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Tuesday, February 04, 2020

NOAA 10th Biennial Education and Science Forum - March 29th - April 1st, 2020

10th Biennial Forum

The Biennial Education and Science Forum focuses on the important role educational partners such as the four EPP/MSI Cooperative Science Centers (CSCs) and Undergraduate Scholarship Program contribute to the NOAA community. The EPP Forum supports NOAA's objective to develop a diverse and capable workforce. Since 2001, EPP/MSI institutions have graduated over 2,000 students in NOAA mission fields. Over seventy percent of graduates are from communities traditionally underrepresented in NOAA mission fields.
 

The Tenth Biennial NOAA EPP/MSI Education and Science Forum will be hosted by the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University from March 29 - April 1, 2020.

Registration is now open! Sign up now to submit abstracts and reserve your spot.
 

Forum Theme

"Two decades of excellence: Nurturing future leaders in STEM," highlights the important role of educational partners, such as the four EPP/MSI Cooperative Science Centers, and how they contribute to the NOAA community and the STEM community at large.
 

Purpose

To showcase collaborative research and education between faculty and students at EPP/MSI Cooperative Science Centers and NOAA scientists. The forum provides a venue to present research findings, discuss new engagement opportunities, and to promote career opportunities for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) graduates with academic, government, and private sectors.
 

Sessions

Will be organized around four thematic areas:
  • Healthy Oceans
  • Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies
  • Weather Ready Nation
  • Climate Adaptation and Mitigation


Tuesday, February 04, 2020

NGI and Gulfport High School Theatre Develop "Hello Opportunity" Travelling Play about Climate Change

The Northern Gulf Institute worked alongside Gulfport High Schools', award-winning, Theatre for Young Audiences playwright Tonya Hays, and her Advanced Theatre class, to create an original play, as a traveling, teachable outreach project, focusing on the subject of climate change and its potential impacts on the Gulf Coastal region.
 

Each viewing of the play was followed by a brief lecture and Q&A concerning the truths and concepts behind climate change and climate science in a manner intended for young audiences.

The play, submitted to the Mississippi Theatre Associations' Southern Regional Theatre Festival won "Best Original Work" and was moved ahead to the state-wide Mississippi Theatre Festival where it won "Best Original Work for Social Change"  as well as a number of other awards for student acting.
 

Since opening, the play has been seen by numerous schools and hundreds of students and citizens from across the Gulf region.


Tuesday, February 04, 2020

NGI Researchers Receive NOAA RESTORE Science Program Award

The NOAA RESTORE Science Program is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition, the RESTORE Act directs that the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission be consulted as the program is executed.

The Program is housed in the National Ocean Service, National Center for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) with a Gulf-based program director to keep the program grounded in the region.
 

Geographic Scope

The RESTORE Act stipulates that Program funds be expend with respect to the Gulf of Mexico. To provide geographic boundaries for the Program, the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is defined as the ocean basin bounded by the United States along its northeastern, northern, and northwestern edges; Mexico on its southwestern and southern edges; and Cuba on its southeastern edge. The Gulf of Mexico is connected to the Caribbean Sea through the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba and connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the Florida Straits between Cuba and the United States. This definition of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem includes the estuarine and marine environments of the basin's continental shelf and its deep water environments. International, federal, and state waters are encompassed within this defined area. In addition to supporting research conducted in the Gulf of Mexico, the Program will also support research on processes that impact the Gulf of Mexico in a direct, significant, and quantifiable way, which includes processes in the watersheds draining into the Gulf of Mexico and coastal terrestrial areas that provide habitat for important wildlife species.

The science plan for the NOAA RESTORE Science Program lays out the path forward for the Program. It explains how the legislative requirements of the RESTORE Act led to the Program's mission and goal. The plan also establishes ten long-term research priorities which will guide how the Program invests its funds and explains the process by which these areas of investment were determined. Additionally, the plan provides information on how the Program is administered and the partners with which the Program will leverage future opportunities.
 

Oysters, Blue Crabs, Seatrout

Full Title: Building Resilience for Oysters, Blue Crabs, and Spotted Seatrout to Environmental Trends and Variability in the Gulf of Mexico

This project explores how oyster, blue crab, and spotted seatrout populations respond to human and environmental changes with the goal of improving the management of these economically and culturally important species.

The Team:
  • John C. Lehrter (lead investigator, University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab jlehrter@southalabama.edu)
  • Ronald Baker (University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab)
  • Just Cebrian (Mississippi State University, Northern Gulf Institute)
  • Brian Dzwonkowski (University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab)
  • Latif Kalin (Auburn University)
  • Lisa Lowe (North Carolina State University)
  • Dan Petrolia (Mississippi State University)
  • Sean Powers (University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island Sea Lab)
  • Di Tian (Auburn University)
  • Seong Yun (Mississippi State University)

Technical Monitors:
Science Program Liaison:
Federal Program Officer:
Award Amount: $2,887,250

Award Period: This project began in September 2019 and will end in August 2024.

