NOAA continues NGI agreement
STARKVILLE, Miss. - A Mississippi State-led research institute and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration will continue their collaborative partnership for an additional five
years. The federal agency announced that the NOAA Research Council determined that the
Northern Gulf Institute's research over the past four years has helped advance NOAA's
goals and mission, as well as Gulf of Mexico marine science. The Northern Gulf Institute is
based at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, Miss. Other universities in the consortium are
Florida State and Louisiana State universities, the University of Southern Mississippi and
Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Mobile, Ala. (Source: MSU, 11/14/11)


Tank-raised trout released
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory released thousands of
young trout into local waters Tuesday as part of a replenishing program. A portable fish tank
brought 12,000 speckled trout fingerlings from the lab to the Cedar Point boat launch. The
fingerlings were released into the estuary waters of the Bay of St. Louis. The lab’s trout re-
stocking program was launched several years ago. The fish are raised in tanks then
released to replenish wild stock. (Source: WLOX-TV, 09/27/11)

Nonprofit discusses proposed aquarium
FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. – The Destin-based nonprofit AquaGreen wants to build a
marine life center on Okaloosa Island. The pitch for the proposed fish hatchery and
aquarium was made to Okaloosa County commissioners at a board meeting. The county
owns a 35-acre parcel on the north side of U.S. Highway 98 where the group wants the
aquarium. AquaGreen’s facility would include a 30,000-square-foot interactive aquarium and
50,000 square feet of hatcheries, nurseries, classrooms and labs. (Source: Northwest
Florida Daily News, 09/20/11)

$112.5M in research announced
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative will use $112.5 million to fund eight research teams
over the next three years to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. The
teams will investigate what happened to the oil in the environment, the impacts of the spill
and the development of new tools and technologies for responding to future spills and
improving mitigation and restoration. Universities with operations along the Gulf Coast that
are participating in one or more teams include the University of Southern Mississippi,
University of West Florida, Louisiana State University, Tulane University, Florida State
University and the University of Mississippi. Also participating will be Mobile’s Dauphin Island
Sea Lab and the Naval Research Laboratory, which has a detachment at Stennis Space
Center, Miss. The GRI Research Board is an independent body established by BP to
administer the company’s 10-year, $500 million commitment to research. Additional grant
competitions will be announced soon. (Source: PRNewswire, 08/30/11)

BP and Coast Guard: Well not leaking
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Prompted by recent press reports of oil on the surface of the Gulf of
Mexico near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP and the U.S. Coast Guard's Gulf
Coast Incident Management Team conducted a visual inspection of the well. In a joint
statement Friday, they said there is no release of oil occurring at the well. According to a
separate Coast Guard news release, two remotely-operated vehicles were deployed from
the Grant Candies at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to survey the Macondo 252 wellhead and found
no evidence of leaking oil. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 08/26/11)

Oil found floating near spill
MOBILE, Ala. - Oil has been found floating on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico near the site
of last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Press-Register found hundreds of small
patches of oily sheen within a mile of the wellhead. Experts say it could be coming from a
natural seep, oil trapped in the wreckage of the drilling rig, oil deposited on the bottom
during the spill that’s making it way to the surface or from the seafloor surrounding the
sealed well pipe. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 08/24/11)

Alabama waters looking healthier
MOBILE, Ala. - A year ago, at the height of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, much of the
seafloor off the Alabama coast was dead. Fish carcasses littered the sand, barnacles and
oysters clinging to underwater structures were dead. Scientists blamed a plume of low
oxygen water. But things look much different now. Several times this spring and as recently
as last week, the Press-Register returned to three natural gas platforms visited during the
summer of 2010. Instead of swimming through a dead sea and finding oxygen levels far
below the threshold required to support marine animals, there was abundant life. A portable
oxygen meter found it rich in oxygen from the surface to the seafloor. (Source: Mobile Press-
Register, 08/21/11)

Oceans in Action Workshop set
BILOXI, Miss. - The Marine Technology Society and Mississippi Enterprise for Technology
are hosting the Oceans in Action Workshop Aug. 22 and 23 at the Imperial Palace Casino in
Biloxi. The workshop focuses on how marine technology is applied to real-world issues. As
part of the event, the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology will host business matchmaking
sessions. Representatives have agreed to meet with companies to help determine if their
products and/or services can help support projects currently underway or anticipated within
local government agencies and prime contractor organizations. The deadline for advanced
meeting scheduling is Aug. 15. After that, meetings can be scheduled at the workshop if
appointments are still available. Paid registration to the Oceans in Action workshop via the
MTS is required before a meeting request can be submitted. For information on the
workshop; for information on matchmaking. (Source: MSET, 08/10/11)

