GCOOS is the Gulf of Mexico regional component of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). Our mission is to provide timely, reliable and accurate information on the open and coastal ocean waters of the Gulf of Mexico to ensure a healthy, clean, productive ocean and resilient coastal zone.
April 2016 - In This Issue:
We wrapped up our annual Board Meeting in NOLA at the beginning of this month. It was a productive meeting and the Board had the opportunity to hear updates from GCOOS staff and PIs. (Meeting minutes and presentation PDFs will be posted here soon.) They also worked on the beginning of our new strategic plan. The plan, which we expect to wrap up later this summer, will be part of our August IOOS certification application and, ultimately, will guide our direction for the next few years.
During the meeting, our public relations and content marketing consultant, Nadine Slimak at Vetted Communications LLC, gave a brief overview of our communications efforts, including our use of Newswise to help distribute our press releases, updates to our enewsletter format and our use of social media -- particularly Facebook & YouTube. One thing she mentioned was the need for content -- especially news from GCOOS members and PIs. In other words, we want to help you spread the word about your news.

So, if you've got some upcoming field work, have newly published results, are beginning a new study or launching a new piece of equipment, we really want to know about it so we can help spread the word about how ocean observing benefits Gulf residents, resource management and industry. If you have an idea for a story or even some new pictures or video, please share them with us so we can share it with others. Email nadine@vettedcommunications.com.
At the meeting, we also announced the results of the Board election and welcomed some new voting and non-voting members into our midst. I think that one of the greatest strengths we have at GCOOS lies in the diversity of our Board and our members and, as Executive Director, I'm pleased that I can draw upon so many perspectives as we work together to build the Gulf's observing system.

Until next month...

Contact GCOOS
Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick , Executive Director

Dr. Matthew K. Howard
DMAC Coordinator

 Dr. Chris Simoniello
Outreach and Education Coordinator

Dr. Shinichi Kobara
, Assistant Research Scientist, Product Developer

Felimon Gayanilo
, Systems Architect

Bob Currier
, Research Specialist, Product Developer

Stephanie Watson, Strategic Program Manager 

Marion Stoessel
Senior Research Associate

Nadine Slimak, Public Relations & Content Marketing, Vetted Communications, LLC

Susan Martin
, Research Associate

Laura Caldwell
, Staff Assistant
News from GCOOS HQ
GCOOS Data Portals Launched in Coordination with White House Event
On World Water Day, the White House hosted a special Water Summit to call attention to water-related issues in the U.S. In connection with this event, GCOOS officially launched two new data portals and was included in the White House briefing report titled "Commitments To Action On Building A Sustainable Water Future from The Executive Office of the President."
The Hypoxia-Nutrient Data Portal, created in partnership with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, and the Citizen Science Data Portal aggregate information gathered from multiple sources and organizations throughout the Gulf so that the information may be used to support informed strategies for protecting the long-term health of the Gulf and its waterways.
Board Update
GCOOS depends on its volunteer board to help set the organization's direction and help connect its activities to the needs of stakeholders in industry, resource management, the scientific community and the public. We'd like to welcome our new and returning Board Members and thank Alan Hart of Continental Shelf Associates, who is rotating off the Board, for his many years of dedicated service to supporting GCOOS and its mission. Returning Board Members: 
  • Jan van Smirren, Partnership Managing Director for the Energy Sector at British Maritime Technology. Van Smirren was an original member of the GCOOS Technical Committee and is a past board Chair and Executive Committee member who has served on numerous working groups. He has more than 30 years of experience in commercial oceanography.
  • Dr. Stephen Howden, Associate Professor in the Department of Marine Science at the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Howden has directed the Central Gulf of Mexico Ocean Observing System since 2003 and has been involved with GCOOS since 2003 in a variety of roles, including Chairman and serving on numerous task teams.
  • Charlene Bohanon, Water Quality Program Manager, Galveston Bay Foundation. Bohanon serves as a grant writer, program developer and project manager for a variety of water quality efforts including the Upper Gulf Coast Oyster Waters TMDL Implementation Plan, Clean Water Partnerships, College Research Experience and various campaigns, workshops and citizen advocate programs at the Foundation.
  • Dr. Pat Hogan, Naval Research Laboratory. Hogan is an oceanographer who serves as the head of the Open Ocean Processes and Prediction Systems Section at the Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center. In addition to directing the global ocean forecasting research, Dr. Hogan has been modeling and forecasting the Gulf of Mexico circulation for many years. These models have been and are used by many in the community for research and for boundary conditions to nested regional models within the Gulf.
New to the Board:
  • Dr. Ruth Perry is with Shell Upstream Americas, where she supports the Regulatory Policy Team and other Shell Exploration and Production Offshore teams in marine science and marine environmental issues integrating marine science and ocean technology into regulatory policy advocacy and decision-making. Her focus areas include marine sound from seismic activities, marine spatial planning, ocean observing systems and marine mammal science. She has been involved with GCOOS since graduate school and has worked on new data products, built new relationships with stakeholders and expanded education and outreach activities.
New Members
Our new GCOOS members represent academia, industry and NGO stakeholder groups conducting business or research in the Gulf of Mexico. Welcome all!

