September 2019
Greetings from GCOOS
I’m very pleased to announce that we’ve hired a new data manager — Dr. Leila Belabbassi.

She brings a wealth of oceanography and data management experience to the role and we’re very pleased to have her with us. Not only will Dr. Belabbassi ensure that the data we host and share meets QA/QC requirements, but in her new role she will help us ensure we are developing products that are needed by and accessible to our targeted audiences. 

Both Leila and I are at Ocean Obs'19 this week, so please be sure to say hello!

Speaking of meetings… we’re planning for our fall members meeting and have posted the preliminary agenda online. It's scheduled for a half-day on Oct. 9 in Galveston, Texas. Thanks to the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary for hosting us! See further details below and on our website. We look forward to seeing you there.

Until next time!

News From GCOOS HQ
Welcome to the New GCOOS Data Manager!
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Leila Belabbassi as our new Data Manager!

Dr. Belabbassi joins us most recently from Rutgers University, where she managed and directed the OOI 1.0 Data Team transition role on the NSF-grant "Educational support and synthesis based on the initial phase of the Ocean Observatories Initiative." In her earlier role with OOI, she was responsible for data evaluation of the OOI Pioneer Array on the U.S. east coast and she has also served as the OOI Associate Data Manager.

She has previously served as a Staff Scientist to direct research activities and created a data quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) protocol for two, real-time, fiber-optic-cabled observatories and five autonomous, moored systems in the northwest Indian Ocean that successfully generated high quality data for more than eight years (2005 -2012). Throughout her career, she has worked with datasets from different sensors that were passed through a detailed and iterative QA/QC process developed to produce datasets for scientific analysis.

Dr. Belabbassi earned her M.S. and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, where she studied the impact of two major regional processes on the local oceanography of the northern Gulf of Mexico."
New Radars Installed at the Mouth of the Mississippi
GCOOS joined with NOAA, the National Ocean Service (NOS), Fugro and the University of Southern Mississippi to celebrate the installation of two new high-frequency radars situated at the mouth of the Mississippi River during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 27 in New Orleans.

(Pictured from left to right: Nicole LeBoeuf, Acting Assistant Administrator for NOS; Rear Admiral (Ret.) Tim Galluadet, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere for NOAA; Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of GCOOS; and Dr. Sara Graves, GCOOS Board Chair.)

The installation of the HFRs was funded through a competitive selection process by GCOOS and supported by a grant from the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The radars are the first new ocean-observing assets federally funded in the Gulf of Mexico through GCOOS in the last five years. 

“The last half of the 20 th Century was the Space Age; I’ll wager that this first half of the 21 st Century is the Ocean Age,” said Rear Admiral (Ret.) Tim Galluadet, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere for NOAA. “If you look at the last 2½ decades, ocean activity has increased 400 percent. Nearly 40 percent of the population is along the U.S. coast and the Great Lakes. And if you look just at the Gulf Coast — since 2010, the population increase has been more than 24 percent — nearly double the rest of the country. This is the Ocean Age and to empower it, we need data and ocean observations, and this is what GCOOS is doing in the Gulf.

The radars were installed in Port Fourchon, on land owned by Chevron Pipeline Co., and in Southwest Pass at the Pilot Station and will be operated by a partnership between private industry and academia — Fugro and the University of Southern Mississippi.

"The Gulf of Mexico has the highest density of energy activities in the U.S. and its ports are some of the busiest in the world," said Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of GCOOS. "Yet, we have gaps in radar coverage in the Gulf. The funding provided through IOOS that supported the installation of these radars is really going a long way to helping us fill in missing information that is crucial to human safety and our Gulf and national economies."

GCOOS Fall Meeting Agenda
The GCOOS 2019 Fall Meeting of the general membership will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Facility, 4700 Avenue U, Galveston, Texas, 77551.

Lunch will follow for guests, members of the GCOOS Board of Directors and staff from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Hotel accommodations are available at a special rate at The Tremont House. Please  contact Jennifer Vreeland-Dawson at  before Sept. 13 if you would like to reserve a room.

Meeting registration is required.

GCOOS Seeks Glider Community Coordinator
GCOOS is seeking applications for a newly funded position: Coordinator for the U.S. Underwater Glider User Group — UG2. 

The Coordinator will be responsible for further developing UG2 and facilitating the exchange of information and expertise among glider users throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the broader U.S., including sharing best practices.

Human Health & Safety
Community Resilience: New GRP White Paper
The Gulf Research Program recently commissioned a white paper to outlines the availability, accessibility, operability and gaps of existing longitudinal data systems that address key aspects of community resilience.

The white paper highlights opportunities for long-term investments that can enhance capacity for monitoring community resilience in the Gulf Region. 

Marine Operations
Gliding Away
GANDALF, our glider data portal, is tracking gliders from the SECOORA Hurricane Gliders project in the Atlantic as well as two gliders in the Gulf. They're sending back some fascinating data.

The gliders in the Gulf are being flown by the U.S. Navy and the University of Southern Mississippi and the gliders in the Atlantic are being flown by the University of South Florida and the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Gulf Shipwreck Discovered
In July, Saildrone partnered with the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to launch a Saildrone unmanned surface vehicle (USV) equipped with a shallow-water multibeam echo sounder in the Gulf of Mexico to test the accuracy and longevity of the platform.

The mission was designed to show that the saildrone could steer accurately enough to conduct a multibeam survey in shallow water and that the saildrone power budget could handle the significant requirements of a multibeam system operating 24/7.

During the mission, the saildrone discovered a wreck that doesn’t appear on any chart!