Why we care:
The abundance of oysters, blue crabs, and spotted seatrout is rapidly declining in the Gulf of Mexico. These species have provided valuable food, raw material, recreation, and cultural resources to humans since the Gulf was settled. Today, the ecosystem services provided by these species are threatened, or near collapse in Gulf estuaries. This is partially due to human activities and environmental trends such as fisheries harvest and changes in water and habitat quality. Many of the underlying mechanisms that relate long-term trends and short-term variability in the environment to changing populations of oyster, blue crab and spotted seatrout are unquantified or unknown.

What we are doing:
This project will identify temperature, salinity (freshwater), oxygen (hypoxia), and pH (acidity) thresholds for oyster, blue crab, and spotted seatrout populations based on current and future habitat conditions, including climate variability and human-induced stressors. Thresholds will be quantified in mesocosm experiments, from field observations, and with numerical models. By linking multiple data sets of species recruitment, growth, and survival rates with natural and human induced environmental conditions across time, the project team will identify the large scale drivers and stressors of these populations in Mobile Bay, Alabama. Next numerical models will be created based off these data that can forecast population, ecosystem services, and socio-economic changes based on scenarios of future conditions. Public preferences about changes to the ecosystem will be gauged through a survey and incorporated into the models to calculate the costs and benefits of potential management actions.

Expected Outcome:
This project will provide Mobile Bay decision-makers a process for evaluating various scenarios, management actions, and outcomes based on single and multiple thresholds for oyster, blue crab, and spotted seatrout populations. It will help identify what individual or combined stressors affect these economically and culturally important species plus evaluate how management actions may improve the resilience of these populations to environmental change.


Tuesday, February 04, 2020

NGI Researchers attend and present at CERF - Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 25th Biennial Meeting

Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 25th Biennial Meeting

Kirsten Larsen (NCEI), Just Cebrian, Kate Rose, and Clint Edrington attended the 25th meeting of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) in Mobile, AL, November 4-7. Dr. Cebrian was a member of the conference organizing committee. Ms Rose convened a session, CMECS: A "Common Language" for Application to Coastal Habitat Mapping, attended by approximately 30 people. The session featured talks on applications of underwater video data to estuarine habitat mapping, using Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS)-classified data products to inventory habitat types in National Park System units and to monitor ecosystem condition. Ms. Rose also gave a presentation on the CMECS Update Dynamic Standard Process. Dr. Edrington presented a poster titled, "A Preliminary Look at Emerging Autonomous Technology for Mapping Seagrass at Cat Island, MS."


Tuesday, February 04, 2020

NGI - MSU Education & Outreach Opportunities

The Travelling Trunk Education Outreach Program

Mr. James Comans at Desoto Central Middle School, in Mississippi, has been chosen to be the first recipient of the Atmospheric Sciences Trunk. This trunk provides a Portable Weather Station and state science curriculum targeted projects and classroom lesson plans as well as a literature component. The trunk program is designed to provide students with direct observation and lessons on understanding and interpretation of the atmospheric sciences.
 

STEAM: Science Through the Arts, Art Competition

STEAM programs add art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.

In 2013, a joint resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives expressing the sense that adding art and design into Federal programs that target the STEM fields encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) at Mississippi State University is proud to announce a STEAM art competition, where original drawings, paintings, photography, or other renderings, depicting the natural environment, marine, avian, or aquatic species, the ocean, or weather, as related to the Mississippi River, The Gulf Coast, or the Gulf of Mexico Basin, are to be submitted for review. The winner of the competition will have their art featured in the "Portal" Newsletter.
 

Continuing Education Opportunity

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) has joined with the Department of Geosciences and the Center for Distance Education at Mississippi State University to provide Continuing Education and/or 4 hours of Graduate College Credit to teachers and professionals wishing to undertake a 7-10 day geosciences field course. The course locations for this year are Bahamas (split undergrad/grad), Western WA, NY, and Great Plains Storm Chase. A science background is helpful to successfully complete these courses and cost $1250 plus tuition (4 hours of in-state grad credit). (approximately $2978 total) Additionally, for most of the trips the students pay for their meals, but the Bahamas trip includes meals. Students are also responsible for getting to the start location on their own (e.g Seattle, Nassau, Oklahoma City, etc.).
 
