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Saturday, December 01, 2018

University and Government Scientists Release 2018 Summer Cruise for Hypoxia 'Dead Zone' Report

LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
AND
LOUISIANA UNIVERSITIES MARINE CONSORTIUM

Image result for 2108 hypoxia dissolved oxygenThe bottom area of low oxygen in Louisiana coastal waters west of the Mississippi River, commonly known as the "Dead Zone", was mapped at a smaller-than-average size this summer. The area was 2,720 square miles (7,040 square kilometers), slightly larger than the state of Delaware and well below the projected estimate of 6,570 square miles (17,000 square kilometers).

This summer's Dead Zone size is the fourth smallest area mapped since 1985. The average over 2014 to 2018 is 5,770 square miles (about three times the size of the Hypoxia Task Force five-year goal reduction of 1,930 square miles, 5,000 square kilometers).

See the full report here: http://ngi.msstate.edu/NewsEvents/docs/2018/LUMCON&LSUPressRelease2018.pdf.


Saturday, December 01, 2018

MSU and St Martin High School Partner to Improve Water Quality in Old Fort Bayou

ST MARTIN, MSST MARTIN, MS (November 16, 2018)
Over the last month around 80 upperclassman students in the Marine Science classes and Biophila Club at St. Martin High School have been learning about Old Fort Bayou Watershed and gathering data on water quality in the bayou and factors that may be impacting water quality. The student teams are now compiling their findings in the form of storyboards that include their vision for the future of the watershed and recommendations. The work will be included in the Watershed Implementation Plan for Old Fort Bayou that is being developed concurrently with funding through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) FY2015 Nonpoint Sources Grant awarded by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain that will lead to recommended policy and restoration actions for the watershed.

As the lead on the project, Mississippi State University's Gulf Coast Community Design Studio was awarded funding to work with the students through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Gulf of Mexico Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program. The program, which began in October, challenges students to learn about watershed dynamics in Old Fort Bayou Watershed and the impacts of stormwater runoff on water quality and quantity, alongside NOAA staff and other science professionals. The Old Fort Bayou Watershed consists of just over 32,000 acres in Ocean Springs, Gautier and Jackson County, Mississippi. The bayou is a tributary of the Back Bay of Biloxi and has been identified as a priority watershed by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality that may be a source of pollutants impacting water quality in the Back Bay and Mississippi Sound. The main sources of pollutants are likely coming from a range of nonpoint sources including expanding development close to the waterway and livestock operations on rural estates in the upper watershed.

St. Martin High School is adjacent to Old Fort Bayou and was an ideal setting to start engaging students and the larger community around stormwater and water quality issues and opportunities for improvement in the watershed. In addition to doing assessments of their school property, the students did water quality testing and learned about best management practices at two additional sites along the Bayou: The Twelve Oaks Property and Nature Trail in Ocean Springs that is owned and managed by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and Secretary of State Coastal Preserves Program and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain and The Preserve Golf Club in Vancleave. The Preserve Golf Club is a certified Audubon Signature Sanctuary dedicated to protecting the natural environment in addition to providing a high-quality golf experience. We're proud of what we do here at The Preserve and it was great to be able to share some of the Low Impact Development strategies we use on the golf course to protect the environment and water quality in Old Fort Bayou, said Stephen Miles, Director of Golf Operations at Old Fort Bayou. Golf courses can have a significant impact on water quality and it is important to show that the steps we have taken here at The Preserve to protect water quality have not only been good for the environment, but good for business.

During the field experience students worked alongside professionals and volunteers from local nonprofits, various state and federal agencies including the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain (LTMCP), NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information Center for Coast, Oceans and Geophysics (NCEI), EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, National Park Service, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and The Nature Conservancy.

"We are excited to partner on this project and happy when we can help students learn about and experience nature in unique ways", commented Judy Steckler, Executive Director of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plan. We are also looking forward to including the students work in the Watershed Plan for Old Fort Bayou that we are developing in partnership with the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. The Watershed Implementation Plan will be completed in December and student work will be on display for the Advisory Committee at their final meeting on December 17th. The meeting will be held during school hours so students who participated in the project can interact with members of the Advisory Committee. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to apply for a paid summer internship working with the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, LTMCP and the Jackson County Planning Department to start implementing the plan.