New NSF-Funded Vessel for the Gulf
Great news for the Gulf-Caribbean Oceanographic Consortium — which includes many GCOOS members: A new Regional Class Research Vessel is joining the U.S. Academic Research Fleet in the Gulf of Mexico. It's the first new research vessel to join the fleet in nearly four decades.

Funded by NSF, the ship will primarily be housed in Gulfport, Mississippi, and be operated as a University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) vessel. The vessel will be 199 feet long, 41 feet wide and have space for up to 16 scientists. The cost is estimated at more than $100 million. Construction will begin in 2019, with sea trials completed by 2023. 

Gulf Lease Sales
Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Andrea Travnicek has announced that region-wide Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 253 generated $159,386,761 in high bids for 151 tracts covering 835,006 acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Healthy Ecosystems & Living Resources
Time is Running Out to Submit Beach Photos
GCOOS is developing an app, "All Things Beaches" as a comprehensive source for current conditions at Gulf of Mexico Beaches and we have been hosting a photo contest for images of your favorite beaches to help us showcase the Gulf’s beautiful places.

Time is running out to submit images of your favorite Gulf beaches!

All entries receive a GCOOS flash drive and our team selects a monthly winner for additional GCOOS swag. Scenery, signage, amenities… we want it all! Please send to by Oct. 4; don’t forget to include your name, picture location and approximate date the image was taken, along with your mailing address if you want the flash drive.

Congratulations to this month’s winner, Melissa Schneider, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, for her August staff favorite image. Images like hers from Front Beach in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, will help app users plan their ideal day of fun and sun.
Wednesday Webinars
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) sponsors a series of webinars that take place at 2 p.m. CST/3 p.m. EST on the last Wednesday of the month, every other month.

Upcoming topics include Gulfwide seagrass status & trends, restored habitat recovery & use, ecosystems services & community resilience and vulnerability and adaptation planning.

Please note that the November webinar will take place early because of Thanksgiving.

Coastal Hazards
Florida Seeks Restoration Ideas
The Florida Trustee Implementation Group is inviting restoration project idea submissions before Sept. 20. They’re seeking ideas related to:
  • Habitat projects on federally-managed lands;
  • Oysters, sea turtles, marine mammals, and birds;
  • Enhancing recreational fishing opportunities.

Mississippi Restoration Summit
The agenda is out for the 2019 Restoration Summit. The Restoration Summit will feature an Open House where you are invited to learn about current and planned restoration activities.

Information on new and current projects will be available as well as representatives from various local, state and federal organizations.

  • When: Nov. 12 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center
  • No Registration Required
  • Details
Meet GOMRI's Scientific Officer
Dispatches from the Gulf recently featured Dr. Chuck Wilson, chief scientific officer of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), created after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

In this role, he assumed the massive responsibility of coordinating  the collective of research grant recipients, academic institutions, and outreach specialists, who ensure that the resulting science is seen and understood by the general public.

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
GCOOS Data Can Help Unlock Long-Term Change
Detecting and understanding long-term change and variability in the environment are the keys to understanding how such changes will affect all sectors of society — from human health, to the health of the ocean systems that we rely on.

The GCOOS data portal and the products that we provide offer a wealth of data — both real-time and historical information.
GCOOS Data Portal
GCOOS Products
Job Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a jobs listing for positions and fellowships in the ocean observing community. Want to advertise a position? Email Nadine Slimak
  • GCOOS — Glider Coordinator
  • IOOS Program Office — Regional Coordinator
  • University of Southern Mississippi — Postdoctoral Research Associate
  • MIT — Assistant Professor, tenure track position, Climate-Related Sciences
  • Mote Marine Laboratory Ocean Technology Program — Staff Scientist/Program Manager
  • NOAA Fisheries — Contract Position, Highly Migratory Species Management Division
  • Florida International University — Open-rank faculty position in Phycology
  • Northern Gulf Institute — Research Associate & Assistant/Associate Research Professor
  • Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, University of Miami — Marine Mammal Acoustic Technician
  • Texas A&M University — Instructional Assistant Professor
  • Postdoctoral Positions: University of Miami; CIMAS; NRC
  • Fellowships: National Academies & NOAA Office of Coastal Management

Funding Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a listing of funding opportunities. Have an opportunity you'd like to advertise? Email Nadine Slimak
  • Red Tide Socioeconomic Impacts
  • FY 2020 Ocean Technology Transition Project
  • Gulf of Mexico Alliance

16-20: OceanObs’19, Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu. As part of the decadal conference series, OceanObs’19 will galvanize the ocean observing community — from scientists to end users. OceanObs’19 seeks to improve response to scientific and societal needs of a fit-for-purpose integrated ocean observing system, for better understanding the environment of the Earth, monitoring climate and informing adaptation strategies as well as the sustainable use of ocean resources.
3-7: 2019 CERF 25th Biennial Conference, Mobile Convention Center, Mobile, AL. C onnecting science and society in the collective goals of preserving coastal and estuarine habitats, resources and heritage . Registration to open in February 2019. Abstract submission deadline May 1.
9-13: AGU Fall Meeting, Moscone Center, San Francisco. As AGU marks its Centennial, the meeting will prepare you for rapid developments in science, new approaches to observing Earth and beyond, the introduction of new data streams, growing demand for accessible science, the expansion of convergent science and more.
16: OceanObs RCN San Diego, immediately preceding 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. 
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.

Share Your News
Meeting, job or funding announcement? News about a published study, new project or something that the Gulf ocean observing community needs to know? Email Nadine Slimak .
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 • 979.847.8879
In Memoriam: Matt Howard, 1952-2018