News and Events

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

Join event on Facebook


Last modified on Tuesday, 07 November 2017 17:59

USF Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The physical ocean conditions determine where organisms can thrive or famish.  Monitoring the chemistry and movement of water west of Florida is critical in forecasting oil spill trajectories, red tides, or fishery productivity.  

USF Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System is a network of instruments watching over the West Florida Shelf which include offshore buoys. They link deep ocean processes to the estuaries by feeding data into West Florida Coastal Ocean Model.  See how the buoys are deployed off the RV Weatherbird II in the video below.

USF College of Marine Science Celebrates Clam Bayou Marine Education Center

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Among the many accomplishments the USF College of Marine Science will celebrate this week as it marks its 50th anniversary is the creation of its Clam Bayou Marine Education Center, where hundreds of children and adult learners convene each year to learn about the wonders beneath Florida’s waters.

Read the full article

Last modified on Saturday, 08 April 2017 12:13

USF Giving Tuesday 2015

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Thanksgiving, or the giving of thanks, is a great thing and the Ocean gives us multiple reasons to be thankful. Today, and in the days, months and years ahead, we give thanks to the Ocean:

  • For the air we breathe
  • For the food that sustains us
  • For stabilizing the climate
  • For forgiving us our human foibles

On December 1, 2015 we will celebrate #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. The University of South Florida College of Marine Science will proudly participate in #GivingTuesday by joining a vast network of organizations and individuals who have come together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. We invite you to join us and give thanks to the Ocean!

Please join us in support of #USFGivingTuesday by making a gift of $19.56 (or more) in honor of the year USF was founded. Click below to help provide USF College of Marine Science the opportunity to achieve our research and educational goals.

Click here to Make A Gift

#GivingTuesday 2015 Images

Last modified on Thursday, 03 December 2015 14:32

USF Glider Deployed to Track Fish and Red Tide

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - USF's COT and CMS staff deployed one of their Slocum gliders for a 30-day research mission in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. "Sam" is equipped with a myriad of technologies to collect data during its mission as it yo-yo's up and down through the water column. Measurements are geared toward understanding subsurface water variables such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and fluorescence.

This project adds acoustic technologies for tracking tagged fish, marine animals that make sound, and acoustical backscatter. The deployment is the result of collaborations with several groups at FWRI, NOAA, FIO, iTAGGCOOS and private industries.

For more information visit CMS Ocean Technology Group.


Last modified on Friday, 19 May 2017 17:12

USF Marine Scientists Take Major Role in International Conference on Keeping the Gulf of Mexico Healthy

TAMPA, FL - Faculty and graduate students from the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science will take a major role in the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference held in Tampa Feb. 1- 4 at the Marriott Tampa Waterside Hotel, 700 S. Florida Avenue.

The international conference aims to bring together hundreds of oil spill experts representing academia, state and federal agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations and industry who will share the latest oil spill and ecosystem scientific discoveries, innovations and policies. Many of the results from 2015’s summer research will be presented.

Read the full article here

Last modified on Friday, 29 January 2016 15:21

USF Researchers Awarded $5 Million Grant to continue study in BP Oil Spill

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - USF College of Marine Science researchers will continue studies on how the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has impacted the environment and how future environmental disasters might be better mitigated.

Read full USF article here

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 17:44

USF Researchers Featured in Student Conservation Film

TAMPA, FL - The film Tampa Bay Water Story, created by Katy Hennig, a graduate of the Digital Journalism and Design program at University of South Florida St. Petersburg, has earned an Honorable Mention and selected to be screened at the Blue Ocean Film Festival, November 10-13, 2016. The International film festival is an annual water conservation summit, showcasing films from a variety of filmmakers around water sustainability and conservation. 

View the full article

Last modified on Monday, 07 November 2016 17:31

USF scientists find oil still present from 1979 Mexico spill similar to Deepwater Horizon

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - For 40 days, scientists aboard a Florida-based research vessel prowled the gulf waters, looking for signs of the past, hoping it would give them hints of the future.

Read full article here

USF Scientists Spend 40 Days At Sea Looking For Evidence Of Oil

TAMPA, FL - The University Beat radio report on the College of Marine Science’s latest work in the Gulf of Mexico will air on WUSF 89.7 FM on Tuesday, August 23 at 6:45 a.m., 8:45 a.m. and 5:44 p.m. It will also run on WSMR 89.1 and 103.9 FM Monday, August 29 a little after 10:25 p.m., following Florida Matters.

The radio report will be online Tuesday at and They are planning on running a similar story on WUSF TV’s half-hour University Beat program next month. 

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 16:59

USF students featured in Oceanography Special issue on Graduate Education

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The March 2016 special issue of Oceanography (Graduate Education) features a few of our graduates.  Kara Vadman is featured on the cover, and Michelle Guitard and Kara are featured Pages 1 and 2 of the Introduction. Congratulations Kara Vadman and Michelle Guitard.

