News and Events

Girls Inc of Pinellas visits the College of Marine Science

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Over 30 girls, ages 7 to 9, visited the College of Marine Science to interact with the faculty, researchers, and student scientists on campus.  The afterschool program blooms into a full camp during the summer months, touring a variety of facilities and interacting with members of the various organizations to exercise mind and body and expand the campers’ horizons.  Led by Makenzie Burrows and Ellie Hudson-Heck, a group of students from CMS and other participants showed the girls what it means to be a marine scientist by creating several hands-on activities to emphasize some important discoveries made in marine science, from the microscopic to the global. 

Participants from the Florida Institute for Oceanography and from the Center for Ocean Technology added richly to the program of activities through demonstrations and explanations of the technology utilized at sea and in the laboratory. 

Last modified on Friday, 23 June 2017 15:58

Production and Traceability of NIST Electrochemical Standard Reference Materials


Speakers/Affiliations: Kenneth Pratt, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Seminar Title: Production and Traceability of NIST Electrochemical Standard Reference Materials

When: July 3, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Robert Byrne

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Last modified on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 16:28

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

Deep-sea corals and methane seep communities of Atlantic submarine canyons


Speakers/Affiliations: Sandra Brooke, Florida State University Coastal and Marine Lab

Seminar Title: Deep-sea corals and methane seep communities of Atlantic submarine canyons

When: June 15, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Chris Stallings

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Last modified on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 14:06

Tampa Bay Marine Science Networking Happy Hour Event June 8 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - We are celebrating World Ocean Day for the next Tampa Bay Area Marine Science Networking Happy Hour.  It will be this Thursday, June 8, 2017 at Ale & the Witch in the Courtyard Shoppes, 111 2nd Ave NE, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701 from 4:30-6:30pm.  They have a new happy hour called the witching hour until 6pm (M-Th) when all pints and tulip glasses are just $4.  You can park in the garage to the north, other nearby garages, or in street meters.  The event is self pay and name tags will be provided. Share this invitation with your ocean professional friends.

After, you can move the World Ocean Day party over to the FREE family fun Blue Ocean Film Festival movie in Straub Park, with shorts and a feature screen of the best in show film Bag It going on until 10pm. Or you can stick around A&W’s courtyard for some live music by Kyle and Shannon at 8pm.

Save the dates for future happy hours: June 28, 2017 and July 18, 2017, places TBA soon.

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Last modified on Monday, 05 June 2017 15:10

AGU’s Outstanding Reviewers of 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Publications department recently recognized USF College of Marine Science's Amelia Shevenell and Don Chambers for their peer-reviewed literature in 2016.

Read full article 

Last modified on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 16:31

Trace metal chemistry: less is more

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - One billion liters of seawater would be required to gather just 25 grams of iron, yet this trace element is essential to every form of life on the planet.  A group of scarce but biologically important elements in the ocean, referred to as trace metals, can either limit the growth of organisms or be toxic, depending on the concentration.  Dr. Tim Conway has recently joined the College of Marine Science and brings a wealth of understanding of trace metals, in part due to extensive interaction with the International GEOTRACES program, a study of the marine biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and their isotopes.  As a cruise participant and data contributor to the NSF funded U.S. GEOTRACES program, Dr. Conway is intimate with the methods of collecting seawater for trace metal analysis and is instrumental in the creation of compiled products that are used by scientists around the world. 

One of the marquee products of the GEOTRACES program is an electronic atlas of oceanographic profiles in the form of surface to bottom cross-sections that display changes in the concentration of a particular element along the entire path of ocean-traversing cruises (see image below). 

Profile of dissolved iron in the Atlantic Ocean compiled from GEOTRACES cruise data, and available at eGEOTRACES.  Graphics by Reiner Schlitzer.

Dr. Conway’s upcoming projects include a cruise aboard the research vessel of the Angari Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together scientists and the public with the goal of widely communicating important ocean issues.  The cruise will sample the southern jet of the Gulf Stream, charting a course from Florida to the Bahamas. 

Research is also underway to examine the role of circulation, biology, and islands on the distribution of metals and their isotopes in the waters around Antarctica.  The recently completed Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition provides an abundance of data to be tackled by a collaboration of Swiss, Australian, and U.S. based scientists.

Changes in the concentrations of trace metals can have impacts on the environment and, in turn, on society.  Changes to land use can affect concentrations of dust blown iron in the oceans, which can act as a fertilizer to increase productivity of organisms at the base of the food chain.  Alternatively, changes in pollution levels can affect concentrations of trace metals and increase toxicity in areas.  As Dr. Conway notes, “[Trace metals] really can affect where things die and where things live in the ocean.”  Great strides have been made in recent years, and the exciting field of trace element chemistry is poised to provide very useful solutions to environmental challenges.

