March 2023
Greetings from GCOOS!

I’m pleased to share the news that GCOOS has been officially recertified for the next five years by the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (U.S. IOOS®) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Recertification means that we continue to meet the gold standard for data gathering and management and that we operate inclusively, transparently and seek user input to determine system priorities.

Building a robust, sustained, operational system to integrate physical, meteorological, biogeochemical, biological, bathymetric and other types of data is the heart of our GCOOS mission, but we certainly couldn’t implement it without great partnerships across the Gulf. Meeting such high data standards says as much about us as it does each and every one of our data partners and investigators and we thank you all for being a part of the Gulf’s ocean observing system!

We’ve been focusing on some of our data partners during our Spring Webinar Series, and I hope you’ve been able to join us to learn about data accessibility, high-frequency radar, satellite imagery and more. Our last three webinars will feature Chad Lembke from the University of South Florida (USF), Dr. Chunyan Li, Louisiana State University (LSU), Dr. Robert Leben, University of Colorado (UCO) Boulder, Dr. Beth Stauffer, University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL), Dr. Lisa Campbell, Texas A&M University (TAMU) and Dr. Kenneth Hoadley, University of Alabama (UA). The webinars are recorded and if you've missed any, you can view them here.

In other news, we're accepting nominations through March 21 for the GCOOS Board of Directors and I hope you’ll consider nominating yourself or a colleague for a seat on the Board. Directors play an important role at GCOOS, helping to set the organization’s direction and providing an important voice for stakeholder communities.

Finally, don’t forget to mark your calendar to join us in person for our Spring Members' Meeting on April 18 in Gulfport, Mississippi!
News from GCOOS HQ
GCOOS Spring Members’ Meeting Agenda
Our Spring Members’ Meeting is lining up to be a fascinating day that will include discussions of offshore wind development, the Gulf Research Program’s Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems 3 Project, uncrewed systems development opportunities and more. Be sure to register today to receive the room block rate: $159 block rate/$95 federal rate, based on availability. Once your name has been added and your room reserved, you will receive a confirmation number.

  • When: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT, Tuesday, April 18
  • Where: Hardy Hall/Ballroom on the Gulf Park campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, 730 East Beach Blvd., Long Beach, Mississippi 39560
  • View the agenda here
  • Registration: Click here
2023 GCOOS Board Nominations Open
GCOOS is accepting nominations for the GCOOS Board of Directors through March 21. GCOOS voting members will be electing six directors who will support ocean observing opportunities across the five Gulf states, along with international efforts throughout the wider Gulf of Mexico. Board members help to steer the GCOOS ship by setting organizational policies and providing direction to the executive director.

  • Learn more about the election and how to make a nomination here
  • Self-nominations are welcome
  • Special thanks to Dr. Xinping Hu, Texas A&M Corpus Christi/Harte Research Institute, for helping GCOOS Research Associate Jennifer Vreeland Dawson as elections officer. Email nominations to Hu at and Dawson at
Spring Webinar Series
The GCOOS Spring Webinar series featuring our principal investigators kicked off on Feb. 8 and will continue each Wednesday through the end of this month.

Data Provider Spotlight
Red Tide Respiratory Forecast
In 2022, members of the GCOOS HABscope Volunteer team played a crucial role supporting the Red Tide Respiratory Forecast, a beach-level risk forecast activated during red tide conditions that tells beachgoers what red tide impacts are expected to be at individual beaches at different times of the day.

In 2022, HABscope volunteers provided 3,127 observations from more than 60 beach sites between Marco Island and Tarpon Springs on Florida’s west coast. So far this year, volunteers have reported nearly 900 observations — just one-fifth of the way into the 2023 — as they help track the current bloom, which is currently affecting Pasco south through Monroe counties where fish kills and respiratory irritation are being reported.

