GCOOS News and Updates for August 2014

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 Regional News 


USF/Mote/FWC Monitoring Red Tide in Florida (from 6 August 2014 Mote Press Release. Used with permission) 
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles "Waldo" from Mote Marine Laboratory and "Bass" from the University of South Florida (USF) have been hard at work monitoring the offshore bloom of Florida red tide and surrounding ocean conditions since they were deployed on 1 August. Information from the sensors they carry is helping to shape short-term bloom forecasts.
The bloom was recently reported to be eighty miles long and fifty miles wide, reaching from Dixie County to southern Pasco County, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC)
statewide update on 1 August.
Robot results:
During the past weeks, data collected from the AUVs have supported the following reports:
  • Waldo: At forty miles from the Pasco/Hernando border, red tide was detected at the surface and to depths of about twenty-five meters (eighty-two feet). These data are in agreement with red tide presence indicated by satellite remote sensing.
  • Bass: At the outer edge of the bloom, elevated chlorophyll associated with the red tide was present in waters as deep as forty meters (131 feet).
  • Both: The bloom water is "stratified" (layered) with denser, cooler water below and lighter, warmer water on top.

The robots' data are feeding into short-term forecasts of the red tide bloom developed by the Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides, a partnership effort between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and USF. Find the latest reports at http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/ and http://coolgate.mote.org/beachconditions/.

UPDATE: Waldo's mission ended 13 August 2014. Plans for Bass are still being determined. Interactive maps with glider tracks are available on the GCOOS website at http://gcoos.org/products/maps/gulf_gliders/ . Data plots are available for Mote (http://coolcloud.mote.org/deployments/mote_045/plots/) and USF (http://abcmgr.tamu.edu/glider/glider_bass.html). Data plots will soon be available on the GCOOS glider page. Interactive maps with glider tracks and data are available on the GCOOS website at http://gcoos.org/products/maps/gulf_gliders/.


Dr. Chunyan Li from Louisiana State University

LSU Researches Use Oil and Gas Industry Data to Understand Gulf of Mexico Currents: Public-Private Partnership Provides Important Insight to Help Protect Public Safety in the Gulf

Drs. Chunyan Li and Lawrence Rouse, Jr. at Louisiana State University (LSU) have completed a study of how ocean currents move in the Gulf of Mexico, using data provided by the oil and gas industry. The study, funded through the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Environmental Studies Program (ESP), uniquely shows how the oil and gas industry and public agencies and universities can collaborate to provide important public information. The study's results provide insight into how the Gulf of Mexico currents move, which is critical for improving oil spill response, protecting the safety of the 40,000 citizens working in the Gulf offshore oil and gas industry, and understanding the development and characteristics of hurricanes.

Ocean current profile data from an unprecedented number of oil and gas platforms (>50) in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the period 2005 to 2008 were analyzed in this study. Among Drs. Li and Rouse's findings were that the central northern Gulf of Mexico region was shown to be more energetic than the western northern Gulf of Mexico region, due primarily to the impact of the Loop Current and Loop Current eddies. Additionally, near-inertial oscillations, generated by external wind forcing and affected by the earth's rotation and vertical stratification, contribute to the energy of the entire region. Under normal wind conditions, the propagation of near-inertial oscillations through a stratified water column evolves slowly. However, near-instantaneous production of near-inertial oscillations observed during a hurricane at a mile below the ocean's surface suggests a response different from the stratification effect. A theoretical model developed during this study demonstrated that pressure contributes to this effect. To read the study, visit http://www.data.boem.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/5/5366.pdf . The oil and gas industry currents data can be accessed from the GCOOS Data Portal - http://data.gcoos.org.


GCOOS Build-out Plan V.2.0 By the Numbers

In an effort to clarify the purpose and nearly decade-long process undertaken by the GCOOS-RA to develop a regional, fully integrated and sustainable observing system plan for the Gulf of Mexico, the GCOOS-RA has developed a flyer describing the GCOOS Build Out Plan V.2.0. The flyer "GCOOS Build Out Plan V.2.0 By the Numbers" summarizes the many workshops, individual contributions, affiliations, and other plans considered in the Build Out Plan. See the flyer at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/documents/By-the-numbers.pdf.