New Voting Members:
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette represented by Beth Stauffer
  • Metanomy, Inc. represented by Cameron Hunt
  • Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve represented by Keith Laakkonen
  • Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve represented by Ayesha Gray
  • Worth Nowlin, Individual Member
New Non-Voting Members:
  • Darren Henrichs, Texas A&M University
  • Richard Allard, Naval Research Laboratory
  • Jeffery P. Morin, RPS Evans Hamilton
  • John Lever, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command
  • Rafael Ramos, Woods Hole Group

Partner News
IOOS Report to Congress
The National Ocean Council recently completed its U.S. IOOS 2015 Report to Congress, which covers 2013-2014. The report provides information on the impact of IOOS activities and the current capabilities of ocean and coastal observations, including specific platforms; updates the status of the Data Management and Communications (DMAC) subsystem  implementation; and informs on the successful implementation of ICOOS Act -- mandated governance activities.
New Guide: Navigating Sea Level Rise Models
The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative has released Keeping Pace: A short guide to navigating SLR models. This quick, four-page guide walks decision-makers, community planners and resource managers through the importance of model selection, describes some need-to-know-concepts, model categories and provides an example. The guide also includes links to the USGS Sea-Level Rise Modeling Handbook and a new categorized list of sea-level rise models.
Ocean Power Technologies, Inc., and the National Data Buoy Center are partnering under a cooperative research and development agreement to conduct ocean demonstrations of the innovative Self-Contained Ocean Observing Payload (SCOOP) monitoring system integrated into OPT's APB350 PowerBuoy®.
The National Data Buoy Center is housed at the John C. Stennis Space Center and designs, develops, operates and maintains a network of more than 250 data collecting buoys and coastal stations that provide critical information to public and private users including weather data, tsunami warnings and ocean conditions.

The initial SCOOP ocean demonstration will be conducted off the New Jersey coast, with additional demonstrations to be conducted at a to be determined site. Site-specific measurements of meteorological and ocean conditions, as well as system performance and maintenance data collection, will be carried out.
Trawl Fishery Regulations
NOAA Fisheries is considering new regulations in the shrimp fishery of the southeastern United States based on information indicating sea turtles are vulnerable to capture by skimmer trawls and tow times may not be as effective in reducing bycatch-related mortality as turtle excluder devices. The agency will host five public meetings around the region to discuss and receive input from fishermen and other constituents on alternatives to reduce sea turtle bycatch and mortality. More info.  NOAA is hosting these upcoming public meetings in the Gulf:
  • Larose, La.,: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 18, Larose Regional Park and Civic Center, 307 East 5th Street, Larose, La., 70373
  • Belle Chasse, La., 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 19, Belle Chasse Community Center, 8398 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, La., 70037.
  • Biloxi, Miss.: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 20, Biloxi Visitors Center, 1050 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, MS 39530.
  • Bayou La Batre, Ala.: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 21, Bayou La Batre Community Center, 12745 Padgett Switch Road, Bayou La Batre, AL 36509.

