February 2017

Vembu Subramanian Ocean Scholars Award

Honor Vembu and donate to train the next generation of ocean experts!

Help us reach our $50,000 goal. It will enable SECOORA to establish an annual scholarship of approximately $2,500 in perpetuity in Vembu’s honor. Donate online today!


Southeast and Caribbean Regional Animal Telemetry Network Workshop

Regional Animal Telemetry Network (ATN) Workshop

Identifying regional needs and priorities for animal telemetry observations of aquatic species 


Meeting Information

Location: Hilton – Tampa Airport Westshore (2225 N Lois Ave, Tampa, FL 33607)
Dates: March 28 and 29, 2017

For registration please email, abbey@secoora.org.

Hotel Information

Hotel: Hilton – Tampa Airport Westshore  
Address: 2225 N Lois Ave, Tampa, FL 33607
Phone Number: (813) 877-6688

Workshop Background

This Workshop is one in a series of regional meetings and workshops that the U.S. ATN is holding to identify priorities for regional telemetry observations of aquatic species (including pinnipeds, sharks, whales, fishes, turtles, and seabirds) that could be served by an ATN baseline network and to examine whether the type and extent of existing telemetry assets could adequately satisfy these requirements. The information generated at the workshop will be used by the ATN to identify regional and national observation priorities to ensure that both are being met, a concise plan for sufficient funding of the envisioned national ATN tagging program, including infrastructure and operations, and how integration and coordination of these assets will be achieved.

Workshop Objectives

  • Identify and prioritize regional telemetry research and potential keystone monitoring / observational needs.
  • Review the existing global telemetry observing assets and scientific capabilities, and provide a state-of-the-region analysis.
  • Document existing examples of stakeholder use of telemetry data (e. g. understanding fish distribution, mortality, migration, design of protected areas, definition of essential habitat for species protected by the ESA & MMPA, socioeconomics, fisheries management, and others).
  • Identify data management challenges, and showcase the SECOORA-FACT Acoustic Data Node as a regional tool with global linkages for data management, sharing and collaboration. Consider needs common to other regions, and discuss strategies for applied, collaborative research across geographies and disciplines.

Meeting Materials

Meeting Agenda (click here to download draft agenda)

Tuesday March 28, 2017 - Gasparilla Room

Conference call and webinar capabilities is available for Day 1 of the workshop.
Registration Link: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/at69k47xg8gs&eom 
Dial-In Number(s): 866.740.1260
Access Code: 5190403

9:00 Welcome, Review Objectives/ Agenda

  • Bill Woodward - U.S. Animal Telemetry Network Coordinator
  • Debra Hernandez - SECOORA Regional Association Director
  • Miguel Canals Silander - CARICOOS Regional Association 

9:15 Overview of the U.S. National Animal Telemetry Network

  • Bill Woodward, NOAA IOOS ATN Network Coordinator

9:30 Commercial and Resource Management Perspectives

Representatives from the commercial sectors and resource management agencies discuss regional telemetry applications and stakeholder needs

  • Mitch Roffer – ROFFS™
  • Leah Baumwell - International Game Fish Association
  • Mark Monaco - NOAA/NCCOS
  • Anna Toline - National Park Service


  • Margie Balas - FWC
  • Mary Boatman - BOEM
  • Keith Mullin - NMFS/SEFSC
  • Erin Fougeres - NMFS/SERO

12:30 Lunch (provided)

1:30 Researcher Perspectives

Representatives from the research community will showcase telemetry projects focused on a range of species, discuss current telemetry assets in the Southeast and Caribbean Regions, and highlight innovative technologies and methods

  • Randy Wells - Chicago Zoological Society
  • Joy Young - FWRI/FACT
  • Eric Reyier - Kennedy Space Center
  • Chris Kalinowsky - Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Bill Post - So. Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources


  • Greg Skomal - Massachusetts Marine Fisheries
  • Clayton Pollock - National Park Service
  • Heather Foley - Duke University
  • Kristen Hart - USGS
  • Sue Barbieri - FWC/iTAG

5:00 Wrap-up Day 1

Summary of Day 1, Preview Day 2 Breakout Sessions

5:30 Adjourn

6:00 Social Event hosted by Vemco

Location: Poolside

Wednesday March 29, 2017- Gasparilla Room

8:30 - 8:45 Welcome, Review Agenda, Recap Day 1, Describe Breakout Process

  • Bill Woodward – ATN

8:45 - 9:15 SECOORA - FACT Acoustic Data Node

  • Joy Young - FACT/Jon Pye - OTN

9:15 - 9:30 The Cuba Connection

  • Aaron Adams – Bonefish and Tarpon Trust


For the breakout sessions, the Workshop attendees are organized into 3 pre-selected Groups (I, II & III), each with a pre-selected Facilitator and Reporter. Each Group will meet separately and will address all BREAKOUT TASKS according to the schedule below.


