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.
August 2018 - In This Issue:
There's much news to report about the Gulf of Mexico right now -- some good, some not at all.
I'm sad to note the passing of Rear Admiral Kenneth E. Barbor , USN Retired, in late July.  After retiring from the Navy and his position as Commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at the Stennis Space Center, Ken moved to the University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Marine Sciences as Director of the Hydrographic Research Center, where he developed an internationally recognized research program and led the Department's Master's Degree in Hydrographic Science to a position of international prominence.
I had the pleasure of working with Ken, who was the chair of our Products and Services Advisory Council for many years, a nd will truly miss his leadership, kindness and compassion.
Red tide has been especially virulent along Florida's Southwest coast, with record-level fish kills, a mass sea turtle mortality event, more than 80 manatee deaths and a new uptick in dead dolphins. We've included a clearinghouse of key information below that you're welcome to share with friends and colleagues who may be interested in learning more about this bloom and harmful algae in general.
On a more pleasant note, we're happy to help the Navy share news of their record-breaking glider deployments -- including six gliders we're tracking through our data portal (which has been updated -- see the news below). We're also working with SECOORA on a test basis to see whether we can feasibly help them track their gliders on our data portal.
We also need your help this month: Please help us get a better handle on how you're using our website by taking our survey. Not only will this information help us, but all of the RAs across the nation are conducting similar surveys and IOOS will pull all the results together to gain a better understanding of who is using the data the Regional Associations provide and how they are using it. We hope the information we gain will help us be more responsive to our user communities.  
And finally, as faculty and students around the Gulf begin another school year, I want to take a minute to remember a colleague who was passionate about working with students of all ages, Dr. Matthew Howard. If you have not had the chance yet, please make a contribution to the student scholarship fund in Matt's honor. 
 Best regards, 

Barb Kirkpatrick
Executive Director
Contact GCOOS
Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick , Executive Director

Dr. Chris Simoniello
Outreach and Education Coordinator

Dr. Shinichi Kobara
, Assistant Research Scientist, Product Developer

Felimon Gayanilo
, Interim DMAC Manager

Bob Currier
, Research Specialist, Product Developer

Stephanie Watson, Strategic Program Manager

Marion Stoessel,
Senior Research Associate

 Jennifer Vreeland-Dawson, Research Associate 

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

Grant Craig, Program Coordinator

Laura Caldwell, Staff Assistant

In Memoriam: Matt Howard, 1952-2018
News from GCOOS HQ
Upcoming Webinar: Resolving the Loop Current Complex: Implications for Hurricane Intensity Forecasting
As hurricanes move over the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current, they often intensify to severe (Category 3 or higher) status due to the deep warm water and the sustained air-sea fluxes feeding the storm. Given that the Gulf is a semi-enclosed basin, these intense hurricanes can make landfall and significantly impact coastal ocean processes.
In this webinar sponsored by GCOOS and SECOORA, Dr. Nick Shay, from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (who will be joining the GCOOS Board in the fall), will highlight how measurements - such as ocean current, temperature and salinity fields - are used to evaluate coupled forecast models and improve hurricane forecasts.
  • When: Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018
  • Register now 
Take Our Survey, Please!
We're gathering data on how people use our website -- especially our data portal, products and other resources. We're seeking input through a web survey that takes just minutes to complete. We're hoping that you can help!
Embrace the Gulf 2020
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is seeking donors and sponsors to help support a campaign to share the significant story about the value, sustainability and beauty that comes from one of our nation's greatest treasures - the Gulf of Mexico.
Sonsorship will help ensure successful implementation of the "Embrace the Gulf  2020" campaign GOMA is planning for 2020.
The GCOOS Outreach and Education Council will be meeting in November to identify GCOOS contributions to the year-long event.  
Have ideas you want to share? Please let us know! Email Dr. Chris Simoniello, Outreach & Education Coordinator at [email protected].

