GCOOS News & Updates for May 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 

  GCOOS Provides Environmental Intelligence for Critical Regional and National Issues

     The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) partnership has a 10-year history as an operational system providing near-real time environmental intelligence on from 1900 on 319 stations necessary to address critical regional and national issues, including shipping, oil and gas, and national security. Read more about how the GCOOS Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) is helping to address these public needs at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=9259


GCOOS-RA Letter of Intent Update

     Thanks to all who submitted Letters of Intent (LOIs) from the next five-year funding of GCOOS. We received 36 LOIs and the review committee has been working hard to review and rank them. PIs should be hearing from us shortly for any modifications requested.


Stephan O'Brien of the University of Southern Mississippi shows students underwater video from ROVs & AUVs.
GCOOS-RA Staff and Partners Help Students Celebrate Earth Day in the Gulf of Mexico

     GCOOS-RA staff and partners helped students celebrate Earth Day 2015 throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Two events, in particular, at Bay Point Elementary in St. Petersburg, FL, and at Pontchartrain Elementary School in Mandeville, LA, generated lots of enthusiasm for Earth sciences amongst students, teachers, and parents. Read more about these great outreach and education events at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=9223.


Vote for the Marine Science Literacy Team!

     The Marine Science Literacy Team has been selected for the final round of the Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge in Florida. Your votes determine the award winners. The Marine Science Literacy Team features GCOOS-RA member Nature's Academy and GCOOS-RA Outreach and Education Lead, Dr. Chris Simoniello. Check them out and vote at  http://www.gulfcoastchallenge.org/entry/marine-science-literacy-team.


A Bay Point Elementary School student tests out the launcher.
3, 2, 1....Launch! Dr. Chris Simoniello Hosts Mission Space Event 

     More than 300 Bay Point Elementary (BPE) students and family members participated in "Mission Space", a family science event hosted by GCOOS-RA Outreach and Education Lead, Dr. Chris Simoniello, in partnership with the BPE Parent Teacher Association. The festival, held in conjunction with the school's annual science fair, was a huge success thanks to the generous support of GCOOS-RA partners from the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, Florida Sea Grant, and NOAA Southeast Regional Fisheries Office. Read more at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=9248.


Gulf of Mexico Marine Mammal Research and Monitoring Update

     The program, project descriptions, and presentation PDFs from the Gulf of Mexico Marine Mammal Research and Monitoring Meeting, held 7-8 April 2015 in New Orleans, LA, are now available and can be accessed on the Marine Mammal Commission's website at:


     To access the program and project descriptions, scroll down to the second paragraph below the dolphin picture to access the link, or go directly to the document at: http://www.mmc.gov/gom/gom_mtg_pp_desc_041315.pdf.

To access the PDFs of the presentations and posters, scroll down to the next to last paragraph on the meeting website to access the link, or go directly to the website with the PDFs at:  


     A report highlighting key outcomes of the meeting should be available in the coming months. Working groups are forming to work on research, monitoring, and analytical priorities to be included in a marine mammal "action plan" for the Gulf of Mexico. To date, working groups will focus on Abundance, Distribution, Stock Structure, Habitat Use, Technology Development, Effects of Acoustic Disturbance, Monitoring Compliance with Mitigation Measures, and Economic Importance of Marine Wildlife Tourism. For more information, contact Vicki Cornish with the Marine Mammal Commission at VCornish@mmc.gov.

GCOOS Chapter in Coastal Ocean Observing Systems 1st Edition is Coming Soon!

     This book, being published by Elsevier in July 2015, provides state-of-the-art scientific and technological knowledge in coastal ocean observing systems, along with guidance on establishing, restructuring, and improving similar systems. Edited by Yonggang Liu, Heather Kerkering, and Robert H. Weisberg, the book is intended to help oceanographers understand, identify, and recognize how oceanographic research feeds into the various designs of ocean observing systems. In addition, readers will learn how ocean observing systems are defined and how each system operates in relation to its geographical, environmental, and political region. The book provides further insights into all of these problem areas, offering lessons learned and results from the types of research sponsored and utilized by ocean observing systems and the types of research design and experiments conducted by professionals specializing in ocean research and affiliated with observing systems. The GCOOS-RA chapter, by Chris Simoniello, Stephanie Watson, Barbara Kirkpatrick, Michael Spranger, and Ann E. Jochens, focuses on the efficiency and effectiveness of one comprehensive observing system in the Gulf of Mexico providing many societal benefits. Look for the book in July at  http://store.elsevier.com/product.jsp?isbn=9780128020227.    


