Written by: Carey Schafer, Web Content Developer, USF CMS
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The USF College of Marine Science (CMS) lies in a uniquely fantastic and dangerous position. With a beautiful waterfront campus, marine scientists have to go no further than the seawall to collect data. Better yet, they can hop aboard the R/V Weatherbird II or the R/V W.T. Hogarth and within a few hours be in the Gulf of Mexico. Our close proximity to the Gulf has allowed for groundbreaking research on topics ranging from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill to DNA barcoding of fish eggs, seafloor mapping, and more.
That beautiful waterfront campus also has its downsides. Namely, hurricanes. Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center have predicted a busy hurricane season in the Atlantic for 2020. The United States had already seen a tropical storm make landfall this year before the “official” start of hurricane season on June 1, 2020.
Working on a waterfront campus threatened by hurricanes brings some positives on the research front. It has fostered an effort by USF marine science teams to better understand hurricane dynamics and their impacts.
For example, Dr. Frank Muller-Karger and Dr. Matt McCarthy gain insight into these storms by looking back in time. They recently used satellite imagery to study the impact of Hurricane Irma on the health of Florida mangroves.
In addition, the videos below highlight just a portion of the research being done at the College to inform our understanding of hurricanes with an eye toward better forecasting them. They feature real-time data monitoring work by Chad Lembke, Dr. Mark Luther, and Nick Underwood.