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Research Vessel G.K. Gilbert Helps Celebrate USF College of Marine Science Alumni Reunion and Faculty-Recognition Ceremony
The University of South Florida (USF)'s College of Marine Science held its first Alumni Reunion in 30 years on November 16 to recognize the careers, achievements, and retirement of four of its founding faculty members: Peter Betzer, Kendall Carder, Norman Blake, and Gabriel Vargo. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s Florida Integrated Science Center (FISC) office in St. Petersburg made the research vessel G.K. Gilbert available to help celebrate the 100+ man-years these scholars have contributed to chemical, physical, benthic, and biological oceanography, respectively. More than 300 past and present students, faculty members, staff members, and VIPs attended the evening event.
Peter Betzer, Dean of the USF College of Marine Science, came from the University of Rhode Island (URI) in the early 1970s to study trace metals in the oceans. His research ultimately led to the multinational Asian Dust Inputs to the Ocean System (ADIOS) program, where the "Dustbusters," as they came to be known, discovered that iron-bearing Asian dust reduces CO2 concentrations in the Pacific Ocean by promoting primary productivity. In addition to his distinguished scientific career, Betzer developed the USF College of Marine Science into a world-class research facility that enticed the USGS to open the Center for Coastal Geology (now FISC) in a renovated Studebaker dealership next to the USF St. Petersburg Campusthe beginning of much collaboration that he forged to create a major marine-research consortium in the area.
Carder came from Oregon State University to study the optical properties of the oceans. His powerful algorithms are used to model reflected light from the oceans collected by remote-sensing platforms and to derive the in situ composition of biotic pigments, detritus, and dissolved organic matter. His work has greatly aided the understanding of red tide, the global carbon cycle, and heat-budget calculations. The first submarine, microscopic, 3D holographic-imaging system was built in his lab in 1984 for the ADIOS project.
Blake came from URI to study benthic invertebrates and soon became widely known for his successful aquaculture of scallops. Thanks to his research, we are again harvesting (and eating!) scallops from our coastal waters.
Vargo also came from URI to study phytoplankton-zooplankton dynamics and expanded his work to include phycotoxin effects on fish and shore birds. Well known for his work with red-tide blooms, he also volunteers to care for and exhibit birds of prey at a local museum.
The USGS St. Petersburg office was proud to help honor the century of contributions these oceanographers have made to the marine sciences by hoisting flags on the research vessel G.K. Gilbert during the festive feast. The office is also proud to show our gratitude to this partnering institution for its pivotal role in bringing the USGS to St. Petersburg 20 years ago.
in this issue:
G.K. Gilbert Helps Celebrate Alumni Reunion
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