"This has been a great way for our students to get involved in an important project in their community and see how what they learn in the classroom really does have relevance", said Mike Heise, a science teacher at St. Martin High School. "The students have also enjoyed interacting with professionals and learning about professions related to environmental science and planning".

To learn more about Mississippi State University's Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, visit: http://gccds.org.

To learn more about NOAA and the B-WET program, visit: http://www.noaa.gov/office-education/bwet.

To learn more about the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, visit: http://ltmcp.org/.


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Linhoss Named to Research Leadership Role

anna
Anna Linhoss
Photo by Megan Bean


A Mississippi State researcher with interests in hydrology, ecology, watershed management, climate change, and computational modeling and simulation is being named the assistant director of the university's Northern Gulf Institute and Geosystems Research Institute.

Anna Linhoss new role will include collaboration with a multitude of research teams. NGI and GRI both operate under the umbrella of MSU's Office of Research and Economic Development.

"We are confident that through her leadership Dr. Linhoss will contribute innovative ideas and design research programs that address increasingly complex environmental science challenges," said David Shaw, MSU vice president for research and economic development.

Linhoss work has been recognized by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine; National Fish and Wildlife Federation; and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among others. She has received 18 competitive research grants totaling $4 million.

Robert Moorhead, NGI and GRI director said Linhoss brings a wide range of experiences and insight into her new position with her successful work in hydrologic and ecological modeling.

"Her skills in creating and analyzing models of water flow, water quality and sediment erosion that simulate impacts on ecological biosystems is a natural fit to help scientists collaborate in finding novel solutions to address environmental concerns that affect our world," Moorhead said.

Linhoss's background includes research projects in the Gulf of Mexico that concentrate on issues such as oyster reef restoration and preventing island erosion by examining the rate of sand erosion at Deer Island and mapping the flow of currents. In Florida's Biscayne Bay, she studies how water quality affects algal blooms and the resulting environmental impacts to the ecosystem.

"I am extremely excited to be named the assistant director of NGI and GRI", Linhoss said. One of my passions is working with multidisciplinary teams to tackle complex and integrative research questions. In this position, I look forward to working with faculty across MSU and throughout the Gulf of Mexico to extend our research and promote our work.

Before joining MSU's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in 2013 as an assistant professor, Linhoss worked as a postdoctoral associate at the University of Florida, where she earned her Ph.D. She earned a master's degree at the University of Georgia and an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

In 2017, Linhoss chaired the organizing committee for the SEC academic conference The Future of Water: Regional Collaboration on Shared Climate, Coastlines and Watersheds. Held at Mississippi State, the conference included more than 60 academic, corporate and governmental researchers as speakers and panelists.

NGI is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Cooperative Institute, a partnership of six complementary academic institutions and NOAA which address important national strategic research and education goals. Mississippi State leads this collaboration, partnering with the universities of Southern Mississippi and Alabama-Huntsville; Louisiana State and Florida State universities; Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab; and NOAA scientists at various laboratories and operational centers in the Gulf of Mexico region. For more, visit www.ngi.msstate.edu.

GRI provides capabilities in remote sensing computational technologies, visualization techniques, agriculture and natural resource management, and the transition of these into operational agency research, planning, and decision-support programs. GRI has developed nationally recognized research strengths through strategic partnerships with state, regional and national agencies and business entities. For more, visit www.gri.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi's leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Written by Diane Godwin


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Just Cebrian- Marine Scientist Chosen for Leadership Role at MSU Research Institute

Just
Just Cebrian
Photo by Barbara Ambrose, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
A senior marine scientist with research interests in coastal ecosystems and human impact on coastlines is being named the associate director of Mississippi State University's Northern Gulf Institute.

Just Cebrian, a former senior marine scientist with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, which is an NGI research partner, will serve as the science lead for a group of MSU employees supporting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information. He also will work as an MSU research professor.

NCEI hosts and provides public access to one of the world's most significant archives for environmental data. Cebrian will collaborate with an array of NCEI scientists who have various expertise in the coastal and marine ecosystem and oceanographic research.

NGI operates under the umbrella of MSU's Office of Research and Economic Development and is a NOAA Cooperative Institute, a partnership of six complementary academic institutions and NOAA addressing important national strategic research and education goals. Mississippi State leads this collaboration, partnering with the universities of Southern Mississippi and Alabama-Huntsville; Louisiana State and Florida State universities; Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab; and NOAA scientists at various laboratories and operational centers in the Gulf of Mexico region. For more, visit www.ngi.msstate.edu.

