May 2023
Greetings from GCOOS!

It’s been a few whirlwind weeks of travel for me, and I’ve had the opportunity for a lot of in-person meetings around the Gulf. Earlier this month, GCOOS Oceanographer Dr. Uchenna Nwankwo and I attended the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, where we had the occasion to spend time at the U.S. IOOS booth and caught up with Dr. Jim Kendall, Gulf of Mexico Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

I also recently attended the HFR stakeholder meeting at Lamar University organized by RATES, where we heard exciting updates about all the new radars being installed around the Gulf. GCOOS is pleased to be able to support the addition of some of these platforms and to be able to host the data they’re generating on our HFR portal. (Read more below.)

We’ve also had the pleasure recently of welcoming our first official GCOOS member from Cuba and having some new Mexican colleagues join as members as well. Developing these relationships further is a key focus for us as we work together to expand the data and information available from the wider Gulf of Mexico to the benefit of us all.

Until next month,
News from GCOOS HQ
Welcoming International Members
GCOOS is pleased to welcome our first official member from Cuba — Dr. Ida Mitrani, who represents the Cuban Meteorological Institute (Instituto de Meteorología). Having neighbors join from the wider Gulf of Mexico allows GCOOS the opportunity to incorporate new perspectives, work with international colleagues to gain a better understanding of the entire Gulf system, and eventually, bring new data into the portal.

Over the past few months, we’ve also welcomed several members from Mexico: Dr. Juan Carlos Herguera, Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada, Baja California (Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, Baja California) (CISESE); Dr. Alejandro Kurczyn, Coastal Engineering and Processes Laboratory, (Laboratorio de Ingeniería y Procesos Costeros) (UNAM); Dr. Enric Pallas Sanz (CISESE), Dr. Edward M. Peters, Gulf of Mexico Marine Science Research Consortium (CIGoM) and Dr. Sharon Z. Herzka (CISESE).

GCOOS welcomes members from throughout the Gulf of Mexico — membership is free and provides opportunities for connecting, collaborating, exposure, organizational recognition and a chance to help guide the ongoing development of the Gulf’s observing system.

New HFR in the Gulf
GCOOS and other groups are making new investments in high-frequency radar in the Gulf, closing the gaps in high-priority areas.

TAMU’s Geochemical and Environmental Research Group recently installed a new station named GERG CODAR (PMGC). Located south of the Padre Island (PINS) station, this is the sixth long-range CODAR station on the Texas Shelf and the installation extends the HFR coverage on the Shelf.

Research, Applied Technology, Education Services, Inc. (RATES), which commissioned the first CODAR network in Texas in 2001, is working to fill data gaps in Texas Bays to improve and enhance hydrodynamic models applied to spill trajectory, storm surge and contaminant transport models. RATES has installed five new radars in Texas since the beginning of 2023 — three in Galveston Bay and two stations in Sabine Lake.

GCOOS also recently awarded funds to Florida State University to work in collaboration with the University of Southern Mississippi to install a new station in Panama City, Florida, this year (which will be operational in 2024).

Data Provider Spotlight
Marine Observations of the Yucatan Peninsula
Due to its location, the Yucatan Peninsula is affected by different meteorological phenomena throughout the year, which sometimes puts its inhabitants, infrastructure and economy at risk. Monitoring the atmosphere and ocean in this region is extremely important both to prepare for natural disasters and to advance understanding of the natural behavior of this ocean-atmosphere system. It’s also critical to establish a baseline understanding of the natural dynamics of the sea and the atmosphere to assess future changes and predict future scenarios due to climate change.

For more than 10 years, the Laboratory of Engineering and Coastal Processes (LIPC, UNAM), along with the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV-Mérida), has collected data from the ocean and atmosphere to support environmental studies and national and international alert systems.

Through the Peninsular Observation System, there are three monitoring sites along the Yucatan Peninsula: Cabo Catoche, Quintana Roo; Sisal, Yucatan; and Chenkan, Campeche, with additional stations expected to be added in the future.

At these sites, UNAM and CINVESTAV collect information on currents, waves, wind, sea level and sea bottom temperature to characterize the natural variability of the peninsular marine system. These observations are complemented with satellite data and numerical models, broadening their spatial and temporal scope.