Cool Tool
NOAA has a new data viewer that shows the impact of water-related activities on the economy. The E-NOW Explorer Tool (which stands for Economics: National Ocean Watch) shows economic data by sector by state and county.

GOMRI Newsletter
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative has released its Spring Newsletter, which includes research news, new peer-review publication listings and science updates. GCOOS Board Member Dr. Nancy Rabalais contributed an article on a marsh sediment expedition to Terrebonne Bay.
Presidential Innovation Award for EnviroEducators
Applications are being accepted for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, administered by the U.S. EPA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The award honors, supports and encourages K-12 educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms and teaching methods. Up to two teachers from each of EPA's 10 regions (from different states) will be selected.
Designating GOMA as Gulf Coordination Entity
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss) introduced the "Gulf States Protection and Restoration Coordination Act," which would designate the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) as a Regional Coordination Entity under NOAA. Authorization would ensure continued collaboration among entities that oversee the health of the marine ecosystem by coordinating the efforts of state and federal authorities with other volunteer and stakeholder activities. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

GOMA Seeks Business Advisory Council Members
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is accepting applications to fill vacancies on its Business Advisory Council (BAC). The Alliance is a nonprofit organization led by the five Gulf states to enhance the ecological and economic health of the region through six priority issues: water resources, habitat resources, community resilience, data & monitoring, wildlife & fisheries and education & engagement
The BAC ensures industry sector participation and advisement for regional initiatives and provides a fundamental connection between policy and applied management decisions.
State of the Coast Registration Deadline Approaching
The regular registration deadline for the 2016 State of the Coast Conference is coming up fast. The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL), The Water Institute of the Gulf and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA) partner to produce this forum, which provides an interdisciplinary exchange of timely and relevant information on the dynamic conditions of Louisiana's coastal communities, environment, and economy. The conference is June 1-3, 2016, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
  • Deadline for Regular Registration: May 16
  • Deadline for Late Registration: May 31
Gulf Restoration News
Judge Approves Final Settlement
A federal judge in New Orleans granted final approval this month to an estimated $20 billion settlement over the Deepwater Horizon explosion, resolving six years of litigation over the worst offshore spill in the nation's history.
Yet, despite the billions of dollars available in the post-DWH era that are to be dedicated to restoration and improved understanding of the Gulf so we can be prepared for future disasters, no money has been allocated to new, sustained observations that provide real-time or near-real time data about the Gulf of Mexico.
At GCOOS, we've been working hard to change this.  We've been meeting with our state resource managers, federal representatives GOs and NGOs to help make sure they understand the need for observing platforms in the Gulf.
Texas One-Gulf Meeting
About 100 members of Texas OneGulf gathered at the Harte Research Institute recently to prioritize research focuses and restoration needs. According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the group will present its strategic plan in March 2017 at the State of the Gulf Summit in Houston.
Restoration Resources
Restoration Funding Calendar
  • NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program hosts a three-year calendar that consolidates planned funding opportunities
By State:

Employment Opportunities
NOAA Seeks Sanctuaries Director 
NOAA is seeking a Director to oversee the Office of the National Marine Sanctuaries. The Director is responsible for the direction and administration, including resolving operational and technical management problems; maintaining surveillance over the organization; and ensuring the timely and adequate implementation of established National Ocean Service (NOS) and ONMS goals and programs.
  • Application deadline is Friday, April 29
  • Details
Marine Technology Society
The Society is seeking a new executive director to lead the multidisciplinary organization with approximately 3,500 individual and organizational members. MTS is seeking a high energy, self-starter to work with a dedicated volunteer leadership committed to significantly growing the organization's international scope and range of services, as well as its impact in representing marine technology and marine technologists.
NAS Gulf Research Program
The Program is seeking to fill the following positions: Senior Financial and Administrative Officer, Manager, Communications, Program Officer in Information Science and Senior Program Assistant, Gulf Research Program.
WilsonLab at Auburn University
One graduate research assistantship -- Ph.D. (preferred) or M.S. -- in aquatic ecology/limnology is available in Alan Wilson's lab at Auburn University. Current lab research projects take advantage of our large field station, which includes hundreds of ponds, and nearby reservoirs where we answer basic and applied questions associated with understanding the ecological, evolutionary and limnological mechanisms controlling the structure and function of freshwater plankton communities with an emphasis on harmful algal blooms. Students are welcome to participate on existing projects but are strongly encouraged to develop their own projects in addition to applying for external grants and fellowships.
Ideal candidates will be hard-working, honest, team-oriented and excited about studying freshwater communities using field and lab-based approaches.  Prior coursework in limnology, ecology and statistics, a strong interest in mentoring undergraduates and relevant research experiences (including analytical skills, such GC-MS, HPLC, ELISA), are desirable. 
  • Email Alan Wilson  & describe why the lab is a good fit for you by May 1, 2016, for full consideration. Please include resume, GRE scores, copies of transcripts and contact information for three references.

Funding & Related Opportunities
Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program
Florida's RESTORE has announced a new funding opportunity for comprehensive ecosystem monitoring and mapping in the Gulf of Mexico. This RFP II focuses on a second eligible priority in the RESTORE Act: the need for ecosystem monitoring to support both Gulf restoration efforts and long-term sustainability of living resources. An RFP II priority objective is to improve data collection for early life stages of Florida's valuable marine fisheries, which are when most fish die, and the least understood and hardest stages to sample.  The new Center of Excellence will specialize in integration of oceanographic observations with biological, chemical and acoustic measurements. The outcome will improve models designed to predict fish stocks and assess environmental disaster recovery.
  • Deadline: 5 P.M. EST June 3
  • Details 
NAS Gulf Research Program
Letters of Intent for the Award Year 2016 Synthesis Grants of the NAS Gulf Research Program are due at 5 p.m. EST April 27. NAS is seeking proposals that use scientific synthesis to connect environmental, social, and/or health data to address one of two themes:
  • Coastal communities: Advancing understanding of the short and long-term impacts of offshore oil and gas operations on coastal communities living along the U.S. outer continental shelf, or
  • Human exposure: Advancing study design, tools, models and technologies for assessing human exposure to environmental contaminants, particularly those related to oil and gas operations, and related impacts on individuals and communities.
  • Learn more
MDEQ Seeking Bids
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is seeking sealed bids for multi-parameter water-quality instruments capable of long-term deployment and application in estuarine/marine environments for the MDEQ - Oyster Restoration and Management - Phase I project.  (Project administered by MDEQ and funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, award #49981.)
A copy of the multi-parameter water quality instruments specifications may be obtained directly from MDEQ by contacting the Purchasing Dept., at 601-961-5370 or by mail, P.O. Box 2369, Jackson, Miss.,  39225-2369.
  • Deadline: 2 p.m. CST, Tuesday, May 3. 
Events & Meetings
The Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice will be hosting its
7th Annual Meeting  in Biloxi, Miss. April 19, 2016. 


Other Gulf-Related Events
Have a meeting announcement? Please email details to Laura Caldwell at GCOOS.


Your input, guidance, support and membership are important to the development of data, products and services that you need. Contact the  GCOOS Business Office to become a GCOOS member and for more information. We welcome your feedback and ideas for relevant news items. Please email your feedback and ideas to Laura Caldwell.