Chad Lembke (USF) Selected as New Gulf Glider Task Team Chair

The GCOOS-RA is pleased to welcome Chad Lembke (University of South Florida, USF) as the new Gulf Glider Task Team (GGTT) Chair. Lembke has participated in the development of the National Glider Network plan and the glider section of the GCOOS Build-out Plan. He has also represented the GCOOS-RA at the National Glider Workshop, held in 2012, and has worked with many experts and public officials around the Gulf. We look forward to continuing our work together to further enhance glider capacities and implementation in the Gulf of Mexico.
The GCOOS-RA also extends sincere appreciation to Dr. Stephan Howden (University of Southern Mississippi) who has chaired the task team in recent years. Dr. Howden has contributed many hours to the GCOOS-RA for glider planning and operations, national and GCOOS plan development, and more. Dr. Howden, taking a much-deserved break from being Team Lead, will remain an active member of the GGTT. For more information on the GGTT, see


Data Provider Highlight: Central Gulf Ocean Observing System (CenGOOS)

The Central Gulf of Mexico Ocean Observing System (CenGOOS) is a sub-regional observing system within the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS), with a focus on the Mississippi Bight in the northern Gulf. CenGOOS is led by Dr. Stephan Howden, Department of Marine Science, The University of Southern Mississippi (USM). USM is a member of the GCOOS Regional Association (RA) and Dr. Howden is on the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors and Gulf Glider Task Team. The purposes of CenGOOS are to monitor the development of stratification, eutrophication, seasonal hypoxia, and effects and efficacy of restoration projects, including southeast Louisiana and Mississippi coastal restoration projects, barrier island restoration projects, and expansion of the Port of Gulfport. Read more about CenGOOS at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=7449.


Meet the GCOOS-RA Leadership

Please join us on 30 September at 1-3 pm Eastern at Mote Marine Lab, Sarasota, FL, for an interactive discussion about GCOOS. At the end of the session, participants will be acquainted with the senior leadership of GCOOS. No PowerPoints! This will be a question/answer/discussion session about the GCOOS build out plan, GCOOS's role in RESTORE, other oil spill-related projects, and topics of interest to participants.Current and prospective GCOOS members are welcome. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact [email protected].


Mississippi Enterprise for Technology (MSET) Joins GCOOS-RA

The GCOOS-RA welcomes the MSET as a new member. MSET is located at the Stennis Space Center, one of the nation's largest federal cities. Originally formed through a joint effort between the State of Mississippi, NASA, and the Mississippi institutions of higher learning, MSET is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that facilitates regional economic development by leveraging the resources of Stennis Space Center, the State, and the region to foster business opportunities among public and private entities. For more information on MSET, see http://www.mset.org/.


GCOOS-RA at the Gulf Coast Section of the Marine Technology Society's Oceans in Action

The Oceans In Action workshop sponsored by the Marine Technology Society (MTS) Gulf Coast Section and the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology (MSET) is pleased to announce the addition of a speaker and anchor to the event's business matchmaking session. The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) Regional Association's Associate Executive Director, Landry Bernard, will present an overview of the program and plans for the future. Poised to respond to many of the RESTORE Act program requirements, GCOOS is looking to learn more about the capabilities of local, small companies. The session will be held Thursday, August 21, 2014, 3-5 pm Central, John C. Stennis Space Center Building 1100 Atrium Stennis Space Center, MS  39529. To register or become an Oceans In Action sponsor, visit the MTS website at https://www.mtsociety.org/.  Registration costs are $75 for members, $150 for non-members. Registration for business matchmaking sessions is separate and is at no cost.  Already signed up for matchmaking meetings and want to add GCOOS? Please contact Laurie Jugan at [email protected]


RESTORE: The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Announces Proposal Submission Process and Texas Activates State RESTORE Website

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) has made significant progress in finalizing the processes for implementing restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Approval of this process means Council members may begin submitting projects as early as next month with project evaluation and selection activities taking place later this fall. The Council will invest in specific actions, projects and programs that can be carried out in the near-term to help ensure on-the-ground results to restore the overall health of the ecosystem. The process provides for merit-based selection of projects to achieve comprehensive ecosystem restoration. It incorporates an independent science review to ensure projects are grounded in sound science, provides for coordination at the project level with other restoration efforts, and gives the highest priority to projects that meet one or more of the priority criteria outlined in the law. For more information, see http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=7034 and http://RestoretheGulf.gov.

The State of Texas has activated their RESTORE website at http://restorethetexascoast.org/ to communicate their RESTORE activities and to accept project submissions. Project submission forms will be available from this site soon.


Tracking Oil - USGS Tools and Analysis Inform Response to Deepwater Horizon and Future Oil Spills

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists have developed a new computer model to track residual oil that persists along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast four years after the Deepwater Horizon incident released several million barrels of gas and oil into the Gulf. This new model is being used in ongoing cleanup efforts and can be used to aid the response to future oil spills. For more information, see http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=7036 or contact Theresa Burress at [email protected].


Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Issues Two Press Releases for the Gulf of Mexico

New Hurricane-Hardened Station Sentinels Being Constructed Along the Texas Gulf Coast

The federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program will fund the construction of four new Hurricane Hardened Sentinel Stations at Texas coastal passes. The stations will be built by faculty and staff at the Texas A&M University Conrad Blucher Institute with the support of the State of Texas General Land Office. NOAA is a cooperating partner on the stations for equipment and other components. By next year, every pass of coastal Texas will have a Sentinel Station operating for storm surge monitoring, environmental and restoration projects, spill response and navigation support. Real time water and surge monitoring, weather monitoring, including during major storm events (with GPS Continuously Operating Reference Station) will make this a great comprehensive network serving the coast. This system is part of the Texas Coastal Observation Network (TCOON) and is included in the GCOOS Build-out Plan V.2.0, Water Level Observations Network section (http://gcoos.tamu.edu/BuildOut/BuildOutPlan-V2.pdf ). For more information, see https://www.cbi.tamucc.edu/TCOON/.


NOAA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Establish Critical Habitat for Loggerhead Sea Turtles in the Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and the Department of Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) today announced two final rules to designate critical habitat for the threatened loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in the Atlantic Ocean and on coastal beach habitat along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The federal Endangered Species Act requires NOAA and USFWS to designate critical habitat for listed sea turtles.
The NOAA-designated marine critical habitat includes some nearshore reproductive areas directly off of nesting beaches from North Carolina through Mississippi; winter habitat in North Carolina; breeding habitat in Florida; constricted migratory corridors in North Carolina and Florida; and Sargassum habitat, which is home to the majority of juvenile turtles in the western Gulf of Mexico and in U.S. waters within the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean. The USFWS-designated terrestrial critical habitat areas include 88 nesting beaches in coastal counties located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. These beaches account for 48 percent of an estimated 1,531 miles of coastal beach shoreline used by loggerheads, and about 84 percent of the documented numbers of nests, within these six states. Read the
press release.


2014 Hypoxic Zone Update

According to Dr. Nancy Rabalais, the 2014 area of low oxygen (Dead Zone), measured 13,080 square kilometers (5,052 square miles) as of 1 August 2014. The July distribution of hypoxic waters is most often a single continuous zone alone the Louisiana and adjacent Texas shelf, but this year was located in two separate areas. The largest area was off central southern Louisiana between the deltas of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers and the smaller was off southwestern Louisiana. The complete press release can be found here.


BioNews Texas Posts Story on Texas A&M University Researchers Monitoring Hypoxia

BioNews Texas reports that Dr. Steven DiMarco, Texas A&M University, and others are finding, through vessel surveys and the use of underwater gliders, that the 2014 Hypoxic Zone is smaller than in previous years. For more information, see http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=7027 . For the glider tracks and data, see http://gcoos.org/products/maps/gulf_gliders/.


IOOS/National/Legislative News 

2015 Ocean 180 Video Challenge

The Ocean 180 Video Challenge, sponsored by the Florida Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE Florida), is offering an opportunity for ocean scientists to practice their communication and presentation skills. A total of $9,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to ocean scientists who best communicate their research through film.In its second year with funds from the National Science Foundation, the Ocean 180 project challenges scientists to communicate and share the meaning, significance, and relevance of their research with a broader audience.

Researchers who have published a peer-reviewed article within the past five years are invited to produce a 3-minute video summarizing the work. Scientists at any career stage, including graduate and undergraduate students, are eligible to participate. Submissions for the 2015 Ocean 180 Video Challenge will be accepted from 1 October through 1 December 2014.

Submissions will ultimately be viewed and evaluated by thousands of middle school students from around the world. In 2014, Ocean 180's inaugural year, entries were seen by over 30,000 students participating as judges in 13 countries. Information, previous winners, and full contest guidelines can be found at http://ocean180.org. For more information, please contact Mallory Watson at [email protected].


