October 2019
Greetings from GCOOS
It was great to see everyone who attended our fall Board and Members meeting recently in Galveston — we had some great speakers and important discussions. 

It’s been a busy few weeks of travel and I hope many of you were able to attend OceanObs’19. Many GCOOSians made the trek to Hawaii, including Data Manager Leila Belabbassi and Directors Jan van Smirren, Stephan Howden and Ruth Perry, along with many GCOOS members. I was honored to be asked to be a panelist on the “Breaking Waves, Breaking Barriers” special event and the turnout blew me away!

Jan and I also recently attended the NSF-sponsored “Network to Network” meeting in Merida, Mexico. The meeting was organized by Texas A&M and its focus was to develop an international approach to assess and manage risks in multiple sectors, along with strategies for adaptation and resilience. I’m hopeful that this effort will solidify ocean observation data sharing in the future. ( Learn more. )

Congratulations are also in order for Chris Simoniello for receiving a first place Gulf Guardian award and Director Renee Collini for receiving the partnership award (details below) — way to go, Guardians!

And finally, I just wanted to give a shout out to Fugro, which helped some Gulf glider operators out of a couple of tough spots. I’m now convinced that gliders know that the least-optimal time to abort their missions is late on a Friday afternoon. Check out the story below to see why I’m now saying TGFF — Thank Goodness For Fugro!

Until next time!

News From GCOOS HQ
GCOOS Fall Board Meeting
Thanks to the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary for hosting the GCOOS fall Members meeting Oct. 9 in Galveston, Texas.

Sanctuary Superintendent G.P. Schmahl gave a great introductory talk.

Other speakers included Dr. Antonietta Quigg, Senior Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Texas A&M Galveston, who talked about ways GCOOS and TAMU can continue to work together. Sarah Gossett Robinson, Water Program manager from the Galveston Bay Foundation, briefed us about the group’s mission and activities. She was followed by GCOOS Executive Director Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick and Capt. Shane Cantrell (pictured to the right), a recreational and commercial fisherman from the Galveston area, who closed out the day by leading a lengthy discussion with the group about his ocean observation needs and resources.

We also welcomed our newest board member, Dr. Nan D. Walker, Professor, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences and Director of the Earth Scan Laboratory at Louisiana State University's College of Coast and Environment.
GCOOS Seeks Glider Community Coordinator
GCOOS is seeking applications for a newly funded position: Coordinator for the U.S. Underwater Glider User Group — UG2. 

The Coordinator will be responsible for further developing UG2 and facilitating the exchange of information and expertise among glider users throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the broader U.S., including sharing best practices.

Human Health & Safety
Coming Soon: All Things Beaches
GCOOS thanks all who participated in the photo contest to help us gather images for our All Things Beaches app, which we will be releasing soon!

We received nearly 100 images of beaches from around the Gulf of Mexico. Look for pretty pictures as you use the app to plan your perfect day at the beach! As we wrap up the competition, we say congratulations to Suzy Marshall, our final monthly staff favorite photo winner for her shot of dog-friendly Pensacola Beach!
Marine Operations
Gliding Toward the End of Hurricane Season
Forget hurricane season… for us, it’s been hurricane  glider  season as we’ve been tracking gliders operating in the Gulf of Mexico and along the southeast Atlantic Coast from a number of groups — including the U.S. Navy, University of South Florida, University of Southern Mississippi, Texas A&M’s Geochemical and Environmental Research Group and the University of Georgia’s Skidaway Institute of Oceanography — on our map-based tracker and piloting portal, GANDALF. Glider data helps forecasters gain better insights into ocean temperatures and other parameters critical for modeling weather events like tropical storms and hurricanes.

