Posted: 5 May 2015
Updated: 13 October 2015

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

The meeting began with Barb Kirkpatrick, Executive Director for the GCOOS-RA, welcoming everyone. Going around the room, everyone gave a brief introduction and stated their role within GCOOS. Attendees with affiliations are listed in Appendix A. The agenda (Appendix B) was approved and adopted.

David Driver, President of the Board of Directors, gave a brief overview of GCOOS highlighting the subcontracts we have to 14 PIs – 4 in Florida, 1 in Alabama, 2 in Mississippi, 2 in Louisiana, 3 in Texas, and 1 in Colorado. GCOOS is stakeholder driven – we’ve held numerous workshops, prioritized the common needs, and created a phased approach to implementation in our Build-out Plan. Unfortunately, limited resources are keeping us from fully implementing the plan.

Barb Kirkpatrick then presented GCOOS-RA Major Accomplishments since the last meeting. The IOOS 5-year renewal proposal was turned in one week prior to the due date. She noted that setting a time line and the process in advance worked very well. The Executive Committee spent many hours reviewing the proposal. Thanks to Sara Graves for her work on the final draft which she reviewed while on vacation. Terry, Dave, and Worth were also thanked for their efforts in reviewing the proposal and letters of intent. In addition to the renewal proposal, the Year 5 descope budget and justification was completed and the year 4 semi-annual report submitted. TAMU staff performance appraisals are completed. The HAB implementation plan is completed and is currently up for 30-day public comment before it becomes the final HABIOS plan. Worth Nowlin commented that the HABIOS plan is the result of 10 years of workshops, folks from all Gulf states, the Mexican Navy, and NOAA. It has been a long struggle to get everyone to agree to the plan and he’d like to see us push this out to folks so that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Two RESTORE proposals were funded: work on the cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico (Shinichi Kobara) and the Prevention Control and Mitigation of HAB – Karenia proposal (GCOOS Data Management and Carol Dorsey). There was discussion of the recently held AUV Jubilee. GCOOS Data Management provided a new series of web pages and services for Gulf glider operations (GANDALF) thanks to Bob Currier’s work. The gliders supported include those from GERG/TAMU, USF, Mote, and others. The GOMA-funded Hypoxia-Nutrient (H-N) portal is being populated and undergoing testing. Environmental Research Division Data Access Program (ERDDAP)/TDS portal is being created for historical data and has begun to be populated in preparation for GCOOS to be certified by IOOS. PacIOOS was the first RA to be certified. GLOS will be the next to submit their information for certification. GCOOS will submit their information for certification in Summer 2016. Matthew Howard indicated that the data management portion is well underway toward certification, but Barb believes that there is a lot more work to be done on the organization management side to prepare for certification. Barb Kirkpatrick was recently named the RA Director representative to the IOOC Glider Task Team. It was noted by Michael Spranger that GCOOS is unique in that our Board of Directors earmarked 10% of all funding for Education and Outreach from the very beginning. This has been crucial in the results that we are seeing now from all the outreach efforts. Pat Hogan asked when we will receive feedback on our IOOS proposal. Josie Quintrell assured the Board that the proposals were being reviewed as our meeting was occurring. They are hoping to notify us in January 2016 with the hopes of seamless funding starting June 1, 2016. However, it could be held up if Congress does not pass a budget soon. Vembu Subramanian asked about the Citizen Science portal, which Matt Howard assured was not part of the IOOS certification.

Josie Quintrell then talked about the IOOS Association and how GCOOS fits into the association. Barb Kirkpatrick is on the Executive Committee for the IOOS Association. Mike Spranger and Barb are the GCOOS representatives to IOOS. She stressed the need to have regional experts visit federal offices with a more realistic, “fill-the-gap” approach rather than “grow the program” approach. More Gulf of Mexico co-sponsors are needed for the ICOOS Re-Authorization Act. One thing that we need to emphasize to our congressional members is the value added back to constituents as well as why this reauthorization is important.

Bill Hogarth presented on the Florida Center of Excellence (COE) and how Florida is planning to spend their funds. Florida’s priorities will be coastal fisheries and wildlife ecosystem research and monitoring in the Gulf Coast Region and comprehensive observation, monitoring, and mapping of the Gulf of Mexico. Currently there are 9 funded proposals from seven institutions to meet these priorities. Part of the difficulty has been meeting Treasury’s requirements. Florida Institute of Oceanography had to show that they are separate from the University of South Florida to avoid conflict of interest. GCOOS and SECOORA are putting together inventories showing what is currently available and being measured. While this is not a guarantee of future funding, the potential exists that some of the COE funds may be used to ensure continued operation of measurements currently being made which are deemed vital. It was noted by David Driver that there is a requirement for all deepwater facilities to monitor currents in real time and submit them to NDBC when drilling.

