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Staff & Center News

Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Opportunities

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The Mendenhall Postdoctoral Web Site is located at http://geology.usgs.gov/postdoc/

Title: Interdisciplinary Coastal Applications of Remote Sensing
Position: Oceanographer, Coastal Geologist, Biologist or Ecologist

The position will involve the development of new strategies for the coastal research application of both airborne and satellite sensors. The Postdoctoral Fellow will be able to participate in several ongoing projects that involve close collaborations with NASA Wallops Flight Facility, the University of South Florida, and the National Park Service. These existing projects are focused on the creation of new algorithms for the interpretation of airborne lidar and hyperspectral imaging carried out using experimental sensors developed by NASA WFF. The overall goal is the application of these capabilities to the very high resolution multi-temporal mapping of the coastal environment, and to the understanding of coastal ecological change, and associated physical and biological processes.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will have the opportunity to become involved in ongoing research on (1) the development of compound active/passive methods for systematic coral reef mapping, and (2) the creation of new remote sensing-based capabilities for the analysis of gemorphological or habitat change within NPS National Seashores.

(1) Evaluation of Remote Sensing for Coral Reef Studies

This project is evaluating and investigating various airborne, and spaceborne remotely sensed data sets for their use to extract information about coral reef environments. This includes investigating the capabilities of various types of remotely sensed image data to map both morphology and cover types within the Florida Keys. The applicability of remotely sensed image data for detecting and mapping the location of live and dead reef areas, density of coral cover, and possibly the major types of coral present will be investigated.

(2) Assessment of Hazards and Habitats for National Seashores and Parks

The goal of this project is to create new remote sensing-based capabilities for the monitoring of geomorphological and habitat change due to storms and other processes within National Seashores, in support of natural resource management and hazard mitigation. The resulting methods are being applied through an existing partnership with the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. This partnership has already resulted in aircraft LIDAR surveys (ALS) that cover over 75% of the contiguous ‹lower 48Š U.S. coastline. The application of these new mapping methods is resulting in digital maps that (a) depict coastal landscapes and morphodynamics, such as changes in dune fields and shoreline position, and (b) vegetation community structure and wildlife habitats within National Seashores.

For more information contact: John C. Brock, St. Petersburg, FL, (727) 803-8747, ext. 3088, E-mail: jbrock@usgs.gov

Title: Human Health, Ecosystem and Coastal Studies
Position: Geomicrobiologist

Healthy coasts are important resources throughout the U.S. and promote tourism, fisheries and general ecosystem health. Large concentrations of people live along the coastline. Both point and non-point sources of pollution are associated with these coastal communities and the anthropogenic stresses on water quality have become evident. The study of microbial water quality is of great interest with regard to human health. Water and seafood-borne diseases are associated with coastal water and sediment contamination. In addition, identifying the sustainability and carrying capacity of coastal waters and sediments is needed.

Whereas traditional indicators of pollution have been used for over 100 years, it is now known that these are inadequate to address water and sediment quality and public health risks associated with microorganisms. Because new molecular and immunological techniques are now available, direct pathogen monitoring, source tracking and ecosystem and human health risk assessment can be undertaken.

In the Tampa Bay area, microbial contaminants have recently been identified as a high priority risk to waters in coastal communities. In particular, public health issues have been highlighted by the Clean Water Initiative as a result of poor environmental conditions in coastal waters due to increased population growth and urbanization. Water quality and sediment studies in the nearby estuary of Charlotte Harbor have demonstrated that microbial populations associated with pollution and natural systems were 10 to 100 times greater in the sediments compared to the water column. Whereas a water quality study has been undertaken in Tampa Bay over the last year, no sediment samples were collected or analyzed and thus a large scientific gap remains in the assessment of risk.

This interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow will be able to participate in several ongoing projects in which molecular techniques (PCR, ribotyping, sequencing) and principles of microbiology/geomicrobiology are used to study coastal water and sediment characterization and quality. The projects will focus on issues in the Tampa Bay region and include, but are not limited to, (1) bacterial source tracking associated with storm waters and sediments and non-point sources, (2) pathogen monitoring of coastal sediments, including establishment of risk assessment maps associated with nearshore sediments, beaches and estuarine sediments, and (3) transport and fate of contaminants associated with subsurface disposal of wastes.

For more information contact: Lisa L. Robbins, USGS, St. Petersburg, FL, (727) 803-8747, ext. 3002 lrobbins@usgs.gov and Joan Rose, College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, (727) 553-3928 jrose@seas.marine.usf.edu.


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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Lidar Test

Outreach Institute for Science Instruction & Study

Environmental Careers

Spring on the Flats

Marine Quest

Bowl-A-Thon

Meetings Data Management

Supervisory Workshop

Staff & Center News Job Announcement: NOAA-USGS Benthic Habitat Post-Doc

Job Announcement: Mendenhall Post-Docs

Publications April Publications List


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