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 2017 - In This Issue:
To say this has been a busy time in the Gulf observing community would definitely be an understatement. With direct hits from Harvey and Irma, the Gulf states have certainly felt the impact from these record-breaking storms and the ensuing destruction they've left behind.  
In the ocean observing community, we know that the tools and technologies we bring to bear to help forecast the strength and movement of these storms saves lives and that our predictions have greatly improved over time. We also know that having more ocean observing assets in place, as called for in our Build-Out Plan, could only make things safer for all Gulf communities. At GCOOS, we continue to advocate for funding to support these tools.  
I hope you, your families and your colleagues have weathered these storms and their aftermath well. However, if your ocean observing assets have suffered damage, please let us know. We want to help share that information with the IOOS Program Office and NOAA, should funding for recovery become available.  
I hope to see many of you at our next full meeting, scheduled for Oct. 12 in Mobile, Alabama. GCOOS Members and nonmembers are welcome to attend -- and lunch is on us. (See details below.)

Until next month!
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

Jennifer Vreeland, Research Associate 

Nadine Slimak, Public Relations & Content Marketing, Vetted Communications, LLC

Grant Craig, Program Coordinator

Laura Caldwell, Staff Assistant
News from GCOOS HQ
GCOOS Fall Meeting Update meet
We originally planned for our fall meeting to take place at the NOAA Disaster Response Center in
Mobile, Alabama, so we could focus on the important role that ocean observing tools play in emergency response.  
But given the fact that many members of our federal, state and local emergency response teams are still dealing with the aftermaths of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, we've had to change our plans.
Instead of holding the entire meeting at the Disaster Response Center, we will begin our day there with a tour and then head to the Battle House Renaissance Hotel for the remainder of the meeting.
  • What: GCOOS Fall Members Meeting (nonmembers also welcome)
  • Date: Thursday, Oct. 12.
  • When/Where: Those staying at the Battle House should meet in the hotel lobby at 8 a.m. so we can carpool to the NOAA Disaster Response Center,
    7344 Zeigler Boulevard Mobile, Alabama, 36608. We'll leave the hotel at 8:30 a.m. Those not staying at the Battle House should arrive at the Disaster Response Center at 9 a.m. Then, we will return to the Battle House Hotel, 26 N. Royal Street, Mobile, where the GCOOS meeting will begin at 11 a.m.
  • RSVP Required:
    Attendees must RSVP to Grant Craig, [email protected] or you won't be able to join the tour. You can also register online.
Ocean Observing Tools Play Critical Role in Hurricane Preparation, Prediction, Understanding the Aftermath
GCOOS Members Help Communities Weather the Storms 
Data from buoys, gliders, satellites, surface-current mapping radars and other sensors play a critical role in hurricane forecasting -- from gaining a more clear view of how intense storms are to their projected pathways. In the Gulf of Mexico, data gathered from 2,000 or so
Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida.
ocean sensors are collected by the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS), where we ensure that the information is timely, reliable, accurate and -- above all -- available to those working to understand ocean systems and subsequently provide better forecast data to save lives and protect coastal economies during hurricanes like Harvey and Irma. GCOOS is the only comprehensive data collection and dissemination center for coastal and ocean data in the Gulf and our partners come from the federal, state, local and private sectors.  
GCOOS has a web page with comprehensive information on hurricane forecasts and preparation and links to state resources.  
Here are some highlights of the roles that GCOOS partners played during the recent storms: (Please note: this is not a comprehensive listing; merely snapshots of the roles that members of the ocean observing community play in hurricane predictions.)
Before the storm
One of Mote Marine Laboratory's underwater autonomous vehicles (nicknamed "Genie") was deployed off Florida's west coast in early September and fed data to the GCOOS data portal as well as the national glider data portal housed by the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The information the glider gathered was assimilated into Gulf circulation models, including HYCOM -- which provides a three-dimensional and a near-real-time picture of the ocean's state on a fine scale. Eventually, the information was also assimilated into hurricane intensity models. Having near-real time temperature measurements helps to initialize models that are vital to producing accurate hurricane forecasts.
Understanding Harvey's Intensification
On Aug. 23, Harvey moved over waters of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico as a tropical depression with a maximum sustained wind speed of 30 knots at 10 p.m. CDT (03 Zulu). Just 24 hours later, Harvey's winds were 75 knots -- a Category 1 hurricane. Another 24 hours later -- just before it hit the south Texas coast -- Harvey's maximum wind speed reached Category 4 status with 115 knot winds.
GCOOS Members Nan Walker and Alaric Haag (LSU Earth Scan Laboratory, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast and Environment) and Bob Leben (Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, University of Colorado Boulder) are using satellite data to help understand how the storm grew so intense so quickly -- key information that will lead to better predictions and forecasts for the intensity of future storms. Read the details.