Glider News
Gliders & GANDALF
We're pleased to announce some recent upgrades to GANDALF, the server we use to host data from gliders and similar ocean instruments in the Gulf of Mexico. Data collected by the gliders is automatically uploaded to GANDALF, where it is available for public use. (The data are also permanently archived by GCOOS.)
  • GANDALF is now mobile-friendly and fully responsive. (Dashboards and layers won't appear on the mobile version.)
  • The dashboard and layer controls are slightly different, and hopefully more intuitive as they are labeled.
  • The default zoom has been changed to reflect the wider coverage area.
  • Data from local files can be harvested or acquired from the IOOS NGDAC via ERDDAP

  • There are no "moving streamlines" as this API is being removed by the provider. Instead, we're loading the NRL velocity model at 30% opacity.
Right now, we're tracking several Navy gliders deployed as part of their effort to have 100 gliders at sea simultaneously. Gliders have been launched from a range of platforms.
  • You can follow all the gliders and see their data by checking out our data portal now. 
  • And while you're there, don't forget to take our survey!
Gliding into History
The Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) made history earlier this year, simultaneously commanding and controlling 50 ocean gliders -- more than any other governmental or academic entity -- and continues to raise the bar this summer.
The U.S. Navy's leader in the operation of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), NAVOCEANO's oceanographic and engineering departments are on track to exceed their own milestone, achieved in April 2018. Dozens of additional gliders have been launched from a range of platforms, including the T-AGS class ships under the command's technical control, in the last few months.
"We are well on our way to having 100 simultaneously deployed gliders. It has taken hard work and dedication from all involved as we find new ways to implement automation and gain efficiency," says Bryan Mensi, NAVOCEANO glider operations branch head.
The Littoral Battlespace Sensing (LBS) gliders employed by NAVOCEANO are UUVs used to collect environmental data such as temperature, salinity, water clarity and depth. Once launched from a T-AGS ship or vessel of opportunity, the UUVs are directed to predetermined locations by NAVOCEANO glider pilots based at Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi. The military and civilian pilots manning the command's Glider Operations Center use satellite communications to direct the vehicles while monitoring data collection and glider performance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The temperature and salinity profiles the gliders collect within the water column are assimilated into ocean models that provide underwater forecasts, similar to the way atmospheric models are used to provide weather forecasts. These forecasts are imperative to a wide range of naval operations and have numerous applications, from diver safety to detection of submarines to hurricane prediction.
NAVOCEANO has been operating gliders for decades, and is now home of the world's largest fleet of these vehicles, which have been launched from an array of vessels operated by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as universities. With average missions spanning several months, LBS gliders collect thousands of environmental data profiles across the globe each year at a fraction of the cost of ship-collected data.
NAVOCEANO, comprised of approximately 700 military, civilian, and contractor personnel, uses a variety of platforms including ships, aircraft, satellite sensors, buoys, and unmanned underwater vehicles to collect oceanographic and hydrographic data from the world's oceans.
Ocean Technology Club
GCOOS Research Specialist and Product Developer Bob Currier recently worked with staff at Mote Marine Laboratory (Sarasota, Florida) to create an Ocean Technology Club designed to introduce high school students to the tools oceanographers use to gather ocean data. The Project leader, Dr. Jordan Beckler, formerly of Mote and now Assistant Research Professor of Geochemistry at FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, wrote about the experience in Current, a peer-review journal for marine educators.
Read the Abstract:
The Mote Ocean Technology Club, a new outreach program at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, implemented state-of-the-art technology to engage 12 high school students and four teachers during a semester-long afterschool STEM program. Club activities were broad and interdisciplinary, but the primary goal was to build inexpensive sensors and disseminate data streams to the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS)- emulating the activities of many ocean-observing labs around the world. This article details club activities, provides links to the online curriculum, summarizes successes, challenges and recommendations for similar (or smaller) classroom-based efforts, and describes curriculum plans for the next phase of the club.
  • Full paper  (you must be a NMEA member to download)
Harmful Algae News
Red Tide and Blue-Green Algae in Florida
Red tide is affecting the west Florida coastline from Sarasota County south to Collier County. Red tide cell counts have been extremely high and many areas are experiencing fish kills and deaths of marine mammals. Florida is also experiencing a major cyanobacteria bloom in Lake Okeechobee and the two rivers that drain the lake. Here is some information that we thought could help answer your questions about red tide. Please feel free to share the links and info with your own constituents if the topic is of interest to them:

For General Information
Current Conditions Reports
  •  myfwc.com/redtidestatus (the current statewide red tide status)
  • Visitbeaches.org (the latest beach conditions information)
  • https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/hab/gomx.html (NOAA's harmful algal bloom forecast for the Gulf of Mexico)
  • www.weather.gov -- click on your region and then the "beach hazards statement" to see if there are respiratory warnings issued for beachgoers because of red tide. The Florida Department of Health advises that people with underlying chronic respiratory problems like asthma or COPD should avoid red tide areas, especially when winds are blowing toxins on or near shore, and that you take all medications as prescribed, including having rescue inhalers. 
New Guide to the Identification of Harmful Microalgae in the Gulf of Mexico
There's a new free guide available to help with harmful algae identification. The guide, edited by Dr. Karen A. Steidinger, was developed for analysts and managers world-wide who are involved in marine HAB monitoring, assessment and forecasting. Most of these programs are tied to public health or marine resource health and assessment, e.g., shellfish harvesting, shellfish and fish aquaculture and finfish or marine mammal population assessments. It includes two volumes divided into 10 chapters and two appendices. Volume I: Taxonomy has four chapters; Volume II: Methods & Approaches contains chapters five through 10.
The Guide is the result of two initial grants from the Environmental Protection Agency's Gulf of Mexico Program and with cooperation from the University of South Florida, Florida Institute of Oceanography, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Unidad Iztapalapa Ciudad de México and private funds.
Harmful Algal Blooms: A Compendium Desk Reference
This compendium includes a chapter on assessing the economic impacts of blooms - particularly relevant to Florida communities dealing currently dealing with impacts.  
Blue-Green Bloom and Red Tide Make for a Mess
Karl Havens at Florida Sea Grant provides a thoughtful discussion about the one-two punch affecting Southwest Florida: In addition to the red tide in the Gulf, there's also a severe blue-green algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River -- which flows into the Gulf in the same location as the red tide is occurring -- and the St. Lucie River (east coast).
Blue-Green Bloom Time Series
Florida Sea Grant put together a time series of the cyanobacteria algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee based on satellite images provided by NOAA's Dr. Richard Stumpf. The video shows two different kinds of satellite images of Lake Okeechobee taken in June and July of 2018, each showing time series from when the bloom began to the most recently available image. The images are created from data collected by a European Union satellite that makes a pass over the lake on a daily basis.
Partner News
Gulf Dead Zone Update
Distribution of bottom-water dissolved oxygen, July 23 - July 28, 2018. Black line denotes dissolved oxygen < 2 milligrams per liter. Data source: N. N. Rabalais, Louisiana State University & Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium; R. E. Turner, Louisiana State University. Funding: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.
Long-time GCOOS Board member Dr. Nancy Rabalais continues her research investigating the severity and extent of the annual Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Here is her latest update: 
The bottom area of low oxygen in Louisiana coastal waters west of the Mississippi River, commonly known as the 'Dead Zone,' was mapped at a smaller-than-average size this summer.
The area was 2,720 square miles (7,040 square kilometers), slightly larger than the state of Delaware and well below the projected estimate of 6,570 square miles (17,000 square kilometers). This summer's Dead Zone size is the fourth smallest area mapped since 1985. The average over 2014 to 2018 is 5,770 square miles (about three times the size of the Hypoxia Task Force
five-year goal reduction of 1,930 square miles,
5,000 square kilometers)).
Atlantic Hurricane Season Nears Peak with Near-Record Heat Energy in the Gulf
The Weather Underground's Dr. Jeff Masters recently blogged about the Gulf's near-record amount of heat energy and two eddies that have broken off from the Loop Current. What does this mean for hurricane season as we head into its peak?
  • "There's potential trouble cooking in the Gulf of Mexico for the coming peak portion of the Atlantic hurricane season," says Masters.
  • But there are a whole lot of factors in play -- so read his discussion now. 
Did You Miss It?
Did you miss NOAA's last Environmental Data Talk? Ed Kearns discussed the NOAA Big Data Project on Aug. 7.

NOAA generates tens of terabytes of data a day from satellites, radars, ships, weather models, and other sources. While these data are publicly available, it is difficult to download and work with such high volumes. NOAA's vast wealth of data therefore represents a substantial untapped economic opportunity. The NOAA Big Data Project (BDP) was created to explore the potential benefits of storing copies of key observations and model outputs in the Cloud to allow computing directly on the data without requiring further distribution. Such an approach could help form new lines of business and economic growth while making NOAA's data more easily accessible to the American public.

