GCOOS News & Updates for September 2015

Greetings from GCOOS

In addition to the news items below, please visit our Website, http://gcoos.org, our real-time Data Portal, http://data.gcoos.org and Products page, http://gcoos.org/products/ for more information, data and products information.


Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System News & Related Items

Five-Year Funding Plan Submitted
     GCOOS-RA responded to the federal funding opportunity (FFO), NOAA-NOS-IOOS-2016-2004378, and submitted a grant proposal to cover the next five years of support. Our proposal is heavily focused on observations following our five priority themes and builds on our observational collaborations with researchers throughout the Gulf.
     The FFO required us to develop three budget tiers -- $1.5 million/year, $2.5 million/year and $4 million/year -- with detailed budget information submitted at the $4 million level. We think that GCOOS-RA could greatly help our members strengthen Gulf observing capabilities at this level.
GCOOS-RA priorities outlined in the work plan include maintaining the base capabilities that have evolved over GCOOS' lifetime, including our ability to advance strategic partnerships, support the data management and communications system (DMAC) for maximum interoperability with non-federal data providers and continue to maintain the GCOOS data portal. The plan will also allow us to continue our outreach and education programs to increase the public's ocean literacy and enhance their understanding of the ocean's impacts on them and their impacts on it.
     At higher funding levels, our proposal calls for GCOOS to contribute more to operations and maintenance support of non-federal observational systems, add enhancements to our data portal and continue support for modeling efforts. The higher funding levels would also allow increased support for citizen-science projects and AUV operations as well as improved hurricane models and the creation of a contingency fund for adaptive sampling needs.
GCOOS-RA key priority areas:
  • Protect public health and safety;
  • Support healthy ecosystems and water quality;
  • Mitigate the effects of storms and man-made disasters;
  • Ensure safe and efficient marine operations;
  • Monitor the Gulf for long-term changes and environmental trends.
Members of the community attend a forum about red tide caused by
Karenia brevis during a large and prolonged bloom that occurred off Southwest Florida in 2006. The forum was sponsored by Mote Marine Laboratory, which partners with Florida's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to monitor blooms along the state's Gulf Coast.     
HABIOS Plan Completed
     We are pleased to announce the completion of the Harmful Algal Bloom Integrated Observing System (HABIOS) Plan. This plan is the summation of three Harmful Algal Bloom workshops sponsored by GCOOS with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance that was attended by numerous stakeholders and systems managers.
     The goal of the HABIOS plan is to establish a sustained observing system, as part of the U.S. IOOS, to support and enhance HAB management and monitoring and to reduce and mitigate the detrimental effects that HABs have on human health, living marine organisms and coastal communities.
     While the Gulf includes multiple systems operated by state, federal and local agencies and researchers to monitor and forecast HAB movements and oceanographic conditions that influence their frequency, distribution and fate, these systems tend to operate independently. User communities and system managers have identified critical deficiencies that can be addressed through the development of a more comprehensive and integrated approach -- hence the new HABIOS plan. Through the plan, we expect to detect HABs more rapidly and provide more accurate and timely predictions of potential impacts.
     We thank all the stakeholders who contributed to the workshops and to this final report.

Outreach and Education Council Meeting
     We held the eighth annual meeting of the Outreach and Education Council (OEC) of GCOOS-RA in New Orleans Aug. 10-11. The meeting marked our 10th anniversary -- and highlighted an impressive fact: 64% of the Council members have been with us since the Council's November 2004 Formation. That's dedication!
     Following a welcome by Dr. Chris Simoniello, GCOOS O/E lead, and OEC co-Chair Chris Verlinde,

O & E Council members play EcoHero, an interactive game developed by GCOOS-RA and partners to help make the Gulf of Mexico relevant to residents' daily lives.
Dr. Mike Spranger, GCOOS Board member for O/E and active Council member since its inception, provided a historical overview and program highlights. The meeting's main objectives included:
  1. Building on the framework for GCOOS-hosted citizen science data outlined at the 2014 Council meeting and developed by Dr. Shin Kobara;
  2. Developing content to facilitate the sharing of citizen-collected data and making these relevant to Gulf-wide O/E and other stakeholders.
     Presentations included stimulating ocean art by Jenn Glaser, creator of a Digital Art in Science exhibit; an overview of available earth and space education resources from NASA's Wavelength project ( nasawavelength.org) by Dr. Rusty Low; a demonstration of the GOMA Project Tracker by Lee Yokel and examples of curricula developed by the Weeks Bay NERR by Margaret Sedlecky. 
     Kobara demonstrated the beta version of the GCOOS-RA citizen science web pages. Our first data set is from the Galveston Bay Foundation, Texas, Natures Academy, Fla., and The Florida Aquarium. Galveston Bay project lead and GCOOS Board member Charlene Bohanon and Natures Academy's Deb Hilbert shared the challenges and solutions they have experienced during website development.
     Participants were also treated to a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas by Tricia LeBlanc, Director of Education Programs and OEC member. The GCOOS-RA extends thanks to this dedicated, hard-working team and looks forward to another decade of collaboration. Stay tuned for the 2015 meeting report...

