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Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative News pages report on activities, news items, and issues related to Gulf science and education. Please visit our newsstand (gomurc.fio.usf.edu/phocadownload/gomurc_newsstand-v051816.pdf) for much more news from Gulf partners.

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A team of scientists and students at the University of South Florida published an article, "Embracing Advocacy in Science" in the journal Fisheries. As stated in the abstract, "a perception remains that scientists cannot be objective and credible while also advocating a position that may inform or impact decision making. We counter this notion and make the case that scientists should engage in science communication and advocacy." The authors propose practical ways to serve as an advocate for science-based policy and decision-making.


Two new offerings from the Gulf Sea Grant oil spill outreach team:

The team will host a free seminar, "Oil spill response, assessment, and restoration: Marine mammals," on March 29, 2018 in Galveston, Texas. Experts will share the latest science concerning marine mammal populations, with a focus on their health after oil spills and protocols relating to response, assessment, and restoration. A discussion about integrating science, response, and management for marine mammals will follow talks from our guest speakers. This event will also be available as a webinar. To learn more or register for the workshop, go to https://gulfseagrant.org/oil-spill-response-assessment-and-restoration-marine-mammals/.

A limited number of hard copies of the Team's oil spill science outreach publications are available. To inquire about having certain titles shipped to you at no charge, contact team communicator Tara Skelton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To check out our publications, go to https://gulfseagrant.org/oilspilloutreach/publications/.


Following is copied from GCERC email on 2/28/18:

On February 21, 2018, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) voted to approve its 2017 Annual Report to Congress. The Annual Report to Congress summarizes the Council’s 2017 calendar year activities, including but not limited to accomplishments related to the funding approvals to date for both the Council-Selected Restoration Component (commonly referred to as “Bucket 2”) and the Spill Impact Component (commonly referred to as “Bucket 3”).

The 2017 Annual Report to Congress includes reports from the Centers of Excellence. The RESTORE Act dedicates 2.5 percent of the Trust Fund to the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program, administered by the Department of Treasury. These funds may be used to establish Centers of Excellence for science, technology, and monitoring. To date four Centers of Excellence have been established: 

Learn more about:

For questions contact: Keala J. Hughes, Director of External Affairs & Tribal Relations, (504) 717-7235, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Tagged in: GCERC publication

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council has released a Monitoring and Adaptive Management Manual. The manual recommends procedures and guidelines that build upon the monitoring frameworks and conceptual monitoring plans developed for Early Restoration, including a template for "project-specific MAM plans and monitoring guidance for wetlands, beaches and dunes, barrier islands, water quality, and recreational use restoration approaches."


NEWS from the Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Team of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative:

The Team just released a final, in-depth publication to close out 2017 entitle, Corals and oil spills. Scientists discovered that the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill injured some deep water coral communities, while others in shallow areas appeared unharmed. All of Team science outreach publications can be found here.

Upcoming 2018 oil spill science workshops.

  • Responding to oil spills: Offshore and deep sea habitatsJanuary 9, 2018—Available in person and online
    Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex, Lacombe, LA. Free event, last in three-part series, will bring scientists and emergency responders together to discuss offshore and deep sea spill response. Lunch will be provided for attendees registered by January 5.


Products now available from the the 2017 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference (GoMOSES) including:


Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) just released its report, "Making the Most of Restoration: Priorities for a Recovering Gulf." This follow-up to its 2014 report provides their recommendations on Gulf coastal ecosystems, with emphasis on estuaries. The report identifies "suites of projects that have the greatest collective impact on priority estuaries." Their approach included: reviewing federal, state and local planning and assessment reports; documenting existing stressors for each system; evaluating potential restoration needs required to tackle each underlying stressor; and prioritizing projects for a given estuary based on the greatest restoration needs.


Abstract Deadline Extended for Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference

The deadline to submit your abstract for an oral presentation to the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference has been extended to September 24, 2015 at 11:59PM Pacific. Abstracts received after this date will be considered only for poster presentations.

Submit an abstract here.


Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Program Releases New Publications

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program has released 2 publications:

Fisheries Landings and Disasters in the Gulf of Mexico  Learn about historical fisheries landings data within the context of manmade and natural disasters. Explore why this data is important for fisheries management. Click here to open the publication: https://gulfseagrant.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/oil-spill-science-fisheries-management.pdf



The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill’s Impact on Gulf Seafood  Learn about the results of federal, state and independent seafood testing after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Click here to open the publication: https://gulfseagrant.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/oil-spill-science-impact-on-gulf-seafood.pdf

Tomorrow, April 22, 2015 at 9:30 AM ET the House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources will be holding an oversight hearing on “Innovations in Safety Since the 2010 Macondo Incident.” The hearing memo including the witness list can be found here.  The hearing is available for live streaming here.


The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released a report, “Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Tourism in the Gulf of Mexico Region.” As stated in the technical announcement, “To better understand the various impacts of the DWH oil spill on tourism in the Gulf region, the Eastern Research Group (ERG) undertook four methodological approaches… The varied methodologies reveal a complex pattern of impacts and provide important lessons to be learned about the impacts of an oil spill on tourism.” A technical summary of the report is available here.




The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has released a new report, “Charting Restoration” that compares funded projects against Gulf restoration priorities identified in restoration- and conservation-related plans five years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. As stated on TNC’s website, “One of the main findings of the report is that the majority of funding to date has gone towards restoring the environment, which shows a solid alignment with the identified priorities. The report also shows that clean water, community resilience and healthy marine plants and animals are top priorities across the Gulf yet a limited number of projects have been funded with a primary focus on these issues.” For further information, the report can be found here

In a new publication, Evidence of climate-driven ecosystem reorganization in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists reviewed over 100 indicators representing physical, biological, and economic aspects of the Gulf of Mexico and found that ecosystem-wide reorganization occurred.  They also analyzed these shifts and their alignment with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). They “provide an explanation for how the AMO may drive physical changes in the Gulf of Mexico, thus altering higher-level ecosystem dynamics. The hypotheses presented here should provide focus for further targeted studies, particularly in regard to whether and how management should adjust to different climate regimes or states of nature.”


The full report can be found here

The peer reviewed study  has found four distinct groupings of dolphin deaths within the Northern Gulf of Mexico Unusual Mortality Event (UME). Three of the groupings followed the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The scientists compared the number and demographics of dolphin deaths across the Gulf from January 2010–June 2013 to patterns from 1990–2009. They looked for distinct groupings of high numbers of dolphin deaths, both before and after the spill.

The Barataria Bay dolphin population was a focus of previous peer-reviewed study as part of the on-going Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). That study showed that live dolphins, which underwent physical examination, had adverse health impacts consistent with exposure to petroleum products.

The causes of the Northern Gulf UME are still under investigation. You can review the full study here.

This work was part of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment and the Northern Gulf Unusual Mortality Investigation being conducted cooperatively by NOAA, other federal and state agencies, and BP.

The National Research Council released their new report Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences. This report identifies eight strategic research priorities for the next decade that will continue to advance scientific understanding of the ocean. The report is available for free download here.

You can also register for the public webinar being given Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 3:00PM EST. It will feature presentations by Shirley Pomponi and David Titley, co-chairs of the report’s authoring committee, followed by a Q & A session.

Over the next several weeks, members of the report’s authoring committee will be presenting a series of seminars at research institutions around the United States.

NOAA released a draft version of the science plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program for public comment; electronic comments submitted via e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and written comments may be mailed to Dr. Becky Allee; NOAA OCM - Gulf Coast; Bldg. 1100, Rm 232; Stennis Space Center, MS, 39529.


Deepwater Horizon oil spill NRDA Trustees guide to projects and planning contained in the Final Programmatic and Phase III Early Restoration Plan and Early Restoration Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Posted by on in Gulf Science and Education

New book edited by former Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council director, Dr. S. Bortone, entitled Interrelationships between Corals and Fisheries, published by CRC Press. Available at http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781466588318. Volume includes chapter 9 by GOMURC director, AN Shepard, "Restoring deepwater coral ecosystems and fisheries after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill."