A dead zone warning
Scientists at a meeting in New Orleans Tuesday warned the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico
will create more problems unless fewer fertilizers are dumped into the Mississippi River.
Farm runoff is the leading cause of the high nitrogen and phosphorous levels in the Gulf,
and the increase in corn growing to meet new ethanol standards in gasoline will keep
nitrogen levels high, scientists said. Researchers who mapped the dead zone – where
oxygen levels are too low to support most marine life – found the size this year above
average, 6,765 square miles, but not nearly the 9,400 square miles some had predicted due
to spring flooding in the Midwest. Scientists have been measuring the dead zone since
1985, and this year’s cruise found the dead zone was the 11th-largest. But substantial
portions of the affected Gulf weren’t just low in oxygen, but virtually devoid of it from the
surface to the seafloor. (Sources: New York Times, AP via Sun Herald, 08/01/11, Science
News, AP via The Republic, 08/02/11)

Lotz named GCRL interim director
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - Jeffrey Lotz, chairman of the University of Southern Mississippi
Department of Coast Sciences, has been named interim director of the Gulf Coast Research
Laboratory in Ocean Springs. He succeeds Bill Hawkins, who retired as lab director in June.
(Source: Sun Herald, 08/01/11)

JULY 2011

Scientist: Oil-eating bacteria feasted
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - Oil-eating bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico devoured crude oil from
the Deepwater Horizon wellhead last year, researcher Terry Hazen said during the University
of Southern Mississippi’s distinguished lecture series Wednesday. Hazen, co-director of the
Virtual Institute for Microbial Stress and Survival at the U.S. Department of Energy's
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a team of 50 scientists studied the spill from
May 25 to Oct. 20, 2010 and found that that 45 percent of the light crude evaporated in a
week, then bacteria acted like "oil-seeking missiles" and feasted on the oil. The bacteria had
adapted to eating oil over millions of years from seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. "This does not
give the oil companies a free pass," Hazen said. "Do not think that. It was devastating. There
was a lot of oil out there for 84 days. Plankton and fish, all sorts of things, were swimming
through that stuff. It is going to take long-term studies to figure out exactly how that affected
them." (Source: Mississippi Press, 07/28/11)

JUNE 2011

Exports, STEM highlight Mississippi ranking
Among the states, Mississippi ranks No. 5 for export growth, according to the Enterprising
States 2011 study just released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Mississippi is also
ranked 10th in cost of living, 11th in per capita income growth and higher education
efficiency, and 12th in productivity growth and business birth rate. Mississippi is also ranked
20th in science, technology, engineering and math job growth as well as 20th in
entrepreneurial activity. (Source: Tcp, 06/23/11) Study: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Command at SSC gets new leader
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - A change of command ceremony took place at the Naval
Oceanography Operations Command at Stennis Space Center last week. Capt. Van Gurley
assumed command, relieving Capt. David J. Walsh, who has commanded since November
2009. Gurley has served two previous tours in Mississippi, and was the first commanding
officer of the Naval Oceanography Anti-Submarine Warfare Center from 2006 to 2008. The
NOOC, an Echelon IV command of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at
SSC, is comprised of over 1,000 military and civilian personnel located at seven globally
distributed subordinate commands supporting every warfare area in the fleet. Rear Adm.
Jonathan W. White, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command,
presided over the ceremony. (Source: NNS, 06/14/11)

Oil impact causes rift
MOBILE, Ala. - Questions about the severity of the Gulf oil spill’s environmental impact have
divided officials along state lines and are now creating discord even within coastal Alabama.
Data collected so far show that the spill’s effects have been "minor" east of Louisiana,
according to George Crozier, executive director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. But a letter
sent by environmental groups to the Obama administration warned of a “growing health
crisis.” Casi Callaway, whose Mobile Baykeeper group signed on to the letter, said that while
it would be irresponsible to "cry wolf," it would also be irresponsible to conclude there’s no
problem and it’s over. An estimated 206 million gallons of crude gushed into the Gulf last
spring and summer after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 workers. (Source:
Mobile Press Register, 06/12/11)

Data portal earns Gulf Guardian award
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System -
Regional Association of College Station Texas will receive a Gulf Guardian Award for 2011
in the partnership category. The awards ceremony will be in conjunction with the Gulf of
Mexico Alliance Meeting Aug. 3 in New Orleans. The GCOOS Data Portal Project spans the
entire Gulf coast and engages people from academia, state and local government and the
private sector. The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 to
recognize businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive
steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. (Source: EPA, 06/09/11)

