January 2016

UNCW CORMP Job Posting

The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program (CORMP) is hiring a Research Specialist. The mixed role position involves supervision, planning, coordination and participation in scientific research in the coastal ocean, including oceanographic mooring deployment and maintenance, research and analysis in a laboratory setting, at-sea oceanographic sampling and data collection, scientific SCUBA diving, data management, and all aspects of cruise planning and execution, as well as budget planning and execution for each of these activities. The incumbent functions both independently and as a member of a research team, frequently serving a lead role in supervising students and other technicians in the accomplishment of all phases of scientific research. The incumbent serves as lead scientist for oceanographic research cruises and provides research support to more than seven Principal Investigators conducting at least two simultaneous research projects involving multiple scientific protocols and complex techniques that cross all marine science disciplines, including Physics and Physical Oceanography, Biology, Chemistry and the Earth Sciences.

CORMP is primarily funded through SECOORA. The deadline to apply is February 17. Click here to see the job posting. 

December Board Meeting

The SECOORA Board meeting was held in Charleston, SC December 3-4, 2015.  The two-day meeting primarily focused on Strategic Planning. Board members worked together to draft a Strategic Plan for SECOORA. The components of the plan include a mission statement, vision, core values, and strategic goals for SECOORA. A Strategic Planning Steering Committee is meeting to finalize a draft plan for Board vote. Click here to see the agenda.

During the meeting, Nick Shay, a SECOORA Principal Investigator and Professor at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, was presented a certificate on behalf of SECOORA for his time served on the National High Frequency Radar Steering Team. Thank you Nick Shay!


All images are credited to SECOORA

UPDATE: Cape Canveral Buoys

January 21, 2016: National Weather Service (NWS) Office of Observations has directed National Buoy Data Center (NBDC) to maintain the Cape Canaveral Buoys 41009 and 41010 through the end of 2016.  Ship time permitting, NBDC is planning to service the buoys this spring. 

Watch for more updates.

Click here to read more.

Fisheries and Climate Workshop Summary Report

October 26-28, 2015, partners convened a workshop in St. Petersburg, Florida to advance our understanding of the impacts of climate variability on fisheries resources and management in the large marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. More than 55 experts from fishery management councils, federal and state fisheries and climate entities, academia and private industry attended the “Climate Variability and Fisheries Workshop: Setting Research Priorities for the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and Caribbean Regions.” The purpose of the workshop was to identify research and monitoring needs regarding climate variability and its potential impact on fisheries resources and management. Click to access the Executive Summary and meeting materials.

During the three-day workshop, attendees worked collaboratively to:

  • Share the state-of-the-science and examples of apparent climate change and its potential impacts on fisheries resources (including protected resources such as marine mammals, turtles, and corals) in each region.
  • Discuss how climate variability may impact fish distribution, catch, socioeconomics, and management.
  • Identify and prioritize research and monitoring needs related to climate variability and fisheries for each region.
  • Consider needs common to all regions, and discuss strategies for applied, collaborative research across geographies and disciplines.
  • Learn from others working on the links between fisheries and climate in other regions.
  • Identify opportunities for addressing priority needs.

Through a series of facilitated plenary and breakout discussions, participants considered regional and cross-regional impacts of environmental change on fisheries.  Attendees were placed into four cross-regional and cross-disciplinary breakout groups. Each workshop attendee was assigned to a breakout group to ensure each group included an even distribution of disciplines and regional representation. The participants identified their own region and discipline (either Fisheries Scientist; Fisheries Manager (includes policy); Oceanographer (biological or physical); Climate Scientist; Industry; Socio-economic; or other). These four breakout groups met three times to identify both research and monitoring/observing needs, and discussed the specific questions related to fish populations and fisheries.

