June 2021
We’re barely into summer and things sure are heating up in the Gulf! The National Hurricane Center is monitoring several disturbances, we’re deploying gliders, making hypoxia predictions and tracking long-term changes to Gulf systems. Of course, the ocean observing community doesn’t undertake these activities just because we’re fascinated by our oceans (though, of course, we are!). Ocean activity is big business in the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S.

In fact, a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and NOAA shows that the marine economy accounted for 1.9 percent, or $397 billion, of current-dollar U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and supported 2.4 million jobs in 2019, growing at a pace that outstripped U.S. economic growth as a whole. By 2030, global growth is projected to reach $3 trillion. (See more in this NOAA story map.)

Understanding our oceans and coasts is critical for the U.S. and is especially important in the Gulf of Mexico where offshore energy production is focused, where tourism reigns and ports, shipping and commercial fishing are so important to the economy. As we move further into summer — and deeper into hurricane season (check out our 'new normal' hurricane video) — I just wanted to say how important the work you do is and point out what it means to us all.

Until next month,
Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick
Executive Director
News from GCAN
GCAN Webinar Series Presents: “Oxygen and Carbon Dynamics from Texas to the Arctic”
The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Acidification Network (GCAN) webinar series explores topics related to ocean acidification in the Gulf of Mexico and other regions. The series is presented by GCAN and NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program (OAP).

The next webinar — “Oxygen and Carbon Dynamics from Texas to the Arctic” — will be presented by Dr. Hongjie Wang, Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Washington Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES) and the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL). Wang’s research focuses on the marine carbon cycle, as well as new technology development and ocean acidification monitoring.

OA Fellowship Workshop
GCAN has partnered with NOAA’s Sea Grant Program to present a special workshop specifically for fellows in ocean acidification programs. The workshop will give students attending university programs in Louisiana and Texas an opportunity to meet and collaborate with scientists already working in the field of ocean acidification. The virtual workshop will take place in July and is an invitation-only event. Participating students are Amanda Kirkland, Larrissa Dias, Le Zang, Sean Gordon, Richard Rosas.

These students are working their way into the research community and this workshop will give them an opportunity to interact with established OA scientists who can provide guidance, discuss networking, collaboration and other areas of interest in the Gulf. They’ll have the opportunity to work with Dr. Xinping Hu (TAMUU-CC), Dr. Emily Hall (Mote Marine Laboratory), Dr. Kim Yates (USGS), Dr. Emily Osborne (AMOL), Dr. Erica Ombres (NOAA OAP). Dr. Libby Jewett (NOAA OAP) will give the opening remarks.
A. Kirkland
L. Dias
L. Zhang
S. Gordon
R. Rosas
Data Spotlight
New HAB Bulletin for Florida Lake
A new provisional forecast and bulletin has been released for harmful algal blooms in Lake Okeechobee. The project, titled “Harmful Algal Bloom Assessment of Lake Okeechobee (HALO),” is funded by a $2.2 million grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Office of Ecosystem Projects Harmful Algal Bloom Innovative Technology Program.

HALO includes a web-based platform designed by GCOOS for visualizing Lake Okeechobee freshwater HAB bloom intensities and extents, as well as results of environmental characterization and modeling. Project partners include Florida Atlantic University-Harbor Branch (Dr. Jordon Beckler, lead PI), GCOOS, Florida Gulf Coast University, Navocean Inc., and Analytical Instrument Systems, Inc.

The bulletin targets several audiences, including recreational lake users, drinking-water managers and public health agencies.

  • Sign up for the bulletin here
  • View the latest bulletin here
  • View the HALO dashboard here
The People Behind the Data
Welcome: GCOOS Intern
GCOOS is happy to host Abigail Schulz, a second-year intern with NOAA’s Jose E. Serrano Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institution (EPP/MSI) Internship Program. Schulz, who is being mentored by Systems Architect Felimon Gayanilo and NOS/IOOS’s Hassan Moustahfid, is a senior at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Last summer, she collaborated with NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Hawaii as part of the EPP/MSI internship. There, she helped to train an AI-enabled package used to identify bleached coral. The internship sparked her interest in using AI technology to monitor coral reefs. Her plan this summer is to collaborate with NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary to help in the survey of coral reefs using AI technology.
Marine Operations
Hurricane Glider Project
The hurricane season has officially begun, and Hurricane Glider Project partners are preparing and conducting deployments, starting in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Texas A&M's Geochemical and Environmental Research Group deployed two gliders — one of their own and a Navy-owned glider — on June 12.