Oceanography v. 29 Isuue 01

Special Issue on Graduate Education in the Ocean Sciences

USF's Steven Murawski and team to receive $1 Million Grant from National Academies' Gulf Research Program

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - A research team led by University of South Florida College of Marine Science professor Dr. Steven Murawski has been awarded a $1 million grant to explore how oil spills, such as the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) in 2010, impact the economic, ecological and social system aspects of fishing communities.

The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced Thursday a total of $2.1 million in grants.  Murawski’s team, which also includes Dr. Claire Paris, a bio-physical modeler from the University of Miami, and an environmental science and policy expert Dr. James Sanchirico from the University of California, will receive the grant funding over two years.

“We are deeply appreciative of the grant by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies to pursue this important research.  Our team represents expertise in biology, economics and oceanography and will provide information relevant to assess these real-world problems,” said Murawski.

The DWH spill released approximately two million barrels of oil into the water, resulting in significant impacts on coastal communities, especially in the western and northern Gulf, where many towns are co-dependent on both commercial fishing and the petroleum industries. Concern for the integrity and safety of the seafood supply during the DWH spill resulted in large-scale fishery closures, causing fishers to either travel long distances from ports to reach open grounds or re-locate to other ports adjacent to open fishing areas.

Using high-resolution, fishery-dependent datasets, Murawski’s multidisciplinary team will identify how individual communities were affected by the DWH spill, specifically those communities in coastal Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Alabama. Working with key fisheries stakeholders and local decision makers, the team plans to identify adaptive strategies that communities could use to mitigate the effects of future oil spills. This project has the potential to transform disaster planning and fisheries management responses to such disasters in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.

All three Gulf Research Program grants awarded Thursday support projects that will generate new insights, address critical questions, or lead to new approaches to interpreting data by bringing together concepts and methods from different disciplines. The grants also advance study design, tools, models and technologies for assessing human exposure to environmental contaminants, including acute or chronic exposures related to oil spills and other sudden and large-scale environmental disasters, and related impacts on individuals and populations.

“We’re pleased to support innovative scientific syntheses that can help us better understand the interdisciplinary challenges coastal communities face,” said Evonne Tang, GRP's director of external funding opportunities. “The new tools and products that the project teams develop would make existing data usable for stakeholders and decision makers.” The proposals were selected after an external peer-review process. These awards are part of a broad portfolio of GRP funding opportunities outlined at

The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was established in 2013 as a result of the DWH oil spill. It seeks to improve understanding of the interconnecting human, environmental, and energy systems of the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. outer continental shelf areas. The program funds studies, projects, and other activities using three broad approaches: research and development, education and training, and environmental monitoring.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. The Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.

The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 25 research university among public institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving over 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

Last modified on Friday, 16 December 2016 14:31

USF-led Marine Science Research Group to Begin 40-Day Expedition Studying Gulf of Mexico Oil Spills

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Researchers from the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, along with colleagues representing institutions across the country and internationally, are set to embark on a 40-day research cruise through the Gulf Mexico to gather key data that will provide a more complete understanding of the destructive effects from two significant oil spills.

Read the full story

Last modified on Monday, 01 August 2016 14:12

USFCMS Alumni: Inia Soto Ramos Combines Satellite Imagery and Models to Better Understand Gulf

Hattiesburg, Mississippi - Dr. Inia Soto Ramos grew up in mountainous central Puerto Rico looking forward to the summer holidays to go to the beach.

“I really liked science since I was a kid,” she recalled. “I would look around my house in the mountains for anything to investigate, and I would wait an entire year to get to go to the beach. I was fascinated by the ocean since I was very young.”

Soto Ramos’ interest led her to seek a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Puerto Rico. There she began learning about remote sensing using satellite imagery and geographic information systems (GIS). A six-month internship at Western Washington University through the Multicultural Initiative in the Marine Science Undergraduate Program (MIMSUP) in 2003 firmly set her on her path. There she credits Dr. Brian Bingham with not only introducing her to marine science, but also giving her confidence in her research and presentation skills.

“I was hooked after that,” she laughed. “No going back.”

Read the full article here

Last modified on Friday, 01 April 2016 13:34

USGS Science Center Increases Support of USF Oceanography Camp for Girls

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Each summer the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center sponsors the University of South Florida (USF) Oceanography Camp for Girls, a three-week summer program developed in the 1990s to inspire and motivate young women entering high school to consider career opportunities in the sciences.

Read full article here

Variations of the Global Net Air-Sea Heat Flux During the “Hiatus” Period (2001–2010)

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Air-sea heat exchange directly links the ocean and the atmosphere and is an important factor for controlling the atmospheric and oceanic circulations. Knowing how the net air-sea heat flux varies on different spatial and temporal scales is critically important for detecting and understanding the consequences of climate change and climate variability on the ocean heat budget and the ocean circulations. In this study (Liang and Yu, 2016), an assessment is made of the mean and variability of the net air-sea heat flux from four products (ECCO, OAFlux/CERES, ERA-Interim and NCEP1 over the global ice-free oceans from January 2001 to December 2010. For the 10-year “hiatus” period, all products agree on an overall net heat gain over the global ice-free ocean, but the magnitude varies significantly.