Pictured above is Debra Hernandez, SECOORA Executive Director, facilitating a breakout session. Credit: SECOORA


After each breakout discussion, attendees in their group were asked to vote for their top research priorities and top observation priorities for the next 1 to 3 years. The three needs with the most number of votes were considered “top priority”. To get a prioritized list of overall research and monitoring needs in regards to 1) Fish Populations, 2) Fisheries and 3) Fisheries Management a survey was distributed that combined the research and monitoring needs. Below are the top overall priorities identified: 

Cross-Regional Breakout Priorities

  Breakout 1: Research and Monitoring/Observing Needs to Track, Understand and Project Climate-related Changes in Fish Populations
Topic Given that fish populations (including all marine resources and habitat) are going to respond to climate variability and change, what is the critical information we need to address climate-related impacts related to productivity, recruitment, migration, behavior and physiology, as well as spatio-temporal changes?
Research Top Priority Research on climate/environmental related vulnerabilities/thresholds/tolerances/impacts on all aspects of fish life history (phenology) and habitat.
Monitoring/ Observing Top Priority Fishery independent monitoring and links between environmental conditions and the fish with better catch data. This includes expanded tagging (“having the fish tell us”) activities.


Breakout 2: Research and Monitoring/Observing Needs to Track, Understand and Project Climate-related Changes in the Fisheries
Topic How will the fisheries respond to climate change? This addresses information needed to track, understand and project climate-related changes in fisheries including fishermen behaviors, responses, socio-economic effects with climate-related effects on fish stock availability, vulnerability, catchability and selectivity.
Research Top Priority Comprehensive social and economic evaluation of why fisherman are operating the way they are including end to end costs, net revenue, and ripple economic effects. This subject contains the question: What are recreational and commercial fishers perceptions of climate change and are they adapting?
Monitoring/ Observing Top Priority High spatial and temporal resolution catch and effort data for both recreational and commercial fishing. This includes the development of relatively inexpensive reporting solutions for smaller vessels, e.g. electronic notebooks and tablets.


For the third breakout session each group considered another over-arching topic of identifying information and decision-support needs to support climate-informed management. Two questions were posed, discussed and voted on as indicated below.


Breakout 3: Other Information and Decision-Support Needs to Support Climate-Informed Fisheries Management
Topic Based on anticipated changes in fish populations and fisheries, effective resource management in a changing climate will be challenging.
Question 1: Are there additional climate-related data needs (physical, biological, socioeconomic) that have not been identified already? Top Priority Vulnerability Assessments (species; fisheries; communities; standard approaches and methods).
Top Priority,  Question 2: Are there new science-based management tools or approaches needed, e.g. models, assessments, observation tools, management frameworks, or adaptive strategies?  Incorporate more environmental covariates in stock assessment models and in a timely manner. Create flexibility in fisheries management, i.e. adjust goals relative to environmental variability.


After the top cross-regional priorities were selected at the workshop, the participants were divided by regions for two additional breakout sessions. The objective of these breakouts was to consider top research and monitoring/observing needs by region, and begin to identify strategies for addressing these needs. Each region addressed the topics indicated after the image.


Pictured above is Marcel Reichert facilitating the South Atlantic breakout session. Credit: SECOORA

Regional Breakout Priorities

  South Atlantic Region Ranked Priorities

1) Characterize physical parameters in three dimensions, including Gulf Stream and eddy features and relate this information to where fish are found.
2) Incorporate environmental data, derive innovative new models, and incorporate episodic events (e.g. red tide mortalities) into/for the stock assessments.
3) Evaluate 20 “priority” (e.g. red snapper) umbrella indicator species in terms of bio-climatic variability.

Monitoring/ Observing

1) Increase biological monitoring specifically to include zooplankton – ichthyoplankton, pelagics, marine mammals, invasive species, and birds include using a variety of tagging experiments and listening surveys.
2) Enhance ongoing physical oceanographic monitoring to include three-dimensional sampling where the marine resources occur including in the Gulf Stream and eddy features.
3) (Tie) Increase remote sensing with broad coverage from satellites (high spatial and temporal resolution), autonomous underwater vehicles, acoustics, and drones.
3) (Tie) Characterize reef fish species distribution and habitat in three dimensions along with tagging.


