GEAR UP Visits the FSUCML (25 May 2013)
On Saturday, May 25, 2013, students from Chiefland High School and Bronson High School visited the lab under the GEAR UP program. GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a grant that was developed to prepare low-income students in grades seven through twelve for postsecondary education. It sets rigorous academic standards to ensure higher rates of college attendance in these underprivileged students. Read more about GEAR UP here. While here at the lab they received an in-depth lecture on marine habitats and seagrass organisms from Dr. Bill Herrnkind. They then proceeded to the greenhouse for a SATS-instructed touch tank experience in which they got to interact with various marine species. After that the group set out on our pontoon boats to run trawls and discuss the organisms that they found. One student shared his amazement with the diversity that could come from two different ecosystems so close to each other.
FSUCML Welcomes "Sebod" (22 May 2013)
Today staff at the FSUCML welcomed the brand new Zodiac named "Sebod" (pronounced "sea-bod"). Thank you to The Dobes Family Foundation for this generous donation to the RV APALACHEE. "Sebod" is an appropriate name as it comes from the Dobes family name spelled backwards. This Zodiac MilPro SeaRider is about 13.5 ft. (approx. 4 m) long by 6 ft. (approx. 2m) wide and can carry up to 6 passengers. The SeaRider has been proven in operation use around the world, by both military and professional operators, with its unique water ballast system and deep "V" hull, giving the craft exceptional sea keeping capabilities, yet still offering high performance and maneuverability in the heaviest of seas. The Zodiac MilPro SeaRider has been at the forefront of the design and development of RIBs since its onset. We are thrilled to add this as a scientific resource to the RV APALACHEE!
Deep-C Sailbuoy Returns Home (18 May 2013)
The time has come! Last week the Deep-C team picked up the sailbuoy, recently named "ArgoKnot", after its two month long journey in the Gulf of Mexico. Read the blog to discover the meaning behind the sailbuoy's newly-appointed name. "ArgoKnot" had a purpose to its sailing journey and that was to measure and record temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen. Although it had a few stalls, having to fight some strong wind, currents, and waves, along the way, it made great progress and followed fairly closely to its predetermined path. This project serves as a trial for future sailbuoy projects. Scientists who worked on the "ArgoKnot" hope to install additional sensors and record more extensive data about the Gulf. They hope that in the unfortunate event of another oil spill, that a sailbuoy will prove an invaluable tool for monitoring the evolution of the surface spill. See the complete journey of "ArgoKnot" here.
Deepwater Canyons Project Science Team Makes an Exciting New Find (8 May 2013)
An exciting update from the NOAA research cruise that Dr. Sandra Brooke is currently on! The Deepwater Canyons Project Science Team discovered a new deep chemosynthetic community. This area was first noticed by the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, which found bubbles rising from the seafloor south and offshore of Norfolk Canyon. The NOAA Ship Ron Brown decided to survey this area to see if it was indeed a methane seep. They deployed the NOAA ROV Jason to 1,600 meters and found exactly what they had expected. They are currently collecting samples to further study this newfound community. Read the full story here.
Dr. Stephen Gosnell at SAS Science Night (2 May 2013)
On Thursday, May 2, 2013 new post-doctoral associate, Dr. Stephen Gosnell, participated in the Tallahassee School of Arts and Sciences' Science Night. Presenters came and set up tables and presentations for students and their parents interested in variable science topics. The audience ranged from kindergarten students to middle-school students. Despite the rain, there was a great turnout and everyone had a fantastic time. Amy Akridge, a science resource teacher, noticed a group at the end of the night exclaiming, "We love Science Night!" We are thrilled that Dr. Gosnell could be a part of inspiring such enthusiasm in young students.
