November 2022
Greetings from GCOOS!

I hope you were able to join us for our recent Fall Members Meeting. We had a great lineup of panelists and more than 80 people attended our virtual session on Nov. 16 — a record attendance for us! Panel discussions were organized around some of the key focus areas outlined in our Strategic Plan, and the discussions will help us as we update our Gulf of Mexico Ocean Observing Build-Out Plan. If you were unable to attend or stay for the whole meeting, we’ve got the recordings posted to our website so you can watch at your leisure. Please see the links below.

Ours wasn’t the only notable meeting in the ocean observing community this month.
CARICOOS hosted the IOOS Association Fall meeting in San Juan Nov. 8-11. Executive Director Julio Morell, and his team organized discussions about IOOS priorities, the Inflation Reduction Act and diversity, equality, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA).
CARICOOS leadership and staff also presented a deep dive into the history, observational assets, projects and partners network they successfully maintain in the marine areas surrounding Puerto Rico and organized two field trips that provided us the opportunity to see CARICOOS observational assets in the Bay of San Juan and natural Caribbean-wide relevant resources at El Yunque National Forest.
The Association also held a directors’ retreat hosted by Dr. Roy Watlington, member and past chair of the CARICOOS board, for the regional associations at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, USVI, on Monday Nov. 7.

Topics included operations, future capacity and collaboration opportunities that have arisen through the Inflation Reduction Act.

These meetings were all great opportunities to discuss ways we can work together to expand our ocean observing capabilities not just in the Gulf of Mexico but nationwide. That they took place on the heels of such a devastating hurricane season only served as a reminder for the importance of what we do as a community.

This season, I’m especially grateful to work with such a vibrant and connected group in the Gulf and look forward to expanding our efforts next year!
News from GCOOS HQ
Welcome to New GCOOS Staff
Please join us in welcoming two new GCOOS staffers!

Dr. Uchenna Chizaram Nwankwo joins us as our new oceanographer through a joint assignment as Research Specialist IV in Texas A&M University's Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG). His role will include high frequency radar and glider mission planning and scientific analyses of oceanographic data. Dr. Nwankwo is an IHO Category ‘A’ Hydrographer who received his Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the University of Southern Mississippi. His major research interests are in sea level change and storm surge that result from tropical storms and hurricanes and he has contributed to the ongoing VDatum project in the inner shelf of the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Tuomo Saari joins us as a member of the GCOOS Data Management and Communications (DMAC) team with a joint appointment as a Research Specialist II in TAMUU’s Department of Oceanography. His role includes data curation and publication, as well as GCOOS cyberinfrastructure system administration. Tuomo earned his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Tampere University, Finland and he has extensive experience in the electronics industry as design engineer, consultant and project manager. He joins GCOOS from his role as a research association managing Imaging FlowCytobots (IFCB) and water quality sensors, their field deployments, data collection, management and analysis.
GCOOS Fall Meeting Recordings
Did you miss the GCOOS Fall Members Meeting on Nov. 16? If so, we’ve got you covered with recordings of the panel discussion, executive director’s updates and more!

  • Visit our website to watch now or bookmark this page to watch later!
GCOOS Webinar Series
The next webinar in the GCOOS series will focus on the UGOS-3 Initiative.

The Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems (UGOS) Initiative is part of the National Academies' Gulf Research Program (GRP) focused on improving the skill of sustained continuous operational forecasts, and associated physical understanding of ocean dynamics for the reduction of risks in offshore energy exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico where deep-water drilling and production occur and/or is anticipated.

The webinar will include Texas A&M University’s Geochemical Environmental Research Group's (GERG) Drs. Steve DiMarco and Tony Knap and the Woods Hole Group's (WHG) Dr. Rafael Ramos.

  • The webinar is being planned for January 2023. Please stay tuned for exact time and date.
Data Spotlight
Satellite Imagery Highlights Hurricane Ian Discharge Plumes
The Earth Scan Laboratory at Louisiana State University monitors Gulf of Mexico coastal areas daily using NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) true color imagery processed by the Lab.

The imagery revealed large floodwater discharges into the Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Ian, according to GCOOS Board Member Dr. Nan Walker and Alaric Haag from LSU’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences and the Coastal Studies Institute, and Dr. Frank Muller-Karger from the University of South Florida’s (USF) Institute for Marine Remote Sensing and Dr. Chuanmin Hu, from USF's Optical Oceanography Laboratory.

The April 10, 2022, reference image (above left) provides a clear-sky view of the coastline from Florida Bay to Tampa Bay. The Sept. 30, 2022, image (above right) reveals the same coastal area two days after Hurricane Ian made landfall near the northern tip of Pine Island.