We also want to give a special shout out to our most active volunteers and volunteer groups from 2022. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium team, with coordinators Lindsey Flynn and Yvette Fernandez, provided the most observations with 515 samples uploaded via HABscope 2.0tm, our automated particle counting system. Pradeepa Siva provided 390 observations from Doctor’s Pass in Naples — even uploading samples in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian before her power was restored! And Cindy Polzer, who has been a HABscope volunteer since we started the forecast in 2017, uploaded 269 samples from her site at Service Club Park in Venice, Florida.

NOAA-NCCOS developed the forecast in partnership with GCOOS, Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other partners to help protect the public — especially those with chronic lung conditions — from red tide impacts. GCOOS continues to host the forecast, which was viewed by 89,000 over the last month and 39,000 users in the past week alone!
Cindy Polzer with her HABscope at Venice Beach.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium HABscope volunteer team.
Addressing OA Gaps
GCAN is working with members of the Southeast Coastal Acidification Network (SOCAN) to identify gaps in ocean acidification (OA) monitoring, resulting in two executive summaries focused on the Gulf of Mexico and the Southeast U.S. coast. This month, GCAN Coordinator Jennifer Vreeland-Dawson shared the reports with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program’s Technical Advisory Committee and solicited additional feedback on monitoring gaps.

Welcome Aboard
GCAN welcomes 2023 Knauss Fellow Natalie Lord to NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) as Capacity Building & Stakeholder Engagement Fellow. Lord is earning her doctorate from the University of New Hampshire in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies and has devoted her career to assisting coastal communities with the sustainable management of their marine resources and is looking forward to engaging with the OAP community during her Fellowship.
Marine Operations
Tracking Sea Surface Anomalies in the Mississippi Bight
A new paper in the peer review Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans provides new information on sea surface height anomalies (SSHA) in the Mississippi Bight (MSB), providing the first high resolution (temporal and spatial) mapped sea level estimates over the MSB.

Tracking such anomalies helps improve the forecasting power of ocean models which in return leads to proper response/planning to coastal hazard.
Map of the study region with surface current coverage domain (color plot) showing percentage of HFR data availability. The blue diamonds represent the locations of wind stations; the ∼5 MHz HFR stations locations are represented by red triangles; green triangles represent the locations of the sea level stations. The first X-crossing is S3B pass 93 and 308 while the second X-crossing is S3A pass 93 and 308.
The study “Subinertial Sea Surface Heights Anomalies Estimated Using High Frequency Radar Surface Current Data in the Mississippi Bight” by lead author and GCOOS Oceanographer Dr. Uchenna Nwankwo incorporated a novel technique (based on Least Squares) to map sea level anomalies with periods longer than two days using high frequency radar data.

Not only did the study show that such data can play a crucial role in tracking sea level change, it also showed that HFR data can provide two-dimensional spatial information of oceanographic processes such as eddies, and can validate surface water ocean topography (SWOT) altimeter data. The study also found that at subinertial scales, geostrophic balance is dominant in the Mississippi Bight.

Additional authors on the study were GCOOS Board Member Dr. Stephan Howden and Dr. Dmitri Nechaev, both of the School of Ocean Science and Engineering, Hydrographic Science Research Center at The University of Southern Mississippi, and Dr. Brian Dzwonkowski, of the University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Tracking Uncrewed Systems
GANDALF, the GCOOS piloting dashboard developed by Bob Currier, is developing the capability to track another autonomous tool: Seatrec InfiniTE floats. These first-of-its-kind modular platforms feature the ability to mix and match an expanded array of power-hungry sensors — some never before supported by autonomous profiling floats — by generating clean, renewable electricity from the ocean’s temperature differences.