Steve Giordano, NOAA SE Fisheries, discussed the Council Monitoring & Assessment Program Development. Coordinated monitoring is needed to support science-based decision making, measurement of restoration and management outcomes, evaluation of progress toward comprehensive ecosystem restoration goals and objectives, and reporting to stakeholders. This effort will not include any new data collection, but will work to coordinate the monitoring assets currently in the Gulf. The intent is to elevate the monitoring and assessment capabilities of all partners (GCOOS, state & federal resource agencies, state Center of Excellence, academia, NGOs, NAS, industry, and other interested stakeholders) in the Gulf. Nancy Rabalais noted that as this inventory is being conducted, more assets are coming out of the water due to lack of funding for continued operation and maintenance. How will this be handled? Priorities will be developed by the Council Monitoring Assessment Group and it is possible that those gaps will be filled when funding is provided. Right now funding is not likely before the first of 2016.

Chris Elfring, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS), updated the Board on The Gulf Research Program. Sara Graves, GCOOS Board member, is a member of the NAS Advisory Board. The National Academy of Sciences is a $500M, 30-year program managed by the academies. It came about as a result of the criminal court cases related to the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in 2010. NAS will be co-hosting a session at the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GOMRI) oil spill conference discussing what can be learned from different programs around the nation, e.g., what did we learn in Alaska that can be applied to the Gulf of Mexico. Proposals submitted for data synthesis are being reviewed and they hope to announce funding in late October or early November though the public announcement will not be made until December. There will be a webinar on October 28, 2015 with information on activities to occur in 2016.

Vembu Subramanian, SECOORA Board of Directors, acknowledged the SECOORA Board members present at the GCOOS meeting and gave a brief overview of SECOORA activities. SECOORA currently has about 45 members, 17 Principal Investigators (PIs), and receive funding of about $2M per year.

Jeff Hoberg from Congressman Bilirakis’ office briefly spoke. He mainly works with the military and veterans but also is very interested in aquatic issues such as eutrophication. Paul Matthews from Congressman Jolly’s office spoke briefly. The role of IOOS/GCOOS is vital to national security and the economy. He’d like to see more coordination and collaboration. New legislation has been introduced by Congressman Jolly to build fisheries: the Red Snapper Data Improvement Act. The two young men lost at sea in August in Florida were in an area where high-frequency radar (HFR) has a gap. Tragic examples such as this one demonstrate the need for an integrated system.

A video of Cory Diaz’s Gulf Guardian Award was played for the attendees. Cory is the daughter of Chris Simoniello.

Following lunch, provided by GCOOS, Justin Saarinen from New College talked about using IOOS RA data in GIS classes he is teaching. Students had to produce three case studies using IOOS RA web mapping applications. He showed the final products from two of his students.

Sue Barbieri presented on iTAG. The estimated economic value to Gulf fisheries is $4.6B recreationally and $818M commercially. The iTAG program is designed to help orphan tags get data back to their owners because fish don’t just swim in a small box where you tag them, they go places and you may not see where they are because a data receiver owned by someone else is picking up the signal. Bob Currier is working on the website to help bring together the orphan tags.

Frank Muller-Karger discussed the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) program. The call for proposals came through NOPP. There are 14 partners, including: NASA, NOAA, BOEM, IOOS, NMS, NOAA Fisheries, AOML, FWRI, GCOOS, MBaRI working to systematically bring biological information into IOOS.

Kristy Tavano gave a Prezi on the GCOOS Build-out Plan. Prezi is a web-based platform which is easily sharable. She demonstrated a presentation designed to promote Ecosystem Monitoring aspects of the Build-out Plan which is meant to be a stand-alone presentation requiring no talk. The user is able to browse through at their own pace and dig deeper on things which interest them. This could be used for presentation to funding agencies and Congressional offices. Board members gave suggestions for improvements to the presentation.

Chad Lembke presented on activities of the Gulf Glider Task Team. A lot of gliders have gone into the water since our March meeting, especially during the July AUV Jubilee coordinated by USM. There were daily webinars with as many gliders as they could get out. The Navy models are automatically assimilated this data into the HyCom model. GANDALF site has been launched with a summary of deployments over time. Google Earth KML files can be downloaded to overlay satellite altimetry, etc.