The post-Ian image reveals the presence of many distinct dark water discharge plumes as dangerous floodwaters receded rapidly into the Gulf of Mexico. The largest discharges appear to have exited Pine Island Sound through large inlets connecting to the Gulf; however smaller discharges are also observable along this entire coastline. The dark color of these plumes is most likely the result of dissolved organic matter (such as tannins) drained from soils and wetlands from across the watersheds spanning much of west and central Florida. In subsequent days, phytoplankton blooms formed in these shallow coastal areas. The spatial resolution of this MODIS imagery is 250 m, useful for identifying coastal discharges that contrast to the clearer Gulf waters. Other satellite and airborne observations are being used to evaluate the destruction that occurred.

New Initiative Seeks to Address OA Across International Borders
A team of scientists from the U.S., Mexico and Cuba met recently 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.

The Gulf of Mexico’s highly valuable and diverse marine, coastal and estuarine environments hold numerous habitats and species — including shellfish, coral reefs, carbonate seafloor environments and economically important fisheries — that are vulnerable to the impacts of ocean and coastal acidification. In addition to the ecological threat, OA poses an economic threat to the Gulf’s blue economy, which is estimated to have a combined value of $2.04 trillion per year across Cuba, Mexico and the U.S.

The Gulf of Mexico International Ocean Acidification Summit, took place Oct. 18-19 in Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico, and was sponsored by the Furgason Fellowship of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The meeting was co-hosted by the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) and the GCOOS Gulf of Mexico Coastal Acidification Network (GCAN). Additional organizing and hosting institutions included the United States Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, Centro de Investigaciones Marinas de la Universidad de La Habana (CIM-UH — Cuba), Centro de Estudios Ambientales de Cienfuegos (CEAC — Cuba), the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM — Mexico), Instituto de Investigaciones Oceanológicas, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California (IIO-UABC — Mexico) and Kalanbio A.C. (Mexico).

Marine Operations
GCOOS Goes Above and Beyond!
A special shout-out goes to GCOOS’s Product Developer Bob Currier, the coding brains behind the brawn of our glider piloting dashboard, GANDALF.

Due to data pipeline technical issues, two Navy gliders stopped reporting their locations to Dr. Catherine Edwards, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, who needed the information to arrange for them to be retrieved at the end of their mission. Currier was able to “fool” the gliders into reporting their locations (using some coding magic that he can explain if you want to email him here) for a very grateful Edwards.

“I can't thank you enough for patching something together to help us see the Navy glider recoveries through this week,” she said. “Realizing the data link was down came at the end of a very long, very bad week and I really didn't know how we were going to add tracking to the other stuff going on. Once again, you're the one finding a fix when something takes a wrong turn upstream, and I think everybody sees just how critically embedded you are in this community and in these hurricane glider efforts. We really couldn't do it without you!”

Great work, Bob!
Human Health and Safety
Red Tide Bloom in Florida
Concentrations of Karenia brevis, the organism that causes red tides in the Gulf of Mexico have been reported on Florida’s Gulf Coast from Manatee County south to Collier County, indicating an extensive and widespread bloom, with fish kills reported in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties — areas recently impacted by Hurricane Ian. People with chronic lung problems like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can have severe reactions when they breathe in airborne red tide toxins and health officials advise these people to avoid areas experiencing red tides.

  • Click here to visit the GCOOS-developed Red Tide Respiratory Forecast, for expected respiratory impacts along Florida beaches. The forecast — available in English and Spanish — allows residents, tourists, and businesses along beaches to know whether respiratory impacts from red tide are expected to occur in their location and what the level of impact is expected to be.
  • Click here for the latest statewide status results from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
New Harmful Algal Bloom Grants
Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s Harmful Algal Bloom Grant Program has awarded funding to three projects to address research related to Karenia brevis, the organism that causes red tide in the Gulf of Mexico. Funding supports recommendations of Florida’s HAB Task Force. Projects:

  • Composite Red Tide Vulnerability Index (CRTVI): Assessing and communicating vulnerability of coastal communities to Red Tide in Florida. PI: Christa D. Court, University of Florida; Co-PIs: Lisa Krimsky, Angie Lindsey, Andrew Ropicki and Ricky Telg, University of Florida; David Yoskowitz, Harte Research Institute. $295,304, January 2023-June 2024
  • Developing a Physical-Biological Model of Karenia brevis Red Tide for the West Florida Shelf. PI: Yonggang Liu, University of South Florida. $299,349, January 2023-June 2024
  • A land-based shellfish depuration mitigation strategy to increase business opportunities and reduce economic losses associated with extended lease closures following red tide exposure. PI: Dana Wetzel, Mote Marine Laboratory; Co-PI: Tracy Sherwood, Mote Marine Laboratory. $246,326, January 2023-June 2024
  • View project abstract and more details
Tech Incubator Focuses on HAB Control
The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is partnering with GCOOS member organization Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida to create a center that will seek, fund and assist projects using technology to reduce harmful algal blooms. (Photo by Chesapeake Bay Foundation and American Multimedia Solutions.)