GANDALF continues to grow in popularity among the uncrewed systems community. Hank Statscewich, Research Engineer in the Oceanography Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and owner of Alaska Ocean Technologies, LLC, says: “GANDALF allows users to overlay two different ocean current model outputs onto a map with the glider trackline and bathymetric depth contours. I can quickly check to make sure all science sensors are working properly and I can overlay satellite imagery with a few clicks. I can do all of this from my mobile device with poor cellular connectivity. For me, this partnership between the AOOS glider deployments with Bob Currier and the GCOOS team has been an example of true collaboration and teamwork from within the IOOS RA framework.”

  • See what we’re tracking today
UG2 March Webinar
Save the date for the next Underwater Glider User Group (UG2) Webinar. The webinar will continue the “What's in Your Garage” panel discussion and several speakers will present on Mission File Creation via Slocum Fleet Mission Control (SFMC).

New Ocean Mapping Protocols
The National Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization (NOMEC) Council and the Interagency Working Group on Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IWG-OCM) are seeking public comment on the new draft Standard Ocean Mapping Protocol (SOMP). The draft SOMP was developed in accordance with the National Strategy for Ocean Mapping, Exploring, and Characterizing the United States Exclusive Economic Zone.

2023 Hydrographic Survey Plans
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey has released plans for the 2023 hydrographic mapping season.

During the season, hydrographic survey ships, navigation response teams and contractors collect bathymetric data (i.e. map the seafloor) to support nautical charting, modeling and research, along with other environmental data to support a variety of ecosystem sciences. NOAA considers hydrographic survey requests from stakeholders such as marine pilots, local port authorities, the Coast Guard, and the boating community, and also considers other hydrographic and NOAA science priorities in determining where to survey and when.

Areas in the Gulf slated for survey are Approaches to Galveston — approximately 880 square nautical miles between the Galveston entrance and Sabine Bank Channels — and approaches to Calcasieu, where, following a series of hurricanes, there is a critical need for updated hydrographic data and charting products in the approaches and anchorages to the Port of Lake Charles.

Additional surveys will take place in the following locations that are lacking in current bathymetric data:

  • Mobile River, Alabama
  • Neches River, Texas
  • Mississippi Sound, Intracoastal Waterway
  • Hookers Point, Florida
  • Florida Keys, Florida

  • See full mapping season plans here
  • View the ArcGIS StoryMap to find out more about mapping projects and whether a hydrographic vessel will be in your area this year here.
Abstract Submissions Open for Oceans 2023 Gulf Coast
Oceans is an annual event for global marine technologists, engineers, students, government officials, lawyers, and advocates. At Oceans 2023 Gulf Coast, industry thought leaders gather for four days to highlight relevant topics and current trends while creating a community of learners and influencers who consistently advance research, practices, and policies for the marine field.

  • When: Sept. 25-28
  • Where: Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center
  • Details & info
Gulf Lease Sale
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced a Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale scheduled to take place in September. Sale 261 would offer approximately 13,620 blocks on 73.4 million acres on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf in the western, central and eastern planning areas.

Healthy Ecosystems & Living Resources
Sound in the Ocean
Sound travels about four times faster in water than air and is one of the main tools many marine animals use to survive — to communicate, navigate, locate food and mates, defend resources, and avoid predators.

Like the visible features of a place that make up its landscape, audio features in the ocean make up its soundscape. There are typically three sources of sound in the sea: anthropogenic, environmental and biological. Understanding the complex ways that the levels and sources of these interact to affect animals can help better mitigate stressors and protect ecosystems.

This is why the BioSound Work Group of the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) is collaborating to classify relationships between different sound sources into useful indicators using machine learning techniques. In February, the group convened the Acoustic Anthropogenic-Biological Indicators Workshop and identified several areas that need to be resolved before soundscapes can be employed as a useful tool in assessments of biodiversity.

These were focused on the compatibility of acoustic data files from different investigators and included the standardization and resolution of annotations for datasets and the scalability of sound file lengths. The next steps for the team are to improve model performance by increasing the number of training data sets and streamlining the pipeline from data to model to useful indices. Interested in learning more?

