and enabled them to experience the excitement of science first-hand. He mentored hundreds of students throughout his career as a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Hamilton College in Upstate New York, and the University of South Florida. He left a rich legacy: many of his former students are now passing along that passion, including Ian Howat (Professor at Ohio State University and invited 2013 Eminent Scholar Lecture Series speaker at CMS), Amelia Shevenell (Associate Professor at CMS), and Matt Kirby (Professor at Cal State Fullerton).
Born in Wisconsin, Gene had a life-long love for the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and his alma mater, the Wisconsin Badgers. But most of all he loved his daughter, Maddie. Gene is survived by his wife Judi and daughter Madison, both of St. Petersburg; his mother Vivian Domack of Brookfield, WI; sister Deborah (Todd) Hill of Trempealeau, WI; brother Randy (Kasey) Domack of Holmen, WI; sister Julie (Jeff) Borkowicz of Brookfield, WI; and several nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his father Benjamin and his younger brother Shawn.
Contributions may be made to: The Madison Domack Education Fund. Checks can be sent to David C. Gross Funeral Home, 6366 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg FL 33707 for the family, or Temple Beth El “Religious School Special Projects Fund”, 400 Pasadena Ave. S, St. Petersburg, Florida 33707.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - USF College of Marine Science Associate Professor Amelia Shevenell and doctoral student Imogen Browne are departing on an international expedition to the Ross Sea, to investigate 23 million years of past climate change and West Antarctic Ice Sheet response in a region that is sensitive to changes in ocean and atmospheric warming and contributes to global sea level change.
TAMPA, FL - On Saturday, December 9, 2017, graduate student Joshua P. Kilborn delivered an impactful commencement speech.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Please join us Friday, January 12, 2018, at 9:30 am in the MSL Conference Room for the 35th Annual Graduate Student Symposium. Come out and see the next generation of marine scientists present their research. There will be free breakfast goodies and free lunch from The Campus Grind (taco 'bout a delicious meal in store for up to 70 people), and coffee.
Kicking off the symposium will be our plenary speaker, Dr. Kara Radabaugh present her talk on "Blue Carbon in Tampa Bay Coastal Wetlands and Other Mangroves Tales." Dr. Radabaugh is a Biological Scientist at Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute specializing in Coastal Wetlands Research. She is a USFCMS alumni and former student of Dr. Ernst Peebles.
Oral presentations will last from 10:15 am to 3:45 pm in the MSL Conference Room. Each oral presentation will last up to 12 minutes, followed by up to 3 minutes of questions. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place oral presenters based on the scoring from our four official judges.
Poster presentations will last from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm during the first TGIF of the semester in the MSL Student Lounge. One prize will be awarded for Best Poster according to scoring by two official judges. So come on out an enjoy some refreshments as you talk to CMS students about their research.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The origins of carbon dioxide and water lie within the deep earth. In times long past, extensive volcanic outgassing produced our oceans and atmosphere. A new paper by the dean of the College of Marine Science sheds light on recycling of volatiles into the deep Earth by subduction and out of the deep Earth through eruption and degassing of seafloor volcanoes. Her model improves upon the standard model of subduction, known as the “subduction factory”.
Jacqueline E. Dixon, Ph.D., a geochemist by training, recently published an article in the AGU journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. Her research explores the origins of water and carbon dioxide on earth using measurements of water and carbon dioxide concentrations and ratios of hydrogen and other stable isotopes.
This recent paper provides a comprehensive review of and presents new data on stable isotopes in mid ocean ridge basaltic glasses. Dr. Dixon and fellow researchers show that water in enriched oceanic basalts is mostly recycled seawater that has been added to the mantle through deep melting of subducted slab igneous crust and sediments. The model proposed in the paper extends the subduction factory concept down through the transition zone of the mantle and recognizes the important role of carbon in melting of sediments and basaltic crust in the downgoing slab. These melts play a role in the complex dehydration and rehydration processes that support recycling of volatiles into the deep mantle, eventually returning to the surface in the form of lavas erupted at mid-ocean ridges and ocean islands such as Hawaii.
By: Sean Beckwith