January 2020
Greetings from GCOOS
This year is off to a great start! I’m just back from the mid-year meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance in Mobile where they kicked off the 2020 Embrace the Gulf campaign — be sure to join in the fun through social media.

We’ve scheduled our annual meeting for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 2 in New Orleans. Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Michelle Heupel, Director of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System. Since 2006, IMOS has been routinely operating a wide range of observing equipment throughout Australia’s coastal and open oceans, making all of its data accessible to the marine and climate science community, other stakeholders and users and international collaborators. More meeting details will follow on our website and in next month’s enewsletter.

We’ve also opened nominations for the GCOOS Board of Directors. See our first item for details on what a Board position entails and how to nominate yourself or someone else.

I’m pleased to announce that GCOOS Board Member Bill Lingsch has come aboard as coordinator of the U.S. Underwater Glider Group (UG2). This is a new position jointly managed by GCOOS and IOOS and will help bring the glider community together and help keep the momentum going for glider activity coordination. 

Until next time!

News from GCOOS HQ
GCOOS Board Nominations are Now Open
We’re now accepting nominations for our Board of Directors. 
Nominations for the GCOOS Board of Directors will close at 5 p.m. (CST), Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. The Board seeks colleagues interested in and committed to working within an organization dedicated to providing data, information and products to the Gulf of Mexico stakeholder community.

  • Setting policy for the organization and providing direction to the Executive Director, including bylaws revisions as necessary;
  • Establishing and maintaining the structure of the Regional Association, including approval of appointments to Councils, Committees, Task Teams or other groups;
  • Approving budgets, the business model, proposals and endorsements requested by members for proposals they intend to submit.

Board Service:
  • 3-year terms
  • Two annual, in-person meetings and phone meetings every two months (the Board may also be called to meet when priority situations arise);
  • Directors are not paid but expenses related to GCOOS travel are reimbursed
  • Self-nominations are welcome.

Human Health & Safety
2020 is the Year to Embrace the Gulf
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is embarking on a year-long awareness campaign to embrace the shared, fantastic resource that is the Gulf of Mexico. The goal of the campaign is to promote the Gulf's vitality, sustainability, beauty and productivity.

The campaign puts a focus on the basics: resilient coastal communities, prosperous industries, superior educational opportunities, thriving tourism and healthy ecosystems. Support the Gulf of Mexico by insisting on Gulf seafood, supporting local nature-based activities and finding substitutes for single-use plastics, among other things.

Marine Operations
New Glider Coordinator
GCOOS and IOOS are pleased to announce that we have filled a newly funded position developing the U.S. Underwater Glider User Group — UG2.

Bill Lingsch has been named Coordinator. He will further develop UG2 and facilitate the exchange of information and expertise among glider users throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the broader U.S., including sharing best practices.

Lingsch’s 37-year career in the ocean sciences has included 31 years with Naval Oceanography and six years in the private sector supporting Navy Oceanography in R&D and operations. He is Past Chair of the GCOOS Board of Directors (2016-2017) and has been a GCOOS member for five years. He is most recently the Director of Ocean Science and Technology for Perspecta (formerly Vencore, Inc.) at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Welcome aboard Bill!
Glider Updates
What’s happening on GANDALF , our glider portal? Here’s a snapshot: Texas A&M and the University of Southern Missouri just completed glider deployments of more than 100 days. The TAMU glider named Sverdrup was launched on Sept. 26 and spent 103 days monitoring the waters near the Flower Garden Banks for the NOOA/IOOS Hurricane Glider project.  The USM Seaglider, sg636, was at sea for 118 days patrolling the Atwater Valley region.
Healthy Ecosystems & Living Resources
Did Hypoxia Cause 2016 Coral Die Off?
“It was disturbing — we’d never seen anything like this before,” said G.P. Schmahl, Superintendent of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary after a 2016 event during which dead and dying corals were found at the East Flower Garden Bank reef — while not far away, the reef remained healthy. 

The reason? It was a mystery.

Now, researchers from Texas A&M University believe that two hypoxic events were at play, according to an article published in the journal Coral Reefs.
Tracking Marine Animals
Ever wonder where animals go in the wild? You can now find out!
From the Maritime Executive : Thanks to a long-running effort between the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its partners in the U.S. Animal Telemetry Network (ATN), scientists — and the general public — can now access a large database on marine animal telemetry on the web. For the curious, hundreds of tagged turtles, seals, whales, sharks and other marine animals can now be tracked on an online map, much like ships on a commercial AIS database. The map above shows the movements of tagged elephant seals off the U.S. West Coast, Nov. 20-Dec. 20, 2019. (ATN)
NOAA Undertakes Emergency Action to Restore Florida’s Reefs
Over the last 40 years, coral reefs in the Florida Keys have suffered dramatic declines. Nearly 90 percent of the live corals that once dominated the reefs have been lost.

Emergency action is required to change the trajectory of the health of coral reefs in Florida, and to protect the economy that depends on them.

NOAA and partners have developed a first-of-its-kind approach to restore corals at seven ecologically and culturally significant reef sites in the Florida Keys.

Coastal Hazards
Loop Current Session at GoMOSES
The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies has a session planned for the 2020 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science (GoMOSES) Conference Feb. 3-6 in Tampa, Florida. ( Conference details )
The GRP Loop Current session will take place from 2-5:30 p.m. Feb. 4, with a free reception to follow.