Festival Fun
GCOOS and SECOORA continued their tradition of collaborating at the St. Petersburg Science Festival as they once again combined forces to bring IOOS science to students and the public in February.

On Feb. 17, 800 fourth and fifth grade students learned about the development of the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) and participated in lessons on animal tracking based on the lesson plans developed by GCOOS and its partners thanks to funding provided by the Earth System Information Partnership (ESIP). (Lessons and a companion poster created by artist Lori Anzalone of Anzalone & Avarella Studios available here.)

More than 12,000 people attended the Feb. 18 public day of the festival. Visitors to the GCOOS/SECOORA exhibit created bracelets based on the science of environmental DNA, determined if their fish, lobster or crab catch was a keeper or throw-back, and learned about operational products available from GCOOS and SECOORA. In addition to staff members Dr. Chris Simoniello and Grant Craig from GCOOS, and Abbey Wakely from SECOORA, it took a team of dedicated volunteers to accommodate so many visitors. Many thanks to retired teacher Cathy Carney, high school volunteers Eli Gilchrist and Cory Diaz, and Junior Scientists Holden Bagley and Sabrina Bailey!
Long Term Change
Oceans Visions Summit 2023
GCOOS Executive Director Dr. Jorge Brenner will be a panelist during NOAA’s Town Hall Panel on the New Blue Economy during the Ocean Visions Biennial Summit 2023.

As one of the world’s largest providers of ocean and coastal data and information, NOAA is growing the New Blue Economy by improving the quantity, breadth, dissemination, access, and applicability of these data. This panel will discuss NOAA’s efforts to support its academic and private industry partners in leveraging ocean and coastal data, including advancements in ocean science and technology, policy, governance and applications that support the development of solutions in response to changing ocean conditions.

  • When: Summit is April 4-6. Town Hall Panel is 10-11 a.m. ET April 6
  • Panelists: Krisa Arzayus, Deputy Director, U.S. IOOS Program Office; Dr. Jorge Brenner, GCOOS Executive Director; Liesl Hotaling, Executive Director, Marine Technology Society; Ralph Rayner, Industry liaison for the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System.
  • Details & registration
Registration Open: Ecological Integration Symposium
Registration is now open for the 23rd Annual Ecological Integration Symposium “Ecology Through Time: Perspectives from the Past, Present, and Future” hosted by Texas A&M University.

This annual interdisciplinary event brings together a diverse group of leading scientists and students from the fields of ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation.

The symposium provides an opportunity for local and visiting students to showcase their work and engage in meaningful dialogue with the invited speakers. Plenary speakers are Dr. Daniel Simberloff, University of Tennessee; Dr. Emília Martins, Arizona State University; Dr. Walter Jetz, Yale University; Dr. Kelly Zamudio, University of Texas at Austin; Dr. Rodrigo Medellín, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; and Dr. Nancy Grimm, Arizona State University.

  • When: March 30-31
  • Where: Annenberg Presidential Conference Center (Day 1) and Rudder Tower (Day 2) at Texas A&M University
  • Details & registration
Coastal Hazards
New HFR Stations for Texas Bays and Ports
GCOOS collaborator Research, Applied Technology, Education, Services Inc. (RATES) recently deployed five new CODAR SeaSonde® high frequency radars (HFR) providing real-time current monitoring for Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake, Texas.

The stations were added to the IOOS National Network HFRNet server in February with near-real-time data accessible at and via the GCOOS HFR data mapper at

Funding was provided by the Texas General Land Office (TGLO) through a Coastal Management Plan-Cycle 26 Project of Special Merit.

Data from these HFR systems for Texas ports and bays are being applied by project partners at the University of Texas-El Paso and Lamar University to develop and validate the Semi-implicit Cross-scale Hydroscience Integrated System Model (SCHISM) in support of Texas coast-wide programs, including the TGLO Oil Spill Response Program and the Texas Integrated Flooding Framework, as well as supporting other important uses.