This effort is led by Dr. Alejandro Kurczyn.
The People Behind the Data
Congrats to GCOOS GRA!
Congratulations to GCOOS/Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Graduate Research Assistant Sathwika Edama, who will receive her MS in Computer Science when she graduates from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU) this month. Edama helped to monitor data services on the GCOOS portal and played an instrumental role in assisting the GCOOS DMAC team in maintaining various databases, including tasks related to data recovery. Edama’s time at GCOOS/HRI was supported in-part by the Crutchfield Fellowship.

“We’re pleased to be able to help to educate and support next-generation ocean observing leaders, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” said her supervisor, Felimon Gayanilo, GCOOS Systems Architect/co-Data Manager.
Carbon Dioxide Removal Webinar
GCAN and SOCAN are hosting a webinar focused on efforts for marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR) taking place throughout the Southeast, Gulf of Mexico and in northern Caribbean waters.

Presenters will include Dr. Tyler Cyronak, Georgia Southern University; Dr. Grace Andrews, Project Vesta; and Dr. Alison Tune, Running Tide Technologies, who will share information about their research and industry efforts to help stem the tide on ocean acidification.

  • When: 11 a.m. EST June 1
  • Registration link
Marine Operations
Infrastructure Act Supports Ocean Observing
NOAA announced an investment of $14 million over two years through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda for the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) to support improved and enhanced observing systems for the coasts, oceans and Great Lakes. Understanding current and historic ocean and Great Lakes conditions through high-quality, integrated datasets is essential to a sustainable economy working in and around the ocean, weather and climate forecasting and prediction, and preparing communities for changing conditions.

For GCOOS, this award will support and update observing infrastructure related to waves, currents and water column profiles and support improvements to the gathering and dissemination of observing data and information. Specifically, funding will support high-frequency radars, gliders and wave and current profilers to augment and expand the available observations. GCOOS will receive $582,000 in year one and $587,000 in year two.

Passive Acoustics Focus of Next UG2 Webinar
The next webinar in the Underwater Glider User Group (UG2) series will take place from 2-3:30 p.m. ET June 1 and be focused on gliders and passive acoustics with the following panelists:

  • Dr. Lora Van Uffelen, Assistant Professor, Ocean Engineering, University of Rhode Island — Passive Acoustic Receiving on Gliders: Advantages and Challenges
  • Dr. Clark Richards, PhD, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Halifax NS, Adjunct professor, Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia — Glider-based real time monitoring for North Atlantic Right Whales
  • Dr. Selene Fregosi, Ocean Associates, Inc., in contract to NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center — Approaches for marine mammal passive acoustic monitoring using Seagliders
  • Webinar link
Human Health and Safety
HABscope 2.0 Featured
The lastest “Deep Dive” issue from ECO Magazine focused on applied marine science solutions, innovations and current events and included a feature article on GCOOS's Red Tide Respiratory Forecast and the HABscope 2.0™ tool that makes it possible.

HAB Early Warning System
A team of international researchers and managers has published the “Joint FAO-IOC-IAEA Technical Guidance for the Implementation of Early Warning Systems for Harmful Algal Blooms” to help improve harmful algal bloom monitoring and forecasting around the globe. The document is designed to guide authorities and institutions involved in consumer protection or environmental monitoring to implement or improve early warning systems for harmful algal blooms that can contaminate seafood and threaten public health. The report describes several harmful algal bloom early warning systems around the world, including NOAA’s many ecological forecasting products.

NHABON Webinar
The next webinar of the National HAB Observing Network is scheduled for 3-4 p.m. EST on June 14. It will be focused on HAB Events and Response. Registration link will be posted here when it is available.

  • In the meantime, if you’ve missed a webinar, click here for the archive
Healthy Ecosystems & Living Resources
New Coral Reef
The discovery of a coral reef in Belize and Guatemala, larger than the size of Manhattan, marks a new chapter in understanding corals and fish that depend on each other and in saving coral reefs worldwide. This discovery was featured recently in the PBS Nature series episode "Treasure of the Caribbean." The episode featured the confirmation of the presence of never-known-before spawning aggregation — an aggregation that GCOOS’s Bob Currier played an essential role in helping the team confirm!