The Gulf of Mexico Loop Current System is the dominant ocean circulation feature in the Gulf with far-reaching impacts. Discussions at the session will focus on the most recent advances in understanding and predicting the Loop Current as well as the application of those advances towards societal benefit for Gulf Coast communities. 

MDEQ Chief Leaving
Gary C. Rikard, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), announced that would be leaving the agency Jan. 13, 2020. Rikard has served as Executive Director since appointed by Governor Phil Bryant in September 2014. He previously worked at the agency as an Environmental Engineer and a Senior Attorney in the 1990s before practicing environmental law in the private sector.
Gulf Restoration Plan Finalized
The Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustees have released a final Open Ocean Restoration Plan. They selected 18 projects totaling almost $226 million to help restore fish, sea turtles, marine mammals and deep-sea coral habitat injured by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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.

Long-Term Change
Read the Latest GoMRI Newsletter
The latest edition of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative’s newsletter is available as a downloadable PDF. GoMRI is a 10-year, $500 million independent research program established by an agreement between BP and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to study the effects of the Deepwater Horizon and the potential associated impact of this and similar incidents on the environment and public health.

Newsletter highlights include:

  • A summary of GoMRI researchers participating in Smithsonian's “Expert Is In” program;
  • A recap of GoMRI's attendance at the AGU fall meeting;
  • C-IMAGE and Story Collider's collaboration, by Ari Daniel.

Regional Ocean Partnership Update
In December, Florida Rep. Charlie Crist, along with Mississippi Rep. Steven Palazzo, California Rep. Alan Lowenthal and New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith introduced H.R. 5390, the Regional Ocean Partnership Act.

If passed by Congress and signed by the President, the act will authorize Regional Ocean Partnerships (ROPs) to address cross-jurisdictional ocean and coastal issues. The House bill is a companion bill to Senate bill S.2166 introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker and voted out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in July 2019. It is awaiting consideration by the full chamber.

Job Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a jobs listing for positions and fellowships in the ocean observing community. Want to advertise a position? Email Laura Caldwell

  • U.S. IOOS — Current Program Manager
  • U.S. IOOS — Modeling Profile Manager
  • NERACOOS — Director
  • AOOS — Regional Data Sharing Coordinator
  • University of South Florida — Dean of the College of Marine Sciences
  • Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory — Research Oceanographer
  • California Ocean Protection Council — Senior Environmental Scientist
  • Mote Marine Laboratory — Ocean Technology Program; HAB Mitigation and Ecology; Stranding Investigations Program; Grants Administration
  • Florida International University — Open-rank faculty position in Phycology
  • Texas A&M University — Instructional Assistant Professor
  • Texas A&M University Department of Oceanography - Research Associate
  • Postdoctoral Positions: University of Florida; CeNCOOS; University of Southern Mississippi; NRC
  • Fellowships: NOAA & SeaGrant
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Gulf Research Programs
  • Louisiana State University Phytoplankton Ecology Lab; graduate student

Funding Opportunities
REU Program Applications Open
The NSF-funded REU site at the University of Louisiana is accepting applications for summer 2020. Mentors are working on water-focused research in biology, geosciences, engineering and physics. They’re especially seeking underrepresented groups in STEM, first-generation college students and students from institutions with limited research opportunities. Due to funding restrictions, participants must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or its possessions. Students must also be enrolled in a degree-seeking program and must not have graduated prior to June 2020.

GCOOS maintains a listing of funding opportunities. Have an opportunity you'd like to advertise? Email Laura Caldwell
  • FY 2020 Community-based Restoration Program Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Grants
  • FY 2020 B-WET Grants
  • FY 2020 Ocean Technology Transition Project
  • Gulf of Mexico Alliance Funding Calendar

16: OceanObs RCN San Diego, immediately preceeding the AGU/TOS Ocean Sciences Meeting.
16-21: Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020, San Diego Convention Center. This is the flagship conference for the ocean sciences and the larger ocean-connected community. As we approach the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, beginning in 2021, it is increasingly important to gather as a scientific community to raise awareness of the truly global dimension of the ocean, address environmental challenges, and set forth on a path towards a resilient planet. 
of Science (AAAS) 2020 Annual Meeting
30: People, Health and Ocean Conference at the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, Brussels. The Conference will tackle the question “How can we sustainably interact with the Ocean and improve our own health and wellbeing?” and will feature interactive discussions and the launch of the European Strategic Research Agenda for oceans and human health. Travel grants for early-career researchers available.
2: GCOOS Annual Members meeting. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. New Orleans. Details to follow.
20: Dispatches from the Gulf 3 Screening, Washington D.C.
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 and accurate 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 • Dr. Leila Belabbassi , Data Manager Dr. Chris Simoniello , Outreach & Education Coordinator •  Felimon Gayanilo , Systems Architect • Dr. Shinichi Kobara , Assistant Research Scientist, Product Developer •   Bob Currier, Research Specialist, Product Developer • Marion Stoessel , Senior Research Associate • Dr. Steven Baum , Associate Research Scientist • Jennifer Vreeland-Dawson , Research Associate •  Grant Craig , Program Coordinator • Nadine Slimak , Public Relations & Content Marketing, Vetted Communications, LLC • Dr. Chuan-Yuan Hsu , Post Doctoral Research Associate • Robbie Iles , Graduate Research Assistant
info@gcoos.org • 979.847.8879
In Memoriam: Matt Howard, 1952-2018