December 2022
Greetings from GCOOS!

From our popular Spring Webinar Series featuring our ocean observing colleagues in Mexico, to reaching milestones for glider missions in the Gulf and other parts of the U.S. — and using our GANDALF piloting tool to start tracking new vehicles (Seagliders and Saildrones) — it’s been a busy year here at GCOOS.

Thanks to supplemental funding from the U.S. IOOS program office and our partnership with the U.S. Navy, we were able to add glider missions dedicated to hurricane prediction and forecasting and new high frequency radar and moorings to our observing system. We also improved HABscope — our micro-algae microscopy system — into HABscope 2.0TM and now are working with Texas A&M University on patent approval.

We were glad to welcome Senior Research Associate Marion Stoessel back from retirement to continue her work with us on a part-time basis and, most recently, welcome new staff members Oceanographer Dr. Uchenna Nwankwo and Scientific Computing Specialist Tuomo Saari to the fold.

We had a record number of attendees for our Fall Members Meeting, which included panel discussions about some of our key focus areas.

Sadly, we ended hurricane season with the devastating Hurricane Ian and we’re doing what we can to support our Florida-based partner, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation in seeking supplemental funding to help them rebuild their observing platforms and facilities.

It's certainly been an eventful year in the Gulf of Mexico, and as we close out 2022, I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for being a part of our observing community. We look forward to continuing our mission and expanding our efforts in 2023!

Best wishes for the New Year,
News from GCOOS HQ
Save the Date for Our Spring Meeting
Mark your calendar and save the date for our Spring Members' Meeting, scheduled to take place in person in Mississippi.

  • When: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT, Tuesday, April 18
  • Where: Hardy Hall/Ballroom on the Gulf Park campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, 730 East Beach Blvd., Long Beach, Mississippi 39560
GCOOS January Webinar
Please join us in January for our next webinar, which will be focused on the use of biogeochemical-Argo autonomous profiling floats. The featured speaker will be Dr. Emily Osborne, from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML). Osborne, a research scientist in the Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division, is using the floats as a tool in her arsenal to study modern biogeochemical cycling and dynamics, specifically human-caused impacts on ocean systems.

  • When: Noon to 1 p.m. ET Jan. 17, 2023
  • Register: Register here to receive the link to join the webinar . We’ll send you a confirmation email with details.

Coming Up: Starting in February, GCOOS will begin hosting a Lunch & Learn webinar series highlighting the work of GCOOS-funded investigators. Stay tuned for details!
Data Spotlight
Modeling Contaminant Outputs
GCOOS is working with partners on a project to create new model code and tools that can potentially be applied to model contaminant transports through the river-estuary-ocean continuum as part of the U.S. IOOS Coastal and Ocean Modeling Testbed (COMT), a conduit between the federal operational and research communities to support the sharing of numerical models, observations and software capabilities.

Led by Dr. Kehui (Kevin) Xu, Director of the Coastal Studies Institute, and James P. Morgan Distinguished Professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University (LSU), the team is working on model outputs that will help NOAA’s National Water Center and other groups needing next-generation water information meet their mission goals.
This satellite image from Louisiana State University's EarthScan Laboratory shows discharge plumes in Southwest Florida following Hurricane Ian.
Through the efforts of Felimon Gayanilo, GCOOS co-Data Manager, TAMU-Corpus Christi and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, GCOOS is part of the multi-stage process of data processing and curation that includes:

  • Scientist-generated, IOOS-compliant models (netCDF);
  • netCDF model outputs that are uploaded to GCOOS data services
  • Data evaluation and publication in GCOOS ERDDAP Data Service
  • Data archive at NCEI; and
  • Data published in the GCOOS/COMT Model Handler facility when applicable.

Keep up with project updates as we document the process that takes us from research to operations!
Addressing Regional Gaps in OA Monitoring
The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Acidification Network (GCAN) and the Southeast Coastal and Ocean Acidification Network (SOCAN) joined together to assess regional monitoring gaps for ocean acidification (OA).

The Networks have developed brief summaries of research and monitoring gaps identified in the 2022 Ocean Chemistry Coastal Community Vulnerability Assessment of the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification (IWGOA) as mandated by the 2020 Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act. They’ve also developed a new survey tool to gather additional information on social and environmental vulnerabilities in the Southeastern U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico. The survey is designed to identify ocean acidification vulnerabilities, research needs and monitoring priorities so that new monitoring tools can be deployed.

Special thanks to GCAN Steering Committee Co-Chair Dr. Kimberly Yates for coordinating the reports.
OA Research Cruises Completed
Researchers from the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi) and TAMU’s Geochemical and Environmental Research Group recently completed two research cruises (Oct. 25-28; Dec. 2-4) in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico to examine OA conditions.

