The Eyes on the Ocean™ Newsletter is an informal way of keeping you up-to-date on U.S. IOOS® activities.

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From the Director:

Dear IOOS Community,

As we enter May, many IOOS Regional Associations are holding their spring and/or annual meetings that bring together RA staff and members, advisory boards, stakeholders, local officials, federal partners, and IOOS Office staff. These meetings provide an excellent opportunity to reflect on the fantastic and dedicated work the IOOS regions are executing to meet stakeholder needs and advance ocean science, service and stewardship. Last week, I presented at the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) Spring Board meeting and next week I will attend the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) Board Meeting and Spring Member Meeting in Galveston, TX.  Also next week, IOOS staff will attend and present updates at the SECOORA Annual Meeting in Charleston, SC and later this month our Deputy and IOOS staff will attend the GLOS Annual Meeting in Windsor, Ontario. The week of May 13th I will travel to San Diego and give a plenary talk at the “Ocean Observing in California: Celebrate the Past, Showcase the Present, Envision the Future” meeting. Jointly hosted by the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS), Central and Northern California ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS), and California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI), this event will celebrate, honor, and commemorate sustained ocean observing in California and recognize CalCOFI's 75th anniversary and SCCOOS and CeNCOOS's 20th anniversary. 

We will also celebrate another 20th anniversary this month. On May 22, Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS) partners and friends will gather in Washington, DC to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of their IOOS regional partnerships and implementation. The celebration will include an afternoon session in the House of Representatives followed by an evening celebratory reception in the US Senate. 

In conjunction with MARACOOS, the IOOS Office will also host the 2024 IOOS Code Sprint, a 3-day hackathon style hybrid event on 21-23 May 2024 in Washington D.C. Over the course of the event, teams of developers, academic researchers, and community members will work on projects that address pressing data and information challenges. I am looking forward to all of the these wonderful events that provide opportunities for the IOOS community to interact, engage in discussion, build relationships, express gratitude for mutual support, and to advance the IOOS mission to produce, integrate, and communicate high quality ocean, coastal and Great Lakes information that meets the safety, economic, and stewardship needs of the Nation.



From the U.S. IOOS Office:

  • IOOS Advisory Committee releases Marine Life, NOPP recommendations: The U.S. IOOS Advisory Committee held an open virtual meeting on March 18 to finalize a set of recommendations to NOAA and the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee. These recommendations were submitted to Dr. Spinrad and the IOOC co-chairs on April 12. “The IOOS Advisory Committee is an integral part of the IOOS Enterprise,” said U.S. IOOS Office Director Carl Gouldman. “Their diverse experience and points of view ensure that the recommendations they make for the growth and development of IOOS are responsive to a broad range of needs across society.” The latest set of recommendations seek advancement of and improvements to the National Oceanographic Partnership Program and IOOS’s Marine Life program. Read more here: 
  • Welcome Connie Kot! Connie joins the IOOS office as the new Marine Life Coordinator. In this role Connie will be working to coordinate the Animal Telemetry Network and to integrate animal tagging efforts into the larger Marine Life Program. For over 20 years, Connie has enjoyed working with large teams and using complex biogeographic data to better understand marine megafauna for conservation. Her research has focused on analyzing species distributions, spatial and temporal patterns, linkages among animals, fisheries effort and bycatch, and relationships between protected species and the environment. Previously, she was an Associate in Research with Duke University’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, led by Pat Halpin, where she contributed to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System – Spatial Ecological Analysis of Megavertebrate Populations (OBIS-SEAMAP), State of the World’s Sea Turtles (SWOT), and Migratory Connectivity in the Ocean (MiCO) initiatives. Prior to Duke University, Connie worked with the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) Biogeography Branch to develop a GIS decision support tool for NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) to evaluate sea turtle bycatch. Connie received a Biology BS and Environmental Studies BS from Binghamton University, SUNY in 1999, and a Marine Biology MS from the College of Charleston in 2004.
  • From the IOOS Association: 
    • PODCAST: Deep Dive with U.S. IOOS: Marine Technology News reporter Rhonda Moniz sat down with IOOS Association Director Kristen Yarincik, AOOS Executive Director Sheyna Wisdom, and SECOORA Executive Director Debra Hernandez to talk about the critical value of U.S. IOOS and ocean observations. Check it out here: Deep Dive with Rhonda Moniz: Ocean Observation with IOOS
    • NHABON seeks steering committee nominations: The National HAB Observing Network Community of Practice Steering Committee is seeking nominations for new members. See all the details in the Harmful Algal Bloom section of the newsletter below. Nominations are due by COB Friday, May 17.

