News and Events

Marine Science Networking Happy Hour - One year Anniversary

ST. PETERSBURG - Our first anniversary is coming up. The next Tampa Bay Area Marine Science Networking Happy Hour is Wednesday November 19th, 2014, 4:30-6:30pm.  The event will be held at the 
Canopy Rooftop Lounge atop the Birchwood Hotel, 340 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. They have a nice selection of cocktails, beer and wine including happy hour specials and nearby street or garage parking is available. The event is self pay and nametags will be available. This will also be the final event of 2014, gatherings will resume in January 2015.

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Last modified on Monday, 10 November 2014 14:30

Mark Luther Cited in Washington Post

TAMPA, FL - "The storm weakened as it raked Cuba. As Irma approached Southwest Florida, where its eye would fall was a guessing game, said Mark Luther, a University of South Florida oceanographer who studied National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data showing Irma’s strength and path.

Even with weaker winds, “If it veers to the left of us, we’re going to get hammered,” Luther said, because the storm would lift the shallow waters of the bay and shove up to 12 feet of water on land. But it stayed well to the east. “The storm also moved quickly through the area so that the winds didn’t have time to push as much water toward the coast and up the bay,” Luther said." 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 15:12

MBON helps to understand the Mortality Event in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Sport divers found green, hazy water, huge patches of white mats coating corals and sponges, and dead animals littering the bottom of East Flower Garden Bank in the Gulf of Mexico. The scientists believe that a large-scale mortality event of unknown cause is under way on the bank. A response plan is being developed with partners and a series of cruises will be scheduled to collect water and biological samples from both the East and West Flower Garden Banks.  Dr. Frank Muller-Karger, Digna Rudea Roa and team at USF, and part of MBON, jumped into help by comparting NASA MODIS Chlorophyll-a product “climatology” and some recent MODIS and VIRS chl derived individual passes with methods developed under MBON.  See the images:,  NOAA SUOMI VIIRS image for 16 July 2016:

Last modified on Monday, 08 August 2016 16:34

Measuring the heat of the Ocean: From a small business to global impact


Speakers/Affiliations: Tony Haymet, Former director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, now co-owner of MRV Systems

Seminar TitleMeasuring the heat of the Ocean: From a small business to global impact

When: Feb. 2, 2018 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Kendra Daly

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Last modified on Wednesday, 31 January 2018 17:01

Melting Greenland ice sheet may affect global ocean circulation, future climate

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Don Chambers from the University of South Florida, along with colleagues in Canada and the Netherlands, have determined that the influx of fresh water from the Greenland ice sheet is "freshening" the North Atlantic Ocean and could disrupt the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), an important component of global ocean circulation that could have a global effect. Researchers say it could impact the future climate in places such as portions of Europe and North America.

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Last modified on Friday, 29 January 2016 15:22

Mengqiu's Sargassum work highlighted by IOCCG

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Several new publications have been added to the IOCCG Recent References list including a paper by Wang and Hu (2016) on mapping and quantifying Sargassum distribution.  Sargassum washing ashore on the beaches of the Caribbean Islands since 2011 has caused problems for the local environments, tourism, and economies, yet little is known about their origin, distribution, and long-term changes.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 09 November 2016 18:47

Mermaids, Manatees, and the Rising Seas


Speakers/Affiliations: Chris Anastasiou, Southwest Florida Water Management District

Seminar Title: Mermaids, Manatees, and the Rising Seas: Profound changes along Florida’s Springs Coast are shifting ecological paradigms before our very eyes

When: Oct. 20, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Sean Beckwith

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Methane Plumes in the Deep Northern Gulf of Mexico


Speakers/Affiliations: Chris Martens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Seminar Title: Methane Plumes in the Deep Northern Gulf of Mexico

When: Sept. 22, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Mark Luther

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Michael Martinez-Colon receives GRP Early-Career Research Fellowship

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Dr. Michael Martinez-Colon, receives the prestigious 2017  Early-Career Research Fellowship from the Gulf Research Program, in his capacity as an Assistant Professor at FAMU.  According to their website, "this fellowship is designed to allow new and emerging pre-tenure faculty to investigate untested research questions and to engage in collaborations and networks that will serve as foundation for cementing their research agenda. The two-year fellowship provides unrestricted funds that allows the participants explore ideas and potential avenues to expand and acquire new knowledge." 