GANDALF is a unique one-stop-shop where you can see data from all the gliders operating in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Western Atlantic Ocean. GANDALF recently hit a record of tracking seven vehicles at once. In addition to Slocum gliders, GANDALF has also provided data visualization and tracking for Kongsberg Seagliders, Liquid Robotics Wavegliders and Navocean's sailing vessel. GANDALF is rapidly becoming a “must-have” tool for researchers using autonomous vehicles.

Fugro to the Rescue
The partnership between the U.S. Navy, University of Southern Mississippi, Shell and GCOOS is continuing with glider operations this year during hurricane season.

During the week of Sept 9, Kevin Martin and Stephan Howden from USM deployed two gliders for the Navy. Late on Friday, Sept. 13 — as everyone was packing to head to OceanObs’19 in Hawaii — one of the gliders aborted and needed to be retrieved. That resulted in quite a scramble with a lot of emails and texts from the group resulting in a consensus that ships usually available to pick up gliders wouldn’t be available until late the following week — a long time to leave a glider floating at the surface!

Since Fugro had just installed the two new High Frequency Radars in the Gulf, Barb Kirkpatrick called Ben Williams, Service Line Director for Fugro Metocean, on Friday night to see if he could help. He was able to retrieve the glider the next morning.

Then on Friday, Sept. 27, the second Navy glider aborted. Once again, Ben was able to find a charter vessel and help out with a rapid glider pick up.

Thank you Fugro!
U.S. IOOS Funding Op: LOI Due Today 
Optional letters of intent are due today (Oct. 18) for the U.S. IOOS Ocean Technology Transition Funding Opportunity. IOOS and NOPP are seeking to fund projects that advance new or existing technology-based solutions that address long-standing and emerging coastal observing, product development and data management challenges. (Subject to the availability of funds.) 

More info
Healthy Ecosystems & Living Resources
Getting a Handle on Nitrates
GCOOS, NOAA and the University of Louisiana have started a new pilot project that will generate nitrate data in coastal and estuarine ecosystems around the northern Gulf more frequently than is currently provided.

The pilot follows on the interagency Nutrient Sensor Challenge and more recent Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge, which have helped facilitate and accelerate development and use of continuous nutrient sensors in research and management. The new Gulf pilot project will continue to assess the operational status of new nutrient sensors by integrating these tools into existing monitoring programs. GCOOS will incorporate data into the products provided to the broader community.

Technical staff from other partner agencies on the project —Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI), Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), U.S. Geological Survey in Tampa Bay (USGS), and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) — traveled to Lafayette in September to learn how to operate, calibrate and deploy continuous nitrate sensors and are now readying them for deployment. 
Stay tuned for more highlights of the challenges and successes in integrating continuous nutrient monitoring data into Gulf of Mexico coastal ecosystem research and monitoring!
New Podcast: On the Ocean
We're pleased to announce that we're working with Texas A&M University College Station and KAMU-FM on a podcast series called “On the Ocean.”

These two-minute segments are designed to educate the community about ocean observing and ocean issues. Episodes began airing in September; so far we’ve covered the history of the Integrated Ocean Observing System in the U.S., as well as how GCOOS began. We’ve  also talked about why we measure the parameters we do and some of the tools we use to monitor our oceans. Coming up: Examples of the products we create.

The project is supported by GCOOS and the TAMU Department of Oceanography. Have ideas for ocean observing system-related topics? Email chris.simoniello@gcoos.org .

Embrace the Gulf
The City of St. Petersburg, Florida, is embracing the Gulf — and on Oct. 10 issued a proclamation announcing 2020 as the year to “Embrace the Gulf.” This campaign created by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance is designed to showcase the value and vitality of the Gulf.

City Councilwoman Brandi Gabbard worked with GCOOS Outreach & Education Manager Chris Simoniello and Legislative Aide Linnie Randolph to have the proclamation signed by Mayor Rick Kriseman. 

Want to get your city involved in Embracing the Gulf? Contact Becky Ginn at  becky.ginn@gomxa.org
Gulf Guardians
Congratulations to all those recognized during the EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program’s most recent Gulf Guardians award ceremony. The award recognizes and honors the businesses, community groups, individuals, partnerships and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive.