Posted by on in Gulf Events - Archives

GOMRI Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, January 2014, report and products-- http://2014.gulfofmexicoconference.org

House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing on IPCC report on May 29, 11a ET (webcast)-- http://science.house.gov/hearing/full-committee-hearing-examining-un-intergovernmental-panel-climate-change-process. IPCC report is at http://www.ipcc.ch

NOAA Central Library will no longer update its DWH Spill Bibliography as of May 13, 2014-- http://www.lib.noaa.gov/researchtools/subjectguides/dwh.html.

NWF report, “Four Years Into the Gulf Oil Disaster: Still Waiting for Restoration”--  http://www.nwf.org/fouryearslater.  Report blog at http://blog.nwf.org/2014/04/four-years-after-the-bp-spill-wildlife-are-still-struggling/

National Ocean Economics Program (NOEP) latest "State of the U.S. Ocean and Coastal Economies 2014"  highlights value of the oceans, Great Lakes and coasts of the U.S., availble at http://www.oceaneconomics.org/download/

Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas to be an easy-to-use resource for a wide variety of Gulf of Mexico data; 235 map plates covering more than 70 topics. Explore at: http://gulfatlas.noaa.gov/.

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Treasury Regulations (proposed rule) for RESTORE Act draft on-line for public feedback at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/09/06/2013-21595/gulf-coast-restoration-trust-fund

Posted by on in Gulf Events - Archives

GOMRI Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, January 2013, report and products-- http://2013.gulfofmexicoconference.org

Posted by on in Gulf Policy - Archives

CEQ "Marine Planning Handbook," action called for in NOP Implementation Plan, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov//sites/default/files/final_marine_planning_handbook.pdf

LUMCON cruise reports map low oxygen "Dead Zone" off MS River mouth, available at http://www.gulfhypoxia.net

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

US Fish and Wildlife Service vision for Gulf restoration available at http://www.fws.gov/gulfrestoration/pdf/VisionDocument.pdf

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

NRC Ocean Studies Board finished its report, An Ecosystem Services Approach to Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico now available at http://dels.nas.edu/Report/report/18387

NOAA-led RESTORE Act Science Program (sec 1604 of the Act) website is at http://restoreactscienceprogram.noaa.gov; program description, event announcements/reports, and FAQs, and Program’s Science Plan Framework. Subscribe on the website to receive alerts and announcements about the Program. Contact program anytime at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Gulf Coast Restoration Council released Initial Comprehensive Plan today required by RESTORE Act section 1603, available at http://www.restorethegulf.gov

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

RESTORE Act programs to receive funding from DWH Oil Spill settlements and litigation on hold awaiting Department of Treasury regulations including "procedures for depositing amounts in and expending amounts from the Trust Fund including procedures for determining compliance and auditing requirements of programs and activities established under the RESTORE Act." Office of the Inspector General posted its audit report, RESTORE ACT: Treasury Missed Its Statutory Deadline for Establishing Procedures Governing RESTORE Act Programs and Activities, at http://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/ig/Audit%20Reports%20and%20Testimonies/OIG13038.pdf

Posted by on in Gulf Policy - Archives

White House press release regarding National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan at http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/Press_Releases/April_16_2013

Posted by on in Gulf Policy - Archives

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) prepares environmental documents on various actions related to the OCS Program including Environmental Assessments (EA's) or Environmental Impact Statements (EIS's)-- http://www.boem.gov/nepaprocess/.

USF publication recommending ocean observing system required to support Gulf ecosystem restoration and sustainability at http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/26-1_murawski.pdf

LA Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's Annual Plan for 2014 is open until Mar 23, 2013 for public comment-- http://www.lacpra.org/assets/docs/draftFY2014AnnualPlanLow.pdf

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Governor of MS releases GoCoast 2020 plan-- http://www.gocoast2020.com/wp-content/uploads/finalreport.pdf. Work of GoCoast Commission assigned by Governor Bryant to plan for state's RESTORE Act programs.