The UMCES Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore and Mote’s Red Tide Mitigation & Technology Development in Sarasota will manage the initiative, dubbed the U.S. Harmful Algal Bloom Control Technology Incubator.

The partnership recently received a $7.5 million grant from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration to provide selected projects with funding, testing resources and guidance on the licensing and permitting processes.

NOAA HAB Liaison Update
There are numerous trainings, workshops and symposia planned for the upcoming weeks focused on harmful algal blooms in the Gulf and other parts of the nation.

  • Read the latest update from NOAA HAB Liaison, Florida Sea Grant’s Betty Staugler here
Healthy Ecosystems & Living Resources
Advancing Marine Life and Ecosystem Monitoring
GCOOS supports two Marine Biodiversity Observation Network projects that are advancing marine-life monitoring capabilities.

“Characterizing Climate Change in Southeast U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries,” sponsored by the NOAA Climate Program Office and led by USF’s Dr. Frank Muller-Karger, will include Identifying well-defined climate change indicators that can be derived from existing historical data but that are not yet implemented across the National Marine Sanctuaries (ONM) or Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) programs. Outreach and Education Manager Dr. Chris Simoniello is lead GCOOS PI on the project that includes:

  • Developing the identified indicators and assessing trends in variability in relevant essential ocean variables (EOVs);
  • Characterizing interactions among variables and developing case studies;
  • Enabling decision-support capabilities from the integration of data from in situ variables, real-time satellite observations and historical and future scenario climate models.

“The Southeast US MBON: Toward Operational Marine Life Data for Conservation and Sustainability,” also led by Muller-Karger, is a five-year effort funded by the National Ocean Partnership Program that includes

  • Co-designing biodiversity monitoring and assessment with users to generate knowledge on ecosystem services in the context of climate change and human uses of the ocean;
  • Integrating EOVs from traditional and emerging technologies;
  • Using existing species distribution models to generate forecasts;
  • Establishing protocols for online distribution of products.

The projects are being conducted in collaboration with SECOORA and advance remote sensing, animal tracking, sound measurement and eDNA technologies as well as the application of regional circulation and species distribution models that will help document, understand and forecast connectivity of plankton and larger organisms between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, including Flower Garden Banks and the Florida Keys national marine sanctuaries.
Mississippi Drought Webinar Recording
Drought conditions continue to impact the Lower Mississippi River Basin, with more than 73% of the Lower Mississippi watershed in moderate to extreme drought and river levels recently hitting record lows in some areas. To provide the latest information on current drought conditions, impacts felt across economic sectors, and short-term and long-range outlooks, NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) in partnership with NOAA’s National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, hosted a webinar focused on the drought in the Lower Mississippi River corridor.

  • Access the recording here
Comments Sought for Aquaculture R&D Grants Document
NOAA is seeking comments on a draft programmatic environmental assessment (PEA) for its proposal to fund aquaculture research and development projects. The document serves as a framework to analyze the potential impacts on the natural and human environment from aquaculture research and development projects funded by federal financial assistance award programs in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

  • Read the document
  • Read the federal register notice and get details on making a comment
  • Comment deadline: Dec. 18, 2022.
Long-Term Change
Natural Wetlands vs. Restored Wetlands
How do restored wetlands stack up against naturally occurring wetlands?

A team of scientists from the University of Southern Mississippi recently compared restoration sites Deer Island, a small barrier island just south of Biloxi to find out, discovering that neither of the two restored sites are functioning exactly like natural wetlands at this time.

Jim Kelly, left, a restoration practitioner, and Nickolas Murphy, as a University of Southern Mississippi master’s student, record canopy height of Smooth cordgrass in the Deer Island natural marsh site.
The Science of Artificial Reefs
A new book by Dr. William “Bill” Seaman, former Associate Director of Florida Sea Grant and one of the founders of the Florida Artificial Reef Summit, has published a new book detailing the history of artificial or “purpose-built” reefs from the 1970s to today. “Structure in the Sea: The Science, Technology and Effects of Purpose-Built Reefs and Related Surfaces,” covers the art and science of the development of reef building in Florida and across the globe.