Mid-Atlantic Deepwater Canyons NOAA Research Cruise (30 April - 27 May, 2013)
Dr. Sandra Brooke is setting sail with NOAA to further explore the submarine canyons between Charleston, SC and Norfolk, VA. In 2010, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and NOAA funded a four-year project to conduct multidisciplinary research that will be used to manage canyon ecosystems. In August 2012, an international team of scientists boarded the NOAA ship Nancy Foster for a 43-day research cruise to explore and study Norfolk and Baltimore canyons. Multi-beam maps helped guide the ROV Kraken II (Univ. of Connecticut), which recorded high definition video and collected samples for research. Benthic landers and moorings were placed in both canyons to record environmental data, collect sediment samples, and deploy experiments. One of their objectives was to locate a methane cold seep first discovered over 30 years ago using a towed camera. They found the seep on the flank of Baltimore Canyon, conducted a detailed survey, and made collections of the seep mussels for genetics, reproduction, and isotopic analysis. They discovered colonies of the reef-building coral Lophelia pertusa in both canyons; these are the first records of this species in the mid-Atlantic region, and they fill a prior distribution gap between Lophelia reefs off the southeastern US and records from the New England canyons. They also found large stands of Paragorgia (bubblegum) coral on the rugged canyon walls, and explored several WW-I warships and other marine archaeological sites. They are returning aboard the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown with the ROV Jason II to continue exploring these canyons. For more information and to follow this cruise visit the following websites:
First ADP Dive from the RV APALACHEE (24 April 2013)
On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, history was made! The Academic Diving Program (ADP), consisting of Alex Chequer, Sonja Bridges, and a few of their students, was accompanied by the Marine Field Group on the very first dive taken from the RV APALACHEE. They traveled from the lab to K-Tower and it was a sight to behold with the clear blue skies above and calm, blue waters below. The dive platforms worked out perfectly. This was just the first of many dive trips to come from the RV APALACHEE. The ADP plans on utilizing it in many of their future dives. For more detailed information regarding this dive, click here.
2013 FSUCML Open House Went Swimmingly! (20 April 2013)
On Saturday, April 20, 2013 the FSU Coastal & Marine Lab hosted its Biennial Open House. This year is no different in that the event was a huge hit. The activities included touch tanks, scavenger hunt and crafts for the kids, oyster tonging, silent auction, tours of the RV APALACHEE, tons of displays from the scientists on their research, as well as outside organizations, and much, much more! We had a total of 1038 people come through and everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves and learning something. Thank you to everyone who came out and for those of you that contributed to the silent auction, sponsored our event, or volunteered your time! We can't wait to see everyone again in two years at our next Open House. Read the full article on our Open House page.
WPBT2's Changing Seas "Creatures of the Deep" to Be Premiered at the FSUCML Open House (11 April 2013)
WPBT2's Changing Seas "Creatures of the Deep" documentary will be premiered at the FSU Coastal & Marine Lab's Open House on April 20, 2013. This episode features FSUCML scientists, grad students, and technicians conducting Deep-C related research on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep sea creatures in the Gulf. This premiere comes at the perfect time with April 20th being the third anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. It is more than fitting with our theme "The Ocean of Tomorrow" in which we recognize the importance of scientists from different backgrounds working together to solve problems related to the coastal and marine environments.
In the cold, deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, little-known animals spend their entire lives in near darkness, far removed from our human world. Until now, little research has been conducted on these creatures of the deep, keeping much of their lives a mystery. Then, in April of 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, setting off the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Roughly 4.9 million barrels of crude oil gushed out of the well at a depth of 5-thousand feet. In the disaster's aftermath, many questions arose about what lives in the deep waters of the Gulf, and how these animals may have been impacted by the oil. To answer these questions, scientists from the Deep-C Consortium's ecology team conduct regular research trips in the area. Watch the trailer.
We hope you can join us at the FSU Coastal & Marine Lab's Biennial Open House on April 20, 2013 from 10 AM to 3 PM and take part in this rare opportunity. We will be airing Creatures of the Deep in the FSUCML Auditorium at the following times: 11:15 AM, 12:30 PM, and 1:45 PM. Each showing will be followed up with a Q&A session with the featured scientists. We look forward to seeing you there!
