USGS - science for a changing world

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Skip Navigation

News and Events Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center news, seafloor mapping, gas hydrates, seismic imaging

images of Erika Lentz and Rob Thieler

Sea level to rise about three feet by 2100

Research geologists, Erika Lentz and Rob Thieler, discuss sea-level rise as one of the most certain outcomes of climate change: as the climate warms, land-based ice melts into the ocean, and a warmer ocean expands in volume.

Read more in the October 25, 2015 issue of the Cape Cod Times

Daniel Nowacki deploying instruments in extremely soupy mud south of the Amazon River mouth.

Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Fellow Joins Hurricane Sandy Estuarine Physical Response Project

In March 2015, Dan Nowacki joined the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Dan is a Mendenhall Research Fellow working primarily with USGS research oceanographer Neil Ganju as part of the Estuarine Physical Response to Storms project. He is developing techniques to quantify the role of vegetation in the response and resilience of coastal areas to large storm events. Using a combination of numerical modeling techniques and field measurements, he will work to better understand how a variety of vegetation types modify waves and associated sediment-transport processes. Although coastal vegetation is generally thought to mitigate wave action and storm surge, the specific dynamics of the interaction remain poorly known; this work could ultimately help coastal planners understand the role of natural ecosystems in storm protection.

Read more in the March-June 2015 issue of Sound Waves

Rarely observerd deep-sea fish, a jellynose.

Telepresence Expedition Explores Unknown Deep-Sea Areas off of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

In April 2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists participated in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Exploration research cruise investigating unknown and poorly understood deep-sea areas off Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. An interdisciplinary team of scientists working at sea and on shore examined the geology and biodiversity along various seafloor features at depths ranging from 300 to 4,500 meters. Twelve dives were completed with a dual-bodied remotely operated vehicle (ROV) system consisting of the ROV Deep Discoverer (D2) and the Seirios camera platform, both of which were launched and controlled from the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

Read more in the March-June 2015 issue of Sound Waves

Fran Lightsom receives the USGS Community for Data Integration Leadership and Innovation Award

Oceanographer, Fran Lightsom, Receives Leadership and Innovation Award from the USGS Community for Data Integration

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Community for Data Integration (CDI) presents its Leadership and Innovation Award to a community member for outstanding contributions in guiding USGS data integration activities through the CDI working groups. The award is meant to recognize someone who brings new ideas to life and provides unwavering leadership in producing tangible results that will improve data integration, access, and discovery. The awardee actively seeks collaborative approaches, embraces new perspectives, and provides a stimulating forum to address on-the-ground data integration needs of the community. Through this leadership, the awardee’s contributions move the CDI, and on a broader scale, the USGS and its partners, forward to a more integrated data landscape that ultimately advances USGS science.

Read more in the March-June 2015 issue of Sound Waves

Researcher moves a mo nitor that contains electronics used to postion the seismic streamer at the correct depth and angle.

Imaging Methane Seeps and Plumes on the U.S. Atlantic Margin

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Gas Hydrates Project surveyed methane seeps and plumes on the northern part of the U.S. Atlantic margin aboard the research vessel (R/V) Endeavor in April 2015. The researchers collected high-resolution seismic data (cross-sectional views of sediment layers and other features beneath the seafloor) along ship tracks totaling nearly 580 kilometers (360 miles), in addition to continuous imagery of methane plumes in the water column above seafloor cold seeps. They also measured the flux of methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ocean to the atmosphere.

Read more in the March-June 2015 issue of Sound Waves

screen shot of the home page of the video portal

Dive In – Explore Thousands of Coastal and Seafloor Images

Thousands of photos and videos of the seafloor and coastline—most areas never seen before—are now available and easily accessible online. This is critical for coastal managers to make important decisions, ranging from protecting habitats to understanding hazards and managing land use.

This USGS portal is unique, due to the sheer quantity and quality of data presented. It is the largest database of its kind, providing detailed and fine-scale representations of the coast. The "geospatial context" is also unique, with maps displaying imagery in the exact location where it was recorded.