Mark Luther presented for the USF subcontractors (Luther, Chuanmin Hu, and Frank Muller-Karger). GCOOS funding goes primarily to support research staff plus some travel support and server upgrades. The biggest challenge is going to be retention of personnel. There simply isn’t enough funding to keep qualified people from moving to higher paying positions elsewhere. At the end of the presentation, Mark showed a video (on YouTube) showing the deployment of a New WaveRider Buoy off Tampa Bay – recorded using his cell phone.

Jordan Beckler presented on behalf of Mote Marine Laboratory. They are working on HAB Observations using the Optical Plankton Discriminator (OPD). Bob Currier and GANDALF site are taking the IT burden off him allowing him to focus on the science. They are beginning to do outreach programs for 6 teachers and 2 students – teaching about gliders and technology, how to use the data sets, and how to build their own mini functional glider. The desire is to have the HAB data available from the GCOOS Data Portal.

AJ Martignette presented on behalf of SCCF. They currently are serving data from 8 locations with water quality at seven, weather at three, and a wave buoy. Because they are a small (six person) operation, they are limited with what they can provide. They provide weekly estuary conditions reports for Lake Okeechobee.

The meeting was concluded at 5 pm with Dave Driver thanking all the participants and collaborators for taking time from their busy schedules to join us.


Appendix A: Attendees

Last Name First Name Affiliation
Barbieri Sue Florida Fish & Wildlife Institute
Beckler Jordan Mote Marine Laboratory
Bernard Landry GCOOS-RA Staff
Bohanon Charlene GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Bowie Laura Gulf of Mexico Alliance
Buschang Steven GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Currier Bob GCOOS-RA Staff
Dausman Alyssa GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Dorsey Carol GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Driver Dave GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Elfring Chris National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Giordano Steve NOAA Southeast Fisheries
Graves Sara GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Hoberg Jeffrey Staff for Congressman Bilirakis
Hogan Pat GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Hogarth Bill Florida Center of Excellence
Howard Matthew GCOOS-RA Staff
Howden Stephan GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Jochens Ann Texas A&M University, Emeritus
Kirkpatrick Barb GCOOS-RA Staff
Lembke Chad University of South Florida
Lingsch Bill GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Luther Mark University of South Florida
Martignette AJ Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation
Martin David University of Washington
Martin Susan GCOOS-RA Staff
Matthews Paul Staff for Congressman Jolly
McPherson Terry GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Muller-Karger Frank University of South Florida
Nowlin Worth Texas A&M University, Emeritus
Quintrell Josie IOOS Association
Rabalais Nancy GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Saarinen Justin New College
Sheppard Andy University of South Florida
Simoniello Chris GCOOS-RA Staff
Snowden Derrick NOAA
Spranger Mike GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Subramanian Vembu SECOORA
Swaykos Joe GCOOS-RA Board of Directors
Tavana Kristy University of South Florida
Watson Stephanie GCOOS-RA Staff



Appendix B: Provisional Agenda

Day 1: September 17, 2015
Open Meeting

8:00 Check in and light breakfast
8:30 Remarks by Board Chair
8:40 Self introductions
8:55 Adoption of Agenda
Introduction of GCOOS-RA
9:00 Who is GCOOS? (Driver)
9:15 Key accomplishments (Kirkpatrick)
9:30 The IOOS Association (Josie Quintrell)
Gulf Restoration
10:30 Florida’s Center for Excellence (Bill Hogarth, PhD)
10:45 NOAA Fisheries RESTORE project (Steve Giordano, NOAA SE Fisheries)
11:00 NAS Gulf of Mexico Research Program (Chris Elfring)
11:15 SECOORA (Vembu Subramanian)
11:30 uTAG for iTAG video for Gulf Guardian Award (Cory Diaz)
11:40 Comments from Senatorial or Congressional representatives
Invitees: Senators Rubio and Nelson (FL), Congressmen Jolly, Castor, Buchanan, Bilirakis, and Clawson (FL)
12:00 Lunch (provided by GCOOS)
GCOOS/Florida projects
1:30 Justin Saarinan, PhD, New College – Using GCOOS data sets for an undergraduate GIS class
1:45 Sue Barbieri, PhD – the iTAG project
2:00 Frank Muller-Karger, PhD – The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON)
Overview/Update of the GCOOS Build-out Plan (Bernard)
2:15 Prezi on Build-out Plan – Andy Sheppard and Kristy Tavana
Council, Committee, and Task Team Reports
2:30 All task team and committees will provide written reports.
Outreach & Education Council (Verlinde, Simoniello)
Gulf Glider Task Team – AUV Jubilee (Lembke)
3:00 BREAK
Subcontractor Reports
3:30 USF – Luther
4:15 Mote – Beckler
4:25 Sanibel Captiva – Martignette
4:30 Discussion and wrap-up