Scientists led by GCAN Steering Committee Co-Chair Dr. Xinping Hu of TAMU-Corpus Christi took physical and chemical measurements in waters from the nearshore to about 1000 m depth. They also brought samples back to the lab for later analysis. During the December cruise, they also deployed a wave glider to monitor the Flower Garden Banks area and survey surface waters for pH and carbon dioxide levels.
Tri-National OA Efforts Make the News
WUSF-FM, the Tampa Bay area NPR affiliate, recently aired a story featuring GCOOS's Dr. Jorge Brenner discussing the tri-national workshop hosted by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies and GCOOS/GCAN. During the workshop, scientists from the U.S., Mexico and Cuba met to exchange information and begin development of a new tri-national initiative designed to address the socioeconomic impacts of ocean acidification (OA) in the Gulf of Mexico based on common needs across nations.

Human Health and Safety
Monitoring the Current Red Tide Bloom
GCOOS has mobilized our team of volunteers who help monitor for red tide conditions along Florida’s beaches because of a Karenia brevis bloom in Southwest Florida. The bloom, which began just after Hurricane Ian hit the state, has caused sporadic beach impacts over the past eight weeks, with patchy concentrations being reported from Tampa Bay south to Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island. Beaches in Sarasota and Manatee counties are being affected by a more prolonged presence of high concentrations of red tide, and recent data indicates that the bloom is shifting north toward Pinellas County.

The amorphous nature of the bloom means that there are varying impacts to individual beaches each day and even throughout the day.
The information that the volunteers collect is used to develop the Red Tide Respiratory Forecast that indicates which beaches may be impacted by Karenia brevis airborne neurotoxins and cause beachgoers respiratory irritation.

Red tide volunteers use the GCOOS-developed HABscopeTM, a low cost, easy-to-use microscope and software package that allows volunteers to take videos of water samples and upload them to a GCOOS portal where a cell count is automatically calculated using image analysis software. These dedicated HABscope volunteers increase their sampling frequency during red-tides and provided more than 300 observations for the forecast in November alone!

Measuring Effectiveness of Red Tide Communications
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recently developed a new video to help explain red tide and its impacts.

Now, the agency is seeking feedback on the messaging contained in the video to determine how effective it is. Survey responses will be used to help the agency develop additional videos.

The survey only takes a few minutes!

Marine Operations
Standardizing Seafloor Mapping
The University of Florida’s West Florida Shelf Standardized Mapping Framework Center of Excellence is seeking input on how stakeholders interact with benthic data to help develop a standardized seafloor mapping framework for the state.

The goal of the 15-minute research survey is to explore how different stakeholders interact with biological, geological, bathymetric, oceanographic and other data in Florida to help identify current practices and community needs. The feedback will fuel recommendations for a standardization that aligns with existing national and international efforts.

Monitoring Shoreline Changes
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded Fugro two mapping projects on the US Gulf Coast to monitor and quantify shoreline change in this flood-prone region.

The projects, located in Texas and Louisiana, are underway and were awarded under an existing indefinite delivery indefinite quality (IDIQ) contract to support the agency’s Coastal Mapping Program. 

New Oyster Farm Resilience Index
The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium has developed a new index to help oyster farmers determine whether their businesses can withstand disaster. The Oyster Farming Resilience Index is a self-assessment tool developed for oyster farmers to serve as a simple and inexpensive method of predicting whether they are prepared to maintain operations during and after disasters — anything from hurricanes and significant environmental events to COVID, which closed restaurants.

Healthy Ecosystems & Living Resources
National HAB Network Webinar
Mark your calendar for Jan. 19 and the next webinar in the National HAB Observing Network’s series. The webinar will focus on the Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCBs), an emerging automated submersible microscope used for monitoring and understanding HABs. The webinar will feature three research scientists who will provide an overview of IFCBs and how the technology is used in current research, along with successes and challenges the new technology holds. (Read more about the IFCB here.)

The Evolution of a Biological Data Program
Interested in the evolution of a marine life program within IOOS?
Check out this recent presentation by Mathew Biddle, Chair, and Abby Benson, Member, of the MBON Data Management and Cyberinfrastructure Working Group.

In the presentation, Biddle, IOOS Data Management Analyst, and Benson, USGS Science Analytics and Synthesis expert, articulate the working group’s purpose, structure, accomplishments, project data flow and more. The team is working on the complex challenges of aggregating and integrating a wide array of biological data sets and making them publicly accessible.
Long-Term Change
Collaborating for the Future
The Network-to-Network (N2N)Gulf Collaborative steering committee met recently at Rice University to develop a partnership agreement that will help the network grow and allow for organizations and institutions to collaborate on social-ecological science and data services throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

“As this Network grows, it will offer many opportunities for collaboration on important social and ecological science in the Gulf,” said GCOOS Executive Director Dr. Jorge Brenner, who attended the Dec. 1-2 meeting.

N2N is hosted by TAMU and managed by a steering committee of representatives from academia, industry and government.
Coastal Hazards
Hurricane Ian’s Lifecycle
The National Weather Service developed a story map focused on Hurricane Ian and its trek across Florida — and the damage it left behind.

Risk Communication to Underserved Communities
The NOAA Water Initiative recently completed the report “Enhanced Engagement and Risk Communication for Residents in Underserved Communities: Research Findings, Best Practices, and Lessons Learned 2022.”

