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.
June 2016 - In This Issue:
Happy National Oceans Month, everyone! I hope many of you had the opportunity to attend Capitol Hill Oceans Week in D.C., an annual conference that drives the national dialogue on ocean science, research, policy and management. The conference draws more than 600 policymakers, scientists, scholars, businesses and conservationists. If you couldn't attend and are interested in the discussions that took place, videos of many of the discussions and presentations are available online.
One of the topics at the session was Gulf restoration in the wake of the settlement with BP. That's a subject that GCOOS is addressing in an upcoming commentary that has been accepted for publication in the Marine Technology Society Journal titled "Opportunity Lost? Ocean Observing in the Gulf of Mexico." The commentary focuses on the opportunity we have right now to use settlement funds to improve our observing capabilities in the Gulf and what could be lost if this is not done.
As of this writing, the journal has not yet been published. But once the issue is released, we will be sure to share the commentary here, on our Facebook page and with the media. I'd also encourage you to share it with your colleagues and with decision makers in your field to help increase support for observing tools in the Gulf of Mexico.
Best regards, 
P.S. Just a note of housekeeping for GCOOS Board Members: I know you've all been working on your sections of the GCOOS Strategic Plan. Please don't forget to send those along to me today!

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
Red Tide Forecasting App Story Hits the News

A recent press release from GCOOOS about a red tide app that staff are developing with partners from NOAA, Mote Marine Laboratory and the Florida Department of Health made the news recently.
Red tides caused by Karenia brevis (K. brevis) in the Gulf of Mexico can have a devastating effect on coastal communities, where severe blooms can cause millions of dollars in tourism losses and send people with chronic respiratory diseases to their local emergency rooms.
A three-year $1.1 million grant from NASA is helping the group fine-tune current red tide forecasts with the goal of offering public health managers, coastal residents and visitors a forecast that better reflects coastal conditions on more localized scales. Improved models and forecasts for red tide conditions will help people make healthy choices about where to spend recreation time, increasing protections for public health and coastal economies. 
Lead PI on the project is Dr. Richard Stumpf, Oceanographer with the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean. Other partners include GCOOS Executive Director Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, GCOOS Research Specialist and Product Developer Robert Currier, Dr. Tracy Fanara, Manager of Mote's Environmental Health Program and Andrew Reich, Florida Department of Health's Public Health Toxicology Administrator.

The story appeared in The Fishing Wire, WWSB (Sarasota), WFLA (Tampa)  and the Bradenton Herald.
GCOOS' Young Citizen Scientists Featured in Ranger Rick Magazine
Gulf-wide, hundreds of grassroots groups monitor environmental conditions in their local areas. Often there's no mechanism to share that information with management agencies or organizations that could make real-world use of it. GCOOS is working to change that through our new citizen-science data portal, launched in March in coordination with the White House Water Summit.
The citizen scientists we're working with to pilot this new data portal -- from the Florida Aquarium and the Nature's Academy in Florida and the Galveston Bay Foundation in Texas -- were featured in a recent issue of Ranger Rick magazine, thanks to Dr. Chris Simoniello, director of Outreach and Education. She worked with the editors and photographers at the magazine to put together a feature article looking at how the kids are learning science, learning about the environment and sharing their findings with others.

GCOOS' unique position as a data aggregator allows us to address inherent challenges in integrating diverse datasets collected with different methodologies and instrumentation so that managers can have confidence in the information.
  • If you'd like to learn more about the possibilities of having citizen scientist data from your organization included in the GCOOS data portal, please contact Dr. Chris Simoniello.
GCOOS Conference and Meeting Presentations Online
GCOOS staff members travel to a number of ocean sciences conferences throughout the year to talk about ocean observing capabilities, projects and needs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Many of our presentations are posted online at our website, including recent presentations during the Louisiana 2016 State of the Coast conference, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Southern Association of Marine Labs meeting.
Partner News
Gulf "Dead Zone" Predictions 
Scientists forecast that this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone will be approximately 5,898 square miles or about the size of Connecticut, the same range as it has averaged over the last several years, according to NOAA.gov.
This year marks the second year that a four-model forecast has been used. The four individual model predictions ranged from 5,204 to 6,823 square miles and had a collective predictive interval of 3,200 to 8,597 square miles. The forecast assumes typical weather conditions but the actual dead zone could be disrupted by hurricanes or tropical storms. Data from these four models are used to determine and meet the nutrient reduction targets set by the interagency Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force.
The ensemble of models was developed by NOAA-sponsored modeling teams and researchers from the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, North Carolina State University and the United States Geological Survey. The hypoxia forecast is part of a larger NOAA effort to deliver ecological forecasts that support human health and well-being, coastal economies and coastal and marine stewardship.
GOMA Releases Governors' Action Plan III for Healthy and Resilient Coasts
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance recently released the Governors' Action Plan III For Healthy and Resilient Coasts. This is the third major effort by the Alliance, approved by all five U.S. Gulf Coast State governors. The states of Alabama and Mississippi issued proclamations, declaring support for the plan and emphasizing the vision to improve the health and sustainability of our coastal areas. They noted millions of people depend on it - to live, work, and vacation. In the plan, the Alliance addresses six major regional issues:
  • Coastal resilience
  • Data and monitoring
  • Education and engagement
  • Habitat resources
  • Water resources
  • Wildlife and fisheries
Over the next five years, the Alliance will provide forums for collaboration; develop and modify tools to address regional issues; track restoration efforts and identify and expand opportunities for comprehensive monitoring among other things.
A Gulf Tsunami?
Tim Coleman -- research meteorologist and adjunct professor at the University of Alabama in Hunstvsille --
made waves on GCOOS' Facebook page recently when we shared his findings following a line of heavy thunderstorms that moved along the Gulf Coast in May.