The differences among products are particularly large in the Southern Ocean. Decadal trends of Qnet differ significantly between products. ECCO and OAFlux/CERES show almost no trend, whereas ERA-Interim suggests a downward trend and NCEP1 shows an upward trend. The downward trend in ERA-Interim started from 2006, driven by a peculiar pattern change in the tropical regions. ECCO, which used ERA-Interim as initial surface forcings and is constrained by ocean dynamics and ocean observations, corrected the pattern. Among the four products, ECCO and OAFlux/CERES show great similarities in the examined spatial and temporal patterns. Given that the two estimates were obtained using different approaches and based on largely independent observations, these similarities are encouraging and instructive. It is therefore more likely that the global net air-sea heat flux does not change much during the “hiatus” period.

View the full online publication

Last modified on Friday, 11 March 2016 13:56

Vertical Kinetic Energy, Turbulence and Mixing in the Ocean


Speakers/Affiliations: Andreas Thurnherr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory/Columbia University

Seminar Title: Vertical Kinetic Energy, Turbulence and Mixing in the Ocean

When: Mar. 24, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Xinfeng Liang

Join event on Facebook

More Information - Dr. Thurnherr is an observational physical oceanographer. His research interests concern processes acting near topography (including hydrothermal circulation), horizontal and vertical dispersal, as well as the large-scale circulation, with emphasis on the return limb of the overturning circulation (mixing and upwelling). Additionally, he is interested in oceanographic instrumentation and methods, in particular those related to the measurement of currents, internal waves and turbulence with acoustic methods (especially ADCPs). For more information about him, please see


Viruses and the frozen continent


Speaker: Dr. Arvind Varsani

Affiliation: Arizon State University

Seminar Title: Viruses and the frozen continent

When: Nov. 4, 2016 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Mya Breitbart & Karyna Rosario

Join event on Facebook


Watch Live: Dr. Verena Trenkel


Speaker: Dr. Verena Trenkel

Affiliation: Researcher, Ifremer, France

Seminar Title: Functional Ecological Groups in Ecosystem Modeling

When: Oct. 18, 2016 12:00pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Dr. Kai Lorenzen (UF), Dr. Sue Lowerre-Barbieri (FWRI), and Dr. Steve Murawski (USF)

About: Dr. Verena Trenkel is an outstanding scholar who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the quantitative fisheries sciences. Her major contributions include the development of novel indicators, survey methods and statistical approaches for assessing the conservation status of fish stocks and communities. For example, her work on indicators of fishing impacts on fish communities (Can J Fish Aquat Sci 60: 67-86 and 86-99, 2003) is among the most widely cited and used contributions on the subject. She has pioneered and rigorously tested the use of novel observation methods such as cameras mounted on remotely operated vehicles for quantitative population estimates (ICES J Mar Sci 61: 1050-1056, 2004) and also developed novel modeling and statistical approaches that allow population assessment from limited data, such as biomass survey indices without information on fisheries catches (Can J Fish Aquat Sci 65: 1024-1035, 2008). She has published over 80 peer reviewed papers and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Living Aquatic Resources and as Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Dr. Trenkel will spend four days is Florida, three at the University of Florida in Gainesville and one at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and University of South Florida College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg.

Watch it Live

Join event on Facebook


Last modified on Tuesday, 18 October 2016 16:23

Welcome back new and returning CMS students

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Today we are welcoming our new and returning students to the College of Marine Science.  Welcome back students.  Go Bulls!

Welcome new USFCMS Faculty Members

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Welcome to USF College of Marine Science!  We’re delighted that you've joined our thriving community of faculty (and, of course, students, staff, and alumni).  To read more about our new faculty members, please click on the links below.

Brad Seibel, Professor, College of Marine Science

Yun Li, Assistant Research Professor, College of Marine Science

Xinfeng Liang, Assistant Professor, College of Marine Science


Last modified on Friday, 12 February 2016 17:01

What exactly is a red tide?

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Red tide is a common name for a phenomenon known as an algal bloom (large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms) when it is caused by a few species of dinoflagellates and the bloom takes on a red or brown color.

Dr. Jason Lenes, from The Collaboration for Prediction of Red tides (CPR) explains how a red tide forms. The Collaboration for Prediction of Red tides (CPR) a jointly funded project between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWC- FWRI) and the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science (USF-CMS). Their mission focuses on development of an automated, coupled physical-biological model capable of predicting and tracking the dominant Florida red tide species, Karenia brevis, within coastal waters of the southeastern United States. 

View interview below (5:48).


Last modified on Thursday, 19 May 2016 13:56