"We look forward to Dr. Cebrian's leadership as he and the NGI team and our partners with NOAA make important new discoveries and gain a better understanding of the ocean's role in climate change, coastal ocean processes and how humankind is altering coastal marine ecosystems," said David Shaw, MSU vice president for research and economic development.

Cebrian has studied coastal ecosystems for over 20 years and has authored more than 141 scientific publications. His extensive research background includes his doctorate work on coastal ecosystems of the Mediterranean coast, with an emphasis on seagrass beds; post-doctoral work on sediment flats and marshes and how humans impact the functioning of coastal systems in New England. His current research focuses on shorelines, marsh ecosystems and sea-level rise with more than $4 million in total projects funded by agencies such as NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Robert Moorhead, NGI's director, said Cebrian's expertise will help cultivate new partnerships among oceanographers working in different disciplines and will be an important advantage over the next decade.

"His leadership and marine science research experience will help us provide important answers to practical questions about the impacts of reliable forecasts of sea-level rise to coastal communities, understanding coastal development and its impact on fisheries productivity, and the movement of pollutants all of which have immediate societal applications with high stakes in saving the environment and human life," Moorhead said.

Before joining Dauphin Island Sea Lab in 2000 as a senior marine scientist and professor of marine sciences, Cebrian worked as a postdoctoral associate at Boston University. He earned his Ph.D. in marine sciences at the University of Politecnica Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, a master's degree in oceanology at the University of Perpignan in southern France, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Barcelona.

"I think the time is ripe to implement a science plan at NCEI that will complement the important tasks of data assembly and stewardship. Arguably, good management products should be based on solid, peer-reviewed science. Within the NOAA mission, science activities are conducive to robust products, capabilities, and tools that aid in the management of coastal resources", Cebrian said.

"My role is to catalyze the connection between research and management product development for the benefit of MSU, NOAA, and NGI. This will be an unprecedented opportunity for NCEI MSU employees to combine and/or facilitate research with their current data assembly and stewardship activities, thereby helping to create a model of how science can be applied to resolve pressing management needs", he said.

From the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun and from million-year-old ice core records to near-real-time satellite images, NOAA's NCEI is the nation's leading authority for environmental information. The organization preserves, stewards and maximizes the utility of the federal government's billion-dollar investment in high-quality environmental data.

MSU is Mississippi's leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Written by Diane Godwin


Saturday, December 01, 2018

NGI and NOAA-NCEI Partner for Outreach Event at NASA Infinity Science Center for NASA's 60th Anniversary


Our team staffed the NGI-NOAA/NCEI trawling activity tables at the Infinity Science Center SSC Family Day and NASA 60th Anniversary event on Saturday, September 29 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Well over two hundred kids and several adults participated in our trawl activity! We also had several people who stopped by the talk about our science and check out the booth.
 

The activity idea was borrowed from Chris Simoniellos GCOOS activity and modified for our use. Our activity consisted of having the participants: select a small or large mesh net for the trawl, pull the net through the container filled with animals, sorting the animals into groups, recording the counts on a field sheet, then transferring those counts to a cumulative bar graph representing the total catch for the day.

The idea of having large and small mesh results graphed separately shows how the trends in the types of animals caught changes based on gear selection. This activity tells the story of how NOAA studies fisheries from the planning phase (gear selection) to pulling the trawl by sorting types of organisms, enumerating and recording counts, and bringing those results back to the lab to create visual products for distribution. Staff discusses why we care about fisheries, reasons you may choose a particular gear, and how the data are used to make important decisions.
 


Saturday, December 01, 2018

NGI Takes Part in Mississippi Science Teachers Association Annual Convention

In an effort to reach Science and STEM/STEAM educators throughout the state (and region) NGI Education & Outreach took part in the Mississippi Science Teachers Association Annual Convention. NGI showcased its UAS systems and detailed their usefulness in data collection in the STEM/STEAM fields, as well as its collection of curriculum-based lesson plans for use by teachers and districts, distributed at no charge, as well as the traveling trunk program which provides curriculum-based experiments in science, literature and the arts. NGI Talking Points at the conference included:
 

The Travelling Trunk Education Outreach Program

Mr James Comans at Desoto Central Middle School, in Mississippi, has been chosen to be the first recipient of the Atmospheric Sciences Trunk. This trunk provides a Portable Weather Station and state science curriculum targeted projects and classroom lesson plans as well as a literature component. The trunk program is designed to provide the student with direct observation and lessons on understanding and interpretation of the atmospheric sciences.
 