Among the honorees were GCOOS Director Renee Collini and GCOOS Outreach & Education Manager Dr. Chris Simoniello.
Collini and Mikaela Heming, both of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, received a second-place award for work developing and implementing the Gulf Tools for Resilience Exploration Engine ( Gulf TREE ).
Simoniello  was a first-place winner for her work to improve water quality, habitat and environmental education in the Gulf.

The EPA says Guardians “embody environmental stewardship” and we couldn't agree more!
New MBON Projects
MBON federal sponsors (NOAA, NASA, ONR and BOEM), on behalf of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP), have awarded six new three-year MBON projects intended to build on the lessons learned and the progress made during the initial set of demonstrations (Arctic MBON, Sanctuaries MBON, Santa Barbara Channel MBON). 

Awardees include GCOOS Member Frank Muller-Karger, University of South Florida, for Implementing a Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) in South Florida to Advance Ecosystem-Based Management.

Coastal Hazards
Monitoring Red Tide
GCOOS members are leading the way in developing new methods to monitor HABs. (We're hosting the data, of course!)

Check out the latest article from the journal Frontiers in Marine Science about using sail drones to monitor red tide in the Gulf of Mexico from Jordan Beckler, formerly of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and now with FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute; Ethan Arutunian, Navocean, Inc; Tim Moore, Ocean Process Analysis Laboratory — University of New Hampshire; GCOOS' Bob Currier and Eric Milbrandt, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

RESTORE Funding Awards
The NOAA RESTORE Science Program announced $15.6 million in awards from its 2019 funding competition that focused on living coastal and marine resources and the processes driving them. Four teams of researchers and resource managers will be receiving support. The projects will run for five years with high performing projects eligible for a five-year, non-competitive renewal. 

The projects will:

MDEQ Invites Sealed Bids
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is seeking sealed bids for Phase 5 of the MDEQ — Hancock County marsh living shoreline project. The project is focused on Heron Bay marsh creation and Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission dredging project. It includes the construction of approximately 46 acres of salt marsh in Heron Bay and dredging activities as part of the HCPHC’s Dredging Program to maintain maritime access to Port Bienville Industrial Park and Stennis Space Center.
  • Optional pre-submittal conference: 1 p.m. CST on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 1141 Bayview Avenue, Biloxi, MS 39530.
  • Project Details
Restoration Resources
In 2010, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon resulted in the largest man-made disaster in U.S. history. Today, each Gulf state administers restoration funds and programs. Additionally, other agencies and organizations are also tasked with administering programs designed to restore Gulf habitats and better understand Gulf ecosystems.

Long-Term Change
New Deep Ocean Gulf Data
GCOOS is now hosting a new stream of deep ocean Gulf data thanks to a collaboration with the Gulf Research Program, Shell and others.

This pilot program to convert an existing ocean mooring owned by Shell into the first long-term deep ocean observatory in the Gulf of Mexico is part of a broader, long-term initiative that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is developing called Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems (UGOS). UGOS is envisioned as a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary, multi-institutional research campaign to improve understanding of the various interacting physical, biological and chemical processes at work in the Gulf of Mexico. 

This collaboration, called the Stones Metocean Observatory Project ( Stones MetObs ), is providing important marine data to support scientific research and improve understanding of the Gulf of Mexico. The  Stones MetObs  Data Portal provides the infrastructure to view, investigate and download data from the  Stones MetObs .

