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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Marine Geomorphology, Evolution, and Habitats

News

2016

New Maps Illuminate Monterey Bay Area Seafloor
USGS Newsroom State News Release, March 2016

Map of the bathymetry of Monterey Canyon and the Soquel Canyon tributary.Six new sets of maps reveal the diverse and complex range of seafloor habitats along 130 kilometers (80 miles) of the central California coast from the Monterey Peninsula north to Pigeon Point. The publicly available maps can be used by a large stakeholder community to understand and manage California’s vast and valuable marine resources.

Read the rest of the USGS Newsroom State/Local News Release, posted March 29th, 2016.

2015

USGS Science Feature: Gifts from the Sea
USGS Science Feature, December 2015

Photograph from the portal, of a sunflower sea star on the seafloor.The USGS has completed the second phase of releasing thousands of photos and videos of the seafloor and coastline through their Coastal and Marine Video and Photography Portal.

Most of these marine and coastal scenes have never been seen before or mapped at this level of detail. A more accurate perspective of these areas helps coastal managers make important decisions that range 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 and seafloor. The “geospatial context” is also unique, with maps that display imagery in the geographic location where the images were recorded.

Read the rest of the USGS Science Feature titled, "Gifts from the Sea," posted December 21st, 2015.


New Maps Reveal Seafloor off San Francisco Area
USGS Sound Waves Newsletter, August 2015

Map of sediment thickness in state waters offshore of San Francisco.Three new sets of maps detail the offshore bathymetry, habitats, geology, and submarine environment of the seafloor off the coast of San Francisco, Drakes Bay, and Tomales Point. Critical for resource managers, the maps are part of the California Seafloor Mapping Program series of maps published by the USGS with support from the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and 15 other state and federal partners. The maps are designed to be used by a large stakeholder community and the public to manage and understand California’s vast and valuable marine resources.

Read the entire Sound Waves article.


New Maps Reveal Seafloor off San Francisco Area
USGS Newsroom News Release, May 2015

Seafloor character map offshore of San Francisco and Vicinity.Three new sets of maps detail the offshore bathymetry, habitats, geology and submarine environment of the seafloor off the coast of San Francisco, Drakes Bay, and Tomales Point. Critical for resource managers, the maps are part of the California Seafloor Mapping Program, a series of maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey with support from the California Ocean Protection Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and 15 other state and federal partners. The maps are designed to be used by a large stakeholder community and the public to manage and understand California’s vast and valuable marine resources.

The new maps and some of their implications were featured in a Wired magazine article, “New Maps Reveal California’s Sensational Seafloor Geography,” on May 22.

For more information, read the USGS Press Release, visit the USGS Newsroom page, or contact Sam Johnson, sjohnson@usgs.gov, 831-460-7546.


California Seafloor Mapping Program Reaches Milestone
USGS Sound Waves Newsletter, May 2015

Map of Santa Barbara Channel region, showing locations of six California Seafloor Mapping Program map sets (rectangles) and the outer boundary of Californias State Waters (squiggly line).The California Seafloor Mapping Program (CSMP) has released its latest set of maps and data, “California State Waters Map Series—Offshore of Refugio Beach, California,” U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3319. The “Offshore of Refugio Beach” maps lie within the western Santa Barbara Channel in southern California, and their publication marks a CSMP milestone: the first phase of map and geospatial data publications, comprising six USGS Scientific Investigations Maps and associated data files centered on the Santa Barbara Channel, is now complete. The maps are part of an ambitious collaborative effort to develop comprehensive bathymetric (seafloor depth), habitat, and geologic maps for all of California’s State Waters, which extend from the shoreline to 5.56 kilometers (3 nautical miles) offshore. These State Waters maps provide many types of information with a large range of applications.

Read the entire article in the Sound Waves newsletter.


Dive In! Explore Thousands of Coastal and Seafloor Images along U.S. Coasts
USGS Sound Waves Newsletter, May 2015

Photograph of boulders and biota off San Gregorio, California, in water approximately 30 meters (100 feet) deep.Thousands of photographs and videos of the seafloor and coastline—most areas never seen before—are now easily accessible online. This imagery, available through the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photograph Portal, will help coastal managers to make important decisions, ranging from protecting habitats to understanding hazards and managing land use.

“The USGS has been dedicated to developing a system that allows for convenient communication internally as well as to outside collaborators and the public. We want a wide range of users to be able to access our abundance of coastal and seafloor imagery,” said USGS geographer Nadine Golden, lead principal investigator for the USGS portal. “The portal makes it easy for users to discover, obtain, and disseminate information.”

Read the entire article in the Sound Waves newsletter.


Dive In – Explore Thousands of Coastal and Seafloor Images
USGS Newsroom Technical Announcement, March 2015

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.

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

Read the entire USGS Newsroom Technical Announcement.


