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Summer Intern Working with Underwater Video Data from the Hawaiian Islands



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U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists who study Hawaiian coral reefs recently welcomed summer intern Peter Tierney to the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. Tierney was selected for the internship by the USGS/NAGT (National Association of Geoscience Teachers) Cooperative Field Training Program, which annually places teacher-nominated students into USGS field, laboratory, and office positions throughout the country for internships lasting as long as 5 months.

Under the guidance of geologists Susie Cochran and Ann Gibbs, Tierney is processing underwater video footage collected in Hawaiian coastal waters during the past few years. Cochran and Gibbs are members of the USGS Ridge to Reef group, a team of biologists, geologists, and hydrologists from four USGS science centers who collaborate with local communities and agencies in Hawai'i to understand the sources and impacts of land-derived sediment and pollutants on nearshore coral reefs. Digital video is one of the tools they use to gather data.

Peter Tierney holds one end of a survey tape at the edge of some mangrove trees in the Virgin Islands. Peter Tierney using an underwater quadrat to collect data in the Virgin Islands.
Above left: Peter Tierney holds one end of a survey tape at the edge of some mangrove trees in the Virgin Islands. [larger version]

Above right: Peter Tierney (right) using an underwater quadrat to collect data in the Virgin Islands. [larger version]

Tierney is well suited for working with scientific imagery, having graduated from Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts) with Bachelor's degrees in geology and art. His undergraduate field studies included mapping modern reefs in the Virgin Islands and Pleistocene reefs in Baja California. After graduating in 2010, he decided to take a year off before heading to graduate school.

"I spent a few months working for a fashion/product photographer," says Tierney, "and also worked at the American Museum of Natural History as a volunteer teacher, talking to classes and tourists about geology, paleontology, and marine biology and ecology." He adds, "It was a cool job, to be sure, but I traded in my AMNH vest for the opportunity to examine issues affecting modern coral reef systems." In September, Tierney will move on to graduate studies at the University of Chicago.

Cochran was pleased to recruit a USGS/NAGT intern for the summer, as she herself is a former USGS/NAGT intern. She states, "My summer internship with the Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, was one of the highlights of my USGS career. I split time between two different projects under the mentorship of Jack Kindinger and Bob Halley and was exposed to several different methods of data collection and analysis. Many of the skills I learned that summer have carried through in my work to this day."

To learn more about the USGS/NAGT Cooperative Field Training Program, visit http://nagt.org/nagt/programs/usgs_field.html. To learn more about the USGS Ridge to Reef Project, visit http://biology.usgs.gov/pierc/Pollution_and_Ecological_Restoration.html, and to learn more about USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center research within the Ridge to Reef Project, visit http://coralreefs.wr.usgs.gov/.

 

Related Web Sites
USGS/NAGT Cooperative Field Training Program
USGS/National Association of Geoscience Teachers
Ridge To Reef Project
USGS
Pacific Coral Reefs Website
USGS

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Fieldwork
cover story:
Alaska Sea Otter Expedition Investigates Coastal Health

Field Journal: Pacific Nearshore Project Alaska Expedition

Meetings Coastal Sediments '11

Workshop Examines Effects of Sea-Level Change on Everglades

Staff Solar-Heating System Reduces Environmental Footprint

Summer Intern Processes Underwater Video

Publications New Book Offers Comprehensive Description of Gulf of Mexico Geology

July 2011 Publications


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