Using Ocean Observing Data in Emergency Preparedness
GCOOS Member Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) located on Sanibel Island in Florida came through Hurricane Irma with no structural or roof damage at its facilities. The Lab lost one weather station and one solar panel.
Director Eric Milbrandt reported that the City of Sanibel and Lee County used data from the SCCF's RECON to plan emergency operations during Irma. RECON -- the River, Estuary and Coastal Observing Network -- is the real-time observing network that provides water quality data related to the management of Lake Okeechobee and the 1,400-mile watershed affecting the islands of Sanibel and Captiva. RECON, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, provided real-time information on wind speed and water depth and played a vital role in EOC operations, he said.
Examining Harvey's Aftermath in the Flower Garden Banks
Texas A&M University, in partnership with Liquid Robotics, is using a wave glider to gather real-time data to examine how Harvey's record-breaking rainfall now flowing into the Gulf will affect water quality, coral reefs and ecosystems.
The approximately 11-trillion-gallons of freshwater flowing out of river deltas and into the Gulf is potentially headed toward the fragile coral reefs in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary located 100-miles off the Texas Coast.
The freshwater plume's potential effects could be severe -- dangerously low salinity, harmful algal blooms and low oxygen levels could all result and cause major harm to the corals, as well as saltwater habitats, fish and other organisms throughout the affected Gulf area.
The glider is scheduled to be at sea for 60 days. As of Sept. 14, Texas A&M Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG) researchers reported the plume had spread about 30 miles from the coast. "Together our rapid response to the events surrounding Hurricane Harvey will provide us some very useful data to understand the impacts of the flood waters as they flow out to the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast," said  Dr. Steve DiMarco, GERG team leader for ocean observing and professor in the Texas A&M Department of Oceanography.
Watch the wave glider launch.
Video by Chris Mouchyn, Texas A&M College of Geosciences
Helping Fellow Researchers
The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) came through Harvey just fine, but their neighbors at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) did not fare as well -- they suffered catastrophic damage to their main facilities in Port Aransas. Now HRI and TAMUCC are partnering to make space, equipment, boats and vehicles available to UTMSI staff. HRI is also making plans to pivot its focus to amassing a research response to Hurricane Harvey.
NSF Accepting Proposals Related to Hurricane Irma 
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a call for proposals in the wake of Hurricane Irma. According to a "dear colleague" letter: the NSF encourages the submission of proposals that seek to address the challenges related to Hurricane Irma. NSF also will support fundamental science and engineering research projects whose results may enable our country to better prepare for, respond to, recover from, or mitigate future catastrophic events. Research proposals relating to a better fundamental understanding of the impacts of the storm (both physical, biological and societal), human aspects of natural disasters (including first responders and the general public), emergency response methods, and approaches that promise to reduce future damage also are welcome.
Partner News
Supporting the Pointe-au-Chien Tribe in Coastal Louisiana
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) has announced a project to support coastal resilience and habitat restoration activities with the Pointe-au-Chien Tribe in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, Louisiana. BHP, a new Gulf Star partner, is funding the project. GOMA will work with partners in the region to identify and implement priority actions to address the Tribe's cultural and historical resilience, in alignment with the Tribe's Strategic Plan and ongoing work.
Scientists estimate these two basins are experiencing between 50 and 61 percent of land conversion to open water for the entire state.
Gulf Research Program Annual Report
The Gulf Research Program has released its 2016 annual report -- a milestone year that moved the program forward in significant ways. This included offering five grant competitions for five different grant types, increasing the number of fellows funded by 80 percent, initiating three new consensus studies and two workshops at the National Academies.
HAB News
A bill dedicating $8 million to combat red tide passed the U.S. House earlier this month as part of a government funding bill that is now moving to the Senate for consideration.
The amendment to the bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida, increases NOAA funding to provide additional resources to reduce the threat of red tide. The measure was included in the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, which funds the federal government for fiscal year 2018
New Wave Glider
Liquid Robotics has announced the next generation of the Wave Glider. Advances include improved performance for missions in high sea states and high latitudes, and enhancements to energy, storage and payload capacity for extended operations. The glider also has a new anti-biofouling coating that minimizes speed reductions on long duration missions and simplifies maintenance.
Gulf Restoration News
Public Comment Sought