Newly Released Database of Coastal and Seafloor Imagery Draws Media Attention
March 2015

LA Times science writer Sean Greene interviewed USGS geographer Nadine Golden on March 18, 2015, about the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photograph Portal released that day. The portal makes thousands of photos and videos of the seafloor and coastline (most areas never seen before) available and easily accessible online. This database is the largest of its kind, providing detailed and fine-scale representations of the coast. New video and photographs will be added as they are collected, and archived imagery will also be incorporated over time. The database will help coastal managers to make important decisions, ranging from protecting habitats to understanding hazards and managing land use. Greene’s piece on the portal appeared in the LA Times online Science section on March 20.

Golden was also interviewed on March 23, 2015, by Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter Samantha Clark about the newly released portal. Clark’s article was published online on March 23 and on the front page of the print edition on March 24.

For more information, contact Nadine Golden, ngolden@usgs.gov, 831-460-7530.


Workshops on the California Seafloor and Coastal Mapping Program
USGS Sound Waves Newsletter, March 2015

Excerpt from sheet 1 of USGS Open-File Report 2014–1214 produced by the California Seafloor and Coastal Mapping Program.These workshops gave the large CSCMP team an opportunity to update participants on all that they have accomplished and to receive input that will help them plan future efforts. CSCMP scientists are currently publishing a comprehensive geologic and habitat base-map series for all of California’s State waters (from the shore out 3 nautical miles), and they are seeking feedback on how the program should go forward to best fit diverse scientific and stakeholder needs.

Read more in the latest edition of Sound Waves.

 

2014

USGS Part of Multiagency Investigation that Discovered New Coral Species off California
NOAA News Release, November 2014

new species of white coral, found in an area known as The Football. Most likely it is closely related to gorgonian corals. Credit: NOAA.On November 5, NOAA announced the discovery of a new species of deep-sea coral and a nursery area for catsharks and skates in underwater canyons near the Gulf of Farallones and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries. The discoveries came during the first intensive exploration of California’s offshore areas north of Bodega Head by a consortium of federal and state marine scientists that included USGS geophysicist Guy Cochrane. They used small submersibles and other technologies to film and photograph marine life in waters reaching 1,000 feet deep. Cochrane, whose USGS team had collected sonar data in the area in 2011, noted: "The video surveys from this research mission verified the extent of rocky habitat estimated from sonar data collected several years ago."

Read the NOAA news release. For more information, contact Guy Cochrane, gcochrane@usgs.gov, 831-460-7554.


Workshops on the California Seafloor and Coastal Mapping Program
November 2014

Bathymetry map and geology merged with bathymetry at Point Reyes, California.On October 22 and 23, 2014, the USGS, the California Ocean Protection Council, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) co-hosted two workshops on the California Seafloor and Coastal Mapping Program (CSCMP) at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. CSCMP scientists are currently publishing a comprehensive geologic and habitat base-map series for all of California's State waters, and they are seeking feedback on how the program should go forward to best fit diverse scientific and stakeholder needs. Each workshop was attended by 45 to 50 participants, with representation from 32 different entities, including 9 state agencies, 8 federal agencies, 5 academic/research institutions, 3 regional associations, 3 non-governmental organizations, and 7 private-sector companies. The breadth of interests and expertise led to enthusiastic and fruitful discussions. For more information, contact Sam Johnson (sjohnson@usgs.gov, 831-460-7546) or Guy Cochrane (gcochrane@usgs.gov; 831-460-7554).


BOEM-Funded Mapping for Proposed Wind Farm Offshore Oregon
October 2014

Photo of scientists deploying instrumentation off stern of boat.Guy Cochrane, Peter Dartnell, and others from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, with collaborator Lenaig Hemery of Oregon State University, mapped the seafloor in an area off Coos Bay, Oregon,under consideration for construction of a floating wind-energy facility. Using USGS research vessel Parke Snavely, they collected high-resolution bathymetry and backscatter, high-definition video, and still photos in August–September 2014. The data are being used to develop a digital elevation model (DEM), habitat maps, and geologic maps needed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for marine spatial planning, ecosystem assessment, environmental reviews, and offshore infrastructure analysis. BOEM, which funded the study, will use this information for decisions about the proposed WindFloat Pacific 30-megawatt floating wind farm—the first wind farm proposed offshore of the U.S. west coast. For more information contact Guy Cochrane, gcochrane@usgs.gov, 831-460-7554.


New USGS Benthic OBservation Sled (BOB Sled) High-Definition Seafloor Video Camera System
October 2014

Photo of scientist remotely maneuvering camera system over seafloor.The USGS Marine Facility (MARFAC) in Santa Cruz, California, has developed a tethered instrument package called the Benthic OBservation Sled or “BOB Sled,” which can acquire video and other data as much as 700 meters (2,300 feet) below the sea surface. The system’s first use was in August–September 2014, when it collected imagery of the seafloor off Coos Bay, Oregon, in an area under consideration for the construction of a floating wind-energy facility. Designed for deployment from the 34-foot research vessel Parke Snavely, the system is remotely controlled from the vessel while it gathers data from multiple instruments that can be configured as needed for a particular science project. Video and data are transmitted and recorded on the surface vessel in real time. For more information, contact Gerry Hatcher, ghatcher@usgs.gov, 831-460-7524.

 

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