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Scientists from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center are traveling to St. Andrews Bay in Panama City to collect multibeam bathymetry and chirp seismic reflection in the back-barrier estuary. These data will be used to help inform coastal engineering efforts to reduce future coastal hazards. 

Landsat image of Florida Panhandle after Hurricane Michael
An image of the Florida Panhandle captured by Landsat 7 on Oct. 16, 2018.

This research is conducted as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Reefense project, which aims to place several hybrid engineered and biological oyster reef structures within the estuary to mitigate coastal flooding and erosion, such as the storm damage that occurred at Tyndall Air Force Base from the passage of Hurricane Michael in 2018. The chirp and multibeam data will be collected as part of the first phase of the project to provide information about sediment thickness and sub-seafloor structure that can inform where the structure will be installed and assess the stability of artificial and natural reef structures that will be placed on the seafloor during the project’s later phases.  

The team includes Dr. Emily Wei, along with Geologist Nancy DeWitt, and Electronics Technician Chelsea Stalk. The team will collect multibeam bathymetry and chirp seismic reflection in the back-barrier estuary. Chirp data allow them to see the sediment layers below the seafloor and understand more about the geologic history of the area.

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