NGI and Partners at the 2022 Gulf of Mexico Conference
June 6, 2022
Collaboration was the conference theme and was highlighted throughout the event – from the opening plenary on building inclusive coalitions to a panel discussion on lessons learned on productive partnerships, collaboration barriers, and inclusion.
The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) along with its partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were active participants at the conference. They presented a variety of scientific research and outreach efforts aimed at improving understanding of the interconnections among Gulf of Mexico environments, resources, and people and improved decision-making based on those interconnections.
Below are presentations given by members of the NGI and its collaborators at NOAA. For more information, go to the GoMCon 2022 website.
Emily Osborne shared findings from observations collected by Apex biogeochemical Argo floats launched during the 2021 Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Carbon Cruise. Emily is a Physical Scientist at the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and collaborates with NGI on a Biscayne Bay water quality modeling project
Heidi Stiller presented sea level rise projections and plans from the 2022 NOAA Technical Report for the US and Gulf of Mexico region, including new extrapolations of observation data out to 2050 and examples of planning applications at local and state levels. Heidi is the South Regional Director of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM), which funds the Regional Geospatial Modeling project at NGI and the NGI monitoring and research efforts that inform hypoxia management strategies.
Alyssa Rodolfich described a comprehensive data collection program that involved commercial shrimpers to understand the quantity and impacts of marine debris in the Mississippi Sound. Alyssa is an MSU Extension Program Assistant and Coordinator of the Derelict Trap Reward Program. NGI supports research and outreach on the economic costs of environmental stressors.
Kelly Samek discussed the principles for successful cooperative agreement collaborations and the advancement of national priorities through Sea Grant partnerships using multiple pathways to fund Sea Grant initiatives. Kelly is a Sea Grant Legal Network Liaison, Gulf Regional Lead Program Officer, and National Sea Grant Restoration Lead; Kelly has facilitated research awards to NGI from NCEI.
Hannah Brown described an effort that connects researchers and resource managers for project co-planning and design to produce actionable science that promotes recovery, restoration, and protection of Gulf of Mexico ecosystems and economies. Hannah is the Communications & Engagement Specialist for the NOAA RESTORE Science Program. NGI collaborates with NCEI to provide enhanced data, produces, and services for several RESTORE projects.
Sharon Mesick talked about the use of physical and social science data on Hurricane Ida to tell the human story of that billion-dollar disaster. Sharon is the Director of the NOAA Southern Regional Climate Service and, in her previous role with NCEI, she was the point of contact for several NGI projects.
Jenny Litz talked about new density models for marine mammals using data from the Gulf of Mexico Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species to inform restoration evaluation, recovery planning, and permitting/consultations for energy production and development. Jenny is a Marine Mammal Branch Chief with NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC). NGI conducts research that supports SEFSC cetacean conservation research.
Kristine Evans explained conservation support for Gulf Coast landscapes using a new dynamic suite of planning tools that integrates priorities in a multi-criteria decision analysis framework and assists in identifying co-benefits of proposed areas for land conservation. Kristine is an MSU Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture. Steve Ashby, NGI's previous Co-Director, was an investigator on the project.
Peter Etnoyer presented innovative deep sea coral restoration techniques using field and lab propagation strategies to better understand benthic communities affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and to advance coral management, protection, and restoration. Peter is a Marine Biologist with NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS). NGI collaborates with the NCEI to provide enhanced data, products, and services for the NOAA Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program (DSCRTP).
Marcus Drymon described research on the poorly understood problem of depredation, a form of mortality that can lead to inappropriate harvest recommendations in fish stock assessments. Marcus is an Assistant Extension Professor at MSU and a Marine Fisheries Specialist with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, which NGI collaborates with on several research projects.
Attila Karsi discussed the use of genetic variability of bottlenose dolphins stranded on the Mississippi coast to inform preservation, restoration, and recovery efforts. Attila is a Professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine at MSU. NGI conducts research that supports the NMFS cetacean conservation efforts.
Elizabeth Fetherston-Resch shared the opportunities and challenges raised by creating new frameworks for co-designing cetacean restoration, developing sustainable partnerships that will outlive the funded projects themselves, and placing the Deepwater Horizon work in the context of other key Gulf conservation efforts. Elizabeth is the Marine Mammal Restoration Coordinator at NOAA NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC). NGI research supports SEFSC cetacean conservation research.
Kristopher Benson presented the science being conducted to fulfill the Deepwater Horizon Trustee restoration goals for deep-sea fish and invertebrate communities and improved understanding of benthic communities using projects to conduct mapping and modeling, habitat characterization, active management, and coral restoration. Kristopher is a Marine Habitat Resource Specialist NOAA NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation. NGI collaborates with NCEI to provide enhanced data, products, and services for NOAA projects that involve video and mapping data of benthic ecosystems.
Brittany Troast talked about the drivers of forage fish and predator community dynamics in two Florida estuaries to better understand long-term trends in species diversity and abundance. Brittney is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Miami affiliated with NOAA AOML. NGI conducts research with AOML on aquatic biodiversity and ocean acidification, which affects processes that drive productivity, biodiversity, and food web dynamics.
Angela Sallis explained their use of ESRI Story Maps to bring NOAA scientific data to life in an interactive, visual narrative accessible to many audiences. Angela is a Project Manager for the NOAA NCEI and General Dynamics Information Technology and works closely with NGI.
Kelsey Johnson talked about using community events in Mississippi coastal counties to engage underrepresented populations in environmental planning and education. Kelsey is an Assistant Director/Planner for the MSU Gulf Coast Community Design Studio. NGI outreach supports environmental awareness and education in the Gulf of Mexico region.
Jessi James shared the use of coastal community cleanup events sponsored by the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup Program to spread awareness about and prevention of marine debris. Jessi is an Extension Associate at MSU. Marine debris awareness and education are included in NGI outreach efforts.