South Florida's premier public broadcaster, WPBT2, is a community-licensed, not-for-profit media enterprise serving communities from the Treasure Coast to the Florida Keys. WPBT2 provides high quality content from PBS, independent acquisitions and its own original productions. WPBT2's digital media platform, offers: 2HD, a 24-hour high definition channel; Digital 2.2, a mix of Science & Nature Channel, The Florida Channel and Create; Digital 2.3, V-me, a 24-hour national Spanish-language network; and www.wpbt2.org, the WPBT2 website including, Impromp2 (a community blog), the WPBT2 Video Player and uVu, a video sharing website.
About Changing Seas:
Changing Seas takes viewers on an exciting journey to the heart of our liquid planet. Narrated by renowned voice talent Peter Thomas, this marine science series lets viewers experience first-hand how oceanographers study earth's last frontier, and sheds light on how human activities are threatening ocean resources. Major funding for this series is made possible by the Bachelor Foundation and Divers Direct. www.changingseas.tv
Dedication of the RV APALACHEE (22 March 2013)
On Friday, March 22nd at 5:30 pm FSUCML staff and Vice President for Research, Dr. Gary K. Ostrander, welcomed FSU administration, board members, and guests to the dedication of the RV APALACHEE. The night was filled with mingling, food, and fun. After a speech by Dr. Ostrander and another from FSUCML director, Dr. Felicia Coleman, the RV APALACHEE was officially christened and is ready to take the seas!
Maiden Voyage Onboard the RV APALACHEE to Deploy the Deep-C Sailbuoy
(15 March 2013)
Dr. Nico Wienders, a research faculty member in the Florida State University Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Science, led an expedition onboard the RV APALACHEE to launch a sailbuoy that will traverse the Gulf of Mexico over the next two months, gathering data that will help us understand how the oil moved from the Macondo well to the shorelines of states bordering the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, from Louisiana to Florida. The buoy, developed in Norway and being tested for the first time here, will measure aspects of cross-shelf transport and upwelling events that occur near the head of the De Soto Canyon, a feature that looks all the world like a huge gash in the continental shelf. As it moves, the sailbuoy records and transmits real-time data on temperature, salinity, and oxygen fields to a satellite on an hourly basis. A typical drifter deployed around the De Soto Canyon would move out of the area within a few days. With this sailbuoy, Dr. Wienders can obtain sustained observations for two months or longer from the same location.
Another objective of the project is to describe the distribution of the Mississippi river plume, tracking the enormous quantity of freshwater leaving the river mouth. One of our Deep-C colleagues at the University of Miami is developing a model to forecast the location of the plume. Measurements obtained by the sailbuoy will tremendously improve the accuracy of the model by sampling within the plume for about a month. Why is this important? Because the plume is one of the primary factors, along with the wind and the Loop Current, that influences the distribution of the oil and other surface particles. It is thus crucial to have a clear understanding and representation of the Mississippi plume-De Soto Canyon interactions.
At the moment, the buoy is only equipped with three sensors for salinity, temperature, and oxygen. "So I see this sailbuoy voyage as a first test or draft," said Dr. Wienders. "If successful, I would like to reproduce the experiment later adding many more sensors, including those for chlorophyll, blue green algae, waves, pH, nitrates, and echo sounding, among others. This would not only extend the value of the monitoring, but provide a way to establish strong collaborations among biologists, chemists, and physicists within the Deep-C Consortium, all looking at the sailbuoy datasets with different eyes, producing a global story together."
In the case of a new spill, Dr. Wienders sees the sailbuoy as perhaps one of the best operational instruments for monitoring the evolution of the surface spill, in conjunction with satellite observations. If one revisits the story line of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one easily can see how useful it would have been to have had such an instrument deployed immediately after the event.
You can follow the sailbuoy's progress here. Also, be sure to check out Deep-C's blog on the sailbuoy project.