NRC report reviews inter-agency ocean acidification plan, REVIEW OF THE FEDERAL OCEAN ACIDIFICATION, RESEARCH AND MONITORING PLAN, available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=17018&utm_medium=etmail&utm_source=The%20National%20Academies%20Press&utm_campaign=NAP+mail+new+01.15.13&utm_content=&utm_term=

Posted by on in Gulf Events - Archives

IOOS Summit, Nov 2012, meeting report -- http://www.iooc.us/summit/report/

Camilli et al. Science magazine Policy Forum (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6102/1608.full.pdf) observe, "Our academic, governmental, and industrial research communities should work together to better align American legal practice with the deliberative process of science." The authors were required to turn over email records and more to BP related to findings on the Deepwater Horizon blow-out flow rate (paper at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/12/19/1112139108.full.pdf). They conclude that new federal legislation is required "that protects researchers from legal harassment by interests seeking to silence scientific inquiry or retribution for publishing independent research findings."

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

President Executive Order signed September 10, 2012, sets conditions for terminating Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, reiterates Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council duties as established in the RESTORE Act, and adds EPA and USDA as NRDA Trustees-- available on-line at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/10/executive-order-gulf-coast-ecosystem-restoration

IOOS strategic plan and requirements for implementing global coastal observing systems at http://www.ioos.gov/global/final_coastal_goos_pico_report.pdf.

University of Houston-Victoria faculty, Yong-Gyo Lee and Xavier Garza-Gomez, using market-based measures, estimated loss in oil/gas industry capitalization due to 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to be up to $562 billion -- http://www.na-businesspress.com/JAF/LeeY_Web12_1_.pdf.

Posted by on in Gulf Policy - Archives

Joint Ocean Commission Initiative's most recent (now done every 5 years) U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card, calls for stopping decline of ocean science and education funding and praises regional collaborations for carrying the load-- http://www.jointoceancommission.org/resource-center/2-Report-Cards/2012-06-06_2012_JOCI_report_card.pdf

Current Biology editor considers where Gulf ecosystem and policies are 2 years after DWH oil spill-- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982212005222

2012 NOAA workshop report is good resource regarding dispersant use during DWH oil spill--  http://www.crrc.unh.edu/workshops/dispersant_future_11/Dispersant_Initiative_FINALREPORT.pdf.

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

In response to the DWH oil spill, scientists and managers conclude that "modification of laws and policies designed to protect and restore ocean resources is needed in order to accommodate oil drilling in the deep sea and other frontiers" in A Tale of Two Spills: Novel Science and Policy Implications of an Emerging New Oil Spill Model-- http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/bio.2012.62.5.7

Oil Spill Commission action committee assesses progress towards recommendations made in National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Off-Shore Drilling's 2011 report (http://www.oilspillcommission.gov/)-- http://oscaction.org/wp-content/uploads/OSCA-Assessment-report.pdf.

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

New publication pegs total DWH oil spill at 4.9-5.5 million bbls-- Griffiths, S. 2012. Oil Release from Macondo Well MC252 Following the Deepwater Horizon Accident. Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI: 10.1021/es204569t (on-line at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es204569t)

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Investigators funded by NOAA, BOEM, USGS, Census of Marine Life and NSF find impacts of DWH oil spill on deep sea coral ecosystems near the well site-- news at http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=123555&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click;  publication at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/03/23/1118029109.full.pdf+html?sid=97130868-7d9b-440f-8d04-618c0157813c.

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Dauphin Island Sea Lab leads study on microbes that actively degrade oil spill in marshes-- http://www.springerlink.com/content/e46g688n71043684/.

Posted by on in Gulf Restoration - Archives

Louisiana State University investigators find not all marsh grass recovers the same-- Qianxin Lin and Irving A. Mendelssohn. 2012. “Impacts and Recovery of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Vegetative Structure and Function of Coastal Salt Marsh in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.” Environ. Sci. Technol.  Online at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es203552p.

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