Coastal Hazards
Hurricane Nicole Images
Overflight images of Florida’s east coast by the NOAA Remote Sensing Division following Hurricane Nicole are now available online.

  • Click here for the viewer
Managed Retreat: Share Your Perspective
The Gulf Research Program (GRP) is seeking community input on the idea of “managed retreat” in the Gulf Coast region. Managed retreat is strategically moving populations away from environmentally high-risk areas. The GRP is conducting a study to gather information about the challenges, needs, and opportunities associated with managed retreat in the Gulf Coast region, which includes addressing complex psychological and socioeconomic realities and understanding and responding to the unique challenges along the Gulf Coast, such as coastal flooding due to sea level rise, subsidence, and land loss.
The committee is inviting the public to share their experiences, thoughts, and ideas about the movement and relocation of people, infrastructure, and communities away from particularly environmentally high-risk areas in the Gulf Coast region of the United States.

  • Provide your input here
Partner News
New Sea Grant Comms Coordinator
Louisiana Sea Grant has welcomed their new communications coordinator Hannah Bellone, who first worked with Sea Grant during her undergraduate studies at LSU. “I am extremely excited to be returning to Sea Grant,” she said. “I am looking forward to all the outreach and special projects that Sea Grant puts together. I am hopeful that my creative talents will be a great contribution to the program.”
Caraid Award
The IOOS Association presented the 2022 Caraid award to Molly McCammon, former Executive Director and current Senior Advisor of the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) on Nov. 9 during the IOOS Fall Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The award recognizes McCammon for her outstanding contributions to observing, understanding and protection of our oceans and coasts through vision, leadership, friendship, and collaboration.

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
  • NOAA NOS: Deputy Assistant Administrator
  • Ocean Associates Inc.: Oceanographer
  • Ocean Associates Inc.: Coastal Modeler
  • Ocean Associates inc.: Stakeholder Engagement Specialist, Risk Communication
  • 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

  • National Academies of Science, Engineering and Mathematics: Early Career Fellowships
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Sciences: Minorities in Aquaculture Internship Opportunity
  • 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
Webinar: The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) will host their next Wednesday Webinar this week as Christina Mohrman and Dave Reed of GOMA and Drew Stephens with CPC, Inc. provide an update on the Gulf of Mexico Open Data Platform.

  • When: 3 p.m. ET Wednesday, Nov. 30
  • Where: GoToMeeting Pre-registration not required
Webinar: The NOAA Gulf of Mexico Forum is hosting the webinar “Microplastics: What They Are, How to Find the Data, and How to Get Involved” that will include discussion of the marine microplastics database, map portal application and Nurdle Patrol. Speakers will be Jennifer Webster, Research Oceanographer; Coastal Indicators Product Lead, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information and Jace Tunnell, Director, Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, University of Texas Marine Science Institute.

Webinar: GCOOS Partner the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Association is hosting their annual members meeting from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6 at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott and online via Facebook livestream.

  • RSVP to before Nov. 30 to attend in person.
  • To view the livestream, just tune in here at 5:45 p.m.


  • Light Refreshments 5-5:45 p.m.
  • Intro and Welcome at 5:45 p.m.
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • President’s Remarks
  • Legacy Society Inductions
  • Nominating Committee Report
  • CEO Remarks
  • Video Screening: "The Rebuild"
  • Concluding Remarks
Webinar: The Gulf Research Program’s next webinar will focus on HazardAward, a data-sharing tool created by Dr. Christopher Emrich and his team that is designed to help residents and city planners make their homes and communities more resilient to natural hazards. Emrich is a GRP Thriving Communities grant awardee and an endowed professor of Environmental Science and Public Administration within the School of Public Administration and a founding member of the newly formed National Center for Integrated Coastal Research at the University of Central Florida. He and his team created HazardAware to support hazard data democratization. Their goal is to enable everyone to access hazard, risk, vulnerability, resilience, and mitigation information so that they can make more informed and safer housing choices and learn how to mitigate hazard losses to their current homes.

4-8: Restore America's Estuaries, Coastal and Estuarine Summit, New Orleans, Louisiana
12-16: AGU Fall Meeting, Chicago, Illinois
10-11: GOMA Marine Debris Cross-Team, Virtual and at the Mississippi Aquarium, Gulfport, Mississippi
20-21: GOMA Education and Engagement Team, Fontainebleau State Park, Manveville, Louisiana
24-25: Bays and Bayou Symposium, Mobile, Alabama
31- Feb 1: GOMA Data and Monitoring Team, 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