FSUCML Board of Trustees Graduate Scholarship Fund
(11 March 2013)
Member of the FSUCML Board of Trustees, Arthur Stern III, challenged his fellow board members to raise over $10,000 to fund scholarships for the next few years for graduate students conducting their masters or doctoral research at the FSUCML. They met their goal, and then some, resulting in an announcement going out to students to submit proposals.
Congratulations to the 2013 FSUCML Board of Trustees Graduate Scholarship Recipients:
The Effects of Drilling on Cold-Water Corals (February 18th-March 8th, 2013)
Our newest faculty member, Dr. Sandra Brooke, is in Norway right now observing the impact of drilling discharges on larvae of the coral Lophelia pertusa. This is a small component of a large project funded by The Research Council of Norway to investigate the effect of drilling muds used for oil and gas extraction on Norwegian cold-water corals, specifically Lophelia pertusa. The project is a collaborative effort led by Dr. Thierry Baussant from the International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS) and includes several scientists from the US, Norway and the Netherlands. Dr. Sandra Brooke and her colleague, Dr. Johanna Jarnegren, are working on the survival of Lophelia larvae exposed to different levels of drilling muds. They know from their previous work that this species spawns in February, releasing eggs and sperm into the water column, and that the larvae spend some time in the plankton before settling. Therefore, earlier this month she flew to Trondheim in Norway to spawn the corals and culture larvae for the experimental work. So far they have been developing embryos that they hope will start swimming very soon so they can begin their experiments
New Faculty Member, Dr. Sandra Brooke, Arrives (February 4, 2013)
Join us in welcoming our newest faculty member, Dr. Sandra Brooke. As a coral ecologist, she has worked around the world, from England to the Cayman Islands to Virginia and back to the UK, identifying sensitive coral reefs and informing policy decisions about management and protection of these coral reef ecosystems. She also works to ensure adequate enforcement of regulations so that sensitive ecosystems are truly protected.
From there she has worked on deep-water coral projects in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, Norwegian Fjords, South Atlantic Bight and the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically in the Gulf of Mexico she has conducted post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill assessments, influencing policy that will ensure protections for deep-sea coral ecosystems in the Southeastern US.
In addition to her deep-water coral work, Dr. Brooke will be finding new projects in the shallower reaches of the Gulf of Mexico, particularly right off the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory where there are a number of interesting soft-coral sponge reef assemblages.
She brings an exciting new area to our research team and we are thrilled to have her.
Congrats to the Recipient of The Matt Beard Memorial Scholarship (January 29, 2013)
We would like to congratulate Ms. Ashley Carreiro on being the 2013 recipient of The Matt Beard Memorial Undergraduate Marine Research Scholarship. This special award is given to the student who embodies all that Matt exemplified as a student in the Certificate Program in Marine Biology and as a member of the Academic Diving Program community.
She is being recognized for her research -- Do marine protected areas (MPAs) have a higher fish density, higher species diversity of fish, larger fish, and greater coral cover than unprotected reefs -- in which she used diving as a tool, for her eagerness to accept all challenges both in class and in the field, and for her willingness to volunteer on diving projects when additional diving support was needed.
The RV APALACHEE Arrives at the Lab (January 25, 2013)
On Friday evening, January 25, 2013, at 5 PM EST the RV APALACHEE rounded Dog Island and sailed into the channel here at the FSUCML lab. Staff members and scientists waited anxiously for her to dock and jumped onboard to have a look around. This vessel exceeded our expectations, thanks to the dedication of Geo Shipyard, Inc. A special thanks, as well, to Dejong and Lebet Marine Architect, who worked with FSU scientists and colleagues at the National Marine Fisheries Service to help us design the vessel we all wanted. She comes fully equipped with galley, bunkroom, wet lab, dry lab, heads (one inside the ship and one with showers), dive platform, A-frame, knuckleboom, and much more. She's scheduled to be here at the lab for our Open House on April 20, 2013, so make sure you stop by and check her out!
Archived Stories 2012
Archived Stories 2011
Archived Stories 2010
Archived Stories 2009