The photo shown is from his field work in Puerto Rico last year.  For more information, please visit


Last modified on Friday, 16 June 2017 14:37

Near real-time Sargassum Watch System helps turtle rehabilitation

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Sargassum seaweed provides a habitat for many marine animals (fish, turtle, shrimp, crab), while excessive Sargassum landing on beaches represents a nuisance.
Recently, a Sargassum Watch System (SaWS) has been established to produce customized MODIS and VIIRS imagery in near real-time to detect and track large rafts of Sargassum and other seaweeds.

Students collecting sargassum seaweed

Photo By: Chuanmin Hu

NOAA Fisheries and partners have been using SaWS to identify Sargassum habitat in near real-time, which is critical to sea turtle conservation and research. During storm events when juvenile turtles are washed ashore, responders need to collect and hold them in a central facility until they are released in Sargassum habitat (otherwise they would have little chance of survival). During Hurricane Irma, over 2,500 hatchlings were washed ashore and later placed on Sargassum mats. 

Last modified on Thursday, 12 October 2017 16:19

New agreement to coordinate a global marine biodiversity observing system

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - This collaboration between GOOS BioEco, OBIS and GEOBON MBON will build a unified and globally consistent observing system that will: strengthen the three initiatives; make use of the best available resources; share expertise; and ensure compatibility between outputs and advice from the three initiatives.

Read the full OBIS article here

Read the full GOOS article here

Last modified on Thursday, 15 December 2016 18:24

New Pinellas Student Environmental Leadership Workshop

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - There are 10 spaces available for an exciting new summer workshop for teens next month, on July 11-15, 2016. This is a pilot program developed with funding from the Clean Communities Clean Coasts NOAA Marine Debris Prevention Education and Outreach grant.

Organized by Keep Pinellas Beautiful (KPB) and USFCMS, the speakers include environmental youth leaders, stormwater professionals from the City of St. Pete, and photography/software workshop taught by faculty at the USFSP Department of Journalism and Media Studies.

Teens will learn and practice communications skills and creating tools, so they can conduct effective outreach and clean-up activities in their schools and communities. (As they earn Bright Future credits too!)  We will also collect input from the youth to better define preferences for messages and communications tools.

Location: Through a collaboration with USFSP, the youth camp will be in Harbor Hall Community Room and lab/classroom in the USFSP Media Studies Department, and with support from the USFSP Campus Recreation department there will be a kayaking trip and pool party on Friday.

If you have questions, please contact KPB coordinator Stephanie Ellington (formerly Lawler), a USFCMS graduate.

New Satellite Data Confirm Accelerated Sea Level Rise

TAMPA, FL - Twenty-five years of satellite data prove climate models are correct in predicting that sea levels will rise at an increasing rate.

In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that since 1993, ocean waters have moved up the shore by almost 1 millimeter per decade. That’s on top of the 3 millimeter steady annual increase. This acceleration means we’ll gain an additional millimeter per year for each of the coming decades, potentially doubling what would happen to the sea level by 2100 if the rate of increase was constant.

Read the full article

New species named in honor of CMS Professor

UNIVERSITY OF BONN, GERMANY - Researchers at the University of Bonn, Germany, Meena Förderer and Martin R. Langer, in a paper published in PeerJ on 23 June 2016, described five new species, naming one Siphonapertra hallocki. Quoting from their paper "Etymology. In honor of Pamela Hallock Muller for her extensive work on tropical foraminifera".

The paper is available at:

New, effective DNA method for discovering fish spawning grounds

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Towing a plankton net to scoop up fish eggs may be routine, but determining the species is a different matter altogether.  A collaboration of two labs at the College of Marine Science uses a new method to discover fish spawning grounds through analysis of the DNA in fish eggs. 

The vast majority of fish in the ocean are broadcast spawners –the female releases eggs in large quantities to float around until the larvae hatch and swim away on their own.  A problem facing many fisheries managers is the time it takes to estimate fish populations.  A new method utilizing DNA will likely reduce that time from years to months. 

Dr. Ernst Peebles realized that existing fish population methods could be extended to a much larger number of species through new technologies and new databases like FISH-BOL (fish barcode of life).  With the development of the Marine Resource Assessment program in 2010 here at the college, Dr. Mya Breitbart was eager to collaborate with fisheries ecologists on gaps in the body of research that molecular biology methods might fill. 

A process called DNA barcoding focuses on a segment of DNA that is short enough to be efficiently sequenced but long enough to allow for identification of species.  While most fish eggs look alike, their DNA does not.