Last modified on Tuesday, 30 May 2017 12:34

Port St. Petersburg: Marine Exploration Center

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - In conjunction with a renovated Port Saint Petersburg, the Marine Exploration Center is set to open by the end of this year.  As the public face of the St. Pete Ocean Team, the Center will bring awareness to the wonders of the ocean (carrying on the tradition of the Pier Aquarium) and also to ports, the maritime industry and all the marine related research occurring in a cluster of high-level institutions in the downtown Saint Petersburg area.  An estimated 1600 people are working in a field related to marine research and technology in St. Pete.  In addition to the College of Marine Science, there is the U.S. Coast Guard, FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Institute of Oceanography, USGS Coastal and Marine Science Center, NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office, SRI International and more. 

The Marine Discovery Center will gather scientists for community discussions by hosting Drink-and-Think events that will also include food trucks.  Visitors will have opportunities to tour maritime and oceanographic vessels.  Permanent attractions will include the following:  Live Coral and Fish Tank, Oceans Today Kiosk (NOAA funded), Corals on Acid (2 tanks; NOAA funded), Counting on Fish/Florida Sportfish Aquarium and Interactive Exhibit (FWC funded), Science on a Sphere (NOAA funded), NOAA Kiosk (NOAA funded), Energizing Research (Duke Energy funded), Coral Cat Shark Tank, Microscope Station, Touch Tank, and Ocean Tracker Exhibit.  Finally, a large space dedicated to revolving exhibits will also host movie screenings and other events.

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 13:45

Launching and Christening Ceremony of R/V W.T. Hogarth

TARPON SPRINGS, FL - The Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) and the University of South Florida (USF) System will host a "Launching and Christening Ceremony" at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Tarpon Springs, FL for a new research vessel, the R/V W.T. Hogarth, that will replace FIO’s nearly 50-year-old R/V Bellows.  The new 78-foot vessel will be instrumental in helping academic researchers and marine science students study situations such as an oil spill or red tide outbreak.

The event will take place at Duckworth Steel Boats, the shipyard that is constructing the R/V W.T. Hogarth, located at 1051 Island Ave., Tarpon Springs, FL 34689.

For more information visit FIO

View our FB Livestream today at 11am

View the R/V W.T. Hogarth ceremony photo album

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 18:22

Center for Maritime and Port Studies: Education and skills for safer harbors

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - An estimated 50% of the world’s people live in coastal zones.  The sea is the avenue for 90% of the world’s commerce and 95% of U.S. international trade.  An expanded use of port facilities will require an increasing number of technically trained workers, particularly as security tightens at ports around the country. 

The Center for Maritime and Port Studies (CMPS) within USF’s College of Marine Science aims to lead prospective students of all backgrounds to much needed industry positions through a non-thesis Master’s program that will broaden their knowledge of oceanic and atmospheric interactions and provide technical studies on port infrastructure and the maritime transportation industry.  The curriculum is under development, and, currently, students have the option to add coursework in port studies on top of their degree work in oceanography.  On-line education, training and professional development will provide a way for people currently working in the port industry to obtain a graduate-level degree. 

Researching and testing advanced sensors to be deployed within port infrastructures is an essential aspect of the mission statement of CMPS.  Collaboration with the USF College of Public Health, the USF College of Engineering, the USF College of Business, and the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability provides a multi-disciplinary approach that will benefit the port industry greatly.  From environmental contamination detectors to bomb-sniffing sensors, the new wave of technology, properly tested, will ensure safer waters for years to come. 

With the large growth in port traffic expected at ports around the Gulf of Mexico and across the southeastern U.S., Dr. Mark Luther and many connected with maritime industries have a desire to see that growth occur in a sustainable manner. 

Last modified on Monday, 22 May 2017 12:45

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

Students participated in the Blue Vision Summit Healthy Oceans Hill Day in Washington D.C

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Thanks to Dean Dixon's generous support, Marcy Cockrell, Megan Hepner, Kate Dubickas, and Alex Ilich participated in the Blue Vision Summit Healthy Oceans Hill Day in Washington, D.C on May 10. Constituents met with 24 Florida Congressional offices, and the CMS team met with 9 of the 24 offices, including Rep. Kathy Castor and Sen. Bill Nelson. They lobbied for efforts to reduce marine debris, maintain federal funding for Florida's coastal resiliency and ocean water quality monitoring programs, and to uphold the moratorium on oil and gas drilling off Florida's coasts. The offices were very receptive and encouraged all students and concerned citizens to reach out to their elected officials, from local to federal, for resolutions of these and other ocean and coastal issues.