STEAM: Science Through the Arts, Art Competition

STEAM programs add art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.

In 2013, a joint resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives expressing the sense that adding art and design into Federal programs that target the STEM fields encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) at Mississippi State University is proud to announce a STEAM art competition, where original drawings, paintings, photography, or other renderings, depicting the natural environment, marine, avian, or aquatic species, the ocean, or weather, as related to the Mississippi River, The Gulf Coast, or the Gulf of Mexico Basin, are to be submitted for review. The winner of the competition will have their art featured in the "Portal" Newsletter.
 

Continuing Education Opportunities for Faculty Members

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) has joined with the Department of Geosciences and the Center for Distance Education at Mississippi State University to provide Continuing Education and/or 4 hours of Graduate College Credit to teachers and professionals wishing to undertake a 7-10 day geosciences field course. The course locations for this year are Bahamas (split undergrad/grad), Western WA, NY, and Great Plains Storm Chase. A science background is helpful to successfully complete these courses and cost $1250 plus tuition (4 hours of in-state grad credit). (approximately $2978 total) Additionally, for most of the trips the students pay for their meals, but the Bahamas trip includes meals. Students are also responsible for getting to the start location on their own (e.g Seattle, Nassau, Oklahoma City, etc.).
 

Visiting Scientists to your Classroom or Organization

The NGI can also provide assistance in locating a guest speaker for your classroom or organizations meeting to discuss various topics including Coastal Hazards, Geospatial Data Integration and Visualization, Ecosystem Management Climate Change, and use of UAV/AUVs in the environmental and agricultural sciences.
 

Lesson Plan Database

NGI along with the INSPIRE program is developing a database of approximately 500 Mississippi Science Curriculum based lesson plans and assignments for k-12 classrooms. These will be linked from our website in the near future. Click Here for Lesson Plans
 
 

About the MSTA:

The Mississippi Science Teachers Association has been an advocate for the promotion of Science Education in the state of Mississippi since the early 1960's. Lead by some of the most dedicated and noted science educators, the organization continues to provide leadership in the development of science standards used in Mississippi classrooms. Boasting a membership of nearly 500 science educators from elementary and secondary schools, community colleges, and senior colleges all over the state, the organization has provided opportunities for science educators to remain abreast of the latest pedagogical techniques through workshops and presentations at the annual conference as well as publication of the newsletters provided to all members.


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Embrace the Gulf - 2020

Like phytoplankton in the ocean, the smallest things can have the biggest impacts. Your charitable gift to the Embrace the Gulf campaign will help the Gulf of Mexico Alliance realize a year of celebration in 2020.

Every amount counts.
Support Embrace the Gulf


Saturday, December 01, 2018

STEAM Integrated Arts and Sciences Competition

STEAM fields are science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, together with art. STEAM is designed to integrate STEM subjects and the art of design in education.

STEAM programs add art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.

In 2013, a joint resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives expressing the sense that adding art and design into Federal programs that target the STEM fields encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) at Mississippi State University is proud to announce a STEAM art competition, where original drawings, paintings, photography, or other renderings, to be sized at 4.25 inches by 11 inches vertically, depicting the natural environment, marine avian, or aquatic species, the ocean, or weather, as related to the Mississippi River, The Gulf Coast, or the Gulf of Mexico Basin, are to be submitted for review. The winner of the competition will have their art featured in the Newsletter. There is an open submission date as the newsletter is published quarterly.

Please forward submissions digitally to EandO@ngi.msstate.edu or submit them by mail to:

Jonathan Harris
Education and Outreach
Northern Gulf Institute
Box 9627
Mississippi State, MS 39762
 
Innovation depends on the problem solving, risk taking and creativity that are natural to the way artists and designers think.
~ John Madea
 
August (Quarterly) Submission by Walker Harris of Starkville High School

"Squalls Out on The Gulf Stream"


Saturday, December 01, 2018

DISL - Wiese Distinguished Lecture Series: James Cloern, U.S. Geological Survey

Event Date: Tuesday, February 26
Event Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: University of South Alabama, Student Center Ballroom

https://www.disl.org/images/uploads/JimCloern-SFBay-2018.jpg

The University of South Alabama's Foundation, Department of Marine Sciences, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab will host the 21st annual Wiese Distinguished Lecture Series on February 26, 2019. Dr. James Cloern, world-renownedd estuarine scientist with the United States Geological Survey, will be the keynote speaker.