More than 25 deployments are planned in the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic Bight, South Atlantic Bight, Gulf of Mexico, and Bahamas. The temperature and salinity profiles from these gliders are used to reduce uncertainty in land-falling tropical cyclone intensity forecasts and improve our understanding of how the ocean and atmosphere interact during tropical cyclones.

Texas news station KBTX recently did a story about the deployments featuring GCOOS Oceanographer Dr. Kerri Whilden.

UG2 Updates: Friday Webinar & Glider Community Surveys
Webinar: The Underwater Glider User Group (UG2) continues its industry series with a webinar tomorrow.

  • When: 2-3:30 EDT p.m. June 17
  • Tentative Agenda: UG2 Updates, UG2 Focus Group Updates, and Industry Presentations from RBR and JASCO Applied Sciences.
  • Webinar Link
Surveys: UG2 is getting ready to post results of a glider community survey about collaborations but would like more participation. UG2 is also collecting information on planned glider deployments. If you’re a member of the glider community, please take a few minutes to complete both surveys if you have not yet done so.

New Colloquia on Offshore Energy
The Gulf Research Program, in cooperation with the National Academy of Engineering, invites you to attend an inaugural event in a new colloquia series focused on offshore energy.

The Honorable Donald Winter (74th Secretary of the Navy) and moderator, Al Romig (National Academy of Engineering) will discuss several case studies to illustrate the challenges of establishing and maintaining appropriate corrective actions to enhance offshore energy safety.

Oil & Gas Lease Injunction
From the Wall Street Journal: A federal judge in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Biden administration from pausing new oil and gas leases on federal land. Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. District Court in Monroe said the administration doesn’t have the legal right to stop leasing federal territory for oil-and-gas production without approval from Congress.

The judge, appointed by former President Donald Trump, also said that states suing the federal government — largely southern and coastal states — will be harmed immediately as the pause prevents them from collecting lease bids and bonuses from oil-and-gas prospectors. The suit was filed by the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

Human Health and SafetyHeHEALTH
Hurricanes and the New Normal
With the National Hurricane Center giving the current disturbance in the Bay of Campeche a two-day cyclone formation chance exceeding 60%, there’s no time like the present to learn more about these tropical systems! As the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season gets under way, GCOOS is pleased to release this new primer on hurricanes — with emphasis on facts backed by science.

As the climate changes, "normal" baselines about weather, storms and more are changing, too. This video explores the new normal in hurricanes and tropical storms.

The four-minute video was funded by the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Network and developed in a partnership between the GCOOS Outreach and Education Council and Robin Cooper, Executive Producer, Future Vision Multisensory Media. Special thanks are extended to collaborator Roy Kron, Director of Communications at Louisiana Sea Grant, for generously sharing their disaster and recovery photo albums.

The video is the first in a series called the New Normal that was originally scoped in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic gave the term new meaning.

  • Don't forget to bookmark the GCOOS hurricane page! It compiles everything from the latest storm tracks, to hurricane prep and more.
Red Tide Respiratory Forecast Team Mobilizes
HABscope community scientists and partners continue to monitor the ongoing Karenia brevis bloom along Florida's west coast. While the intensity of the bloom has recently subsided near Naples and Sanibel Island, higher levels of K. brevis — the organism that causes Florida red tides — and bloom conditions are now being recorded in Pinellas County in areas from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater, meaning that HABscope volunteers have been mobilized in those areas.
While the location and intensity of bloom conditions vary from day to day — and even hour to hour — the Red Tide Respiratory Forecast provides information on potential respiratory irritation impacts on specific beaches throughout the day.  Beaches only a few miles apart may experience different levels of respiratory impact due to factors such as wind speed and direction. 

The Forecast allows residents, tourists, and businesses along the beaches to know whether impacts from red tide may occur where they are and what the level of impact is expected to be.  