The literature review of risk communication and community engagement was created to better understand how NOAA can effectively support underserved and/or underrepresented communities that are often vulnerable to coastal hazards and develop culturally relevant and targeted resources.

NOAA also hosted a seminar series webinar recording about the report with Brenna Sweetman, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, GCOOS Board Member Renee Collini, Mississippi Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Karla Lopez (prev.) NOAA CESSRST Scholar and Katy Hintzen, Hawaii Sea Grant.

In Memoriam
We're sad to share the news of the Dec. 4 passing of Julie Currier, 65, wife of Bob Currier, GCOOS co-data manager and product developer.

Bob and Julie began their partnership as pen pals after being introduced by Julie's brother, who attended Navy boot camp with Bob. Letters progressed to phone calls, then visits and culminated in their marriage in 1977.

From data conferences and meetings to hobbies and home, Bob and Julie were inseparable (friends even referred to them by nickname "bobandjulie"). Julie loved the ocean and all of its beautiful creatures, and she supported Bob's work in oceanography with all her heart. Memorial donations in her honor may be made to an animal-related charity of your choice.
Job Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a jobs listing for positions and fellowships in the ocean observing community. Want to advertise a position? Email Laura Caldwell

  • Texas A&M University: GIS Developer
  • Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi: System Administrator II
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration NOS: Deputy Assistant Administrator
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service: Environmental Specialist
  • Ocean Associates Inc.: Coastal Modeler
  • Ocean Associates inc.: Stakeholder Engagement Specialist, Risk Communication
  • Texas General Land Office, Coastal Resources Program: Natural Resources Specialists III (Beach Access and Dune Protection
  • Texas General Land Office, Coastal Resources Program: Natural Resources Specialists III (Project Manager)
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Biological Scientist
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Environmental Specialist
  • Lynker: Coastal Hydrodynamic Modeler
  • State of Louisiana: Coastal Resources Scientist Senior DCL B
  • Gulf of Mexico Alliance: Program Coordinator
  • Mote Marine Laboratory: Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Postdoctoral Fellow; Seagrass Ecosystem Research
  • The Woods Hole Group, Inc.: Senior Oceanographer
  • The Woods Hole Group, Inc.: Metocean Analyst
  • GOOS Biology: Data Manager

Postdoctoral Positions:
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Sciences, NRC Research Programs
  • National Research Council: Research Associateship Programs Postdoctoral and Senior Research Awards
  • Rosenstiel School's Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences: Postdoctoral Associate

  • NMFS-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship Program
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration - Coastal Management Fellowship
  • National Academies of Science, Engineering and Mathematics: Early Career Fellowships
  • Department of Defense: Visualization of Coastal Data, Coastal Vulnerability Assessment Fellow
Funding Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a listing of funding opportunities. Have an opportunity you'd like to advertise? Email Laura Caldwell

  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration: Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration: Translating Coastal Research into Application
  • IOOS: Ocean Technology Transition Project
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Gulf Research Program: Understanding the Effects of Climate Change on Environmental Hazards in Overburdened and Underserved Communities
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine: Safer Offshore Energy Systems
  • Gulf Research Program: Safer Offshore Energy Grant
  • Climate and Fisheries Adaptation Program (CAFA): FY23 Funding
  • Gulf Research Program: Safer Offshore Energy Systems Grants
  • Gulf of Mexico Alliance
10-11: GOMA Marine Debris Cross-Team Mid-Year Meeting, Virtual and at the Mississippi Aquarium, Gulfport, Mississippi
20-21: GOMA Education and Engagement Team Mid-Year Meeting, Fontainebleau State Park, Manveville, Louisiana
24-25: Bays and Bayou Symposium, Mobile, Alabama
31- Feb 1: GOMA Data and Monitoring Team Mid-Year Meeting, Virtual
8 and 15: GOMA Wildlife and Fisheries Team Mid-year-Meeting, Virtual
4-6: Ocean Visions Biennial Summit 2023, Atlanta, Georgia
4-9: ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting 2023, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Have meeting or workshop info you want to share? Email Laura Caldwell.
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 on-demand information about the Gulf’s coastal and open ocean waters that is accurate, reliable and benefits people, ecosystems and the economy.
Dr. Jorge Brenner, Executive Director • Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, Senior Advisor  Bill Lingsch, Underwater Glider User Group Coordinator  Dr. Chris Simoniello, Outreach & Education Manager  Felimon Gayanilo, Systems Architect, Co-Data Manager • Bob Currier, Product Developer, Co-Data Manager • Dr. Uchenna Nwankwo, Oceanographer  Marion Stoessel, Senior Research Associate • Tuomo Saari, Scientific Computing Specialist • Jennifer Vreeland-Dawson, Research Associate, GCAN Coordinator • Grant Craig, Program & Volunteer Coordinator • Laura Caldwell, Program Assistant • Nadine Slimak, Public Relations & Content Marketing, Vetted Communications, LLC
In Memoriam: Matt Howard, 1952-2018