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Staff & Center News

Floating Support Facility—a Boat Only a Scientist Could Love


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Kim Yates stands on the forward deck of the SHARQ Express
Kim Yates stands on the forward deck of a new floating laboratory before its maiden voyage on April 8. Iuri Herzfeld (left) and Nate Smiley (right) are assisting Kim in the staging area of the USGS' St. Petersburg Center for Coastal and Regional Marine Studies. Note equipment-storage area on top.
A new houseboat, dubbed the SHARQ Express by Kim Yates of the USGS' St. Petersburg Center for Coastal and Regional Marine Studies (CCRMS), is designed to be a mobile support facility for measuring benthic-community metabolism using the SHARQ—the Submersible Habitat for Assessing Reef Quality. The SHARQ's clear tent traps water over a sea-floor habitat, such as a coral reef, and allows investigators to measure changes in the chemistry of the trapped water caused by the metabolism of the organisms inside the tent.

The new boat designed to support SHARQ research was custom built to Kim's specifications by Clark Boats of Iowa. Its unconventional design features two onboard generator systems, a backup suitcase system (a small, portable generator), a laboratory area for performing real-time analysis, a head and shower, sinks, bunks, a small galley, and other amenities necessary for 24-hour monitoring and experiments. The boat sleeps four people.

In past years, various platforms have been rented or constructed for SHARQ work, ranging from houseboats to scaffolding. The new houseboat platform, permanently outfitted with SHARQ system components, will eliminate costly rental fees and the logistical difficulties of having to customize SHARQ surface components each time a different support vessel is used. The initial cruise will last 9 days and perform research on Tampa Bay for the Tampa Bay Integrated Science Project. The SHARQ system is routinely used for Tampa Bay, Florida Bay, and Biscayne Bay benthic-habitat monitoring and experimentation.


Related Web Sites
Center for Coastal & Regional Marine Studies
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), St. Petersburg, FL
SHARQ (Submersible Habitat for Assessing Reef Quality) Infested Waters
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Open File Report
Tampa Bay Pilot Study
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Contaminants Sampling Cruise - San Francisco

Ground-Truthing Coral Reef Maps

Research Shorebird Migration

CO2 in Saline Aquifers

Outreach Early Earth Day in Florida

Honduras Coral Reef Documentary Online

Girl Scouts

University Job Fair

Sea-Level Rise Lecture

Meetings Massachusetts Sea-level Rise Briefing

New Directions Workshop

Staff & Center News Floating Support Facility

Howell New Patuxent Director

WHFC Runners

Water-Column Optics Talks

Special Emphasis Program

New Employees

Mendenhall Fellow Presents Talk

Publications May Publications List


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