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.
September 2016 - In This Issue:
I'm pleased to announce that we're putting the finishing touches on GCOOS's first-ever Strategic Plan. By this time next month, we should have this new document posted on our website -- we will share it here when it is completed.

I greatly appreciate the time that our Board and staff members have put into the development of this document and a special thanks also goes to Dr. Mel Briscoe of Ocean Geeks, LLC, for facilitating our planning process during the GCOOS board meeting in March.

Also this month, we will be submitting our application for IOOS certification. We will share news and updates about the process as it moves forward.

Our board meeting is in Houston next week and will include updates from the Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas Centers for Excellence set up following the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

There are also two meetings coming up on Sept. 26 and 28 related to the disaster that include opportunities for public input. It's important for us to continue to raise the specter of the critical need for ocean observing tools in the Gulf and I'd encourage you to attend these meetings to share your expertise on this topic.


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
Marine Mammal Health Monitoring & Analysis Platform
GCOOS Systems Architect Felimon Gayanilo is designing the cyberinfrastructure for a new Marine
In 2014, the Southeast Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network of the National Marine Fisheries Service investigated a mass stranding of pilot whales in  Southwest Florida.
Mammal Health Monitoring and Analysis Platform (MMHMAP) that will collect, curate and distribute data on marine mammal health that will give the public, scientists and resource managers the ability to detect potential public and animal health risk and prioritize management and conservation efforts. The development of a prototype of the primary user interface of an interactive mapping system of near-real time observations by Axiom Data Science will supplement the design activities.

The MMHMAP project is being supported by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and NOAA for the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP). This GCOOS and Axiom Data Science project will facilitate in the identification of functional requirements of the MMHMAP. Although the focus of the activities will be for the Gulf of Mexico, the final design should scale to the national level. The project is expected to be completed in May 2017 with a workshop that presents the results of the project to the Commission. 
GCOOS Interns
We'd like to thank our GCOOS interns! Kayla Evens has returned to
 Kayla Evens 
 Jen Vreeland 
New College after spending the summer supporting Chris Simoniello, Outreach & Education Coordinator. Kayla, who is studying biology, spent the summer updating our educator lesson plans for New Generation Science Standards and developing projects for outreach events, including the St. Pete Science Festival that will take place in October.

GCOOS Intern Jen Vreeland, who is working on her master's thesis, has also been interning with us; her primary project has been helping to establish a Gulf of Mexico Ocean Acidification Network in partnership with NOAA. Her work continues through the fall and we look forward to sharing additional news about this project soon.
Partner News
Calling All Glider Teams
The Interagency Ocean Observation Committee's Glider Task Team has scheduled a new U.S. Underwater Glider Workshop for Jan. 18-19 at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The workshop will serve as a forum to strengthen coordination of underwater glider activities across the United States and beyond. In addition to keynotes and structured community discussions, the Glider Team will provide an opportunity for individuals or institutions to present their glider breakthroughs during a poster session.

Limited travel funds are available for non-federal participants.
The Glider Team is encouraging attendance by all operators, users, early-career scientists, program managers and other professionals that employ and/or utilize underwater profiling glider technologies.
Workshop goals include:
  • Sharing experiences and exchanging information on major advances in glider capabilities, operations and data processing;
  • Demonstrating how gliders enable new scientific breakthroughs for ocean research and operations;
  • Identifying gaps and coordination opportunities for planning, operations and resources to enhance technologies for regional, national and global ocean observing needs;
  • Assessing best practices for observations, operations and data management applied across geographic and thematic boundaries;
  • Designing the scope and aims for a coordination mechanism, such as a Underwater Glider User-Group, to advance these goals.

Fill out the RSVP form to participate 

Billion-Dollar Disasters
The NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information updated its list of disasters that have cost a billion dollars (through June), finding that the U.S. has marked eight weather and climate disasters through two flood and six severe storm events that also resulted in 30 deaths. Many of these events affected Texas throughout the spring, including several intense hailstorms over densely populated cities and the Houston flood on April 17. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida were also affected by severe weather events.

Thus far, the first six months of 2016 have seen well above the average of 2.8 billion-dollar disaster events during this timeframe. Only January-June 2011, with its 10 events, outranks 2016. Additionally, 2011 saw the most billion-dollar disasters in a single year with 16.

The Centers has also updated the cost figures for the individual events in 2015 with finalized data. That year, the U.S. experienced 10 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each. These events - a drought, two floods, five severe storms, a wildfire, and a winter storm - resulted in the deaths of 155 people and devastated the areas they struck.