1) Fishery management councils
2) Academic institutions
3) States: fish and wildlife services, departments of natural resources, departments of environmental protection, Sea Grant
4) Federal: NOAA including IOOS, NASA, EPA, National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife.
5) IOOS Regional Associations (SECOORA, GCOOS, and CariCOOS)
6) Fishermen and fishing communities
7) South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative
8) For-profit consultants and other non-profit organizations

Opportunities to Leverage

1) South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Fisheries Ecosystem Management Plan ll
2) NMFS research and stock assessments
3) IOOS research and operational projects
4) Other collaborative research (e.g. NASA – NOAA/NMFS/SEFSC highly migratory species and climate change projects, SECOORA – SCDNR - SAFMC Chevron trap habitat classification project, NASA – NOAA marine biodiversity networks in Florida Keys, BP oil spill restoration research projects, and NCSU circulation modeling)
5) State monitoring and assessment projects
6) Joint fishing industry-academic research (e.g. SK Funds projects)

How Do We Connect to Management?

No specific information regarding connection to management was provided by this group. Since there were many fisheries managers participating in the workshop, no additional work to engage managers was discussed.


Gulf of Mexico Ranked Priorities

1) Better habitat and species modeling including thermal and other tolerances, as well as physiological data from research.
2) Improve stock assessment models using environmental data, socio-economic data, recruitment mechanisms, biological reference points (BSSB), and missing landings data from Mexico and Cuba.
3) Fish community vulnerability assessments.

Monitoring/ Observing

1) Physical and chemical oceanography.
2) (Tie) Biological oceanography.
2) (Tie) Socio-economic data.

Partnering and Opportunities to Leverage

1) Restore/NRDA partners including various agency and state partners, e.g. National Academy of Sciences
2) Private endowed groups
3) Sea Grant (national and state)
4) Citizen science for monitoring
5) Cooperative academic research groups
6) Galveston Bay Commission
7) Other Bay entities around the Gulf of Mexico
9) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
10) Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
11) Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission
12) The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)
13) Industry
14) Fishing communities
15) Other federal agencies, e.g. USGS, USFWS
16) Water Management Districts, e.g. Florida, Texas
17) Water Institute of the Gulf
18) Army Corps of Engineers

How Do We Connect to Management?

1) Develop case studies as a teaching tool to assess fishery management responses.
2) Collaborate with managers for needed oceanographic products.
3) Direct presentations at Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.
4) Informational white papers.
5) Develop more innovative communication tools, particularly for risk communications.
6) Get involved in the Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management process.
7) Need different government structure in some cases to integrate and apply information, but understand tradeoffs.
8) Build stronger climate relationships with fisheries scientific committees.
9) Connect dispersed data via IOOS DMAC.


Caribbean Sea Ranked Priorities

1) Need holistic baseline data for all species including forage/ecosystem services species.
2) Derive common goals and coordinate efforts.
3) Formulate a unified strategy for dealing with climate, fish and management issues.

Monitoring/ Observing

1) Dedicated annual cruise as part of a broader observation strategy to include oceanographic survey, local partners, time series of data that already exists and to create new time series.
2) Higher resolution coastal ocean models that are climate forced.
3) Build local capacity, e.g. NSF – EPSCOR.

Partnering and Opportunities to Leverage

1) EPA (Clean Water Act, Biocriteria, and Environmental Quality Boards)
2) National Coral Reef Program
3) Puerto Rico Fisheries Research Laboratory
4) UVI-EPSCOR University of Virgin Islands
5) LCC – Climate Resilience Hub
6) The Nature Conservancy
8) US Fish and Wildlife Service
9) Congressional support
10) National Park Service
11) USGS
13) Various Department of Natural Resources
14) Virgin Islands Coral Reef Monitoring Project
15) Fishers and other users of the resource

How Do We Connect to Management?

