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.
January 2016 - In This Issue:
I don't know if you made it to the recent Ocean Sciences meeting in Louisiana, but if you did then you were probably as amazed as I was: 5,000 attendees and 3,300 posters. So much to see and do. About 50 people attended the Town Hall meeting sponsored by MIST and organized by Laurie Jugan that was focused on the impact of ocean observing systems, various roles within OOS and ways the cluster can support OOS efforts. I also had the opportunity to have a number of sidebar discussions about the need to expand our observing capabilities in the Gulf.
We're closing in on our March 31 date for the GCOOS all-hands meeting and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in NOLA at the end of the month. The agenda includes updates from the IOOS program office, along with news from staff and several subcontractors. If you have not contacted Susan Martin to let her know you are attending, please do so NOW (or no lunch for you!).
Don't forget: Voting recently opened for our Board nominees. Please reach out to Susan Martin in our office if you're a voting member and HAVE NOT received your ballot.
I'm also in the process of finalizing our next budget and should have the final numbers soon, well before the June 1 start date.

See you at 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
Reaching Out to Our Lawmakers
Mike Spranger and Debbie Wasserman Schultz
The regional directors meeting took place at IOOS in Washington D.C. last week. There were many excellent briefs from other groups within NOAA that have crossover activities with IOOS and the discussion included ways to work together.
GCOOS' Executive Director Barbara Kirkpatrick, along with GCOOS Board Members Sara Graves and Mike Spranger took the opportunity to visit with federal lawmakers from Gulf states. According to Kirkpatrick, the goal was to divide and conquer - and meet with as many folks as possible over several days. The result was meetings with Representatives Wasserman Shultz (FL), Castor (FL), Nugent (FL), Clawson (FL), Curbelo (FL), Brown, (FL), Graham, (FL), Rooney (FL), Graves (LA), Aderholdt (AL), Roby (AL) and Culberson (TX). We also met with staff members from the Senate offices of Nelson (FL), Sessions (AL) and Shelby (AL).
"We kept our focus on the need to support current observations in the Gulf and add even more assets to our arsenal," Kirkpatick said. "We took the opportunity to point out the fact that even as oil spill monies are being allocated, nothing has yet been dedicated to observational capabilities -- meaning that if we had a spill tomorrow, we'd be in a very similar situation to what happened after the Deepwater Horizon exploded in 2010. I also had the opportunity to show our new GCOOS video 'Protecting Lives, Commerce and the Environment in our Gulf' to the folks I met with. I think it really helped give them an idea of what we do and why it's important."
Don't Forget to Vote
Terms will be up in the fall for five current Board members. We've collected nominees and ballots were sent out to voting GCOOS members on March 11. Voting ends at the close of business on March 25.

The Board helps to set GCOOS policy and revises bylaws and other documents. Directors also help guide our business model, approve the budget and review and, at members' requests, endorse submitted proposals as needed.

The GCOOS Board nominees are:
For re-election:
  • Alan Hart, Continental Shelf Associates
  • Stephen Howden, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Pat Hogan, Naval Research Laboratory
  • Charlene Bohanon, Galveston Bay Foundation
  • Jan van Smirren, BMT Group
Newcomers on the ballot:
  • Tony Knap, Texas A&M University
  • Ruth Mullins-Perry, Shell Upstream Americas
If you're a voting GCOOS member and haven't received your ballot, please email Susan Martin, GCOOS research associate. If you're not a voting member of GCOOS and would like to consider becoming one, please contact Barb Kirkpatrick. Please put "GCOOS membership" in the subject line of your email.
Server Crash
We recently experienced the loss of a GCOOS server and are in the process of recovering data and replacing the hardware. The main portals affected are the Hypoxia-Nutrient Portal and the Citizen Science Portal -- both of which were still in the early roll-out phase. Staff report that the data should be back on line by the end of the month.