FAA Selects Mississippi State University (MSU)-Led Team for National Unmanned Aircraft Systems (AUS) Center (from MSU Press Release, 8 May 2015)

     The Federal Aviation Administration has selected a Mississippi State-led team to operate a new National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. MSU is leading the coalition of academic and industry partners that will launch a new era of commercial unmanned aircraft research, development, and integration into the nation's airspace. On Friday, 8 May 2015, the FAA announced that MSU's Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) will operate the new center.  Congress has charged the FAA with developing rules regulating commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and the new center will play a key role in that process. The center of excellence will provide the agency and industry with research to maximize the potential of commercial unmanned systems with minimal changes to the current system regulating manned aircraft. ASSURE will form teams between its member universities, government agencies and industry partners to address both government and commercial UAS challenges. "This world-class, public-private partnership will help us focus on the challenges and opportunities of this cutting-edge technology," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We expect this team will help us to educate and train a cadre of unmanned aircraft professionals well into the future." Read more at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=9276


Update on Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Jubilee in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, 13-17 July 2015

     The University of Southern Mississippi(USM)-led CONCORDE Consortium for River-Dominated Coastal Ecosystems continues to plan its AUV Jubilee for the Northern Gulf in July. USM held an introductory webinar 14 May 2015. Read more about the GoMRI-funded CONCORDE at http://gcoos.tamu.edu/?p=8927.

Gulf Restoration News 

Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) Phase IV

     The Deepwater Horizon NRDA Trustees have agreed in principle on 10 Early Gulf Restoration Projects. To date, nearly $700 million has been allocated for 54 early restroration projects. 



     The RESTORE Council published the final rule for the RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component Planning Allocation at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-01-13/pdf/2014-30675.pdf. Read the Council-Selected Restoration Component and Context Reports. Read the press release on coordinated restoration 5-years after the DWH oil spill.


NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Announces New Director and Final Science Plan

     Dr. Mary Erickson, Director, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science announces that Dr. Julien Lartigue is the new Director of the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. Dr. Lartigue will be responsible for leading and directing all aspects of the Program, including planning and administration, strategic and scientific direction, coordinating with partners, engaging internal and external advisory bodies, and facilitating the application of research results and advances stemming from our investments. Dr. Lartigue will be located at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information facility at the Stennis Space Center in coastal Mississippi and maintain a presence throughout the Gulf Coast. Dr. Erickson also thanks Dr. Becky Allee for her contributions as Acting Program Director and her lead in developing the program's final science plan (at



National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund

      NFWF will support the development of the Florida Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund Restoration Strategy. Read more at

http://www.nfwf.org/whoweare/mediacenter/pr/Pages/FL-GEBF-Strategy-PR-4-27-15.aspx#.VUu3utpVikq. To view a listing of projects funded by the NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, visit  http://www.nfwf.org/gulf/Pages/gulf-projects.aspx#.VUu4QtpViko .


National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Gulf Research Program

     The NAS GRP has a Request for Applications open for Data Synthesis Grants. Read more at http://www.nationalacademies.org/gulf/datagrants/index.htm.


RESTORE Centers of Excellence

Florida - FIO is coordinating a Centers of Excellence Research Grant Program with full proposals due 20 May 2015. Read more at  http://www.fio.usf.edu/research/restore-act .

Alabama - Read the 13 May 2015 solicitation for applications for the AL RESTORE Center for Excellence: http://www.restorealabama.org/Documents/AL%20COE%20Solicitation%20for%20Proposals.pdf.
and the competitive process for selection:  


Mississippi - Applications for MS RESTORE Center of Excellence were due at the end of April 2015. Reviews ongoing.

Louisiana - public comments on the administrative policies for the Center of Excellence grants are being reviewed. http://coastal.la.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/COE-Policies-2015_Final2.pdf.

Texas - The Texas Centers of Excellence were announced back in January - see http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/news/releases/1-15restore . One of the Centers, the Texas OneGulf Consortium, has a website at http://www.harteresearchinstitute.org/tx-onegulf .



See the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website for more information at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/ or the 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. Florida DEP has also created an infographic on Florida restoration facts 5 years after the DWH oil spill at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files2/info_graphic.pdf.