Was dispersant worth it?
The chemical sprayed in the Gulf to break up the BP oil spill may not have been effective
and could be damaging the ecosystem, according to preliminary findings by University of
West Florida researchers. When mixed with oil, Corexit is toxic to phytoplankton and
bacteria, crucial to the Gulf of Mexico's food chain, said Wade Jeffrey, a UWF biologist with
the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation. BP dumped nearly 2 million
gallons of the dispersant in the Gulf, which saw more than 172 million gallons of oil leak into
the water in the wake of the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion. (Source: Pensacola News
Journal, 05/31/11)

MAY 2011

Oysters likely to be wiped out
BILOXI, Miss. - As record amounts of freshwater head down the Mississippi River toward the
Mississippi Sound, the oyster industry can expect to face extreme losses, an official with the
Department of Marine Resources said Tuesday. Oysters will be hit hard because they’re a
stationary species; shrimp, finfish and crabs, which are mobile, are expected to be able to
move ahead of freshwater entering the salty waters of the Sound, and the effect on the
adults should be minimal, said Scott Gordon, director of the Shellfish Bureau, Office of
Marine Fisheries. (Source: Sun Herald, 05/17/11)

Some fish healthy, some not
MOBILE, Ala. - Alabama researchers fishing within 15 miles of Dauphin Island last week
caught more than 300 red snapper and found no sign of infection. The Alabama scientists
also caught vermillion snapper, lane snapper, triggerfish and ruby red lips, none of which
showed any visible abnormalities. A team from Louisiana State University working off
Alabama earlier in the week reported catching some fish in the same area that showed signs
of disease, either lesions on the skin or internal damage to the liver. Concern over marine
life increased in the wake of last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Source: Mobile Press-
Register, 05/15/11)

Another concern for the Gulf?
The Army Corps of Engineers plans to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway Monday, sending
fresh water through Lake Pontchartrain, through a strait and into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s
rarely done because of the effect it has on the marine life and the Mississippi Sound. But the
Mississippi River is rising, and it is an attempt to divert some of the water before it gets to
New Orleans. One concern, in addition to marine life, is it could impact the oil spill research.
(Source: Sun Herald, 05/06/11)

APRIL 2011

GCRL’s Hawkins to retire
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – Bill Hawkins plans to retire at the end of June as director of the
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. Hawkins has served as director since March 2008 and was
executive director for six years before that. Hawkins, 64, said the workload that began with
the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon oil spill has consumed GCRL's resources. All of its
senior scientists have been involved in some spill-related research, he said. Hawkins is the
seventh GCRL director. During his tenure GCRL has grown. The number of buildings on the
224-acre Cedar Point site has nearly doubled, and there are 15 buildings on the 50-acre
Halstead campus. (Source: Mississippi Press, 04/23/11)

Nebula used in ecosystem project
NASA is moving ahead with its work on the Nebula cloud-computing platform even after the
departure of the technology's creator. The agency's John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss.,
recently used the cloud-computing infrastructure to process data for an environmental
project aimed at boosting the health of the ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico. The center's
Applied Science and Technology Project Office has been using the results of NASA Earth
Science research to address issues identified by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, a partnership
of five states. The group is collaborating to improve both the ecological and economic health
of the Gulf region, which sustained a major blow last year with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
disaster. (Source: Information Week, 04/19/11)

Last of federal waters opened
GULFPORT, Miss. - NOAA on Tuesday reopened 1,041 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico
to commercial and recreational fishing. It’s the area immediately surrounding the Deepwater
Horizon wellhead, east of Louisiana. This is the twelfth and final reopening in federal waters
since July 22, and opens all of the areas in federal waters formerly closed to fishing due to
the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Source: Sun Herald, 04/19/11) April 20 marks the one-year
anniversary of the explosion of the well, which killed 11 workers and spewed oil in the Gulf
for three months.