Partner News
The Ocean Enterprise: A study of U.S. business activity in ocean measurement, observation and forecasting
The NOAA-led U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®), in partnership with The Maritime Alliance and ERISS Corporation, has issued the first national-level assessment of the scale and scope of the "ocean enterprise." The new study shows that the ocean enterprise, the for-profit and not-for-profit firms that support ocean measurement, observation and forecasting, accounts for $7 billion dollars of the U.S. economy annually and provides up to 30,000 jobs.
Real-Time Plankton Imaging in the Gulf
The Imaging FlowCytobot shown in the lab (center image) identifies phytoplankton cells from water sampled at the University of Texas, Marine Sciences Institute pier located in the Port Aransas ship channel (upper left). Dinophysis acuminata during the Texas bloom in March 2008 (lower right). Credit L. Campbell, TAMU, and H. Sosik and R. Olson, WHOI
In mid-January 2016, NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science-funded investigators from Texas A&M University (TAMU) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) convened a group of scientists and managers to produce a first-ever consensus vision for a network of real-time, continuous plankton imaging sensors, also known as Imaging FlowCytobots (IFCB), in the Gulf of Mexico.
The envisioned network will expand a HAB alert system that uses classified, continuous plankton image data telemetered from a single, pier-deployed IFCB in Port Aransas operated by TAMU; graphical user interface for imagery data (a.k.a. IFCB Dashboard) developed by WHOI; and data dissemination by TAMU via GCOOS.
Texas agencies utilize IFCB-based HAB alerts to trigger more intensive bay monitoring that ensures shellfish are safe to eat and to determine the cause of large-scale fish kills.
Fully implemented, an IFCB network could expand HAB early warning to other parts of the Texas coast and to other Gulf of Mexico states. Further, the resulting expanded access to continuous plankton monitoring data can enable development of adaptive solutions to manage anticipated future impacts on coastal resources from rising temperatures, more frequent tropical storms, expanded aquaculture operations, and potential for introduction of invasive species via ballast water discharge.
University of South Florida's Rising Tides
The University of South Florida's College of Marine Science has released its winter edition of Rising Tides magazine. This edition's science article is "Revealing the Hidden Lives of Fish."
Dr. Jordon Beckler has been promoted to manager of the Ocean Technology Research Program at Mote Marine Laboratory, in Sarasota, Fla.

The program develops and deploys technology for multiple research programs and distributes the information through Mote's Southern Operations - Coastal Ocean Observing Laboratory (SO-COOL) and GCOOS.

Team Models Effects of Hypoxia, Climate Change
Gulf sediment-dwelling worm Streblospio gynobranchiata.
Ocean hypoxia and rising temperatures due to climate change are hot topics in any discussion of current challenges facing the marine environment. Ecologist Chet Rakocinski, a professor at The University of Southern Mississippi's (USM) Gulf Coast Research Lab (GCRL), is leading a team of graduate students and interns in an investigation of how benthic polychaetes, small organisms that live within bottom sediments, cope with these two stressors.
Gulf Restoration News
Settlement Proposal to be Accepted
The natural resource trustees -- representatives from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, NOAA, DOI, USDA, and EPA -- have proposed to accept the $8.1 billion settlement from BP to resolve their liability for natural resource injuries stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The 30-day waiting period for the acceptance of the Deepwater Horizon settlement ends on March 21.
As a next step in this process, a final version of a comprehensive programmatic assessment and restoration plan and programmatic EIS for the Gulf of Mexico, incorporating public comment received in late 2015, has been released. This plan would allocate funds from the settlement over the next 15 years.
In October 2015, the trustees released the Draft Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, which included an assessment of impacts of the spill and identified the types of restoration needed to compensate the public for these impacts. More than 6,300 public comments were submitted on the document over a 60-day period and were all considered in the final document.
Dispatches from the Gulf Documentary Premier
The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) will be hosting the worldwide premier of Dispatches from the Gulf: Six Years After the Largest Oil Spill in U.S. History. The film, by Marilyn and Hal Weiner, is narrated by Matt Damon and is the 14th episode in the award-winning television series Journey to Planet Earth. The film investigates the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and features teams of scientists exploring the oil spill's effect on the Gulf. Their collective studies have become the largest coordinated oceanographic research endeavor in history. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A moderated by Dr. Kirk Johnson, The Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History. The event is sponsored by the NMNH and the 24th Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital.
Dispatches from the Gulf was made possible by a generous grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), with additional support from the Wallace Genetic Foundation and the Farvue Foundation.
  • View the trailer
  • When: Movie premier is at 6:45 p.m. Friday, March 25
  • Where: Baird Auditorium, 10th St & Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC
  • RSVP: Marilyn Weiner
Mississippi Gulf Coast Restoration Plan Webinar Now Posted
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has now posted a webinar recently conducted in conjunction with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The March 1 webinar provided stakeholders with an opportunity to learn more about the Mississippi Gulf Coast Restoration Plan and provided an overview of the Plan, MCERT, and the DSS restoration tool.
Sea Grant Deepwater Horizon Publications
The Sea Grant Oil Spill Outreach Program has some recently released titles related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Outreach Program, funded through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, is focused on sharing oil spill science with the people whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf.

