DECEMBER 2009

Bill would limit Gulf fish farming appeal
Proposed federal legislation could make the Gulf of Mexico a less likely site for the
nation's first commercial offshore fish farms. Under an act proposed by Rep. Lois Capps,
D-Calif., it would be illegal to use oil or natural gas platforms for fish farming operations.
Many consider the presence of 4,000 such platforms the Gulf's primary advantage as an
aquaculture destination. Proponents have touted them as perfect workstations, providing
a place to secure fish cages, quarter crewmembers, and store fish food and medications.
(Source: Mobile Press-Register, 12/31/09)

Coastal resource center ceremony slated
A grand opening ceremony will be held Monday in Jackson County, Miss., for the new $9
million, 20,000-square-foot Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center. It serves as
headquarters for the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in the Pecan
community of southeast Jackson County. The building includes a public interpretative
area, office space, laboratories, classrooms and a dormitory and will be shared by the
reserve and Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The dedication coincides with the 10th
anniversary of the reserve, which includes more than 18,000 acres of estuarine and
upland habitat for purposes of scientific research and observation, education and
stewardship. (Source: Mississippi Press, 12/05/09)

MSU picks research VP
STARKVILLE, Miss. – A veteran Mississippi State faculty member and research scientist
has been chosen as vice president for research and economic development at MSU.
David R. Shaw assumes his new duties Jan. 1, pending approval by the board of trustees,
State Institutions of Higher Learning. He succeeds Kirk Schulz, who left MSU to become
president of Kansas State University. Shaw played a key role in the creation of several
cross-disciplinary research centers that focus on the applications of remote sensing
technology to resource management. Most recently, Shaw spearheaded formation of the
NOAA-funded Northern Gulf Institute, a collaborative effort with Louisiana State and
Florida State universities, University of Southern Mississippi, and the Dauphin Island Sea
Laboratory in Alabama. NGI’s program office is at Stennis Space Center. It focuses its
research efforts on ecosystem management, coastal hazards and mitigation, and climate
assessment and modeling. (Source: Starkville Daily News, 12/02/09)


NOVEMBER 2009

New artificial reef put in place
The 176-foot-long Great Wicomico is now an artificial reef about 13 miles south of Horn
Island in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship entered service in 1945 and became part of the
Omega Protein fishing fleet in 1960. Omega Protein, which operates a pogy fishing fleet
out of Moss Point, donated the ship for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
Artificial Reef Bureau. Artificial reefs create habitats for sea life. Mississippi's artificial reef
program began in 1999. (Source: Mississippi Press, 11/25/09)

NMOC gets new commander
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command
has a new commander. Rear Adm. Jonathan W. White relieved Rear Adm. David W. Titley
in a change-of-command ceremony Friday. Titley, who served as NMOC commander
since December 2007, was assigned to be the Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy
in April. White was chosen in September as to replace Titley as head of NMOC. White
most recently served as chief of staff. He’s been in the Navy for 26 years. (Source: Sun
Herald, 11/16/09)

GCRL releases seatrout
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory released 16,000 tagged
hatchery-raised seatrout this week into the wild at two Bay St. Louis locations. The
Seatrout Population Enhancement Cooperative program is designed to enhance the
seatrout population. The fish released Thursday are among the first to be raised in the
new Marine Aquaculture Visitors' Pavilion at GCRL’s Cedar Point site. The laboratory is
developing a similar program for red snapper. (Source: Mississippi Press, 11/13/09)

NOAA slates dedication, commissioning
PASCAGOULA, Miss. - NOAA officials will commission the Pisces, the agency’s newest
and most advanced fisheries survey vessel, and dedicate the agency’s new fisheries
laboratory Friday. The recently completed NOAA laboratory replaces the facility that was
destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The ship and laboratory will support fisheries
research in the Gulf of Mexico, southeastern United States, and Caribbean. (Source: Sun
Herald, 10/03/09)


OCTOBER 2009

Marine scientists gather in Biloxi
BILOXI, Miss. - Marine scientists and researchers are meeting in Biloxi this week for the
Oceans '09 conference at the coliseum convention center. They're sharing information
about ongoing projects and networking with colleagues. South Mississippi has a lot of
activity in marine science issues, including the work at Stennis Space Center and the Gulf
Coast Research Lab. (Source: WLOX-TV, 10/27/09)

Asian tiger shrimp reported in Northern Gulf
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - Scientists at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast
Research Laboratory are keeping watch for Asian tiger shrimp in coastal waters and are
asking local shrimpers to do the same. Within the last month, several have been caught in
local waters. The potentially invasive, large shrimp are aggressive toward other shrimp.
“These shrimp are in competition for resources needed by our native species and they
also carry diseases that can affect both shrimp and crabs,” said Harriet Perry, director of
the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at GCRL. “We’ve been aware for
some time that these shrimp have been periodically taken in trawls in waters of the
northern Gulf of Mexico, but these are the first specimens captured in Mississippi waters,”
Perry said. The primary concern is the potential transfer of viral diseases to native shrimp.
(Source: USM, 10/22/09)