Sabine Lake Codar SeaSonde® on USACE Placement Area 8 Levee.
Codar SeaSonde® combined TX/RX antenna at McCollum Park-Galveston Bay.
Partner News
IOOS Association
Caraid Award
Congratulations to Tara Owens, University of Hawaii Sea Grant, the 2023 Caraid Award Recipient. Owens received the award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to observing, understanding and protection of our oceans and coasts through vision, leadership, friendship, and collaboration.
Gulf of Mexico Alliance
All Hands Meeting
Here are a couple of action items for those attending the Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s All Hands Meeting at the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center in Austin, Texas, June 26-29:

  • Hotel Rooms
If you want to book a room with the group or government rate, act fast, as the room block AT&T Hotel and Conference Center will fill quicker than you expect! All meeting events occur at the Center. Group rate: $229/night; government rate: $161/night.

  • Tools Cafe
If you have a tool that other stakeholders need to know about, please submit it to the GOMA Tools Café, scheduled for Tuesday, June 27. For detailed information & how to submit, click here. Submissions due by COB Friday, April 28.

Wednesday Webinar
GOMA’s communicators will present their next webinar: “Communications Outreach,” with Amanda Nalley and Christina Mohrman. They’ll discuss efforts to bring together Gulf of Mexico communicators to share messaging, tools and techniques.

Gulf Research Program
Science and Society Lecture Series
The Gulf Research Program (GRP) presents Dr. Gene Robinson from 3-4 p.m. ET March 17 as part of its Science and Society Lecture Series. The Series showcases members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine discussing the many ways scientific, engineering and medical knowledge provide tangible benefits to society.

Competition and cooperation are the yin and yang of biology. What role do genes play in how these behaviors emerge? Robinson's research has employed genomics and systems biology to study the mechanisms and evolution of social life focusing on the honey bee. In this inaugural Science and Society lecture, Robinson will use the honeybee example to highlight the role that genes play in influencing behavior.

  • Join in person at Xavier University of Louisiana, University Center, Room 205, or virtually.
  • Registration
Managed Retreat Focus Group
The Committee on Managed Retreat in the U.S. Gulf Coast Region is studying the movement and relocation of people, infrastructure and communities away from environmentally high-risk areas. To gather information for this study, the committee is convening a virtual focus group of cross-sector community stakeholders from the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast to share their perspectives.

GRP Funding Opportunity
The GRP is accepting proposals for programs that engage children and youth in place-based educational activities designed to foster the development of the scientific and environmental skills, competencies, and capabilities that are critical to solving complex issues in the Gulf now and into the future. The GRP will accept proposals from nonprofit, state, and local entities, excluding federal agencies, which support educational, service, and/or coordination activities for children and youth in the K-8 grade range. Applicants must request at least $75,000 for projects, commensurate with the scope of work, that are up to 30 months in duration.

Supporting Students
Dissertation Mentors Needed
The NOAA Weather Program Office (WPO) is seeking mentors for W.I.N.G.S. fellows. The WINGS Ph.D. Dissertation Fellowship is supported by the WPO and administered by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s (UCAR) Cooperative Programs for the Advancement of Earth System Science (CPAESS) and is designed to develop and foster the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics scholars, with the goal of bolstering the future workforce of America’s weather enterprise.

  • Apply here
  • Learn more about W.I.N.G.S. here
Texas Seeking Science Materials Reviewers
The Texas Education Agency is recruiting volunteers to review instructional materials submitted for state adoption, including in these areas:

  • Science, Grades 6–8
  • Science, Spanish Grades K–6
  • Aquatic Science
  • Astronomy
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Systems Science
  • Environmental Systems
  • Integrated Physics and Chemistry
  • Physics

Reviewers will primarily be determining whether the materials (textbooks and the like) address the relevant state science standards (the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS).