  • The episode aired on April 26, but if you missed it, don’t worry! You can watch it here
National Nature Assessment
The National Nature Assessment will provide a comprehensive assessment of the status of nature today — a snapshot of how America’s lands, waters, wildlife, and ecosystems are doing and the benefits they provide. This assessment will also look ahead to explore how future changes in nature may affect the nation. The U.S. Global Change Research Program is hosting virtual listening sessions to help frame development of the first U.S. National Nature Assessment (NNA). Two sessions will focus on the relationships between the ocean and coastal ecosystems and the many businesses, communities and economies that depend on them to help inform the NNA.

  • A session focused on marine topics, perspectives and the assessment will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. ET May 16. Register here
  • A session focused on coastal topics and perspectives will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. ET May 18. Register here
  • More info
Anniversary of the Vision for MBON
This month marks 10 years since the publication “Envisioning a Marine Biodiversity Observation Network” appeared in BioScience.

Led by Dr. J. Emmett Duffy, Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network and MarineGEO program, the authors made the case for the importance of a systematic, sustained program to monitor the status and trends of marine biodiversity.

Since the paper was published, GCOOS, SECOORA and other Regional Associations have been working closely with partners to develop the U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) as a coordinated network that supports resource management and conservation.

While not yet operational, many requirements identified by Dr. Duffy and colleagues have been achieved to leverage existing data and infrastructure. For example, MBON partners have been integrating biological data from genes to habitats and linking observations to abiotic environmental variables; identifying site projects within national marine sanctuaries to incorporate environmental forcing and biogeography; and using integrated products to adaptively manage living marine resources.

As the MBON community converges on indicators for current and emerging issues and reaches consensus on best practices for all aspects of the end-to-end system, we move closer to the envisioned network that benefits people, the environment and the economy.
Save the Date: Coral Reef Symposium
Planning is under way for the second Gulf of Mexico Reef Symposium to gather information on current and past research on the northern Gulf of Mexico reefs, establish region-wide research goals — especially at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary — and facilitate interdisciplinary research collaborations. The meeting will include discussion of the current state of coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and identification of research needs for the FGBNMS.

  • When/Where: Nov. 2-3 at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas.
  • Details
Long-Term Change
Taking the Pulse of the Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico Meteorological and Oceanographic Observation Group recently hosted a workshop focused on connecting ocean data to the needs of communities and industry. The workshop, which took place at the CICESE campus in Ensendada, Baja California, was organized to lay the foundations to promote, coordinate and standardize monitoring efforts in the wider Gulf of Mexico among U.S., Cuban and Mexican institutions and offices. “As we move forward, these efforts will continue to be a priority,” said GCOOS Executive Director Dr. Jorge Brenner, who attended the workshop. “Ocean systems don’t follow international boundaries, so sharing data in a standard, relevant way is critical for understanding and predicting ocean and climate changes.”

Led by Dr. Sharon Herzka Llona, CICESE researcher, the working group is part of project funded by the Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) program, a forum created in 1999 by directors and leaders of the main oceanographic institutions around the world and whose headquarters are in the United Kingdom.
Updated Relative Sea Level Trends Available
CO-OPS released the 2022 U.S. relative sea level trend update. CO-OPS calculates trends for 135 long-term water level stations in operation since 1960. Updated trends add to NOAA’s understanding of regional changes in sea level rise and are critical for coastal resiliency planning. This year, many stations observed only minor trend changes. The third consecutive La Niña, primarily affecting the tropical Pacific, caused increases in sea level rise trends in Guam due to prevailing easterly winds.

The Eastern Gulf of Mexico coastline from the Florida Keys to Mobile Bay showed the largest overall trend increases with the addition of 2022 observations. Within this region, observed increases were greater than +0.1 millimeter/year. The vast majority of long-term trends along U.S. coasts point to persistent, long-term sea level rise.