GCAN Updated
GCOOS’s Gulf of Mexico Coastal Acidification Network  (GCAN)   was invited to attend the  International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification (OA Alliance)    at the New York Aquarium on Coney Island. GCAN Coordinator Jennifer Vreeland-Dawson and Dr. Bruce Barber, Executive Director for the Gulf Shellfish Institute, attended the two-day workshop in September as representatives of the Gulf of Mexico. Sixty participants from 14 states focused on sharing lessons learned and best practices addressing ocean and coastal acidification; the group also discussed how to cultivate leadership on ocean and coastal acidification. Key participants included governors’ policy leads, state agency representatives and OA task force members from the West Coast, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Job Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a jobs listing for positions and fellowships in the ocean observing community. Want to advertise a position? Email Nadine Slimak
  • GCOOS — Glider Coordinator
  • Texas A&M/Sea Grant — Program Coordinator
  • MIT — Assistant Professor, tenure track position, Climate-Related Sciences
  • Mote Marine Laboratory Ocean Technology Program — Staff Scientist/Program Manager
  • NOAA Fisheries — Contract Position, Highly Migratory Species Management Division
  • Florida International University — Open-rank faculty position in Phycology
  • Northern Gulf Institute — Research Associate & Assistant/Associate Research Professor
  • Texas A&M University — Instructional Assistant Professor
  • Postdoctoral Positions: CeNCOOS, University of Southern Mississippi, NRC
  • Fellowships: NOAA & SeaGrant

Funding Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a listing of funding opportunities. Have an opportunity you'd like to advertise? Email Nadine Slimak
  • FY 2020 Ocean Technology Transition Project
  • Gulf of Mexico Alliance

3-7: 2019 CERF 25th Biennial Conference, Mobile Convention Center, Mobile, AL. C onnecting science and society in the collective goals of preserving coastal and estuarine habitats, resources and heritage . Registration to open in February 2019. Abstract submission deadline May 1.
5-7 Esri Ocean and Atmospheric GIS Forum , Redlands, California. Share new data collection methods and research. Discuss ways multi-dimensional data and web apps can help people put scientific information to work in your organization. 
20-22:World Ocean Council 7th Sustainable Ocean Summit , Paris. The annual gathering of the global Ocean Business Community dedicated to advancing private sector action on responsible use of the seas. 
9-13: AGU Fall Meeting, Moscone Center, San Francisco. As AGU marks its Centennial, the meeting will prepare you for rapid developments in science, new approaches to observing Earth and beyond, the introduction of new data streams, growing demand for accessible science, the expansion of convergent science and more.
16: OceanObs RCN San Diego, immediately preceding the AGU/TOS Ocean Sciences Meeting.
16-21: Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020, San Diego Convention Center. This is the flagship conference for the ocean sciences and the larger ocean-connected community. As we approach the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, beginning in 2021, it is increasingly important to gather as a scientific community to raise awareness of the truly global dimension of the ocean, address environmental challenges, and set forth on a path towards a resilient planet. 
Contact Us
GCOOS is the Gulf of Mexico regional component of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and the only certified system dedicated solely to the Gulf of Mexico. Our mission is to provide timely, reliable and accurate information on the open ocean and coastal ocean waters of the Gulf of Mexico to ensure a healthy, clean, productive ocean and resilient coastal zone.

Share Your News
Meeting, job or funding announcement? News about a published study, new project or something that the Gulf ocean observing community needs to know? Email Nadine Slimak .
Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick , Executive Director • Dr. Leila Belabbassi , Data Manager Dr. Chris Simoniello , Outreach & Education Coordinator •  Felimon Gayanilo , Systems Architect • Dr. Shinichi Kobara , Assistant Research Scientist, Product Developer •   Bob Currier, Research Specialist, Product Developer • Marion Stoessel , Senior Research Associate • Dr. Steven Baum , Associate Research Scientist • Jennifer Vreeland-Dawson , Research Associate •  Grant Craig , Program Coordinator • Nadine Slimak , Public Relations & Content Marketing, Vetted Communications, LLC • Dr. Chuan-Yuan Hsu , Post Doctoral Research Associate • Robbie Iles , Graduate Research Assistant
info@gcoos.org • 979.847.8879
In Memoriam: Matt Howard, 1952-2018