Grad program receives donation
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The Department of Marine Science at The University of
Southern Mississippi received a donation of Fledermaus 3D visualization and software
licenses from Interactive Visualization Systems for a third consecutive year. The licenses,
nearly a $200,000 value, are to be used by the university’s hydrographic science
graduate degree program, one of a select group of internationally recognized accredited
hydrographic training programs. (Source: USM, 10/21/09)

GCRL satellite site for Ocean Policy task force
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory will serve as one of four
satellite access sites for a video conference by a federal task force charged with helping
recommend a national policy on oceans, coasts and Great Lakes issues. The meeting of
the Gulf Coast Regional Ocean Policy Task Force is Monday from 3:30 to 7 p.m., and will
be broadcast live from the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. Other
satellite locations are at Dauphin Island, Ala.; Corpus Christi, Texas; and St. Petersburg,
Fla. The group will hold six meetings across the United States before drafting an ocean
policy plan by December. An interim report last month noted the need to address issues
such as overfishing, wetlands loss and nutrient pollution in rivers that leads to problems
such as the Gulf of Mexico's perennial "dead zone." (Sources: Mississippi Press,
10/18/09; New Orleans Times-Picayune, 10/16/09)

White to head oceanography command
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced Friday that Rear Adm. (lower
half) Jonathan W. White will be assigned as commander of the Naval Meteorology and
Oceanography Command at John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss. White is currently
serving as chief of staff of the command. (Source: DefenseLink, 10/16/09) Note: NASA's
Stennis Space Center is best known for testing the space agency's rockets, but the Navy
is the single largest tenant at the center in South Mississippi. In addition to the Naval
Meteorology and Oceanography Command, it's also home to the Naval Oceanographic
Office, a Naval Research Laboratory detachment and special warfare operations.


SEPTEMBER 2009

Giant squid found in Gulf of Mexico
Scientists from NOAA’s Fisheries Service captured a giant squid while conducting
research off the Louisiana coast. This is only the second known giant squid obtained from
the Gulf of Mexico. The first was collected in 1954. The giant squid was collected on July
30, during a 60-day scientific study by NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center and
the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service. The scientists were
aboard the NOAA research vessel Gordon Gunter when the squid was caught in a trawl
pulled behind the research vessel at a depth of more than 1,500 feet. (Source: NOAA,
09/21/09)

Gulf fish farm proposal allowed
Large-scale commercial fish farming in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico is now a step
closer. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday declined to
block the plan, despite concerns from some fishing and environmental advocates. The
move paved the way for the region to be the first to develop open-ocean aquaculture in
federal waters. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council earlier this year
approved a plan to allow production of native fish, such as snapper and grouper, in
underwater cages and pens. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, New Orleans Times-
Picayune, 09/04/09)

Burge retiring from USM
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Cecil Burge is retiring as the University of Southern Mississippi's
vice president of research and economic development, effective Dec. 31. A national
search for a successor will begin later this fall. Burge has been with Southern Miss for
nearly 40 years. During his tenure, external funding topped $100 million for the first time
in school history in fiscal year 2007, including more than $40 million in marine aquaculture
research. (Source: Hattiesburg American, 09/03/09)


AUGUST 2009

Mobile manatee study launched
MOBILE, Ala. - An estimated dozen to two dozen manatees make their summer homes in
Mobile Bay and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, and researchers are asking fishermen, boaters
and beachgoers to help find them this week. Over the next few days, Dauphin Island Sea
Lab scientists will be joined by about six Florida experts as they scour the delta and the
bay in an airplane, three boats and on foot to look for manatees. The effort is part of the
Mobile Manatee Sighting Network's ongoing study of Alabama's seasonal manatee
population, which scientists say has increased in recent years. (Source: Mobile Press-
Register, 08/18/09)

New GCRL lab to open in March
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – A new 5,260 square-foot red snapper lab at the Cedar Point
site of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory will be finished by March 2010, allowing lab
workers to abandon a temporary wooden structure. The red snapper facility, which
received a $1.3 million National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration grant, is one of
several coming to the University of Southern Mississippi's Ocean Springs facility. (Source:
Mississippi Press, 08/17/09)

Raytheon gets course review contract
Raytheon has been awarded a task order to develop and support recertification of
curricula through the Naval Education and Training Professional Development and
Technology Center in Pensacola, Fla. It was issued under an existing Navy contract. The
performance period is June 16, 2009, to March 31, 2010. Raytheon will review and revise
existing course curricula for the education of junior officers and foreign navies in the
essentials of hydrographic science. (Source: Raytheon via PRNewswire, 08/05/09)


