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Film Crew Visits USGS to Uncover the Truth about the Spanish Slave Ship Guerrero

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Gene Shinn removes a cannonball from its limestone-encrusted casing.
Above: Gene Shinn removes a cannonball from its limestone-encrusted casing. Photograph from Gene's article "Historical Finds Under Florida Waters," written for Skin Diver Magazine in 1958.

Producer/director Karuna Eberl and her film crew visited the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s St. Petersburg Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL, on May 21 to investigate a scientific link with the sinking of the Spanish slave ship Guerrero. The documentary "Slave Ship Guerrero" is being produced by Wandering Dog Films and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) station WEDU in Tampa. Filming concluded in May 2004, and the documentary will be distributed to local and national markets for broadcasting in fall 2004.

First to be interviewed for the film was USGS geologist Gene Shinn, who described the atmosphere in the Florida Keys during the 1950s and the popularity of treasure hunting. Karuna was interested in whether any artifacts from the Guerrero could possibly have been collected by treasure hunters. Gene gave Karuna an article he had written for Skin Diver Magazine in 1958, called "Historical Finds Under Florida Waters." The article showed cannons and other artifacts collected off Florida's coasts.

Gene and USGS microbiologist Dale Griffin then discussed how microorganisms in giant dust storms from Africa were carried across the Atlantic Ocean long before the Guerrero sailed. Dale explained how microorganisms in dust samples are identified to understand the possible effects of African dust on coral reefs and the implications for airborne transmission of agricultural, cattle, and human disease, and for homeland security.

Ginger Tiling was interviewed in the laboratory while completing research on sediment samples from a core collected in the Everglades. She was filmed measuring the bulk density of samples from a creek, a mangrove habitat, and a marsh area in the Everglades.

Related Web Sites
Explorers Search for Slave Shipwreck Off Florida
National Geographic
Guerrero Project
Wandering Dog Films and WEDU
St. Petersburg Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Coral Mortality and African Dust
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Mapping the South Essex Ocean Sanctuary

Gas-Hydrate Mounds

Cruise to California Seamounts

Outreach Little Marine Explorers Summer Camp

Scientists Interviewed for Documentary

The National Map Comes to Florida

Meetings 10th International Coral Reef Symposium

Awards USGS Video Receives Silver Telly Award

Staff & Center News Geographer Joins USGS in St. Petersburg

Geologist Joins USGS in St. Petersburg

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Updated May 06, 2014 @ 02:11 PM (JSS)