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St. Petersburg Center Hosts USGS Marine Ecology Workshop

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"Marine Ecology: The Unique Role of USGS Biological Research" was the title and substance of a workshop held at the St. Petersburg Field Center (SPFC) during the week of May 23rd. The meeting involved 60 invited participants from all four USGS Divisions, the National Park Service (NPS), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Minerals Management Service (MMS), NOAA, academia, and others. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a road map for BRD marine research into the 21st century. The meeting was structured to stimulate discussion and achieve consensus as to where the USGS should be heading with respect to marine biological research and how best to get there.

The workshop took place over four days. The first day involved discussion and prioritization of strategies by USGS scientists, using a few case studies to identify and highlight the unique USGS role in marine research. The case-study approach was again used the second day, this time by members from other Department of Interior (DOI) agencies, other federal agencies outside DOI and from academia, with illustrated examples of how BRD has succeeded or failed to address issues of importance to partners and clients. The third day was used to define some short- and long-term goals for the future of marine biological research within BRD. A white paper will be written outlining a vision on USGS marine biological research-primarily targeted toward a USGS/DOI audience-and a strategic plan for building interest in collaborative marine research among DOI clients and partners. The last day and a half was spent on a field trip to the Florida Keys where participants explored coral reefs and discussed ecological issues facing Biscayne Bay National Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

John Piatt from the BRD Alaska Biological Science Center chaired the workshop steering committee. Other members included Bill Steiner (BRD Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, HI), Ken Sulak (BRD Florida Caribbean Science Center), Mary Voytek (WRD National Research Program, VA), Page Valentine (GD, Woods Hole Field Center), Homa Lee (GD, Menlo Park Field Center, Western Region Coastal and Marine Geology, CA), and Gary Hill (GD-SPFC). Greg Smith, BRD Senior Science Advisor, played a major role in organizing and conducting the meeting as part of his task to help develop strategic directions for research within BRD.

Related Web Sites
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Minerals Management Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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