Coastal Hazards
Hurricane Webinar Series Under Way
This month, NOAA’s Southeast and Caribbean Regional Team kicked off its Hurricane Awareness Webinar Series. Each week offers an opportunity to learn more about the hazards of hurricanes, how you can become a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, get a behind the scenes look at the Hurricane Hunter P3 aircraft, hear from local meteorologists and more.

Modernizing Coastal Observations and Forecast Models
Texas A&M Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC), NOAA CO-OPS, the National Weather Service and many other state and federal partners are tackling the challenge of increasing and modernizing the number and quality of observing stations across the Texas coast. The effort includes upgrades to observing capabilities for water data, co-locating water and weather data and enhancing operational modeling for oil spill prevention and response. The addition of new water level and tide stations is especially needed to enhance coastal hazard and flood projection models in areas of coastal Texas vulnerable to storm surge. The infrastructure upgrades will improve hydrologic and hydrodynamic forecasts critical to protecting the people and environment of Texas. The Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science at TAMU-CC, which has played a vital role in protecting citizens and property along the Gulf Coast since 1987, is leading the way.
Partner News
Gulf of Mexico Alliance
All-Hands Plenary Speakers
GOMA has announced the plenary speakers for the upcoming all-hands meeting in Austin, Texas, in June. The opening plenary, which takes place on Tuesday, June 27, will include a panel discussion on Texas water needs with:

  • Stephen Tatum, Tarrant Regional Water District
  • L'Oreal Stepney, Texas Water Development Board
  • Robert Mace, Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

In addition, Porfirio Alvarez, Executive Secretary, Consortium of Marine Research Institutes of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, will talk about reinvigorating partnerships with Mexico.

RFPs Open
GOMA is requesting proposals for four upcoming projects:

  • Analysis of water quality parameters
  • Oyster habitat status and trends in Louisiana and Texas
  • Economic benefits of dredged sediment projects
  • Outreach videos for crab trap loss prevention
  • Details & information
IOOS Association
The Value of Observing Data
What is ocean observing data worth? The IOOS Association supported a 2019-2021 prototype study by the Center for the Blue Economy of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies to better understand the value of the data and information provided by regional associations. The study concluded that the value of the IOOS regional observing system to initial users, lies between $192 million and $233 million per year — which can be considered both a conservative and incomplete estimate because the study did not include two of the 11 regional associations and did not consider the likely much larger values resulting from end uses of the array of information products and services that rely on observing data provided by the IOOS regional observing system.

NOAA-National Hurricane Center
New NHC Director Appointed
NOAA has selected Dr. Mike Brennan to serve as the next director of its National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami. Brennan has spent nearly all of his 15-year NOAA career at NHC, and for the past year has served as the acting NHC Deputy Director. Since 2018, Brennan has been the Branch Chief of the Hurricane Specialist Unit. During this period, he supervised one of NOAA’s highest profile operational forecast units through 18 U.S. landfalling hurricanes — including eight major hurricanes — and more than 20 U.S. tropical storm landfalls.

The Water Institute
Team Mourns Passing of President and CEO
Condolences to the team at The Water Institute on the passing of their President and CEO Justin R. Ehrenwerth, who led the team over the past seven years.

“Justin had a tireless approach to working for a better Louisiana, a more resilient Gulf coast, and bringing those lessons to communities around the country,” said Kevin Reilly, chairman of The Water Institute board of directors. “His vision for The Water Institute is realized in the work the Institute does every day and his legacy will live on into the future.” 

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
  • 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: Staff Biologist; Coral Reef Monitoring and Assessment Program, Water Quality/Life Support Systems Technician
  • GOOS Biology: Data Manager
  • Ocean Conservancy: Senior Policy Analyst; Renewable Energy
  • USACE Jacksonville District, Engineering Division: Coastal Design Section - Civil Engineer

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
22-24: Current-Shelf Interactions Workshop, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Georgia
4-9: ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting 2023, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
6-9: Capitol Hill Ocean Week, Washington, DC
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
25-28: Oceans Conference and Exposition 2023 Gulf Coast, Mississippi Sound, Mississippi
12-16: CERF 2023 Conference, Portland, Oregon
14-17: 2023 International Ocean Colour Science Meeting, St. Petersburg, Florida
19-22: Gulf of Mexico Conference, Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, 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