No specific information regarding connection to management was provided by this group. Since there were many fisheries managers participating in the workshop, no additional work to engage managers was discussed.


For more information, please access the Executive Summary or look at the meeting materials below. 

Meeting Materials

Agenda with Linked Presentations 

Monday October 26, 2015

1:00 – 1:45pm

Welcome, Overview of Meeting Objectives, and Introductions

1:45 – 2:45pm

Opening Plenary:
How Is Changing Climate Impacting Fisheries of the South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Regions?
What are the Science Needs to Inform Management?

2:45 – 3:00pm


3:00 – 3:40pm        

South Atlantic Panel

3:40 – 4:20pm

Gulf of Mexico Panel 

4:20 – 4:35pm


4:35 – 5:15pm

Caribbean Sea Panel 

5:15 – 5:40pm

Group Discussion: Similarities and Differences Across Regions, and Management Implications of Potential Climate Change Impacts

5:40 – 5:45pm

Wrap Up Day 1, Preview Day 2


Social Event

Tuesday October 27, 2015

8:30 – 8:40am

Welcome and Review of Agenda Day 2 | PDF of Presentation

8:40 – 9:30am            

Other Perspectives

9:30 – 9:40am


9:40 – 10:45am

Breakout Groups: Research and Monitoring/Observing Needs to Track, Understand and Project Climate-related Changes in Fish Populations

10:45 – 11:00am


11:00 – 12:15pm

Breakout Groups: Research and Monitoring/Observing Needs to Track, Understand and Project Climate-related Changes  in the Fisheries

12:15 – 1:15pm


1:15 – 2:25pm

Breakout Groups: Other Information and Decision-Support Needs to Support Climate-Informed Fisheries Management

2:25 – 2:45pm

Breakout Groups: Reflecting on Overall Priorities

2:45 – 3:00pm


3:00 – 3:30pm

Report Out

3:30 – 4:55pm

Breakout Groups by Region

4:55 – 5:00pm

Wrap Up Day 2, Preview Day 3

Wednesday October 28, 2015

8:30 – 8:40am

Review of Agenda Day 3

8:40 – 9:45am

Breakout Groups by Region (continued)

9:45 – 10:15am

Report Out from Regional Breakouts

10:15 – 10:30am


10:30 – 11:30am

Panel of Program Managers

11:30 – 12:20pm

Large Group Discussion: Next Steps

12:20 – 12:30pm

Wrap Up and Adjourn

SOCAN Hosts First Meeting To Discuss Coastal and Ocean Acidification In The Southeast

South Carolina, January 11, 2016: From North Carolina to Florida,ocean acidification (OA) impacts in the Southeast US are largely unknown. Ocean acidification is a term that describes the change in the chemistry of ocean waters, largely due to increased carbon from the atmosphere entering the ocean.  These changes in ocean and coastal water chemistry can affect the entire marine ecosystem.  The complex physical and biogeochemical interactions of marine ecosystems present a challenge to understanding the influences of acidification at local and regional scales.

January 12 and 13, the SOCAN (the Southeast Ocean and Coastal Acidification Network) Steering Committee is holding a meeting at the College of Charleston to discuss what OA means for the region.

"Ocean chemistry is changing at an alarming rate. This first SOCAN workshop is a critical step to assessing the current state of OA and its potential environmental and economic impacts for the Southeast,” stated Debra Hernandez, the Executive Director of SECOORA.

“SOCAN consists of regional stakeholders and serves as a forum for discussing the most recent scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant to the organisms that could potentially be impacted by ocean and coastal acidification; identifies knowledge gaps; identifies priorities for monitoring and research; and responds to stakeholder needs. Similar ocean acidification networks are in existence in other regions throughout the country and have proven to be successful mechanisms for catalyzing unique partnerships and leveraging assets in times of constrained budgetary resources,” said Paula Keener, with the NOAA Ocean Exploration and Research Program and SOCAN Steering Committee Member.