NOAA is enhancing public access to its data through public and private partnerships with commercial cloud platform partners, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, IBM, and more. To date, over forty NOAA datasets have been moved onto the various cloud platforms, including both atmospheric and oceanic data, which has resulted in increased visibility and usage of NOAA's data.
New GRP Advisory Committee Announced
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has appointed a group of experts to serve on a new standing committee that will guide the Gulf Research Program in the design, planning, and implementation of a long-term research campaign to improve the understanding of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current and other Gulf ocean systems.
Members are Dr. Melbourne G. Briscoe, Chair, OceanGeeks, LLC; Dr. Steven Anderson, Areté Associates; Dr. Antonio J. Busalacchi, NAE, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR); Dr. Elva Escobar-Briones, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología; Dr. David Halpern, NASA/California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Dr. Eileen E. Hofmann, Old Dominion University; Dr. Kathryn (Kate) Moran, Ocean Networks Canada; Dr. Francis Wiese, Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.; Dr. Jerry M. Melillo, NAS, Ex-Officio Member, Marine Biological Laboratory
Hess Joins GOMA
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance announced a new partnership with Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES) that aims to invest in projects that support a healthy and productive Gulf of Mexico. Hess is a leading independent oil and gas producer in the Gulf of Mexico and is the newest supporter of the Alliance's Gulf Star Program.

The Gulf Star Program is designed to leverage public and private funding to increase the region's resilience by addressing foundational issues that are important to the community, government and business. Those issues include healthy seafood supplies, improved habitat conservation, higher quality water resources, increased natural resource stewardship and improved strategies for land use planning.
NOAA Photo Contest
NOAA is hosting its third annual photo contest in celebration of National Estuaries Week (Sept. 15 to 22). Send in your best photos from a national estuary research reserve - including pictures that display education, research, recreation, beauty and more. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and will be featured on the NOAA Digital Coast social media campaign during National Estuaries Week.
Gulf Restoration News
Restoration Resources
Restoration Funding Calendar
By State:

Good Reads
Seas, Oceans & Public Health in Europe
The H2020 Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe (SOPHIE) project has just released its first video. The new animated explainer provides some background on Oceans and Human Health research and introduces the project's main objectives.

Funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme, the Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe project (SOPHIE) is helping to build new research capacity for the emerging scientific discipline of Oceans and Human Health.
New Publications: Florida Sea Grant
Florida Sea Grant has a host of new publications available, covering everything from harmful algae to recreational scalloping and the feeding ecology of invasive lionfish.
Bolts Matter
A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identifies strategies for improving the reliability of bolts used in offshore oil and gas rigs, helping to reduce the risk that a bolt failure could cause a spill.
Bolts and other fasteners play an integral role for offshore oil rigs, particularly in critical safety equipment such as blow-out preventers. Although no major oil spills have resulted from the failure of a bolt or fastener, minor incidents and near misses have been caused by unexpected bolt failures. The industry has already made important advances in improving the reliability of bolts, the report says, but there are opportunities to further improve standards, testing, and safety culture.
Funding Opportunities
GRP Grants Available
The Gulf Research Program is offering up to $10 million in grant funding for projects that support coastal community resilience and well-being in the Gulf of Mexico region. This funding opportunity is intended for projects conducting research and developing actionable strategies that support Gulf region communities in enhancing their resilience to stressors like climate change, severe weather or environmental degradation. Project teams should bring together researchers and practitioners, and activities should involve those directly affected by the problem of concern.
  • LOI due by 5 p.m. EST Sept. 19, 2018
  • Details
Employment Opportunities
Gulf Research Program
The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is seeking a strategic and visionary leader to serve as its Executive Director. The position is responsible for fulfilling the vision, defining the strategic direction and leading the development of our multi-dimensional program.
The Executive Director will guide the team team in managing a $500 million fund that will be used over the next quarter century to support studies, grants, fellowships and other activities that enhance offshore energy system safety, human health and environmental resources in the Gulf of Mexico and other coastal regions.
Events & Meetings
August 20-24, 2018, University of Washington, Seattle
This 5-day hands-on workshop is aimed at exploring, creating and  promoting effective computation and analysis workflows for large and  complex oceanographic data. The focus will be on data provided by the
National Science Foundation's Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI).  Comparisons to other large-scale ocean observing assets, such as Argo,  IOOS, etc. are welcome and encouraged. Travel and lodging grants are available for non-local accepted participants. Participants are expected to attend the entire workshop.
To apply, please fill out the  application  by May 7, 2018. Accepted  applicants will be notified no later than May 21, 2018
OOI Deep Ocean Observing Workshop
Aug. 27-29, 2018, an Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Deep Ocean Observing Workshop will be held in Seattle, WA. This workshop will provide an interdisciplinary forum to develop deep ocean science questions and identify societal needs that could be addressed using the existing OOI infrastructure. The workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to gather detailed information about OOI infrastructure, data availability, and discuss existing and prospective Essential Ocean Variables that deep-water observatories can address. Expected workshop outcomes may include identification of new cabled and stand-alone instrumentation and platforms needed to address Deep Ocean Observing Strategy goals and opportunities to leverage other regional ocean observing assets (e.g., the US Integrated Ocean Observing System - Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, Oceans Network Canada).
More info
IOOS Advisory Committee Meeting
The next meeting has been scheduled for Aug. 28-29, 2018 in Juneau, Alaska (note new location!). This will be the final meeting of the current committee. More information will be made available on the https://ioos.noaa.gov/community/u-s-ioos-advisory-committee/ website. The meeting is occurring concurrently with NOAA's Hydrographic Services Review Panel meeting and will allow for a joint session of the two groups, as well as engagement with senior NOAA and other federal leadership also in attendance.
Glider Data Management
International Conference on Glider Data Management - "Connecting glider data flows in Europe and beyond": 18-20 September 2018, Aquario du Genova, Italy. Since 3 years and the end of the EGO COST Action and the GROOM FP7 European project, a lot of improvements have been made on real time glider data management (new format, new tools, better management of the metadata, new platforms) but few issues still remain and the community struggles to reach a full European harmonization of the gliders data management and a full contribution to research, ocean monitoring and operational services. Moreover, delayed mode data management is becoming a priority for the glider community. Many operators and PIs are putting a lot of efforts in the qualification of their data sets after recovery. Several existing data management tools are freely available through toolboxes and scientific publications. Unfortunately, there is not yet a clear agreement on how these datasets can be shared in delayed mode nor a common strategy to handle these questions at the community level.
Call for Applications: Student Workshop on International Marine and Coastal Management
The 4th Student Workshop on International Marine and Coastal Management in the Gulf of Mexico (SWIMM 2018) is scheduled for Oct. 7-16, 2018 in northern central Cuba (Yaguajay, Caguanes National Park, and Cayo Santa Maria.
The program brings together graduate students from the United States, Mexico, and Cuba for week-long workshops involving peer-to-peer exchanges, shared learning, and intensive interactions with scientists, managers, and practitioners.  The focus of SWIMM 2018 will be on northern central Cuba, an area that experienced the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Irma in August 2017.  Students will participate in the development of a set of indicators and a visual report that provide a synoptic evaluation of the damage caused by the hurricane and the degree of ecological recovery.

Applications are invited from graduate students who are enrolled in Ph.D. or M.S. programs:
  1. in the United States, Mexico, and Cuba, or
  2. who are citizens of any of these three countries, but enrolled in a graduate program elsewhere.
Candidates should be engaged in a program of studies and/or research in areas of environmental management, environmental or ecological sciences, environmental anthropology or political and social sciences with a focus on environmental issues, adaptation to risk and disasters, coastal or marine sciences, oceanography, biology, ecology or marine zoology, and related disciplines.

The program will cover roundtrip airfare from the U.S. or Mexico to Cuba and transport, food, and lodging expenses related to the workshop while in Cuba.
The 2018 Alabama-Mississippi Bays and Bayous Symposium Program Committee has released a call for abstracts and sessions for the Nov. 28-29 event in Mobile, Alabama. Abstracts must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Aug. 31.
Clean Gulf, November 13-15, 2018. New Orleans, LA. 
The CLEAN GULF Conference & Exhibition is the premier event for industry and government to come together and discuss planning and preparedness issues for oil and hazardous materials spills. The main focus of the conference sessions are case studies, best practices and lessons-learned, and the exhibit hall is filled with products and services for prevention and response. CLEAN GULF brings together all parties responsible for response operations from North America and beyond to hear best practices and build relationships vital to a successful response on land or water. A strong relationship between all parties is the foundation of a successful response, and CLEAN GULF has helped forge these relationships for the last 27 years.
  •  Register before August 24 to receive early bird registration rates.
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.