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USGS Director Mark Myers Visits the Florida Integrated Science Center

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Mark Myers, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), spent several days in early October (Oct. 1-4, 2007) touring selected Florida locations by powerboat, airboat, van, and helicopter to view environments where USGS scientists are conducting research. Staff shared the latest information about coastal erosion and coastal-change hazards; integrated scientific studies in the northern Gulf of Mexico; mangrove ecology; hypoxia and climate change; microbial communities in ground water; ecological modeling; the Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN, URL http://sofia.usgs.gov/eden/); manatees; invasive species; and issues pertaining to water quality, quantity, and flow modeling, particularly as related to South Florida Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration efforts (URL http://sofia.usgs.gov/).

Director Myers addresses a full house
Above: Director Myers addresses a full house at the Normile Conference room in the St. Petersburg office of the USGS Florida Integrated Science Center (FISC). [larger version]

After a morning trip out onto Tampa Bay to observe vibracoring on the research vessel G.K. Gilbert, Director Myers held an all-hands meeting at the USGS' Florida Integrated Science Center (FISC) office in St. Petersburg. He highlighted the importance of integrated scientific efforts and shared his vision for the USGS in the next decade as a leader in Earth science for the Nation. He discussed the importance of the USGS Strategic Science Plan ("Facing Tomorrow's Challenges," USGS Circular 1309, URL http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2007/1309/) and urged FISC staff to look at various issues and think about how they can be addressed.

Director Mark Myers and company on the research vessel G.K. Gilbert in St. Petersburg Big Cypress Wet Walk
Above left: Director Mark Myers and company on the research vessel G.K. Gilbert in St. Petersburg, Florida. Left to right: Jess Weaver, Nancy Dewitt, Anne-Berry Wade, Barry Rosen, Jim Flocks, Sonya Jones, Mike Gauldin, Mark Myers, Jack Kindinger, John Brock, and Rich Young. Photograph by Ann Tihansky. [larger version]

Above right: Big Cypress Wet Walk (right to left): Arturo Torres, Deputy Coordinator of USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science, leads Barry Rosen, Jess Weaver, USGS Director Mark Myers, Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan Kimball, Big Cypress National Preserve Superintendent Karen Gustin, A.B. Wade, Big Cypress student intern Alyssa Parker Geisman, Everglades Restoration Program Assistant Field Supervisor Pam Repp, and South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Executive Director Terrence "Rock" Salt. (Additional participants not shown.) Photograph by Mike Gauldin. [larger version]

snake being anesthetized
Above: USGS scientist Ken Rice (khaki shirt, center) works with veterinarians and other scientists in the Burmese python-capture program to monitor the invasive species' activities in the wild. This snake is being anesthetized before having a tracking device implanted. Photograph by Mike Gauldin. [larger version]

Director Myers left St. Petersburg and traveled to South Florida to learn about several collaborative science projects with the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and partners in academia. In Big Cypress National Preserve, the group learned about the dynamics of sheet flow—the landscape here is so flat that water flows over it in a continuous sheet rather than in channels—and experienced firsthand the wonders of a cypress swamp during a guided "wet walk." Later, they took a nighttime trip in Water Conservation Area 3-A to participate in an alligator-monitoring program conducted jointly by the USGS and the University of Florida. Twice a year, scientists capture about two-dozen alligators from 10 areas and take various measurements to assess the animals' fitness, which is an indicator of the overall fitness of the ecosystem; after measurement, the alligators are tagged and released. The group also visited a laboratory where they observed the implantation of a radio transmitter into a 14-ft-long Burmese python. Radio tracking is part of an effort to monitor and eventually eradicate this invasive species in Everglades National Park.

Understanding the complexities of the Greater Everglades ecosystem and addressing a range of issues is an ongoing challenge that requires extraordinary interagency cooperation. Ronnie Best, the USGS Coordinator for the Greater Everglades Science Program, worked closely with scientists in South Florida to coordinate science presentations for the Director's visit. Director Myers was accompanied by Southeast Regional Executive Jess Weaver, FISC Director Barry Rosen, USGS Press Officer Michael Gauldin, and Eastern Region Chief of Communications A.B. Wade.


Related Web Sites
Facing Tomorrow's Challenges—U.S. Geological Survey Science in the Decade 2007 - 2017
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
Everglades Depth Estimation Network (EDEN)
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
South Florida Information Access (SOFIA)
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)

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Ocean-Bottom Seismometers Monitor Earthquake Swarms

Assessing Resilience of the Chandeleur and Breton Islands

Outreach Earth Science Day in Menlo Park, CA

Meetings USGS Emeritus Scientist Leads Field Trip

Awards Abby Sallenger Wins USGS Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communication

American Fisheries Society Honors Biologist Walter R. Courtenay

Renee Taksue Recognized by AGU for Excellence in Refereeing

Staff USGS Director Mark Myers Visits the Florida Integrated Science Center


New Book Includes USGS Sea-Floor Data

December Publications List

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