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) has issued a notice seeking public comment on a proposal to amend its Initial (2015) Funded Priorities List to approve $1,790,546 in implementation funding for the Robinson Preserve Wetlands Restoration project sponsored by NOAA. Public comment is due by Sept. 29, 2017. RestoreTheGulf.gov.
Where'd the Oil Go? SeaGrant Explainer 
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill released around 172 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf in 2010. In the following months, responders used every tool at their disposal to remove what they could from the environment. Simultaneously, scientists worked to track the path of what remained. The Louisiana Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program's latest publication Deepwater Horizon: Where did the oil go? summarizes what researchers have discovered about where the spilled oil traveled after it escaped from the Macondo well and what processes carried it along its path.

Save the Date  
Mississippi Restoration Summit is scheduled for Nov. 14 at the MS Coast Coliseum and Convention Center. Watch www.restore.ms for details.
Mississippi RESTORE Projects Funded  
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued grant awards for two Mississippi RESTORE projects:
  • Strategic Stream Restoration ($5 million) to implement coastal stream restoration strategies in the three Mississippi coastal counties to improve water quality entering the Mississippi Sound. The project will leverage the Coastal Stream and Habitat Initiative project funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF). The NFWF GEBF project partnered with The Nature Conservancy and Audubon Mississippi to engage stakeholders across the Mississippi landscape to examine and formulate a plan to restore nine coastal streams. This project aligns with the eco-restoration priorities developed by the GoCoast 2020 Commission.
  • Accreditation Support for the William Carey University School of Pharmacy ($1 million) to support workforce development and job creation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as faculty and staff are hired as part of the accreditation process for the William Carey University School of Pharmacy located in Biloxi. The project will support the development of a professional degree program that will supplement the pharmacist workforce and is anticipated to create more than 40 faculty and staff jobs. Once achieved, the School of Pharmacy anticipates 60 pharmacy graduates annually. This project aligns with the workforce development priorities developed by the GoCoast 2020 Commission.
These projects are part of Mississippi's Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) which includes 16 proposed projects totaling more than $80 million. The projects were proposed to the governor by the GoCoast 2020 Commission.