Dr. Cloern is a senior research scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. His research addresses comparative ecology and biogeochemistry of estuaries to understand how they respond to climatic-hydrologic variability and human disturbance. His team has led the investigation of San Francisco Bay that has included study of primary production, nutrient cycling, algal and zooplankton community dynamics, ecosystem metabolism and food web dynamics, disturbance by invasive species, ecosystem restoration, and projected responses to long-term change.

The public is invited to meet Dr. Cloern and hear him speak on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. The public lecture will be held in the University of South Alabama Student Center Ballroom beginning at 7 p.m.

The Wiese Distinguished Lecture Series is endowed by a generous gift from the late Peter and Marty Wiese of Fairhope, Alabama. The series brings a preeminent scientist to coastal Alabama to speak to the public and interact with the students and faculty at the University of South Alabama and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

The public lecture is sponsored by the Department of Marine Sciences at the University at South Alabama, the USA Foundation, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Education & Outreach Opportunities

The Travelling Trunk Education Outreach Program

Mr James Comans at Desoto Central Middle School, in Mississippi has been chosen to be the first recipient of the Atmospheric Sciences Trunk. This trunk provides a Portable Weather Station and state science curriculum targeted projects and classroom lesson plans as well as a literature component. The trunk program is designed to provide student with direct observation and lessons on understanding and interpretation of the atmospheric sciences.
 

STEAM: Science Through the Arts, Art Competition

STEAM programs add art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.

In 2013, a joint resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives expressing the sense that adding art and design into Federal programs that target the STEM fields encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) at Mississippi State University is proud to announce a STEAM art competition, where original drawings, paintings , photography, or other renderings, depicting the natural environment, marine, avian, or aquatic species, the ocean, or weather, as related to the Mississippi River, The Gulf Coast, or the Gulf of Mexico Basin, are to be submitted for review. The winner of the competition will have their art featured in the "Portal" Newsletter.
 

Continuing Education Opportunity

The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) has joined with the Department of Geosciences and the Center for Distance Education at Mississippi State University to provide Continuing Education and/or 4 hours of Graduate College Credit to teachers and professionals wishing to undertake a 7-10 day geosciences field course. The course locations for this year are Bahamas (split undergrad/grad), Western WA, NY, and Great Plains Storm Chase. A science background is helpful to successfully complete these courses and cost $1250 plus tuition (4 hours of in-state grad credit). (approximately $2978 total) Additionally, for most of the trips the students pay for their meals, but the Bahamas trip includes meals. Students are also responsible for getting to the start location on their own (e.g Seattle, Nassau, Oklahoma City, etc.).
 
 

Visiting Scientists to your Classroom or Organization

The NGI can also provide assistance in locating a guest speaker for your classroom or organizations meeting to discuss various topics including Coastal Hazards, Geospatial Data Integration and Visualization, Ecosystem Management Climate Change, and use of UAV/AUVs in the environmental and agricultural sciences.
 

Lesson Plan Database

NGI along with the INSPIRE program is developing a database of approximately 500 Mississippi Science Curriculum based lesson plans and assignments for k-12 classrooms. These will be linked from our website in the near future. Click Here for Lesson Plans


Saturday, December 01, 2018

NGI Regrets the Passing of Jenny Cook, Longtime Educator at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

The NGI regrets to announce the passing of Jenny Cook, a longtime educator at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Jenny was born and raised in Mobile, AL graduating from the University of South Alabama with a degree in secondary education and a Masters in Biology. For more than 30 years, Jenny was active in teaching, developing new programs and mentoring generations of K-12 students and teachers through DISL's Discovery Hall Programs. She was known throughout the marine science education community as a generous, skilled and passionate educator and was renowned for her southern drawl and sayings.

Please visit the site below to learn more about Jenny Cook and a scholarship set up in her name which will support a student's full tuition to Discovery Hall's month-long residential class in marine science for high school students, annually.

Jenny Cook Memorial Scholarship Fund