Sea grass being examined
MOSS POINT, Miss. – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists on
Wednesday began examining sea grasses growing within the Grand Bay National Estuarine
Research Reserve to identify any damage done by vessels deploying protective boom in
response to last year's BP oil spill. The experts want their work to be done before the June 1
start of the Atlantic hurricane season. (Source: Mississippi Press, 04/14/11)

Command’s deputy leaving
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The deputy director of the Naval Meteorology and
Oceanography Command is leaving to take a job with NATO in Italy, the command
announced. Edward C. Gough Jr. is taking a post as senior principal scientist at the NATO
Undersea Research Center in La Spezia, Italy. Gough, who also is the technical director,
joined the command in 2003. (Source: Sun Herald, 04/13/11)

NOAA official: Gulf seafood safe
PASCAGOULA, Miss. – A NOAA Fisheries official told reporters that “not one piece of
tainted seafood has entered the market” related to the April 2010 BP oil spill. Eric Schwaab,
assistant administrator, lead a tour of the testing labs in Pascagoula to show the media the
rigorous methods used to insure Gulf seafood is safe: smell tests and chemical analysis.
Schwaab said the unequivocal results are that any traces of oil in more than 40 species of
marine life is 100 to 1,000 times below the level of concern, the level being set by a team of
scientist from the FDA, NOAA, the EPA and five Gulf states. (Source: Sun Herald, 04/12/11)

Research lab holds first Earth Day
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory has been a participant in
Earth Day celebrations before, but for the first time it will host a daylong event. The local
event had been organized through Gulf Islands National Seashore, but they have
discontinued offering Earth Day events so the Ocean Springs lab is taking over. Event
Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes a mix of activities from kayaking, pontoon boat
rides, trawling trips to lectures by research scientists. (Source: Mississippi Press, 04/11/11)

MARCH 2011

Dolphin samples leaving Mississippi
GULFPORT, Miss. – Federal officials are taking possession of samples from the 71 dolphins
found dead on the Mississippi and Alabama coasts this year. The samples have been stored
at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies since mid-January when the animals started dying
in high numbers. The concern from the start has been whether it has anything to do with last
year’s BP oil spill. (Source: Sun Herald, 03/24/11)

Much oil never got to surface
MOBILE, Ala. – Much of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 never made it to
the surface and instead become suspended in the water column, suggests research
presented at a scientific conference in Mobile. One of the emerging themes among
scientists presenting their spill research was that many sea creatures appeared to be doing
better than expected. The 40th annual Benthic Ecology Meeting attracted about 600
scientists from around the nation who study the creatures that live along the seafloor. The
meeting was sponsored by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the University of South
Alabama. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 03/20/11)

Search for answers will be multi-faceted
GULFPORT, Miss. – The investigation into the many infant dolphin deaths along the coasts
of Mississippi and Alabama will be multi-faceted in the months to come and watched by
dozens of agencies and hundreds of attorneys in litigation with BP. But why the young
mammals died and continue to die prematurely, weeks before the birthing season in the
northern Gulf, may remain forever a mystery. (Source: Sun Herald, 03/05/11)

Cold may have killed dolphins
MOBILE, Ala. - Cold water may have killed dolphins washing ashore in Mississippi and
Alabama, according to scientists with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. They point to an
apparent correlation between large pulses of chilly water that flowed into Mobile Bay during
January and February and the subsequent discovery of dozens of stillborn dolphin calves in
area waters. So far, 46 dolphins, mostly calves, have been found. (Source: Mobile Press-
Register, 03/03/11)

NGI conference this month
The Northern Gulf Institute’s annual conference will be held May 17-19 in Mobile, Ala., at the
Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel. The conference will include updates on the activities
and direction of the institute, but the emphasis of the conference will be on research
presentations and poster presentations by the NGI project teams. NGI, based at Stennis
Space Center, Miss., is a NOAA cooperative institute that includes Mississippi State
University, Florida State University, University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State
University and Dauphin Island Sea Lab. (Source: NGI, 03/02/11)


More dead baby dolphins found
GULFPORT, Miss. - The number of new born or stillborn baby dolphins washing ashore from
the Gulf or the Mississippi Sound continued to rise. The total in Mississippi and Alabama
alone is 36 calves and eight adults or young adults, as of mid-day Monday. Researchers in
Mississippi and Alabama are concerned about the sharp spike in the number of dead
newborns along the coasts of the two states before the birthing season for dolphins gets
fully under way. (Source: Sun Herald, 02/28/11)

Infant dolphins dying in high numbers
GULFPORT, Miss. - Baby dolphins are washing up along the Mississippi and Alabama
coastlines at 10 times the normal rate. The Sun Herald reports that 17 young dolphins,
either aborted or dead soon after birth, have been collected along the shorelines in the first
birthing season for dolphins since the BP oil spill. Moby Solangi, director of the Institute of
Marine Mammal Studies, said that typically in January and February one or two baby
dolphins per month will be found in Mississippi and Alabama. (Source: Sun Herald, 02/21/11)
Over the weekend, Samantha Joye, a scientist from the University of Georgia, told a science
conference in Washington that the oil from the BP spill is not degrading as quickly as hoped
and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor. (Source: Multiple, including AP, 02/20/11)