For more information or to submit projects, visit http://www.alabamacoastalrestoration.org/



The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources held a "State of Our Coast" summit 12-13 May, 2015. Learn more at  http://dmr.ms.gov/index.php/news-a-events/760-state-of-our-coast .



The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority released its new Flood Risk and Resilience Viewer (http://cims.coastal.louisiana.gov/floodrisk/) and a funding guide for Resources to Reduce Coastal Flood Risk (http://coastal.la.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/CPRA-Pocket-Guide-to-Funding-Resources.pdf), developed in cooperation with Shell. The Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Plan and the System-wide Monitoring and Assessment Program Plan are available at http://coastal.la.gov/newscategory/whats-new/.



Learn more about Texas' RESTORE efforts or submit a project at https://www.restorethetexascoast.org/.

Gulf of Mexico Regional News 

Two New PORTS Systems to be Installed in the Gulf of Mexico

     Two southeast Louisiana shipping hubs critical to the U.S. economy will see the installation of NOAA's Physical Oceanographic Real Time System (PORTS?) this week. The new multi-sensor systems will increase navigation safety and allow for increased efficiency on ships transiting through the Port of Morgan City and Port Fourchon, Louisiana. PORTS is an integrated system of oceanographic and meteorological sensors that provide mariners with accurate and reliable real-time information about environmental conditions in seaports. By volume, more than 95 percent of U.S. international trade moves through the nation's ports and harbors and NOAA works with local users to tailor the system to the specific requirements of each seaport. 


2015 Gulf of Mexico Alliance All-Hands Meeting (16-18 June 2015)

     The 2015 Gulf of Mexico Alliance All-Hands Meeting will be held 16-18 June 2015 in Biloxi, MS. See the agenda at http://www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2015-All-Hands-schedule-of-events-for-website-rev1.pdf and register at http://www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org/announcements/events/2015-all-hands-meeting/.

IOOS/National/Legislative News 

The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observations Committee met 29-30 April 2015 in Washington, D.C. (from IOOS Z-Gram 4 May).

Presentations are available here - http://www.ioos.noaa.gov/advisorycommittee/


Boise High School Wins National Ocean Sciences Bowl



IOOS/QARTOD Dissolved Oxygen Manual Updated (from Z-Gram 4 May).
Access the manual at http://www.ioos.noaa.gov/qartod/dissolved_oxygen/welcome.html


Ocean News and Technology 2015 AUV Buyers' Guide

Available at https://www.oceannews.com/buyersguide

Employment Opportunities 

Stock Assessment Scientist, NOAA, Miami



Nature's Academy Education Manager


Chemistry Assistant at Greenwater Lab



Project Administration Manager for Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative


Supervisory Natural Resource Management Specialist with NOAA/NMFS, St. Petersburg, FL


Funding Opportunities 

EPA STAR Fellowships

Due 26 May 2015 11:59 Eastern Time.  



Challenge to visualize Water Quality data ($10,000) as part of the President's Climate Data Initiative Submissions due 8 June, 2015.   



National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program Data Synthesis Grants

LOIs due 15 June 2015.  


Current Events and Meetings 


2015 Gulf of Mexico Climate Outreach Community Practice Meeting, 19-20 May 2015, St. Petersburg, FL


2015 Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association Annual Meeting, 19-20 May 2015, Jacksonville, FL

Click for details


National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center Webinar on Storm Surge Product Updates, 20 May 2015: 10:00 AM ET



Blue Planet Symposium, 27-29 May 2015, Cairns, Australia



Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 8-12 June 2015, Marriott Beachside, Key West, FL


Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), 9-11 June 2015, Washington, D.C. Newseum


GOMA All-Hands Meeting, 16-18 June 2015, Biloxi, MS



OTN-Hosted International Conference on Fish Telemetry, 13-17 July 2015, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada



Oceans in Action 2015, 20 August 2015, Stennis Space Center, MS


ESCA55: Unbounded boundaries and shifting baselines, estuaries and coastal seas in a rapidly changing world, 6-9 September 2015, London, UK

Click for details.


GCOOS-RA Board of Directors Meeting, 17 September 2015, St. Petersburg, FL

Details TBA



MTS/IEEE Oceans '15, 19-22 October 2015, Washington, D.C.