Restoration Resources
Restoration Funding Calendar
  • NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program hosts a three-year calendar that consolidates planned funding opportunities
By State:

Good Reads
Wetland Plague Spurs Call for Louisiana Emergency Declaration
A group of scientists and community activists is calling on Louisiana to declare an emergency over the rapid die-off of Roseau cane, a tall and sturdy marsh grass that holds together large sections of the vulnerable coast. More than 100,000 acres of Roseau cane have been lost or heavily damaged after an East Asian insect appeared on the coast and began preying on the plant.
A Requiem for Florida, the Paradise That Should Never Have Been
As Hurricane Irma prepared to strike, Politico Magazine writer Michael Grunwald offered this: "It's worth remembering that Mother Nature never intended us to live here."
The first Americans to spend much time in South Florida were the U.S. Army men who chased the Seminole Indians around the peninsula in the 1830s. And they hated it. Today, their letters read like Yelp reviews of an arsenic café, denouncing the region as a "hideous," "loathsome," "diabolical," "God-abandoned" mosquito refuge.
Employment Opportunities
Department of Physical Oceanography of CICESE Offerring Postdoctoral Scholarship
The Department of Physical Oceanography of CICESE is offering a postdoctoral scholarship to join the group that is studying transport mechanisms of passive particles in the western Gulf of Mexico. This is within the framework of a large multi-institutional and interdisciplinary project to generate scenarios and evaluate possible impacts of oil spills on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, performed by the Consorcio de Investigación del Golfo de México (CIGoM).

The postdoc will study the environmental factors controlling particle dispersion at various scales, and how the properties of dispersion differ between the inner-shelf and deep water, as well as between the surface and the deeper layers. The Lagrangian data will be obtained from drifters and subsurface floats experiments in the field, as well as via numerical model experiments.

The applicant should have a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography or other similar fields of study. Experience with Lagrangian data (real or simulated) is desirable. Previous knowledge on data analysis using programming languages such as Fortran, Matlab or Python are required. Good English skills (oral and written) are also desired. The stipend will depend on the qualifications of the candidate. The contract will cover a period of one year and it may be extended up to two years depending on progress.

Interested persons are invited to submit a motivation letter and curriculum vitae with full contact information by Oct. 8, 2017.
Events & Meetings
GCOOS BOD/Members Meeting, Oct. 11-13, 2017, Mobile, AL. 

IOOS Advisory Committee Meeting, Oct. 24-26, 2017.

Hydric Soils Identification Course Oct. 19-20
LSU's College of the Coast & Environment's Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences will host a two-day workshop addressing the field identification and delineation of hydric soils. Workshop attendees will gain the skills required to identify hydric soils in the field and conduct hydric soils delineations within Louisiana and across the Gulf Coast Region. Additionally, the workshop will be applicable to those working throughout the Atlantic region and other areas of the country. Registration is limited.
Cost: $500. Questions & RSVPs: Dr. John White, [email protected] 
  • Accommodations at the Staybridge Suites, 4001 Nicholson Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70808 (225.456.5431), must be booked by Sept. 18, 2017, for the group rate. If calling, please refer to the Hydric Soil Identification Course for group rate. Group Code: HSC
  • Registration
December 11-15, 2017, New Orleans, LA
Florida Sea Grant and the University of Florida IFAS Extension are hosting a Dec. 12-15 intensive workshop in Gainesville, Florida, on ArcGIS 10.5, a powerful tool for managing natural resources and guiding growth and development processes. Details  
American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting
, January 7-11, 2018, Austin, TX

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Sciences, February 5-9, 2018, New Orleans, LA. Don't forget, the conference is still accepting abstracts that promote fundamental Gulf ecosystem science or link scientific results to ecosystem resilience, oil spill response, or restoration and management. The deadline to submit an abstract is September 11, 2017.

2018 AGU/ASLO/TOS Ocean Sciences Meeting, February 11-16, 2018,  Portland, Oregon.  
Share Your News with GCOOS
Do you have a meeting, job or funding announcement? Please let us know so we can help spread the word. Email info, including all pertinent details and website links, to Laura Caldwell, GCOOS Staff Assistant, [email protected].

Are you starting or finishing a research project, reporting new findings, have a new publication or other big news to share with the GCOOS community? Please email our Public Relations and Content Coordinator, Nadine Slimak at Vetted Communications, [email protected].

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.