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.
July 2016 - In This Issue:
We're getting some good feedback this month from our recently published commentary "Opportunity Lost? Ocean Observing in the Gulf of Mexico" published in the May/June issue of the Marine Technology Society Journal. The commentary discusses the need for new and sustained ocean observing tools in the Gulf of Mexico -- needs that have not yet been addressed despite the fact that we're in the sixth year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
I'd encourage all GCOOS members to read the commentary and share it with others -- especially those state lawmakers and resource managers who are implementing plans for restoration following the spill.
The spill will also be a discussion topic at our September GCOOS Board Meeting. This one-day meeting (8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (CST) Sept. 22 in Houston) will include short updates from the Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida Centers of Excellence. GCOOS Members can contact GCOOS Research Associate Susan Martin for information if they wish attend the meeting.


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
Following the Trail: GCOOS Makes Ocean Sensor Tracks and Data Accessible to All
GCOOS initially developed the Gulf AUV Network and Data Archive Long-term storage Facility (GANDALF) to host data streaming in from gliders operating in the Gulf of Mexico.
Our most recent missions this summer include capturing data gathered from Slocum gliders deployed by the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG) at Texas A&M and Mote Marine Laboratory. GERG's gliders are currently supplying information on water temperature, salinity, density, chlorophyll, CDOM and DO. During its earlier mission, Mote's glider was also using its acoustic receiver to detect tagged fish. Data collected by the gliders are automatically uploaded to GCOOS' GANDALF server, where they are available for public use.

Bob Currier, GCOOS Senior Data Engineer, has also recently been working to include information on the site coming in from drifters made by school kids and from Vela, a solar-powered sailboat drone developed by Navocean.
Educating the Educators
GCOOS Outreach and Education Coordinator Dr. Chris Simoniello recently attended the annual conference of the National Marine Educators Association in Orlando, Florida, where she led a session titled "Climate Stewards in the Making: How NOAA is Preparing Educators for a Changing World."

Simoniello, a NOAA Climate Steward, and members of the panel showcased the NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project (CSEP) and presented hands-on activities that educators can use to strengthen their students' ocean literacy.
From left to right: Mellie Lewis, team leader, Deirdre Englehart, Chris Simoniello, Marcia Taylor and Heather Killeen. Photo by Suraida Nanez-James.
Dr. Robert Hueter, from GCOOS member institution Mote Marine Laboratory where he is Associate Vice President for Research and Director of the Center for Shark Research, was a featured speaker during the plenary session "Saving Sharks... Through Research, Education and Policy."
NMEA's annual conference draws 300-500 formal and informal educators from high schools, public aquariums, non-profit NGOs and government agencies for five days of learning, sharing and networking.

Save the Date for Next Year: June 26-29, 2017, in Charleston, SC, hosted by South Carolina Marine Educators Association.
IOOS Grant Update
The GCOOS-RA has been awarded $1.8 million a year for the next five years to support data collection and distribution in the Gulf of Mexico. The federal grant comes from the U.S. IOOS and GCOOS is one of 11 regional coastal ocean observing systems to receive more than $31 million through IOOS.

Instead of operating its own assets, GCOOS focuses on conducting education and outreach activities, along with data collection and distribution through our data portals and the products we develop. That way, we can provide grant support to outside investigators who develop and implement data collection using their own platforms, allowing us to leverage our limited dollars to increase our partnership with organizations throughout the Gulf and develop a more comprehensive system.

Funding awards have been made to:
  • Texas A&M University: Matt Howard, Chris Simoniello, and Lisa Campbell
  • Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi: Felimon Gayanilo
  • Conrad Blutcher Institute: Gary Jeffress
  • Louisiana State University: Chunyan Li and Nan Walker
  • Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation: Eric Milbrandt
  • University of Southern Mississippi: Stephan Howden
  • Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory: Lei Hu
  • Mote Marine Laboratory: Kellie Dixon and Tracy Fanara
  • University of South Florida: Chad Lembke, Frank Muller-Karger, Mark Luther and Chuanmin Hu
  • University of Colorado: Bob Leben
Partner News
New: Ocean Technology Club for Kids
GCOOS is excited to be partnering with member organization Mote Marine Laboratory on their new Ocean Technology Club. Based in Sarasota, Florida, the program is focused on helping high school students and teachers learn to apply science and technology skills through the mentorship of marine researchers.

Selected members will explore oceanography, physics, chemistry, electronic circuitry and computer programming through real-world examples and applications -- from deploying monitoring devices in local environments to working closely with scientists using robotic gliders to monitor for harmful algae.

The club will be the first of its kind in Florida, led by Mote's Ocean Technology Research Program with the support of Mote's Education programs and Aquarium. In addition to GCOOS, Mote's collaborators include the University of Hawaii, the Naval Surface Warfare Center and Carderock Division.
New HRI Web Tool for Healthy Estuaries
With climate change looming, the pressure to properly manage freshwater resources in a way that supports growing cities while sustaining a healthy environment has never been greater. Researchers at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi announced the launch of a new ecosystem-based web tool created to educate the public and aid in freshwater management decisions, Freshwater Inflow Tools (FIT).
FIT, which is available free online at FreshwaterInflow.org, is a web-based tool created to support coastal management decisions by providing the best-available science on freshwater inflows, the flowing water from rivers and streams necessary to sustain healthy estuaries.
Humans and HABS Reporting System
The CDC has launched a reporting system for harmful algal blooms, as well as a new website with important information for both health officials and the public. The One Health Harmful Algal Bloom System (OHHABS) collects data on harmful algal blooms and associated human and animal illness.

