Exciting Lineup of Speakers is Set for FL TechSurge

Hosted at FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, April 12-14

Join us for a TechSurge event that will focus on incremental and transformational technology, system design challenges, and opportunities to help guide the development of comprehensive, coordinated and integrated coastal monitoring systems for Florida's estuaries and nearshore coastal waters.

In additional, guidance and outcomes from this meeting will directly influence Indian River Lagoon monitoring network planning and may feed into the Ocean Decade Implementation Plan (2021-2030).

This MTS TechSurge event will be hosted at the Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, Florida on April 12-14, 2023. This three day event features an exciting lineup of speakers, including keynote speaker, Dr. Mark Rains, Chief Science Officer for the State of Florida, and Professor for the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida.

Featured speakers include Dr. Kate Hubbard, Research Scientist with the Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration section of Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, Senior Advisor for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observation System (GCOOS).

Keynote Speaker

Mark Rainss

About Dr. Mark Rains

Mark Rains is an ecohydrologist with a B.A. in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution, an M.S. in Forestry, and a Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences. He is a Professor of Geology at the University of South Florida, Chief Science Officer for the State of Florida, and Associate Editor for Wetland and Watershed Hydrology at the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.

His research is focused on hydrological connectivity from ridges to reefs, especially between hill slopes, wetlands, and headwater streams; the roles that hydrological processes play in governing ecosystem structure and function; and the roles that science plays in informing water-related law, policy, and decision-making. He has extensive experience in consensus building at the intersection of science and policy in wetland regulatory programs, including past and ongoing work providing the scientific justification underlying the federal definition of “waters of the US” subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.

As the Chief Science Officer, he is charged with ensuring that science underlies sound environmental policy and protection, including coordinating and prioritizing scientific data, research, and analysis to ensure alignment with current and emerging environmental concerns and cultivating and maintaining relationships with public- and private-sector stakeholders.

During his first term as Chief Science Officer, his primary foci have been restoring water quality, enhancing statewide flood resilience, and developing the data and analytics strategy necessary to support these and other statewide environmental initiatives.

Featured Speakers

Kate HubbardBarbara Kirkpatrick

About Dr. Kate Hubbard

Dr. Kate Hubbard leads the harmful algal bloom (HAB) monitoring and research program for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWC-FWRI), and since 2020, has directed FWC’s Center for Red Tide Research. As a research scientist, she works closely with a broad network of international, federal, regional, state, county, academic, nonprofit, industry, and citizen partners as well as the IOOS Regional Associations to sustain and advance harmful algal bloom (HAB) monitoring. She also prioritizes engaging junior scientists in research and communication. Hubbard works with this broad network to examine biological responses to environmental perturbations across varying spatiotemporal scales.

Recent enhancements to Florida’s HAB monitoring network under her direction have focused on new, enhanced, and/or sustained biological, chemical, and physical observation capabilities for Karenia brevis that can be more broadly applied to other regional HABs as well. Her specific expertise in genomics and ecology has helped evaluate drivers of HABs and other species using environmental DNA (eDNA), handheld detection technology, or submersible in situ detection tools such as the Imaging Flow CytoBot.

As a Co-Investigator of the NSF/NIEHS-funded Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Hubbard is involved in HAB detection and forecasting projects across the U.S. to better understand and predict blooms and their impacts, and is committed to working at the interface of HAB research and management.

She received her B.A. in Biology from New College of Florida and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biological Oceanography from the University of Washington. She has served on the National HAB Committee since 2017.

About Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick

Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick is Senior Advisor for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observation System (GCOOS). She has more than 35 years of experience in human and environmental epidemiology and started her career as a Respiratory Care Supervisor at Duke University Medical Center before going on to receive a Master’s Degree in Health Occupations Education at North Carolina State University and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Sarasota.

After completing her graduate program, Kirkpatrick served as an Associate Professor at Manatee Community College in Bradenton, FL, where she continued her research interests in human respiratory health and assessing clinical teaching effectiveness. In 1999, Kirkpatrick joined Mote Marine Laboratory as a staff scientist and shifted her research focus to environmental human health, particularly the respiratory effects linked to harmful algal blooms.

As a senior scientist and program manager at Mote Marine Laboratory, her continued research efforts focused on harmful algal blooms and the effects they have on humans. She was co-leader of the first major multi-institution study of Florida’s red tide on humans that was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The 11-year study was the first to scientifically document the impacts that red tide has on humans — particularly those who have chronic respiratory diseases.

She was the co-chair of the National Harmful Algal Bloom steering committee for six years and co-chaired the National HAB science meeting in 2013.

Kirkpatrick became Executive Director of GCOOS in 2014, where she was instrumental in broadening the scope of the ocean monitoring organization to include biological aspects of ocean monitoring — particularly monitoring for toxic algal blooms and marine animal movements. She retired as Executive Director in August 2021 and is now GCOOS Senior Advisor.

To register for the FL TechSurge event, visit mtsociety.org/fl-techsurge.  


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