Since 1980, the United States has endured 196 weather and climate disasters with economic losses reaching or exceeding $1 billion. The total cost of all these events exceeds $1.1 trillion, demonstrating the profound financial impact they have had on the country. 
Gulf Oil & Gas Lease Sale
GCOOS's Data Portal offers a map of oil & gas platforms in the Gulf.
A recent oil and gas lease sale by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) garnered $18,067,020 in high bids for 24 tracts covering 138,240 acres in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area. A total of three offshore energy companies participated in 24 bids. The sum of all bids received totaled $18,067,020.
In this sale, BOEM offered 23.8 million acres in federal waters offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development.

BOEM oversees 160 million acres on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 20 million acres (3,762 blocks) are leased for oil and gas development; and 4.3 million of those acres (883 blocks) are producing oil and natural gas.
Coral Restoration Initiative
Mote Marine Laboratory and The Nature Conservancy are partnering on an unprecedented 15-year joint coral conservation initiative throughout the Caribbean and the Florida Keys.

The goal is to restore more than 1 million corals across the region, share science-based coral restoration and conservation practices among U.S. and international Caribbean partners and build facilities such as coral gene banks to preserve genetically diverse coral tissue and help researchers find strains resilient to environmental change.
America's Third Coast Book Series
Louisiana Sea Grant Scholars Carl Brasseaux and Don Davis are pushing Gulf of Mexico research outside the realm of peer-reviewed academic journals and into a book-length
The state's fisheries were and are influential in shaping the fabric of Louisiana coastal communities. The America's Third Coast book series explores the Northern Gulf of Mexico's history, life, industries and culture.
format designed to be more accessible to policy makers, coastal residents and the general public. The duo is preparing to publish up to three titles a year that focus on the Gulf Coast - addressing the region's history, life, industry and culture. Brasseaux and Davis are editing the series and coauthored one volume.

Brasseaux and Davis lead off the series with their work Ain't There No More: Louisiana's Disappearing Coastal Plain, tracing the economically driven environmental changes that reshaped the state's coastal parishes from the beginnings of colonization to the region's post-embargo oil boom.

Their account of coastal erosion, long-term neglect and manmade disasters features nearly 300 illustrations, many of which are rare and previously unpublished. Their volume is expected to be followed by Shane Bernard's book on nutria, LSG retiree Jessica Schexnayder's project documenting endangered coastal cemeteries and LSG Assistant Associate Director of Research Matt Bethel's work on traditional ecological knowledge.

America's Third Coast Series will be published by the University Press of Mississippi with support from the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program and the Louisiana Sea Grant Foundation.
Comments Sought for Coastal Moorings Network 
IOOS is seeking comments on a new report "National Strategy for a Sustained Network of Coastal Moorings." The report states that "the Gulf of Mexico in general is a major gap area in the U.S. for ecosystem monitoring from coastal moorings," (p. 25).

The Strategy defines requirements and criteria for identifying a sustained network of coastal moorings that support national missions, and recognizes the need for more focused input from regional subject-matter experts.

Specifically, input is required from federal, regional, and local stakeholders to confidently assess regional needs within the national context. The Strategy also recommends specific actions toward the successful development and implementation of a national moorings plan. The moorings identified and discussed within this document were compiled from IOOS Regional Association (RA) data portals and relevant NOAA observing systems, and regional lists of moorings were vetted by RA Directors and/or RA Data Management and Communications (DMAC) representatives.
Gulf Restoration News
meetoneGulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Update
The Council has released a proposed update to its 2013 Comprehensive Plan that provides additional strategic guidance for the Council to follow as it makes decisions on funding future projects and activities. The Council will host a series of public meetings across the Gulf Coast, including two public webinars, to discuss the draft Comprehensive Plan Update and seek public comments. Public comments on the draft Comprehensive Plan Update will be accepted through Oct. 7, 2016.
Meeting info:
  • When: Monday, Sept. 26, 5 p.m. open house; 6 p.m. meeting
  • Where: University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Fleming Education Center Auditorium, 730 East Beach Blvd., Long Beach, Miss., 39560
meettwoDWH Trustee Council Update
The Deepwater Horizon Trustee Council will hold a public meeting on Sept. 28 in New Orleans to present updates on the work of the Trustee Council and each Trustee Implementation Group (TIG): Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Open Ocean and Region-wide.
Meeting Info: 
  • When: Wednesday, Sept. 28, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. open house for discussion and questions; 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. public meeting for presentation and public comment.
  • Where: Storyville Room, Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette French Quarter Area Hotel, 817 Common St., New Orleans, La., 70112
Registration Now Open
Registration is open for the February 2017 GoM Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference: "Ecosystem Approaches to Gulf Response and Restoration." Looking across a broad range of disciplines, what have we learned about oil spills and their impacts that can reduce uncertainty, mitigate ecological, social and health impacts of a future spill, advance response strategies, and improve how we approach restoration?