Last modified on Friday, 12 May 2017 14:31

Drawn to the Sea: Florida Women in Marine Science

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - A short film developed as part of Julie Meyer's 2015 L'Oreal USA For Women in Science fellowship. This video prominently features several people from our the College of Marine Science and the St Pete community and highlights diversity of scientists at USFCMS.

Last modified on Thursday, 11 May 2017 18:13

Jacki Long wins first place poster award from Astrobiology Science Conference

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Jacki Long was awarded first place for her student poster from the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon), for her idea of linking marine biology and astrobiology. This is a big conference with about 800 participants including 90 students. Her poster was titled: Chlorophyll-f: Earth’s Unseen Production and Habitability Under Red Light.

You can read her abstract at:

NASA announcements:

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 19:06

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

Broadening not strengthening of the Agulhas Current since the early 1990’s


Speaker: Lisa Beal

Affiliation: Univ. of Miami, RSMAS

Seminar Title: Broadening not strengthening of the Agulhas Current since the early 1990’s

When: Apr. 28, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Mark Luther

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Last modified on Thursday, 27 April 2017 17:26

Investigating sediment transport over a 15 year time period on the West Florida Shelf

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Lewis Stewart's research investigates sediment transport over a 15 year time period on the West Florida Shelf. Satellite imagery from Digital Globe Foundation will be important in this investigation, because it will allow Lewis to quantitatively estimate bathymetry and search for visual changes. This imagery grant would give Lewis important access to these high-resolution data, which can be accurately compared to multibeam acoustic data previously collected in this area. This imagery grant would dramatically improve Lewis Stewart's data analyses and improve chances for publishing my thesis in a peer-reviewed journal.

Ryan Venturelli wins second place at 2017 Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium

ST. PETRSBURG, FL - Ryan Venturelli's poster was selected as on outstanding entry in the 2017 Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium held on Friday, April 21, 2017 at the University of South Florida.

Second Place - Natural and Physical Sciences
Ryan Venturelli - Title - "Almost Only Counts in Horseshoes and Clumped Isotopes: An Improved Understanding of the Effect of Pressure Baseline on Reconstruction of Temperatures from the Geologic Past"

In March, Ryan Venturelli won the 9th Annual Graduate Research Symposium for the Natural and Physical Sciences category. Because of this symposium, Ryan was given the opportunity to present at the Florida Statewide Graduate Student Symposium in which she received a second place award for the Natural and Physical Sciences category.

Last modified on Monday, 24 April 2017 22:43

C-SCAMP team offshore on the Weatherbird II

WEST FLORIDA SHELF, GULF OF MEXICO - C-SCAMP research team performed towed video data collection using the CBASS camera system along with acoustic data collection (multibeam sonar of the seafloor and an echo sounder for the fish in the water column) on the West Florida Shelf, specifically in the areas known as “The Elbow” and the Florida Middle Grounds.  They captured the images below along a section of the Gulfstream pipeline.  It's a sandbar shark and a loggerhead turtle and C-SCAMP has seen a healthy population of fish. 


Last modified on Monday, 24 April 2017 14:14

Seven years later: BP oil spill settlement funding new way to manage fish populations

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - More than 30,000 fish species exist. But it's always been a guessing game on where they originate. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science is paving the way in discovering where a wide-range of species spawn. It's a difficult task as 95% of fish in the world release their eggs into the water and drift away.

Read full article


More about the latest efforts and research by USF and local researchers.

Since the spill the C-IMAGE Consortium has advanced understanding of the processes, mechanisms, and environmental consequences of marine oil blowouts through collaborative efforts across the Gulf and internationally.

The Florida Institute of Oceanography has also played a key role in fostering collaborative efforts after the spill through the use of their vessels and managing penalty and Restore Act monies from BP. - Interactive oil spill timeline chronicling Deepwater Horizon and Ixtoc spills.

Deepwater Horizon: Seven years after explosion and oil spill, study finds clean-up workers got sicker - Craig Pittman, Tampa Bay Times

Seven years after BP spill, Gulf-focused consortium continues research, releases new website - Mote Marine Lab

40-Year-Old Oil Spill Offers Clues To Deepwater Horizon's Long-Term Impact - Texas Public Radio

Projections of climate driven changes on blood oxygen affinity in pelagic habitats


Speaker: Allison K. Smith

Affiliation: Univ. Washington

Seminar Title: Projections of climate driven changes on blood oxygen affinity in pelagic habitats

When: Apr. 21, 2017 3:30pm EST

Where: MSL Conference Room (134)

Host: Brad Seibel

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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