GCOOS-RA Board Meeting 
     The GCOOS-RA Board of Directors will meet this week in St. Petersburg, Fla. Interested in what's on the agenda? Take a look & look for a summary of the meeting in next month's newsletter.

BOEM Geospatial Mapping Tools Reinvented
     The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has reinvented the Environmental Studies Program Information System (ESPIS)  to streamline the search, discovery and retrieval of more than 40 years of environmental science. The update was done in partnership with NOAA's Office for Coastal Management and builds on the success of a previous BOEM/NOAA partnership that developed MarineCadastre.gov.
     ESPIS, which is hosted on a shared platform with MarineCadastre.gov, holds information about ongoing and completed BOEM environmental studies and includes a new search tool that allows text and map-based queries. Information that can be found on ESPIS includes downloadable electronic documents of study profiles, technical summaries, final reports and links to associated publications and digital data.
      MarineCadastre.gov is an integrated marine information system that provides authoritative, up-to-date data, tools and technical support for ocean and Great Lakes planning and has three primary focus areas: Web map viewers and decision-support tools, a spatial data registry and technical support and regional capacity-building.
Note: The old ESPIS search tool will remain available at the BOEM Data Center during a transition period.
Glider Snapshots
     The Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG) at Texas A & M University has two gliders -- Stommel and Sverdrup -- currently deployed in the Gulf. They've posted some recent data plots of sigma-t, chlorophyll and temperature on the GCOOS portal. Water temperature profiles showing upper ocean heat content can help us understand hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Here's a snapshot of images from the Sverdrup on GANDALF. More. 
Abstract Submission Deadline Approaching for Ocean Sciences Meeting
     The deadline for submitting abstracts for the Ocean Observing and Data Management Session at the Ocean Sciences Meeting is fast approaching. The 2016 meeting is from 21-26 February 2016 in New Orleans. The deadline for submitting abstracts for the session titled "Evolving Biologically-Enabled Ocean Observing Systems: Integrating Biological Observations with Physicochemical Measurements for Informed Ecosystem-Based Decision Making" is Wednesday, 23 September 2015. Submissions at http://osm.agu.org/2016/abstract-submissions/

Gulf Restoration News 

Gulf Research Program Grant Awards
     The Gulf Research Program recently announced the recipients of 12 exploratory grants totaling more than $1.5 million. These one-year awards are intended to catalyze innovative thinking on two topics:
  • How to effectively educate and train offshore oil and gas and health professionals
  • How to improve understanding of the links between human well-being and ecosystem services related to oil and gas  production
The one-year grants are intended to provide seed money for research in its early conceptual phase, for activities that can accelerate concept to testing, or for development of novel approaches.  These grants also could support the application of new expertise or engagement of non-traditional disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.
More can be found on the National Academies website