This voluntary reporting system is accessible to state and territorial public health partners and their designated environmental health or animal health partners. It collects data on individual human and animal cases of illnesses from HAB-associated exposures, as well as environmental data about HABs. The goal of OHHABS is to collect information to support the understanding and prevention of HABs and HAB-associated illnesses.
New Reports and Good Reads
Last month we told you about GOMA's recently released "Governors Action Plan III for Healthy and Resilient Coasts."  Here are a few other new publications, reports and good reads available online:
The "Ports Resilience Index." PRI is a self-assessment tool developed for port and marine industry leaders to help them assess whether their ports and regional marine transportation sector are prepared to maintain operations during and after disasters.
"The American Sea, A Natural History of the Gulf of Mexico," by Rezneat Darnell. This title and others are available through the Harte Research Institute Gulf of Mexico Studies Series. 
"Resettling the First American 'Climate Refugees','"  New York Times. In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems. One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change.
Flooding in Cocodrie South Terrebonne Parish Louisiana
Gulf Restoration News
Oil Spill Outreach Team to Continue
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) will fund the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium's Oil Spill Science Outreach Team for three more years. Two years ago, Sea Grant partnered with GoMRI to pull a team together to help answer questions about the Deepwater Horizon spill. The outreach initiative has so far created 10 outreach publications, hosted 15 science seminars (watch the recordings) and given more than 75 presentation. The team will expand its work to create new outreach products.
New Grants Program for Coastal Community Resilience
The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has joined with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to establish a $10 million grants program to fund projects that enhance the science and practice of coastal community resilience in the Gulf of Mexico region. These projects will explore the interrelated health, social, environmental and economic impacts of disasters and other environmental stressors and inform strategies to address these challenges in Gulf communities. This opportunity opens to applicants on July 27.
Analysis of DWH Impacts on the Gulf Seafood Industry
Photo Credit: NOAA
Some of the most severe and complex economic effects of the DWH were on the Gulf of Mexico's seafood industry, according to a study funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The study used two modeling scenarios:
  • Using observed prices following the oil spill
  • Controlling for price changes by using pre-spill prices.
Overall, the estimated negative impacts were greater under Scenario 2 because prices generally rose following the spill.  There were sizable negative impacts to the oyster and menhaden fisheries under both scenarios; impacts to the shrimp fishery were only negative under Scenario 2. This study also entailed a descriptive analysis of the oil spill's impacts on the seafood industry, which provides context to the model's results.  This study provides a useful framework for understanding the impacts of the spill on the seafood industry that future researchers can build upon.
Restoration Resources
Restoration Funding Calendar
  • NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program hosts a three-year calendar that consolidates planned funding opportunities
By State:

Employment Opportunities
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Resilience Team and the Gulf of Mexico Climate Community of Practice (COP) are seeking a project coordinator to help with the development of an online, interactive climate tool decision-support tree.
Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi
CSSC is seeking an assistant research scientist with diverse field and laboratory experiences in fisheries ecology and/or management, strong statistical skills.
The Center is also seeking a post-doctoral research associate to work with the Center's team of fisheries staff and students to contribute knowledge and gain a better understanding of fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant
The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) is searching for a fiscal officer to help support its university-based coastal science program.
Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
This regional planning agency, which represents the interests of 1.7 million residents in the 17 localities of Hampton Roads, Virginia, is seeking a coastal planner with expertise in urban and environmental planning and geographic information systems to support the HRPDC Coastal Resiliency Program; a senior water resources planner/scientist with expertise in watershed planning and stormwater related regulatory programs to lead the Regional Stormwater Management Program and coordinate the Region's involvement in the implementation of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL; and a regional economist with a strong background in economics with general knowledge of econometrics, input-output analysis and the ability to develop research methodologies.
Ocean Conservancy
The Ocean Conservancy is seeking a full-time marine restoration specialist to be based in New Orleans (St. Petersburg, Fla., or Austin, Texas are also possible bases) and a full-time conservation biologist for the Gulf Restoration Program to be based in Austin or New Orleans.
NOAA Fisheries Toolbox
NOAA Fisheries is seeking a contract programmer/project manager for the NOAA Fisheries Toolbox --  a suite of biological modeling programs created for use in fisheries stock assessments.
Alaska Marine Conservation Council
AMCC seeks a consultant with expertise in population dynamics modeling, fisheries stock assessment and fisheries management strategy evaluation to analyze two management actions being developed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council: abundance-based Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) limits for Pacific halibut in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries; a Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) for the Bering Sea.
NOAA Fisheries Management Specialist
NOAA's Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Management Division seeks a fisheries management specialist. The group manages federal recreational and commercial fisheries for tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfishes in the US Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
Funding Opportunities
Gulf of Mexico Alliance
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance offers a summary of funding announcements online.
Events & Meetings


Oceans in Action 2016: Registration is now open for the Marine Technology Society and the Gulf Coast section's "Oceans in Action," an annual two-day workshop at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
  • Date: Aug. 17-18
  • New additions: Technology showcase and industry-led panel discussions.
  • Of Note: GCOOS will be hosting a panel discussion during the meeting

GCOOS-RA Board of Directors meeting, Sept. 21-23. Houston, Tex.

Rising Seas Summit, New Orleans, sponsored by the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), December 13-15. The summit brings together thought leaders, community and urban planners, engineers and policy experts to discuss different methods for adapting to sea level rise.


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.