Imagery is available through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photograph Portal.

image of dr. laura brothers, usgs This Woman ROCKS! Many people spend years trying to find their “dream job,” but USGS Marine Geologist, Dr. Laura Brothers, is one of the lucky few who has already found hers.

What’s the most important advice Brothers has for young women thinking about pursuing a careerin science, technology, engineering, and/or math fields, known as STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. “Find a mentor,” Brothers says. “It goes for anybody going into any field. Finding somebody that can lead you along and show you the ropes makes a big difference. It can be tough to envision yourself in a field, if you don’t look like most of the practicing professionals, particularly when you’re starting out.”

Read more about Dr. Laura Brothers on page 26 of Summer 2014 Newswave.

image of methane seeps from the upperslope of virginia Widespread methane seepage from the seafloor on the northern US Atlantic margin. Natural methane leakage from the seafloor is far more widespread on the U.S. Atlantic margin than previously thought, according to a study by researchers from Mississippi State University, the U.S. Geological Survey, and other institutions.

The study, Widespread methane leakage from the sea floor on the northern US Atlantic Margin, by A, Skarke, C. Ruppel, M, Kodis, D. Brothers and E. Lobecker in Nature Geoscience is available on line.

image of dr. rich signell, usgs  research oceanographer USGS Scientist Receives 2014 DeSouza Award. Dr. Richard Signell of the USGS has been awarded the 2014 Russell L. DeSouza Award by the Unidata Users Committee. The DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Read more about Dr. Rich Signell on page 20 of Summer 2014 Newswave.

image of coawst workshop participants New Approaches for Storm Forecasting Combining models for a more robust way of understanding storms and their impacts. The USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program recently sponsored training for nearly 90 scientists from over 15 countries to learn about a new modeling system designed to improve our ability to predict storms and their impacts. The system, called Coupled- Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave- Sediment Transport (COAWST) Modeling System, couples together several open-source modeling components that have been tailored to investigate processes of the atmosphere, ocean, waves, and coastal environment.

Read more about COAWST Modeling System on page 23 of Summer 2014 Newswave.

image of location map and bottom photographs of the massachusetts seafloor from nahant to cape cod #StrongAfterSandy—The Science Supporting the Department of the Interior’s Response. Dr. Neil K. Ganju, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center research oceanographer, speaks at Congressional Briefing.

Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 devastated some of the most densely populated areas of the Atlantic Coast. The storm claimed lives, altered natural lands and wildlife habitat, and caused millions of dollars in property damage. Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of our Nation's need to better protect people and communities from future storms. To inform the Department of the Interior's recovery efforts, the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are collectively developing and applying science to build resilient coastal communities that can better withstand and prepare for catastrophic storms of the future.

Read more about the Congressional Briefing Series

image of location map and bottom photographs of the massachusetts seafloor from nahant to cape cod New Maps of the Massachusetts Seafloor. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) have worked collaboratively to map the geology of the shallow seafloor offshore of Massachusetts coast. Interpretation of high-resolution geophysical data (interferometric and multibeam swath bathymetry, lidar, backscatter, and seismic reflection), sediment samples, and bottom photographs were used to produce a series of maps that describe the distribution and texture of seafloor sediments, shallow geologic framework, and physiographic zones of this inner-shelf region.

The link to the first CZM interpretive report, Shallow Geology, Seafloor Texture, and Physiographic Zones of the Inner Continental Shelf from Nahant to Northern Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, is available at