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Awards
     The NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program has awarded approximately $2.7 million to seven research teams following a rigorous and competitive process that included review by an outside panel of experts. The awards range in from $309,000 to $400,000 and projects run for up to two years.
     Teams will address one or more of the Science Program's short-term priorities, which focus on assessing ecosystem modeling, evaluating indicators for ecosystem conditions and assessing and developing recommendations for monitoring and observing in the Gulf of Mexico.
     Projects will synthesize current scientific understanding and management needs and inform the future direction of the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program as well as the other science and restoration initiatives in the region. Results will also inform the development of management strategies to support the sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including its fisheries. Florida Restore Act Awards
     The Florida Institute of Oceanography-led Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program announced 10 project awards focused on improving the health of the Gulf. These projects were selected through an expert peer review process and will be funded for two years. According to a post on FIO's Facebook Page, the following awards have been made:
  • Mike Allen, University of Florida, "Improving observations and models to reduce lionfish in the northern Gulf"
  • Jerry Ault, University of Miami, "Optimizing economic value and sustainability of recreational Florida fisheries"
  • Beth Babcock, University of Miami, "Better use of directly observed data in ecosystem simulation models"
  • Kevin Boswell, Florida International University, "Informing fishery-independent reef fish surveys through advanced      survey techniques"
  • Jane Caffrey, University of West Florida, "Evaluating the role of artificial reefs as hotspots of biological productivity"
  • Dean Grubbs, Florida State University, "Study will examine long-term effects of DWH on large deep-sea fishes"
  • Chad Lembke, University of South Florida, "Robotic monitoring of red group in the eastern Gulf of Mexico"
  • Kate Mansfield, University of Central Florida, "Tracking sea turtle 'lost years' in the Gulf of Mexico"
  • Ernst Peebles, University of South Florida, "Egg and larval DNA barcoding to support Gulf reef fish stock assessments"
  • Brian Walker, NOVA Southeastern University, "Develop habitat maps for surveys, management strategies and climate change research"
Restoration Resources
DWH Projects
Deepwater Horizon Project Tracker: http://www.dwhprojecttracker.org/
Florida: Department of Environmental Protection http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/ or Gulf Consortium website at http://www.fl-counties.com/advocacy/gulf-consortium. See the Florida DEP presentation on the next National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund cycle at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files2/nfwf/nfwf_public_webinar_march2015.pdf.
Alabama: Information & project submissions: http://www.alabamacoastalrestoration.org/.
Louisiana: Has approved the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Plan, providing $884 million in expenditures for coastal protection and restoration projects in fiscal year 2016. Online at http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=3d6138b29e4223c069af96595&id=f35916e780&e=dba642d0ee.
Texas: Info & project submission https://www.restorethetexascoast.org/.

Employment Opportunities 

Eckerd College, St. Petersburg Florida: Tenure-Track Faculty Positions
     Eckerd College is inviting applications for two tenure-track positions at the assistant professor level. For both positions, Eckerd is seeking broad-thinking scientist-educators who are strongly committed to teaching and mentoring undergraduates, and training them through example and participation in their own significant program of research and publication. Applicants must have a Ph.D., preferably with postdoctoral and teaching experience.
  • Biological Oceanographer who studies pelagic ecosystem processes in coastal habitats or in the open ocean. Teaching responsibilities consist of seven course equivalents per academic year (3-1-3), including biological oceanography, upper level courses in the marine science curriculum and a January Term. Details 
  • Marine Physiologist whose specialty complements existing faculty expertise. Annual teaching load also consists of seven course equivalents including comparative physiology, biological oceanography, a January Term and upper-level courses for the biology and marine science programs. Details
     Participation in an interdisciplinary, values-oriented general education program is required for both positions, including a regular rotation in the two-semester freshman program.
Submit letter of application, CV, graduate and undergraduate transcripts, statement of teaching philosophy, teaching evaluations, description of research plans and contact information for three references to: http://eckerd.hirecentric.com/jobs/.  Applicants who would like to be considered for both positions need only to submit one application.  All materials must be submitted by 15 October 2015. Inquiries may be sent to Dr. Nancy Smith ([email protected]). Candidates must be authorized to work in the United States for the College. EOE.  Applications from women/minorities encouraged.
FIO Seeks Maintenance Tech
     The Florida Institute of Oceanography is seeking a maintenance technician for the Keys Marine Lab facility in Layton, Fla. Maintenance Technician(s) are responsible for day to day general repairs and maintenance at the Keys Marine Lab facility which includes buildings, structures and equipment. This position's primary purpose is to manage the maintenance work at the marine lab and assist other staff members as needed.

Current Events and Meetings 

GCOOS-RA Board of Directors Meeting, 17 September 2015, St. Petersburg, FL
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Meeting, 5-9 October 2015, Hilton Galveston Island, Galveston, TX
MTS/IEEE Oceans '15, 19-22 October 2015, Washington, D.C.
Tri-International Initiative for Marine Research and Conservation in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Caribbean Conference, 12-14 November 2015, Havana, Cuba.

10th Biannual International Marine and Coastal  Science Conference, 16-20 November 2015, Havana, Cuba.

2015 National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium, 16-19 November 2015, Tampa, FL

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, 14-18 December 2015, San Francisco, CA

96th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society, 10-14 January 2016, New Orleans, LA

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, 1-4 February 2016, Tampa, FL

2016 Ocean Science Meeting,  21-26 February 2016, New Orleans, LA

For other events around the Gulf, please see: http://www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org/announcements/events/.