According to Coleman, the storm system was severe enough to produce a
meteotsunami, a large ocean wave caused by meteorological factors.
Data Sharing Info Sheets 
Making ocean data discoverable, available and useable is the foundation for the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®). Currently, more than 15,000 datasets are available -- to anyone, anywhere -- in real-time.
Now, IOOS has developed new one-page info sheets, available for you to use and share, that help explain the importance of data sharing and the benefits it provides to the public. Download them now:
Gulf Restoration News
Oil Spill Conference: Call for Submissions Deadlines June 24
The 2017 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference is now accepting submissions for scientific sessions. The 2017 conference theme, "Ecosystem Approaches to Gulf Response and Restoration," encourages researchers to consider the application of their results for practical use.
The February 2017 conference invites sessions focused on the following objectives:
  • Restoration and recovery
  • Oil spill response and management strategies
  • Human dimensions
  • Ecological impacts
  • Long-term fate and impacts
  • Breakdown and transport
  • Data management
  • Outreach and science communications

New Oil Spill Mitigation Bank
According to Amy Wold at The Advocate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed a new law that authorizes the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to set up an oil spill mitigation bank -- the first of its kind in the nation.

The oil spill mitigation bank would have private investors pay for and build wetland projects included in the state's master plan for coastal restoration and protection. The state would then assign a number of credits that could be sold to oil companies to make up for environmental damage caused by small oil spills.
Federal Funding Opportunity for Coastal & Marine Resources and Habitats
The NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program has released its next federal funding opportunity (FFO-2017), which is focused on living coastal and marine resources and their habitats. This funding competition continues the Science Program's commitment to producing timely and high-quality scientific findings and products to support the management and sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including its fisheries.

Letters of intent are due by July 8, 2016 and the deadline for submitting a full application is Sept. 27, 2016.
A "Dirty Blizzard" in the Gulf?
Scientists working in the Gulf of Mexico have found that contaminants from the massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill lingered in the subsurface water for months after oil on the surface had been swept up or dispersed.

In a new study, the scientists also detailed how remnants of the oil, black carbon from burning oil slicks and contaminants from drilling mud combined with microscopic algae and other marine debris to descend in a "dirty blizzard" to the seafloor.
Restoration Resources
Restoration Funding Calendar
  • NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program hosts a three-year calendar that consolidates planned funding opportunities
By State:

Employment Opportunities
National Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) seeks a contractor for one year to support the Education and Outreach activities of the Ocean Education Team, which is responsible for developing activities and programs for family, adult and teen audiences and training museum volunteers in ocean content and public engagement strategies.
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.
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University
The Observatory seeks a postdoctoral research scientist to participate in a Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative-funded study of the influence of natural oil and gas seeps on the pelagic ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. The position will include fieldwork in the Gulf of Mexico, laboratory analyses of field samples, analysis of metagenomic datasets and synthesis with environmental data sets. Appointment will be for 1-year, with continuation pending funding and progress. Fieldwork will begin in July 2016 and applicants must be able to participate at that time.

Search will remain open for at least 30 days after the ad appears and will continue until the position is filled. If necessary, please contact Ajit Subramaniam (ajit@ldeo.columbia.edu), or Andrew Juhl (andyjuhl@ldeo.columbia.edu) for more information about the project.
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.
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

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.