New Protocol Allows Scientists to Monitor Toxic Bottom-Dwelling Algae at Low Cost (from Z-Gram 25 July 2014)

The National Ocean Service's (NOS) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) scientists have developed a simple, low-cost protocol for monitoring harmful, bottom-dwelling algae in diverse marine habitats around the world - using little more than a window screen to collect algae. The window screens mimic natural surfaces that harbor toxic algae and allow direct comparisons of algae abundance from different locations. In a series of field experiments in tropical environments, researchers showed that toxin-producing microalgal cells were sufficiently mobile to colonize window screens suspended near the seafloor within 24 hours. The abundance of cells recruited on window screens was highly correlated with the abundance of cells found in the surrounding environment. Until now, sampling and monitoring these cells has been difficult and expensive, given the broad distribution of microalgae over a variety of surfaces, such as coral, sea grass, and rocks. An upcoming article in the journal Harmful Algae will provide natural resource managers around the world with more information on this technique. The toxins produced by some bottom-dwelling microalgae can accumulate in fish and shellfish-making people sick, disrupting human food supplies, and limiting the development of profitable fisheries. For more information, contact [email protected].


National Academies Press Publishes Book on Coastal Risk

The National Academies Press has recently published Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts. The book reviews the many aspects of coastal risks associated with hurricane and coastal storms including environmental impacts, monetary impacts and safety and strategies for dealing with these issues. For more details on this publication, please see http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18811.


Study Provides New Approach to Forecast Hurricane Intensity

According to a new study, The air-sea interface and surface stress under tropical cyclones, Nature Scientific Reports, research conducted at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences revealed that physical conditions at the air-sea interface, where the ocean and atmosphere meet, may provide improved forecast models to aid in hurricane intensity predictions. The research at the RSMAS' Air-Sea Interaction Salt Water Tank (ASIST) is based on experiments that simulate wind speed and ocean surface condition during tropical storms. For more on this study please view the press release.


BOEM Extends Comment Period for Information Request on Next Five-Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program

On 30 July 2014, BOEM extended the public comment period for the Request for Information (RFI) and Comments on the Preparation of the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The RFI was released in mid-June as the initial step in the multi-year offshore oil and gas planning process. This extension of the comment period is being issued in response to requests from several states. The bureau will allow an additional 15 days for the public to submit information and comments. For more information, see


2014 State of the U.S. Ocean and Coastal Economies Report Available 
The State of the U.S. Ocean and Coastal Economies Report from the National Ocean Economics Program is now available at http://www.oceaneconomics.org/download/.

Funding Opportunities 

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

Proposal Window opening soon. Watch http://RestoretheGulf.gov


Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GOMRI) RFP-V

Save the date for RFP V release in mid-November 2015. For more information, see http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/request-for-proposals/rfp-v/


NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research
Announcements of Opportunity have been issued to submit to the Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (CSOR)/Coastal Ocean Program. Proposal categories include Harmful Algal Bloom Program (i.e., ECOHAB, MERHAB and POMHAB0, Regional Ecosystem Prediction Program (REPP) for Understanding Coral Ecosystem Connectivity int eh Gulf of Mexico-Pulley Ridge to the Florida Keys; and the Regional Ecosystem Prediction Program (REPP) for Concept of operations for Models to Support Regional Coastal Ecosystem Management. Proposal deadlines range from 14-21 October 2014, depending on proposal category.
Here are details on the program.


Employment Opportunities 

OPS Education Specialist-Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission



Chesapeake Research Consortium, Inc. Seeks Executive Director 



Post-doctoral Research Associate, NOAA Fisheries, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Contact Wes Patrick, mailto:[email protected]

Current Events and Meetings 


"International Marine Science Communication Conference", 8-9 September 2014, Porto, Portugal.



GCOOS Board of Directors and Members Meeting, 10-11 September 2014, Houston, TX


"IEEE/OES/MTS Ocean's 14", 14-19 September 2014, Delta St. John's Hotel, St. John's Convention Center, St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada.  

"Mississippi Community Conversations" 20 August 2014, Bay St. Louis Community Center, Bay St. Louis, MS (5:30-7:30 PM)



"Mississippi Community Conversations" 21 August 2014, Fontainbleau Community Center, Ocean Springs, MD (5:30-7:30 PM)



"Mississippi Community Conversations: 23 August 2014, Handsboro Community Center, Gulfport, MS (4:00-6:00 PM)

"2014 Rising Seas Summit", 24-16 September 2014, Crowne Plaza Times Square, New York NY.



"Restore America's Estuaries 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and 24th Biennial Meeting of the Coastal Society", 1-6 November 2014, Gaylord National Convention Center, Washington, DC.



"Second International Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle Symposium 2014", 18-19 November 2014, Brownsville Events Center, Brownsville, TX



"AGU Fall Meeting", 15-19 December 2014, San Francisco, CA.




"Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference", 16-19 February 2015, Westin Galleria Hotel, Houston, TX. 

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. Your input, guidance, support, and membership are important to the development of the data, products and services that you need. Contact the  GCOOS Business Office  ([email protected]), 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 (l[email protected]). 
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