TASK: Create a Matrix (or Set of Matrices) of the Animal Telemetry Observation Needs in the SECOORA and CARICOOS Regions vs. the Assets that are Currently in Place (that we know of) to Collect Them; Identify Gaps

  • How to Organize Them  ?
  • Perhaps by:
    • SPECIES ?
    • STAKEHOLDER NEEDS ? (EG., Resource Management/Commercial./Prot. Sp. ?)

10:45 Break

11:00 - 12:00 BREAKOUT SESSION B

TASK: If Money Was No Object, or If We Had $1M/yr for Ten Years, Define What a Baseline Animal Telemetry Network (acoustic and satellite) in the SECOORA Region and in the CARICOOS Region (or a combined one) Could/Should Look Like

  • STEP #1 ?
  • STEP #2 ? 

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch (provided)


TASK:   Describe the effective Telemetry Data Sharing Pathways within the SECOORA and CARICOOS Regions, What Sharing Outside the Regions is/could be Valuable and with Whom, What would Motivate the Creation and Implementation of these Pathways

2:15 - 2:45 Report Out From Breakout Sessions

2:45 - 3:00 Wrap Up, Actions. Adjourn


Steering Committee

Curious who is planning the meeting? Below are the Steering Committee Members helping organize the workshop.

  • Miguel Canals, Caribbean Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing System
  • Debra Hernandez, Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association
  • Abbey Wakely, Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association
  • Bill Woodward, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System
  • Joy Young, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
  • Clayton Pollock, National Park Service
  • Fred Whoriskey, Ocean Tracking Network
  • Jon Pye, Ocean Tracking Network
  • Mitchell A. Roffer, Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc.
  • Neil Hammerschlag, University of Miami
  • Chris Taylor, NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
  • Chris Kalinowsky, Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Meeting Sponsors


SOCAN 2016 State of the Science Workshop Report Available

Supported by SECOORA and NOAA’s National Ocean Acidification Program, the Southeast Ocean and Coastal Acidification Network (SOCAN) held a workshop in January 2016 to discuss the state of ocean and coastal acidification science, priorities and vulnerabilities in the Southeast Region.  The team of scientific experts sought to (1) summarize key findings, prioritize research needs, and identify research and laboratory capabilities that could address acidification-related research questions; (2) identify why the Southeast region is unique and its vulnerabilities to potential impacts; and (3) summarize why ocean acidification matters to stakeholders.  This report summarizes the discussion and findings of this workshop, guiding the future priorities for SOCAN.

Click here to access the SOCAN 2016 State of the Science Workshop Report >

The Southeast hosts a diversity of habitats considered potentially vulnerable to ocean and coastal acidification, including shellfish communities and extensive coral reefs off the coast of Florida.  Building off the SOCAN Webinar Series, participants aimed to synthesize the current understanding of acidification impacts and identified gaps in current research and monitoring efforts.

To address these gaps, SOCAN is hosting their second workshop in February 2017, specifically aimed at filling these needs and identifying new priority locations for acidification monitoring in the Southeast.

SECOORA Webinar Series

As part of SECOORA’s ten-year anniversary, we will be highlighting coastal ocean observing in the Southeast! SECOORA members, principal investigators, technology experts and more will be featured every month on the webinar series.

Monthly, usually every 4th Tuesday at 12 PM ET, invited speakers will discuss ocean observing topics.Each webinar will be 60-minutes and recorded and archived for future viewing.

Below are the dates*:

  • February 28 – Dr. Bob Weisberg, University of South Florida College of Marine Science
  • March 21 - Kyle Wilcox, Axiom Data Science
  • April 25
  • May 23
  • June 27
  • July 25
  • August 22 - Dr. Ruoying He, North Carolina State University 
  • September 26
  • October 24
  • November 28
  • December 19

Join the community coastal ocean observing conversation!

*Please note, dates are subject to change based on speaker availability.


Upcoming Webinars

Title: SECOORA Data Portal | Flyer PDF

Date: Tuesday, March 21, 12 PM ET

Speaker: Kyle Wilcox, Axiom Data Science

Click here to register!