New publications:
  • "Chemical Dispersants and their Role in Oil Spill Response"
  • "Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About the Deepwater Horizon oil Spill"
  • "Navigating Shifting Sands: Oil on our Beaches"
Restoration Resources
Restoration Funding Calendar
  • NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program hosts a three-year calendar that consolidates planned funding opportunities
By State:

Workshops & Courses
GIS Workshop
Florida Sea Grant and the University of Florida IFAS Extension invite you to register for a 3.5-day intensive workshop on ArcGIS 10.3, a powerful tool for managing natural resources. The training will include a series of short lectures, each followed by natural resource-based exercises that attendees will complete using ArcGIS 10.3. During the training, each participant will have access to a computer workstation, and several trainers will be on-hand to provide assistance.
  • Date: May 2-5 ($500; $300 for students)
  • Location: CALS Computer Classroom, 1676 McCarty Drive , Bldg. #0496, Room 3086 McCarty Hall B, Gainesville, Fla., 32611.
  • Details & Registration
Modern Observational Oceanography Course
The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) has scheduled a Modern Observational Oceanography course for July 4 - July 22, 2016 with instructors Prof. Nick Bates (BIOS & University of Southampton), Dr. Rod Johnson (BIOS), Dr. Andrew Peters (BIOS) and Ruth Currie (WHOI & BIOS)

The course integrates lectures, laboratory training and fieldwork to introduce students to current research questions and the observational methods used to investigate them. Themes will include carbon and nutrient cycling, carbonate chemistry and ocean acidification, ocean-atmosphere interactions, and the spatial/temporal scales of physical ocean processes. Students will collect samples and utilize various sensors and instrumentation locally at the BIOS dock, on a two-day research cruise aboard the R/V Atlantic Explorer and through a small fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

A BIOS summer course is a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the ocean sciences.
All students are eligible to apply for scholarships and may obtain academic credit for these courses, pending exchange of information between BIOS and the student's home institution.
  • Application deadline: April 17
  • Details
Oil Spill Sciences Seminars
In April, the Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Program is offering two science seminars related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Chilling with your chums: How did the oil spill impact Gulf Fisheries? Local scientists will speak about the impact that the oil spill has had on managed fish in the Gulf of Mexico. 6 p.m. CST April 6 (social starts at 5 p.m.), DeWitt room, Doubletree, 6505 Interstate Highway 35-N, Austin, Texas. 
Where did the oil go? Scientists will discuss where the oil went throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Topics being covered include transport of oil, oil recovery, the natural breakdown of oil as well as breakdown due to weathering, marine snow, and oil in the water column and on the seafloor. 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CST, NOAA's Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center, 7344 Zeigler Boulevard, Mobile, Ala., 33608.
Employment Opportunities
Stony Brook University
The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position in marine conservation ecology to begin as early as Fall 2016. We are especially interested in candidates who utilize innovative quantitative approaches in an area such as systems ecology and modeling, molecular genetics, resource management, fisheries ecology, population and community dynamics, ecotoxicology, or statistical modeling.  Successful candidates are expected to develop an independent externally funded research program, to teach and direct research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and participate in school and university services. All candidates must have a Ph.D. in a field related to conservation ecology and have demonstrated excellence in research and a strong commitment to teaching. The position will be filled at the Assistant Professor level.  Review of applications will begin April 15, 2016, but applications will be considered until the position is filled.
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is seeking a Fishery Economist to be based in Charleston, SC.  The Fisheries Economist will be responsible for all aspects of economic analysis for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council as it relates to managing fisheries stocks through fishery management plans.
Funding & Related Opportunities
Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
MDEQ is soliciting written proposals from consulting firms, nongovernmental organizations and public institutions to assist, on an as-needed basis, with designing and constructing a beach outfalls challenge as more thoroughly described in the scope of work of the Request for Proposals for the Design Challenge for Measurable Improvement of Water Quality from Beach Outfalls funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, Agreement #49982.
  • Optional pre-submittal conference: 11 a.m. CST Friday, March 18, 2016, at the Wingate by Wyndham, 4302 W. Beach Boulevard, Gulfport MS, 39501
  • Deadline: 3 p.m. CST Friday, April 1, 2016
  • Send to: Proposal for Beach Outfalls Design Challenge, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Attn: Melanie Green, 515 East Amite Street, Jackson, Mississippi 39201.
RESTORE The Texas Coast
RESTORE Grant Applications - Proposals for Texas projects under the Direct Component (Bucket 1) of the federal RESTORE Act are now being accepted. An application instruction video is available on the RESTORE The Texas Coast website.
Fish and Wildlife Service
National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program - The primary goal of the NCWCG Program is the long-term conservation of coastal wetland ecosystems. Projects can include acquisition of real property; restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal ecosystems; or, a combination of acquisition, restoration, and management. Search grants.gov for F16AS00089.
Gulf Research Programs
The Gulf Research Program is accepting applications for a new funding opportunity: Scientific Synthesis Connecting Environmental, Social, and/or Health Data. These grants will support projects that will generate novel insights, address critical questions, or lead to new approaches to interpreting and using existing observations or monitoring data by bringing together concepts, methods, and/or data from different disciplines and sectors.
  • Letter of intent (required) deadline: 5 p.m. ET, April 27, 2016
  • Full proposal submission deadline: 5 p.m. ET, June 22, 2016
  • Details
Events & Meetings


The Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community of Practice will be hosting its
7th Annual Meeting  in Biloxi, Miss. April 19, 2016. 


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.