seismic survey sites conducted on the research vessel pelican in april and may 2013 Seismic-Imaging Research Cruise Investigates Deepwater Gas Hydrate Deposits in the Gulf of Mexico. Interest is mounting in the possibility that gas hydrate—a naturally occurring ice-like substance that contains vast quantities of methane—might be a viable source of natural gas. A research cruise by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Gas Hydrates Project in the northern Gulf of Mexico in spring 2013 shed new light on that possibility. Read more in Sound Waves
CEVI for the coast of the northern gulf of mexico Understanding and Predicting Change in the Coastal Ecosystems of the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Special Issue, 63, of the Journal of Coastal Research, Understanding and Predicting Change in the Coastal Ecosystems of the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Read more in the Journal of Coastal Reseach Special Edition
image of u.s. continental shelf project team State Department Recognizes U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Project Team's Accomplishments with Superior Honors. On April 4, 2013, the Department of State (DOS) presented Superior Honor Awards to the Senior agency representatives and the Integrated Regional Team leads working on the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Project. The Interior Department, through USGS, contributes to the accomplishments of this team. Read more in NewsWave
Research Vessel David Folger Middlebury College Research Vessel Named for Retired USGS Scientist. In the marine research community, one of the greatest honors is to have a research vessel named for you. Such is the distinction bestowed on retired U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Dave Folger. The research vessel (R/V) David Folger, a 48-foot hydrofoil catamaran, is the newly dedicated research vessel for Middlebury College in Vermont. It will explore the waters of Lake Champlain while offering a state-of-the-art oceanographic platform for undergraduate students to learn the basics of marine research. Read more in Sound Waves
landsat image of the largest ice cap in europe A Cold Look at Planet Earth. The recently published State of the Earth's Cryosphere at the Beginning of the 21st Century summarizes past and present-day changes in the Earth's cryosphere (the whole of its frozen water) and describes the ongoing and potential effects of those changes. Extensively illustrated in print and connected to a companion online image gallery, this volume supplies a synthesis for 10 other geographically-based volumes in the 11-volume Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World. Read more at
photograph of international team studying gas hydrates Groundbreaking Gas Hydrate Research. A new project in Japan is helping scientists make significant progress in studying gas hydrates as a potential source for natural gas production. This research advances understanding of the global distribution of gas hydrates as well as whether and how methane contained in gas hydrates can be used as a viable energy source. Read more at
image of an icebreaker Arctic Expedition Reaches 88.5 Degrees North Latitude. The United States and Canada joined forces once again to survey the seafloor in remote and ice-covered regions of the Arctic Ocean. The two-icebreaker expedition was the last of four joint cruises designed to collect data that each country will use to define its "extended continental shelf"—the area beyond 200 nautical miles (nm) from shore where a nation has sovereign rights over resources on and beneath the seafloor according to the Law of the Sea Convention. (Visit to learn more.) Read more in Sound Waves
mapsheet of submarine canyons incising the seaward margin of georges bank U.S. and Canadian Geologists Collaborate in Mapping the Georges Bank Seabed. A series of maps showing the seabed topography of the Canadian portion of relatively shallow Georges Bank and the deeper Fundian and Northeast Channels has been compiled by geologists Brian Todd and John Shaw of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) and Page Valentine of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Read more in Sound Waves
image of native youth in science participants, tribal members and usgs staff Native Youth in Science—Preserving Our Homelands. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to develop and deliver a summer science pilot program for Mashpee Wampanoag tribal youth in grades 6, 7, and 8. Read more in Sound Waves
image of rob thieler What's next after Superstorm Sandy? (CNN) -- Superstorm Sandy has taken a tragic toll on the residents of the mid-Atlantic's barrier islands. All along the coast, hundreds of homes were lost, and thousands of people still have no power after Sandy wreaked havoc. The impact is not unlike many other destructive recent storms in the United States, such as Ivan, Katrina and Ike. So what can be done? Read more at
image of usgs staff Warming climate presents grave risk of greenhouse gas release in Arctic. Deep beneath the frozen Arctic are deposits of methane. Lots of methane. And there's even more on the sea floor. As the environment warms, these deposits are being released into the atmosphere, presenting grave risks of runaway warming. Read more at
Skip Navigation

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USAGov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey

Page Contact Information: WHSC Webmaster
This page last modified on Monday, 05-Dec-2016 16:30:46 EST