Abstract: SECOORA's data management and communications (DMAC) system implements the U.S. IOOS recommended standards-based web services that promote interoperability, discovery, efficient data aggregation, access, sharing, visualization, and use of coastal ocean data (physical, chemical, biological and geological). The SECOORA Data Portal has over 4,000 datasets that are accessible. Use the to tool explore, download and visualize ocean and coastal data and models in the Southeastern U.S.

The SECOORA Data Catalog contains searchable, downloadable data from all SECOORA-funded observational and modeling assets that include coastal and offshore stations (atmospheric and oceanographic data), IOOS Priority High Frequency Radar Stations, regional and sub-regional coastal circulation, water quality and fisheries habitat models. The catalog also aggregates data from federal and non-federal real-time and non-real time coastal ocean datasets (in-situ, gliders, profilers, drifters, satellite and models) in the SECOORA region.

About the Presenter:  Kyle Wilcox has over a decade of experience working in the ocean and environmental sciences, where he specializes in the discoverabiliy, accessibility, management, and analysis of data. After earning a BS in Computer Science from the University of Rhode Island in 2006, he went to work for the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office in Annapolis, MD, managing huge collections of modeled and observed data. Kyle lead the software development team at Applied Science Associates from 2009 to 2013 before joining Axiom Data Science in November of 2013. At home, his wife and three kids manage his always growing to-do list.


Archived Webinars

Title: Coastal Ocean Circulation Influences on Matters of Societal Concern

Date: Tuesday, February 28, 12 PM ET

Speaker: Dr. Bob Weisberg, University of South Florida College of Marine Science

Abstract: The coastal ocean, defined as the continental shelf and the estuaries, is where society meets the sea.  It is where bathing and boating abound, where major recreational and commercial fisheries are situated along with maritime commerce hubs, where harmful algal blooms occur, fossil fuels are tapped and alternative energy sources are considered for exploitation, and where tourists and residents simply go to relax.  In essence, the coastal ocean is the epicenter for maritime ecosystems services.  Managing all of these coastal ocean utilizations, some competitive with one another, and planning for future, sustainable uses, requires the ability to describe the state of the coastal ocean and to predict the effects that may ensue from either naturally occurring or human-induced influences.  The state of the coastal ocean is largely determined by the ocean circulation.  The circulation is what unites nutrients with light, fueling primary productivity, what determines the water properties in which fish and other organisms reside and what controls the movement of larvae between spawning and settlement regions.  The circulation also determines the movement of harmful substances spilled into the sea and the conduct of search and rescue operations.  Applications for red tide, gag grouper recruitment and the transport of Deepwater Horizon oil to northern Gulf of Mexico beaches will be discussed.

10-Year Anniversary

Wow! SECOORA is celebrating 10 years. From the beginning, our members, partners and supporters have helped SECOORA expand the Southeast coastal observing system. This continuing work is increasing awareness of the importance coastal observing, and SECOORA is extremely grateful for your support.

Coastal observing supports jobs, economic development, maritime safety and environmental health. Making these observing contributions for over a decade is a testament to both the value of the work, and the commitment of the SECOORA community.

We thank you and cannot wait to celebrate. Below are some of the anniversary activities underway, and information on how you can get involved!

10-Year Anniversary Celebrations

SECOORA 2017 Annual Meeting


Celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary and participate in the coastal ocean observing conversation! Register today! Consider increasing your organization’s exposure and be a sponsor at the SECOORA 2017 Annual Meeting.

General Information

Dates: May 16, 17 and 18, 2017

Location: Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront (2605 N Hwy A1A, Melbourne, FL 32903)

Registration Link (deadline to register is April 21, 2017): https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScfxS0WKdre8qGLJiql9dw_rhFV2pzfFfALFVA1mTa0-gBGGg/viewform

Meeting Contact: Abbey Wakely, abbey@secoora.org


Hotel Information

Hotel:  Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront (2605 N Hwy A1A, Melbourne, FL 32903)
Phone: (877) 701 - 9252
Group Name: Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA)
Group Code: COO
Hotel Reservation Deadline:  April 24, 2017 (extended)
Website: https://www.ihg.com/crowneplaza/hotels/us/en/melbourne/mlboc/hoteldetail?qAdlt=1&qBrs=6c.hi.ex.rs.ic.cp.in.sb.cw.cv.ul.vn.ki.sp.nd.ct&qChld=0&qFRA=1&qGRM=0&qGrpCd=COO&qIta=99801505&qPSt=0&qRRSrt=rt&qRef=df&qRms=1&qRpn=1&qRpp=20&qSHp=1&qSmP=3&qSrt=sBR&qWch=0&srb_u=1&icdv=99801505 (only works on Chrome browsers)

There is a block of rooms reserved at Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront in the name of Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association. Please call the central reservations office at (877) 701 – 9252 to reserve your room by April 24, 2017.  Refer to the group name Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association and group code COO to receive the discounted rate of $113 plus tax.  After April 24, 2017 the rate will increase substantially.