Planet Stewards 2023/24 Funding Opportunity
NOAA Planet Stewards supports formal and informal educators in carrying out hands-on stewardship projects with elementary through college age students, as well as the general public. Stewardship projects must make a substantive, and quantitatively measurable impact on an environmental issue related to the educator’s community. Awards are up to $5,000.

Job Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a jobs listing for positions and fellowships in the ocean observing community. Want to advertise a position? Email Laura Caldwell.

  • Texas A&M University: GIS Developer
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration NOS: Deputy Assistant Administrator
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service: Environmental Specialist
  • Lynker: Communications Specialist
  • The University of Massachusetts Boston: Assistant Professor of Coastal Oceanography
  • The University of Miami (RSMAS): Tenure or Tenure-Track Professor
  • Gulf of Mexico Alliance: Program Coordinator
  • Mote Marine Laboratory: Education Specialist, Staff Biologist - Coral Gene Bank, Assistant Manager - Mote’s Education Outreach Center at Anna Maria City Pier, Operations Associate - Mote’s Education Outreach Center on Anna Maria City Pier - Part Time, Mote Science Education Aquarium (SEA) Education Liaison, Curator of Fish and Invertebrates
  • GOOS Biology: Data Manager

Postdoctoral Positions:
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Sciences, NRC Research Programs
  • National Research Council: Research Associateship Programs Postdoctoral and Senior Research Awards
  • Rosenstiel School's Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences: Postdoctoral Associate

  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration - Coastal Management Fellowship
  • National Academies of Science, Engineering and Mathematics: Early Career Fellowships
  • Department of Defense: Visualization of Coastal Data, Coastal Vulnerability Assessment Fellow
Funding Opportunities
GCOOS maintains a listing of funding opportunities. Have an opportunity you'd like to advertise? Email Laura Caldwell

  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration: Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration: Translating Coastal Research into Application
  • Gulf Research Program: Safer Offshore Energy Systems Grants
  • Gulf of Mexico Alliance
  • Restore America's Estuaries: 2023 NEP Watershed Grants RFP
  • Restore America's Estuaries: Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund
  • Texas Sea Grant Request for Proposals: 2024-2026
  • Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Request for Proposals: 2024-2025
4-6: Ocean Visions Biennial Summit 2023, Atlanta, Georgia
6-7: Alabama Water Institute Symposium, The University of Alabama
22-24: Current-Shelf Interactions Workshop, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Georgia
4-9: ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting 2023, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
21-23: Southwest Florida Watershed Summit, hosted by the Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership (CHNEP). Call for abstracts open through April 14.
16-21: Gordon Research Conference, Chemical Tracers in the Sea, Manchester, New Hampshire
21-23: Euro-Global Climate Change Conference, Hybrid, Valencia, Spain
25-28: Oceans Conference and Exposition 2023 Gulf Coast, Mississippi Sound, Mississippi
14-17: 2023 International Ocean Colour Science Meeting, St. Petersburg, Florida
Have meeting or workshop info you want to share? Email Laura Caldwell.
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 on-demand information about the Gulf’s coastal and open ocean waters that is accurate, reliable and benefits people, ecosystems and the economy.
Dr. Jorge Brenner, Executive Director • Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, Senior Advisor  Bill Lingsch, Underwater Glider User Group Coordinator  Dr. Chris Simoniello, Outreach & Education Manager  Felimon Gayanilo, Systems Architect, Co-Data Manager • Bob Currier, Product Developer, Co-Data Manager • Dr. Uchenna Nwankwo, Oceanographer  Marion Stoessel, Senior Research Associate • Tuomo Saari, Scientific Computing Specialist • Jennifer Vreeland-Dawson, Research Associate, GCAN Coordinator • Grant Craig, Program & Volunteer Coordinator • Laura Caldwell, Program Assistant • Nadine Slimak, Public Relations & Content Marketing, Vetted Communications, LLC
In Memoriam: Matt Howard, 1952-2018