 

Visiting Scientists to your Classroom or Organization

The NGI can also provide assistance in locating a guest speaker for your classroom or organizations meeting to discuss various topics including Coastal Hazards, Geospatial Data Integration and Visualization, Ecosystem Management Climate Change, and use of UAV/AUVs in the environmental and agricultural sciences.
 

Lesson Plan Database

NGI along with the INSPIRE program is developing a database of approximately 500 Mississippi Science Curriculum based lesson plans and assignments for k-12 classrooms. These will be linked from our website in the near future. Click Here for Lesson Plans


Tuesday, February 04, 2020

NGI - STEAM, Arts integrated Science Competition


STEAM fields are science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, together with art. STEAM is designed to integrate STEM subjects and the art of design in education.

STEAM programs add art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.

In 2013, a joint resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives expressing the sense that adding art and design into Federal programs that target the STEM fields encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) at Mississippi State University is proud to announce a STEAM art competition, where original drawings, paintings, photography, or other renderings, depicting the natural environment, marine avian, or aquatic species, the ocean, or weather, as related to the Mississippi River, The Gulf Coast, or the Gulf of Mexico Basin, are to be submitted for review. The winner of the competition will have their art featured in the Newsletter. There is an open submission date as the newsletter is published quarterly.

Please forward submissions digitally to EandO@ngi.msstate.edu or submit them by mail to:

Jonathan Harris
Education and Outreach
Northern Gulf Institute
Box 9627
Mississippi State, MS 39762
 
Innovation depends on the problem solving, risk taking and creativity that are natural to the way artists and designers think.
~ John Madea


Tuesday, February 04, 2020

NGI Executive Committee Meeting Summary

NGI Executive Committee Meeting Summary
Silver Spring, Maryland
January 27, 2020

The NGI Executive Committee met at the NOAA facilities in Silver Spring, Maryland on Monday January 26, 2020. NOAA members present were:
 
  • John Cortinas, OAR AOML Director, Lead Technical PM for NGI
  • Alan Leonardi, OAR OER Director
  • Libby Jewett, OAR Oceans Portfolio Steward (out of country)
  • Joe Pica, NESDIS/NCEI, Deputy Director (called in)
  • Paul Scholz, NOS CFO/CAO
  • Steve Thur, NOS National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Director
  • Mel Landry III, NMFS NOAA Restoration Center (called in)
  • Julie Jordan, MSU Interim VP Research and Economic Development
  • Gordon Cannon, USM VP Research (Monty Graham called in)
  • Gary K. Ostrander, FSU VP Research
  • Sam Bentley, LSU VP Research and Economic Development
  • Bob Lindquist, UAH VP Research and Economic Development
  • John Valentine, DISL Director (called in)
  • Robert Moorhead, MSU, NGI Director (ex-officio)
  • Steve Ashby, MSU, NGI Co-Director (guest)
  • Eric Chassignet, FSU Research Fellow (guest, called in)

After a brief presentation on NGI's history, vision/mission, research, and finances, Robert asked the Executive Committee to comment on 4 issues:
  • What can NGI do better?
  • What more can NGI do to help NOAA?
  • How to best grow?
  • Any advice for the upcoming review?

The NOAA members discussed the various vehicles they have to fund work (e.g., CIs, contracts, competitive proposals). The Executive Committee noted a need for the universities to communicate their capabilities. A mechanism is needed to connect talent with needs. Although it was generally agreed that there is not a single most-efficient mechanism, methods suggested included presentations at NOAA, targeted presentations to program managers at NOAA, and remote presentations via the NOAA Seminar Series. It was also suggested we engage our university communications resources, social media, printed brochures, etc. One NOAA member recommended the CI Director as the best conduit.

There was a brief discussion about the possibility of NOS funding NGI to provide technical support at selected sites.

John Cortinas commended a social-science-based training opportunity that the Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team funded that is being offered this year by NGI.

A question was asked regarding which CI is used when a university is a member of more than one CI. The only answer volunteered was delineation by mission.

NGI was encouraged to establish relationships with NOAA's Cooperative Science Centers (CSCs). The Tenth Biennial NOAA EPP/MSI Education and Science Forum will be hosted by the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, one of the CSCs, from March 29 - April 1, 2020. NGI was encouraged to participate.

Regarding the upcoming (critical) review, the Executive Committee questioned the lead time to prepare for the review. Robert noted that there was a proposal to execute the science review and the administrative review at different times. The Executive Committee generally agreed that video technology is such that remote participation is acceptable and that it would be good to have the project PIs present at the science review.


Tuesday, February 04, 2020

USM - Gulf Coast Research Lab - K-12 Summer Field Camps



Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Training Opportunity - Social Science Applications for Coastal Resiliency Course