Meeting Outline*

Tuesday, May 16
Board Meeting Location: Florida Institute of Technology, 7th Floor Conference Room, Crawford Building (150 W University Blvd, Melbourne, FL 32901)
Members Business Meeting Location: Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront (2605 N Hwy A1A, Melbourne, FL 32903)

  • 8:00 AM - 1:30 PM, Board Meeting (all welcome)
  • 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM, Members Business Meeting (all welcome)

Wednesday, May 17
Location: Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront (2605 N Hwy A1A, Melbourne, FL 32903)

  • 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM, Stakeholder Meeting and 10 Year Anniversary (all welcome)
  • 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM, 10 Year Anniversary Social and SECOORA Trivia Night (all welcome)

Thursday, May 18
Location: Crowne Plaza Melbourne-Oceanfront (2605 N Hwy A1A, Melbourne, FL 32903)

  • 8:30 AM - 1:30 PM, Stakeholder Meeting Continued (all welcome)


Sponsor our meeting!
Consider increasing your organization’s exposure at the SECOORA 2017 Annual Meeting. Become a sponsor and showcase your organization’s services and products, and strengthen ties with existing clients. Contact Abbey, abbey@secoora.org, if you are interested in sponsoring.

Sponsorship Levels


You will have 15 minutes on the program to demonstrate your project or product, exhibit space, and your organization’s logo will be printed on the program.


Your organization’s logo will be printed on the program and you will receive exhibit space.


Your organization will enjoy the benefits of exhibiting at the meeting.


Become a sponsor today!

Become a sponsor today!

Become a sponsor today!

Board Materials

Board Member Election Documents

Academic /  Research/ Education Sector
Jim Nelson - CV
Pat Halpin - CV
Industry/Private Sector
Mark Willis - CV
Public Agencies/ Non-Profit/ Other Sector:
Jim Murley - CV
At Large Seat- Florida
Nick Shay - CV

*Times are subject to change



SECOORA Data Challenge

SECOORA Data Challenge

* Missed the SECOORA Data Challenge kick-off webinar? No worries- watch it here *

The Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) is seeking proposal submissions for new data visualizations, mobile applications, products or data synthesis tools that utilize existing publicly available Southeast coastal and ocean data and information and support individual and/or community needs for decision support.

Click here for PDF of announcement.

Click here for PPT of announcement.


The SECOORA footprint spans the eastern side of Gulf of Mexico to South Atlantic Bight and is connected by the Loop Current-Florida Current-Gulf Stream continuum.

SECOORA’s mission is to observe, understand, and increase awareness of our coastal ocean; promoting knowledge, economic and environmental health through strong regional partnerships. Our main goal is to discover, integrate and provide access to a variety of coastal ocean data – biological, physical and more – to meet the needs of our users (see portal.secoora.org). We are looking to you – our next generation of coastal and ocean scientists, engineers, managers, decision makers, entrepreneurs -  to help us build on this goal by creating a new way to use data to tell a meaningful story or support decision-making.

Goals of the data challenge:

  • Inspire a broad audience to engage with SECOORA
  • Use technologies, tools, videos and creativity to visualize, analyze and use Southeast coastal and ocean data
  • Encourage the use of data resources available from SECOORA
  • Encourage students and young professionals to develop competitive proposals

The proposed project should focus on providing local governments, community organizations, natural resource managers, recreational users, i.e. surfers, boaters, fishers, or other users of ocean information with innovative methods to access, analyze and/or visualize data in the Southeast. Applicants must propose projects that use publically available data, and at least one dataset must be downloaded through the SECOORA Data Catalog. Project proposals should support one or more of SECOORA’s theme areas:

1) Ecosystems, Living Marine Resources and Water Quality

  • Fish
  • Water quality, including beach advisories and harmful algae blooms

2) Coastal Hazards

  • Inundation
  • Rip currents

3) Marine Operations

  • Safety, including support of Search and Rescue operations
  • Improving marine weather forecasting
  • Offshore energy

4) Climate Variability

  • Long-term data collection and analysis
  • Ocean acidification

There are three eligibility categories and three prizes: 1) Undergraduate students, 2) Graduate students and 3) Other. A $2500 award will be made in each category, provided there are eligible submissions in each category. All winning projects will be featured on secoora.org.