JULY 2009

Contract: Sauer, $7M
Sauer Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded $7,021,100 under a previously awarded
multiple award construction contract for the design and construction to renovate three
facilities at Stennis Space Center, Miss. It includes work on building 3205 and a new buoy
blast & paint facility for the National Data Buoy Center. Work is expected to be completed
by January 2011. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville,
Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 07/09/09)

Nanoparticle aquatic impact studied
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – A Gulf Coast Research Laboratory scientist is studying the
possible toxic effects of nanoparticles on aquatic life. Robert "Joe" Griffitt, an assistant
professor, is investigating a world measured in billionths of a meter. Nanotechnology is a
fast-growing segment of the high-tech economy, but there are concerns about the health
effect on aquatic life. Griffitt’s research will provide a better understanding. (Source:
Mississippi Press, 07/09/09)


JUNE 2009

Whale shark focus of expedition
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – Biologists from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf
Coast Research Lab took to the water recently to get a closer look at whale sharks, which
gather by the hundreds in June and July within 30 miles of the coast. The crew of
researchers and volunteers spent last week on their first whale shark fact-finding
expedition to learn more about the fish. (Source: Sun Herald, Mississippi Press, 06/17/09)

Taylor, others opposed to fish farms
Rep. Gene Taylor and 36 other lawmakers asked the Department of Commerce to reject
a plan to allow fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico. The lawmakers, citing environmental
concerns, wrote to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in opposition to a Gulf of Mexico
Fishery Management Council plan. The council, with representatives from Mississippi,
Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Alabama, approved the plan in January in Bay St. Louis
following months of debate. (Source: Sun Herald, 06/15/09)

USM to upgrade data center
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The University of Southern Mississippi awarded Dell,
Inc. to upgrade the Data Center for the Department of Marine Science at the Stennis
Space Center Teaching and Research Site. The upgrade includes equipment racks that
will house a high performance computing cluster of multiple blade servers and up to 27
terabytes of storage. (Source: University of Southern Mississippi, 06/09/09)


MAY 2009

Stennis building dedicated
STENNIS SPACE CENTER — The Naval Oceanographic Office has dedicate a new ocean
sciences building that consolidates many of the agency’s operations. The $47.1 million
building includes 171,600 square feet of space and is within walking distance of
NAVOCEANO’s headquarters building. NAVOCEANO’s Stennis operation employs about
1,000 Navy and civilian workers. The command operates a fleet of survey ships that map
ocean bottoms and collect other data to support Department of Defense operations.
(Source: Sun Herald, 05/27/09)


APRIL 2009

GCRL opens new facility
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research
Lab will soon open a new facility, the Marine Environmental Research Laboratory, at
Cedar Point to study marine animals and their environment. About a dozen buildings are
under construction or finished at the 200-acre site near Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Dr. Jeff Lotz, chairman of the Department of Coastal Sciences at GCRL, expects a ribbon-
cutting in the fall. (Source: The Sun Herald, 04/20/09)


FEBRUARY 2009

NSF, Navy data added to Google Earth
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command
and the National Science Foundation have entered agreements with Google to provide
data for the popular program. According to NSF, a feature called “Oceans in Google
Earth” enables users to dive beneath the surface of the sea and explore oceans. It
includes videos, photos, diagrams and texts that illustrate glacial, geological and ocean
processes influencing the behavior of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in Antarctica. The
Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command entered a cooperative research
agreement to share with Google Earth unclassified information about oceans. The
CRADA allows Google to use unclassified bathymetric data sets and sea surface
temperatures from the Naval Oceanographic Office as well as meteorological data from
Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, both subordinate commands of
NMOC. (Sources: NSF, NNS, 02/02/09)


JANUARY 2009

Panel OKs offshore fish farms
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. - A federal panel approved the nation’s first offshore fishing farming
industry Wednesday and will send the package to the Secretary of Commerce for final
approval. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted 11-5. The vote came
after a meeting where the council heard from proponents and opponents. Under the plan,
fish will be raised in offshore pens far out in the Gulf of Mexico. (Source: The Sun Herald,
01/28/09)

Offshore pens vote expected
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – Fishery officials are expected to decide next week on a proposal
for a new industry that would raise fish in offshore pens far out in the Gulf of Mexico. The
plan would permit as many as 20 aquaculture operations to raise fish now available only
by catching them in the wild. The decision by the Tampa-based Gulf of Mexico Fishery
Management Council has sparked controversy among academics, sportsmen, scientists,
fishing industry groups, and others. (Source: Sun Herald, 01/23/09)

Researchers looking for manatee
MOBILE, Ala. - Dauphin Island Sea Lab researchers searched unsuccessfully Monday for
a manatee seen over the weekend in a Satsuma creek. Scientists said they'll continue
searching the area this week. The Sea Lab and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2007
launched a manatee sighting network to gather scientific data on manatees in the Mobile
Bay area. More than 100 sightings were reported in Alabama waters last year, Sea Lab
officials said. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/06/09)