Throughout 2015, SOCAN hosted 20 OA-focused webinars (www.secoora.org/socan_webinar) to document what is known, what isn’t, and what research in other locales can be applied to better understand OA effects here. 

Synthesizing the webinars and participating in breakout sessions, the Steering Committee will work together during the meeting to develop and publish a state-of-the-science document on OA in the Southeast. They will be focusing on three objectives:  

  1. Summarize key findings, prioritize research needs, and identify research and laboratory capabilities that could address OA-related research questions;
  2. Identify why the Southeast region is unique and its vulnerabilities to potential impacts of OA; and
  3. Summarize why ocean acidification matters to stakeholders.

To find out more, click here to access the meeting agenda or please visit the SOCAN webpage www.secoora.org/socan.

Meeting Sponsors

Sunburst Sensors

About Ocean Acidification

Similar to a sponge, the ocean absorbs the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This causes the ocean tobecome more acidic (pH levels lower), resulting in chemical changes in the carbonate system. The increase in acidity damages the basic building blocks of life needed by oysters, corals and other animals to make their carbonate shells and skeletons.



Formed in February 2015, Southeast Ocean and Coastal Acidification Network (SOCAN) is an interdisciplinary network of scientists, resource managers, business, non-profit, industry and government entities dedicated to supporting and encouraging discussions on ocean and coastal acidification in the Southeast region from North Carolina to Florida.

With the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association and NOAA Ocean Acidification Program as supporting structures, SOCAN will:

  1. synthesize and disseminate the most recent scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant to species and ecosystems that could be affected by acidification;
  2. identify knowledge gaps;
  3. set regional priorities for monitoring and research;
  4. collaborate in the development of a Southeast regional acidification monitoring network;
  5. encourage and support scientific research collaborations and data sharing; and
  6. respond to stakeholder needs, as appropriate. 


SECOORA and partner Regional Association, CeNCOOS, produced and presented a poster at the Fall 2015 American Geophysical Union Meeting. The poster titled, “Climate Outreach Using Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System Portals,” focused on the 11 IOOS Regional Association’s data portals and using those portals for outreach. Click here to read the abstract.

Data Portals have emerged as an interactive tool for educators to help students explore and understand climate. Bringing data portals to outreach events, into classrooms, and onto tablets and smartphones enables educators to address topics and phenomena happening in real time. SECOORA uses their data portal at outreach events. During the Charleston Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Festival, visitors navigated the SECOORA data portal to view the real-time marine meteorological conditions off the coast of South Carolina.

Children at the 2015 Charleston Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Festival exploring the SECOORA data portal. Credit: SECOORA



AGU FALL 2015 Session ED011: Climate Literacy: Climate education and outreach utilizing ocean observations

Climate Outreach Using Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System Portals

Anderson, DM, Hernandez, D, Wakely, A, and R. Bochenek

Coastal oceans are dynamic, changing environments affected by processes ranging from seconds to millennia. On the east and west coast of the U.S., regional observing systems have deployed and sustained a remarkable diverse array of observing tools and sensors. Data portals visualize and provide access to real-time sensor networks. Portals have emerged as an interactive tool for educators to help students explore and understand climate. Bringing data portals to outreach events, into classrooms, and onto tablets and smartphones enables educators to address topics and phenomena happening right now. For example at the 2015 Charleston Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Festival, visitors navigated the SECOORA (Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing regional Association) data portal to view the real-time marine meteorological conditions off South Carolina. Map-based entry points provide an intuitive interface for most students, an array of time series and other visualizations depict many of the essential principles of climate science manifest in the coastal zone, and data down-load/ extract options provide access to the data and documentation for further inquiry by advanced users. Beyond the exposition of climate principles, the portal experience reveals remarkable technologies in action and shows how the observing system is enabled by the activity of many different partners. ED011: Climate Literacy: Climate education and outreach utilizing ocean observations