The winners of the challenge will be expected to present their project idea at the SECOORA 2017 Annual Meeting, to be held May 16-18 in Melbourne, FL.  Travel funds will be provided for one project representative to attend.  SECOORA reserves the right to limit the amount of travel funds available to a reasonable sum as determined by SECOORA. Proposals should be for projects that can be completed by December 31, 2017.

Proposal Guidelines:

Individuals or teams can respond to this challenge. Individuals and team members (if applicable) must currently reside in the United States.

Undergraduate Challenge:  Applicants must 1) reside in the United States 2) be an undergraduate student (or team of students), 3) have an advisor/ mentor from the institution they attend, and 4) propose a project that utilizes at least one dataset downloaded from the SECOORA Data Catalog.

Graduate Challenge:  Applicants must 1) reside in the United States, 2) be a graduate student (or team of students), 3) have an advisor/ mentor, and 4) propose a project that utilizes at least one dataset downloaded from the SECOORA Data Catalog.

Other Category:  Applicants must 1) reside in the United States and 2) propose a project that utilizes at least one dataset downloaded from the SECOORA Data Catalog.

Proposal Format:
All proposals must follow the template outlined below. Teams are encouraged, but are not required.

Maximum page length is 4 pages (does not include appendices). Text should be 12-point font, and all margins 1-inch.

  • Title of the Project.
  • Lead Principal Investigator. List the primary point of contact for the project.
  • Team/Co- Principal Investigators. If you prefer to work in a team, please list your team members and their contact information.
  • Advisor Information. Please list your advisor (i.e. professor/or other) contact information (ONLY FOR UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE CATEGORIES).
  • Project Description
    • Statement of the issue to be addressed
    • Goals, objectives and anticipated results, including:
      • How does the project align with one or more of SECOORA theme areas?
      • How does the project benefit the SECOORA region?
      • Who will use the product?
    • Methodology or approach, including:
      • What technologies will be employed?
      • What data analysis and/or visualization techniques will be used?
      • What dataset(s) from the SECOORA Data Catalog will be utilized? Will other data be utilized?
  • Appendix 1: Gant Chart or something similar that outlines the objectives you need to meet to complete your project by the December 31, 2017 deadline. (1 page maximum)
  • Appendix 2: For student submissions, a letter from your academic advisor or graduate/undergraduate director that you are a student in good standing.
  • Appendix 3: One-page resume or curriculum vitae (CV) of Lead Principal Investigator (If working in a team, please provide the one-page resume or CV of all team members/ co-Principal Investigators.)
  • Appendix 4: For student submissions only, one page resume of advisor or mentor.

How To Enter:
Email your proposal in PDF format to abbey@secoora.org by March 22, 2017 5 PM EST.

Evaluation Criteria:
Evaluation criteria are the same for ALL categories.

Creativity and Innovation – 25%

Value to the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association – 25%

Technology/Scientific Merit – 20%

Methodology – 20%

Follows Proposal Guidelines – 10%


February 28, 2017: Register for the Data Challenge by clicking here. This part is optional, but encouraged. If you do sign up, deadline reminders and a FAQ will be shared with the Lead Principal Investigator.   

March 22, 2017: All proposals are due via email to Abbey Wakely at abbey@secoora.org, with the subject title: [Undergraduate or Graduate or Other] SECOORA Data Challenge Proposal.

March 22 - April 14, 2017: Judging (Please note that the lead Principal Investigator may be required to pitch their project to the judges during a webinar.)

April 18, 2017: Winners notified

May 17, 2017: Award presentation at SECOORA Annual Meeting

December 31, 2017: Full projects are completed.  Final product deliverables are submitted to SECOORA and include the product/application and all appropriate documentation.  The use of open source software is encouraged, and all final products should allow for unrestricted distribution.  Provided products are in a format that can be readily integrated into or made available from the SECOORA website, they will be made available for viewing, use and/or download from the SECOORA website by April 1, 2018.  


Questions regarding proposal submission may be submitted to abbey@secoora.org by March 3, 2017, 5 PM ET (extended). Good-faith efforts will be made to answer as many questions as possible, but an answer is not guaranteed for every question.

Award Disbursement Information

Winners will receive half of the award amount in May 2017. Upon completion of the project, they will receive the remaining portion of the award.  Award winners will be responsible for all tax liabilities associated with the winnings and a 1099 will be disbursed by SECOORA by February 1, 2018.

Data Challenge Kick Off Webinar

February 22 Debra Hernandez, SECOORA's Executive Director, hosted a Data Challenge kick off webinar. Watch it below! Click here for PDF of the slides.