Boatman assumes MTS presidency
COLUMBIA, Md. - Jerry Boatman, Ocean Science and Technology Director of QinetiQ North
America, has assumed new duties as president of the Marine Technology Society. Boatman,
who will serve two years, is a former senior manager of the Naval Meteorology and
Oceanography Command at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Drew Michel, owner and principal
consultant of ROV Technologies Inc., Houston, TX, is the society’s president-elect. The
Marine Technology Society is an international community of ocean engineers, technologists,
policy-makers and educators who provide the ocean community with forums for the
exchange of information and ideas through its peer-reviewed MTS Journal, conferences,
newsletters and Web site, (Source: Marine Technology Society, January

Menhaden catch down
Gulf of Mexico menhaden landings fell 17 percent in 2010 as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
curtailed the season. Ben Landry, director of public affairs for Omega Protein, said the 2010
fishing season was rough. The company thinks the season’s lower-than-average catch was
due to the water closures rather than any problems with the menhaden population. The
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the 2010 menhaden season
saw 379,727 metric tons landed at four Gulf sites, compared to 457,457 metric tons in 2009.
(Source: Mississippi Press, 02/03/11)


New director, deputy join NGI
Two research professors from Mississippi State University have joined the leadership team
at Stennis Space Center’s Northern Gulf Institute. They are Robert J. Moorhead, professor
of electrical and computing engineering, and Donald C. Jackson, professor of fisheries.
They were chosen to serve as NGI director and deputy director respectively. The previous
director, Mike Carron, left NGI to accept a position with the Gulf of Mexico Research
Initiative. NGI is a NOAA cooperative institute led by MSU. Other academic partners are the
University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State University, Florida State University and
Dauphin Island Sea Lab. (Source: NGI, 01/25/11)

Endangered species focus of Sea Camp
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – Threatened and endangered marine species will be the focus of
this year’s University of Southern Mississippi Sea Camp. The program at the Gulf Coast
Research Laboratory Marine Education Center is for youth’s from 6 to 13 years of age, and
it’s designed to make learning about the coastal habitat fun. Sea Camp is offering six
sessions in June and July. For more information call 228-818-8833 or email marine. (Source: University of Southern Mississippi, 01/18/11)

GulfQuest contracts awarded
MOBILE, Ala. - The Mobile City Council awarded $30 million to six contractors to work on the
GulfQuest maritime museum and ferry landing. The contracts represent the bulk of
construction. The cost of the museum, which will be located next to the cruise terminal on
the Mobile River, is about $52 million. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 01/19/11) The
museum's exhibits will focus on trade, marine archaeology, the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem,
marine commerce and shipbuilding, offshore oil and gas exploration and more.

Fourth manatee found dead
The manatee death toll is now four this winter after scientists found another dead manatee
in area waters this weekend. The pregnant female was found on Perdido Key, Fla. State
officials asked the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Manatee Sighting Network to perform a
necropsy on the carcass. While the animal will be tested for exposure to oil, scientists said
the most likely cause of death was stress related to cold weather. (Source: Mobile Press-
Register, 01/18/11)

New jellyfish species identified
MOBILE, Ala. - A Dauphin Island Sea Lab scientist has now determined that the giant pink
jellyfish that turned up in the Gulf of Mexico in 2000 are an entirely new species. Back then,
scientists initially decided the creature, nicknamed the “pink meanie,” was a jellyfish native to
the Mediterranean. Now, with the aid of genetic fingerprinting and other techniques,
scientists have determined the Gulf version is a unique species. (Source: Mobile Press-
Register, 01/12/11)

NGI newsletter available
The Northern Gulf Institute’s newsletter, The Portal, has been released. The 12-page
publication includes stories about the NGI Gulf of Mexico BP research project; a new
research framework for NGI; student and research spotlights; a farewell letter from former co-
director Michael Carron and more. NGI, a NOAA cooperative institute established in 2006, is
a marine science research cooperative involving Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Louisiana
State, Florida State and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. (Source: NGI, 01/10/11)

USM scientist tapped for UMass post
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. - Dr. Steven Lohrenz, a University of Southern Mississippi marine
scientist who served on a scientific research team responding to the Deepwater Horizon oil
spill, has been tapped as the new dean of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
School of Marine Science and Technology. Lohrenz chaired the executive committee for the
School of Ocean and Earth Sciences at Southern Miss. Lohrenz, who begins his official
duties in July, received his Ph.D. in biological oceanography from the MIT-Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution. (Source:, The Herald News, 01/05/11)
Gulf Coast marine science