Working in one of Dr. Breitbart’s microbiology labs, USFSP senior Makenzie Burrows performs much of the hands-on DNA work related to this project.  Dr. Breitbart explains the process further, “When we sequence this gene, we can then compare it against the database and that tells us what species each fish egg belongs to.”

From the original proof-of-concept study done in small Terra Ceia Bay (near the mouth of Tampa Bay), the DNA barcoding of fish eggs has expanded to cover the entire Gulf of Mexico. 

With the identification data from Dr. Breitbart’s lab, fish population researchers can use the number of floating eggs, compare that with the rate of egg production and calculate the number of females releasing eggs for each species.

Dr. Peebles points out that this method is not only rapid, but could be very cost effective in comparison to conventional methods.

The most exciting aspect of this project for fisheries scientists is the discoveries that await them.  Dr. Peebles notes, “This method is one of the best, if not the best, methods of detecting spawning in marine fish.” 

And by identifying new spawning grounds, resource managers have the ability to increase protection of spawning habitats to ensure the longevity of ecologically and economically important species.

Breitbart Lab Website 

Last modified on Monday, 08 May 2017 13:13

Nitrogen Dynamics in Tropical Coastal Ecosystems: A Case Study in Guam


Speakers/Affiliations: Kiho Kim, American University

Seminar Title: Nitrogen Dynamics in Tropical Coastal Ecosystems: A Case Study in Guam

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

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Chris Simoniello

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NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program


Speakers/Affiliations: Erica Hudson Ombres, NOAA

Seminar Title: NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program

When: August 24, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Don Chambers

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NOSB 20th Anniversary

CORVALLIS, OR - The Annual and 20th Anniversary National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) National Finals Competition will take place next week on April 20-23, 2017, in Corvallis, OR. This year’s Finals are hosted by Salmon Bowl and Ocean Leadership member, Oregon State University.  As 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the NOSB, they are celebrating with a retrospective on the program via social media. Their '20 days of NOSB' campaign launched a couple of weeks ago.

During this 20 day period, leading up to the Opening Ceremony of the 2017 Finals on April 20th, they'll be sharing photos, participant stories, historical and fun facts, and more. 

Join them on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Tumblr, using @NOSBRocks, #20DaysNOSB, #NOSB17, and #NOSBturns20.

Last modified on Friday, 14 April 2017 13:44

Ocean acidification: ancient events and the future


Speaker: Dr. Lee Kump

Affiliation: Penn State

Seminar Title: Ocean acidification: ancient events and the future

When: Feb. 26, 2016 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Eugene Shinn

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Last modified on Tuesday, 23 February 2016 15:38

Oceanography Camp for Girls 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The Oceanography Camp for Girls, which held its 25th anniversary last year, has just graduated another class of aspiring scientists and environmentally conscious thinkers.  The three-week camp teaches girls about science by having them be the scientist.  Hands-on work in the field and laboratory, as well as a strong focus on careers, gives participants a holistic view of what it means to be a scientist and what a future STEM career might look like.  Under the leadership of Dr. Teresa Greely and Dr. Angela Lodge and the teaching and mentoring of the graduate students of the College of Marine Science (CMS), the girls learn the social and technical aspects of working in science. 

Faculty members and researchers of CMS and scientists from the community fulfilled additional teaching roles and provided the girls further career insight.  Field excursions included Fort Desoto, Shell Key, Caladesi Island, Clam Bayou, Sea World and a research cruise aboard the R/V Angari.  Laboratory rotations throughout CMS demonstrated concepts from microbiology, advanced microscopy, seawater analysis, satellite remote sensing, fish physiology, marine medical services, ROV techniques, beach profiling, and geological sedimentary analysis.  The scientists put an exclamation on their camp experience with presentations of their projects at a ceremony held in FWC-FWRI’s Karen A. Steidinger Auditorium.  

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 July 2017 15:07

OCG alumni accepts internship at Center for Human Genetics Research

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Jessie Green, a Biology student at Eckerd College, and Oceanography Camp for Girls alumni, has just accepted an internship at the Center for Human Genetics Research in Boston this summer.  Congratulations Jessica!

Operational wind wave and coastal hazard forecasting in the US


Speaker: Andre J. van der Westhuysen

Affiliation: NOAA NWS/NCEP/Environmental Modeling Center

Seminar Title: Operational wind wave and coastal hazard forecasting in the US

When: Nov. 17, 2016 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Joseph Long (USGS)

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Last modified on Thursday, 01 December 2016 16:37