HABscope community scientists, partners and volunteers make the Red Tide Respiratory Forecast possible through their consistent monitoring, which ensures that dozens of beaches along Florida's west coast are monitored each day when bloom conditions are present in order to help the public stay safe and enjoy the beaches during red tides. 
Making Mariners Safer
NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) has worked with its partners in the Gulf of Mexico to add new current meters to two Physical Oceanographic Real-Time Systems (PORTS®), improving the safety of marine navigation in the area.

  • Corpus Christi PORTS added a current meter in the Corpus Christi Channel, the fourth current meter in this system.
  •  A new current meter was also brought online as part of the Sabine Neches PORTS, making it the eighth operational current meter in this PORTS on the border of Texas and Louisiana.

Real-time current information helps mariners — particularly those operating large cargo ships — navigate safely, protecting life and property and keeping commerce moving smoothly in the Gulf of Mexico.
Long-Term Change
Building a Climate-Resilient Future
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is hosting a conversation on the role infrastructure and engineering have in building a climate resilient future. Mariette DiChristina (Boston University) will moderate a conversation with John L. Anderson (President of the National Academy of Engineering) and Thomas P. Bostick (former Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and GRP Division Committee Member)

Climate and Environmental Justice
The Gulf Research Program is hosting a webinar on how climate could exacerbate stressors in marginalized communities across the Gulf. “Perspectives on the Future of Climate and Environmental Justice on the U.S. Gulf Coast” will include members of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council discussing critical steps being taken or that need to occur to advance climate and environmental justice for all those who call the Gulf of Mexico region home. The conversation will feature Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Dr. Beverly L. Wright and Catherine Coleman Flowers and will be moderated by New Orleans Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate journalist, Halle Parker.

Healthy Ecosystems & Living Resources
Annual Hypoxia Forecasts
The summer dead zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana is predicted to be more than 4,000 square miles this year, according to the compilation forecast produced by NOAA based on models developed by researchers from Louisiana State University, University of Michigan, William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, North Carolina State University, Dalhousie University, and the USGS. The NOAA forecast integrates the results of these multiple models into an average. The research teams also develop independent models predicting the size of the dead zone.

  • Dead zones occur when waters become hypoxic — depleted of oxygen.
  • Dead zones don’t have enough oxygen to support marine life, which impacts commercial fisheries and has long-term impacts on benthic communities.

The dead zone in the northern Gulf is the second largest dead zone in the global ocean caused by human activities. In the Gulf, the primary driver for its size is excess nutrient loading from agricultural practices and other human activities taking place upriver. Water from parts of or all of 31 states drains into the Gulf of Mexico — that’s 41 percent of the contiguous U.S.
NOAA’s Forecast: This summer’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone or “dead zone” will be approximately 4,880 square miles. The 2021 forecasted area is slightly smaller than the five-year average dead zone size, which is 5,400 square miles, and substantially smaller than the record of 8,776 square miles, set in 2017.

LSU Forecast: GCOOS members Dr. Nancy Rabalais and Dr. R. Eugene Turner are predicting a slightly smaller dead zone: 4,761 square miles (the 95 percent confidence interval is that it will be between 4,014 and 5,524 square miles). Estimates are based on assumptions of no significant tropical storms or other wind events.

Oxygen concentrations in bottom water across the Louisiana shelf from July 23-July 29, 2019. Data source: N.N. Rabalais and R.E. Turner, Louisiana State University; funded by NOAA, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.
Where is the Water From?
Have you ever wondered where the water flowing into the Gulf of Mexico comes from and the path it took to get here?

If so, the “River Runner” is for you! This cool data visualization tool developed by Sam Learner lets you “place” a drop of water on a map anywhere in the contiguous U.S., then it flies you along the path the drop takes. Learner used data from the United States Geological Survey’s NLDI API, along with additional NHDPlus data.

Marine Life 2030
GCOOS MBON collaborator Dr. Frank Muller-Karger was instrumental in the design of Marine Life 2030, now an official part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). Marine Life 2030: A Global Integrated Marine Biodiversity Information Management and Forecasting System for Sustainable Development and Conservation supports the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO’s efforts to foster collaboration and coordination by its 150 Member States to protect the health of our shared ocean. The program is one of 66 actions endorsed by the IOC on World Ocean’s Day in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science.

“This program integrates expertise across many institutions, countries, and disciplines,” Muller-Karger said. “Societies everywhere need exactly this kind of sustained, all-hands-on-deck effort, and we’re beyond thrilled to have our program endorsed by the UN.”