Conference highlights: 
  • Opening plenary featuring keynote speaker Dave Westerholm, Director of NOAA's Office of Response & Restoration
  • 23 scientific sessions
  • Pre-conference workshops
  • Student activities, including a generous offer from the Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative and the Gulf Research Program to cover registration fees for student presenters whose abstracts are accepted to the conference program
  • Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities
Restoration Resources
Restoration Funding Calendar
  • NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program hosts a three-year calendar that consolidates planned funding opportunities
By State:

Employment Opportunities
Gulf Research Program
The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is accepting applications for three Associate Program Officers. The Associate Program Officers will work with a small, top-notch team to design and implement funding opportunities and contribute to program outreach, strategic planning, award design and evaluation processes and other Gulf Research Program functions. Candidates with experience in research grant-making, program design, and program evaluation are encouraged. Experience working in the Gulf of Mexico is a plus.
U.S. IOOS Director Search Closes Monday
Zdenka Willis, the Director of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Program Office will be retiring in January 2017 after more that a decade directing and guiding the U.S. IOOS Program. NOAA has opened a national search for a Director. The full position announcement can be found at USA Jobs. The application deadline is Sept. 19, 2016.
Funding Opportunities
Gulf of Mexico Alliance
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance offers a summary of funding announcements online.
Enhancing Coastal Community Resilience and Well-being in the Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf Research Program, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, have announced a new grant program to support the development of research and practices that focus on the human dynamics of resilience. Specifically, the program is interested in projects that enhance community resilience and well-being by accounting for the influence of social, cultural, and health factors on a community's capacity to adapt and thrive as part of efforts to mitigate and respond to the adverse impacts of climate change, severe weather and major environmental disasters. A total of $10 million is available for an anticipated three to six projects of up to 36 months in duration.

  • Letters of Intent (required): Due 5 p.m. (EST) Wednesday, Oct. 5
  • Full Proposals (only open to those who submitted LOI): Opens Thursday, Oct. 6 and closes 5 p.m. (EST) Wednesday, Dec. 14
  • Details
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative RFP
GoMRI is developing the program's final Request for Proposals VI (RFP-VI) for release in October. Two-year grants for 2018-2019 will fund research activities for Years 9-10 (1 January 2018-31 December 2019) and focus on:
  • Continuation of previously designated research themes and topics that have emerged;
  • Data integration from various sources;
  • Scientific synthesis across themes and consortia or other overarching scientific and technological products exploiting the GoMRI scientific legacy.
Events & Meetings


Oceans Monterey 2016, Sept. 19-23, sponsored by the Marine Technology Society and the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society.  Call for abstracts now open.

Florida Sea Grant is hosting a series of workshops centered on sea-level rise planning; the first takes place Sept. 23 at the offices of the Northeast Florida Regional Council, 6850 Belfort Oaks Place, Jacksonville. "Sea-Level Rise and Flooding: Planning and Law for Local Governments," includes professional credits for participation.
More info   
GCOOS-RA Board of Directors meeting, Sept. 21-23. Houston, Tex.
The Marine Technology Society is planning a joint Navy-Industry-University "Underwater Cables, Connectors and Imaging Systems" three-day working session. This workshop will take place Oct. 26-28, 2016 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and is organized by the MTS Cables and Connectors Committee and the MTS Underwater Imaging Committee. Abstracts for brief targeted presentations (no written papers) germane to the subject matter will be considered until Sept. 15.
More info

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality will be hosting its inaugural Restoration Summit on Nov. 15, 2016. The Summit will feature information and presentations on current projects as well as community engagement opportunities to gather input on Deepwater Horizon restoration efforts in Mississippi.

Registration is open for the 2016 Mississippi-Alabama Bays and Bayous Symposium Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Biloxi, Miss., at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center. The theme for the two-day symposium is "From Thoughts to Actions - Restoration on the Gulf Coast."
Marine Renewable Energy Committee releases agenda for November TechSurge
The MTS Marine Renewable Energy Committee released the full conference program for Production of Renewable Ocean Energy For Small Non Grid Connected Applications, the TechSurge event taking place in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on November 2-3.
Introductory Training in GIS Applications for Natural Resource Management, Dec. 12-15, Gainesville, Fla., by Florida Sea Grant and the University of Florida IFAS Extension. 3.5-day intensive workshop on ArcGIS 10.3.1

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.

The American Meteorological Society will host its 97th Annual Meeting with the theme "Observations Lead the Way." Meeting in Seattle Jan. 22-26, 2017.

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.