Like IOOS, the Marine Life 2030 program is intended to be a network of networks designed to unite existing and new technologies and partners into a global, interoperable network and community of practice to advance observation and forecasting of marine life. It will serve as a connector and facilitator among IOOS, the GEO BON Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), the World Conservation and Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and many more. In addition to a host of national and international government partners, the program, led by the Smithsonian Institution, includes more than 30 NGO partners and nearly 40 academic partners across the globe.

Coastal Hazards
GoMRI Special Issue of Oceanography Magazine
The latest issue of Oceanography magazine is dedicated to 10 years of science from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). GoMRI was created to investigate the impacts of the oil, dispersed oil, and dispersant on the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

The special issue of Oceanography is the culmination of a decade of GoMRI research and includes a collection of articles describing key advances, surprises and novel discoveries for the Gulf of Mexico and other regions where GoMRI's research was conducted and has application. It also includes lessons learned and research needs and gaps.

NOAA Seeks Nominees for New Marine Debris Foundation Board
NOAA is seeking nominations for the Board of Directors for the Marine Debris Foundation, which was created under the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act of 2020 as a charitable, nonprofit organization to support NOAA’s marine debris activities. NOAA is seeking 12 people to serve, including those with background in the assessment, prevention, reduction, and removal of marine debris; post-consumer materials management or a circular economy; ocean and coastal resource conservation science or policy; international trade or foreign policy; and experience or skills related to fundraising and nonprofit management.

  • Deadline: 11:59 p.m. EDT June 30, 2021
  • 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.

Job Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a jobs listing for positions and fellowships in the ocean observing community. Want to advertise a position? Email Laura Caldwell
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine: Senior Program Officer Gulf Environmental Protection and Stewardship Program
  • Georgia Southern University: Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Marine Sciences
  • Mote Marine Laboratory: Staff Chemist Ocean Acidification, Communications Coordinator, Marine Engineer, Aquarium Biologist (Mammals and Reptiles) (Part Time)
  • Florida Sea Grant: Extension Agent I-IV
  • Great Lakes Observing System: Accoutant

Postdoctoral Positions:
  • NOAA: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Sciences, NRC Research Programs

  • NASEM: Early Career Fellowships
  • Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship

Funding Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a listing of funding opportunities. Have an opportunity you'd like to advertise? Email Laura Caldwell
  • NASEM: Gulf Research Program’s Early-Career Research Fellowship
  • NOAA Ocean Exploration Fiscal Year 2022
  • RFP: Attending Uncrewed Aircraft Systems Science Courses
  • FY 2022-2023 Magaret A. Davidson Fellowship Request for Proposals
  • Gulf Research Program: Improving Gulf Forecasts
  • Restore Science Program

28-20: Blue Planet Global Forum Artificial Intelligence for A Digital Blue Planet is a three-day global forum.
13-17: The 3rd NOAA Workshop on Leveraging AI in Environmental Sciences — a hybrid event. “Transforming Weather, Climate Services, and Blue Economy with Artificial Intelligence.”
21-23: GOMA Team Mid-Year meetings, Biloxi. Hybrid virtual/in-person meeting. Details to come.
25-27: MTS 15th Buoy Workshop, Wilmington, North Carolina. "Moored Systems for the Future." Abstracts due Sept. 1.
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, accurate and on-demand 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.
Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, Executive Director Bill Lingsch, U.S. Glider User Group Coordinator Dr. Chris Simoniello, Outreach & Education Coordinator • Dr. Kerri Whilden, Oceanographer  Felimon Gayanilo, Systems Architect, Co-Data Manager • Dr. Shinichi Kobara, Assistant Research Scientist, Product Developer •  Bob Currier, Research Specialist, Product Developer, Co-Data Manager • Marion Stoessel, Senior Research Associate • Jennifer Vreeland-Dawson, Research Associate • Grant Craig, Program Coordinator • Stephanie Watson, CETACEAN Coordinator Nadine Slimak, Public Relations & Content Marketing, Vetted Communications, LLC • Dr. Chuan-Yuan Hsu, Post Doctoral Research Associate • Robbie Iles, Graduate Research Assistant Laura Caldwell, Program Assistant
info@gcoos.org • 979.847.8879
In Memoriam: Matt Howard, 1952-2018