Observation Subsystem and Sensor Technologies:

  • Surface Current Mapping
    • ROWG-13:The 13th Radiowave Oceanographers Working Group hybrid meeting (ROWG-13) will be held May 21–23, 2024 at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Hardy Hall in Long Beach, Mississippi.  More info here: 
  • Gliders 
    • UG2 Updates: 
      • 2024 Glider Workshop Planning: The Underwater Glider User Group (UG2) is making plans for a 2024 Glider Workshop, building on the success of previous meetings. The date is tentatively scheduled two-and-a-half days the week of Sept. 9, 2024, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. UG2 is also seeking input from potential workshop attendees on topics to cover and other details. Please click here to fill out the expression of interest form and help organizers plan the agenda and confirm meeting dates, etc.
  • Buoys & Moorings
    • New Wave Buoy Deployed in Yap, Hanalei Wave Buoy Redeployed: A new wave buoy was deployed in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia on April 17. Moored about 1.25 miles (2 km) offshore of the northernmost barrier reef and approximately 3 miles (5 km) north of Rumung Island, the northernmost island of the Yap island group, this buoy measures wave direction and energy, as well as surface currents,sea surface temperature, and air temperature in real-time. On April 18, the Hanalei, Kauaʻi wave buoy was redeployed. This buoy also measures wave direction and energy, as well as sea surface temperature. Located about 4 miles offshore Hāʻena Point, the data provided by the buoy assists with safe and efficient maritime transportation in Hanalei Bay.
  • Harmful Algal Blooms 
    • Citizen Scientists Taught to Detect Harmful Freshwater Algae: NCCOS’s Phytoplankton Monitoring Network, or PMN, trained volunteers from the Smith Mountain Lake Association’s new water quality monitoring program, Dock Watch, in Moneta, Virginia. PMN staff held a workshop on sampling and microscopic identification of harmful cyanobacteria at the lake for 25 volunteers. Dock Watch launched last year in response to a large 2023 cyanobacteria bloom that resulted in the first-ever swimming advisory at the lake. Volunteers conduct biweekly water quality monitoring at over 80 sites around the lake. Following the Smith Mountain Lake workshop, PMN staff held a refresher training for Lake Anna Civic Association volunteers in Mineral, Virginia. In 2023, Mineral was the first Virginia site for PMN’s freshwater program. Water quality monitoring is crucial as contact with cyanobacteria blooms can cause skin rashes, eye and ear irritation, and gastrointestinal illness in people and animals.
    • NHABON seeks steering committee nominations: The National HAB Observing Network Community of Practice Steering Committee provides leadership and strategic insight to guide and advance HAB observing capabilities across the United States, serves as a point of contact for the community, and facilitates the discussion of issues related to operating HAB observing systems, technology, and data management among other topics. If selected, nominees will serve for a 3-year, renewable term. For more specific responsibilities of the Committee members, as well as selection criteria, please see the NHABON CoP Terms of Reference on the IOOS Association National HAB Observing Page.To be considered for the Steering Committee. Please submit nominations via this form and send a resume to Nominations are due by COB Friday, May 17.
    • NHABON Webinars: 
      • NHABON Webinar - June 26: Please join us for our next webinar on June 26, 2024 from 3:00-4:00 PM EST on UN Ocean Decade and HABs. Stay tuned for registration. You can watch the latest webinar here!
  • Marine Life
    • 2024 Marine Biological Data Mobilization Workshop: IOOS Office staff (Mathew Biddle and Laura Brenskelle) participated as planners and instructors in the 2024 Marine Biological Data Mobilization Workshop on April 22-24. The purpose of this workshop is to provide some training on the Darwin Core data standard used by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), supply examples for how to use Python and R to easily align marine life data to Darwin Core, and answer questions about the OBIS publishing process in an effort to mobilize new datasets. The workshop had over 80 registrants from across the globe who worked on datasets using various ocean observation methods, ranging from eDNA, Imaging FlowCytobots, and animal telemetry. Materials for the workshop can be found on GitHub and cited using the following Digital Object Identifier: 10.5281/zenodo.11085142. 
    • Querying OBIS, GBIF, and Fishbase with AphiaIDs: From a recent Species Distribution Modeling meeting in New Orleans, LA, GBIF-US wrote an example for how to query OBIS, GBIF, and FishBase using AphiaIDs. The attendees emphasized the importance of GBIF, OBIS, and FishBase for informing SDMs but also highlighted that one of the challenges was how to query taxa consistently and efficiently across these databases. The post below highlights the various tools and possibilities to query across multiple systems.

Data Management and Cyberinfrastructure (DMAC) Subsystem and Tools Built on IOOS Data:

  • ‘Omics on GLOS’s Seagull: HABs- specific ‘omics data from the Great Lakes Atlas for Multi-omics Research (GLAMR) is now conveniently accessible via a new Seagull‘omics layer, a simple-to-use map designed for seamless integration of diverse information. The ‘omics layer provides access to abundance information for organism and toxin-biosynthesis genes, geographical information, and environmental and water quality information. The overarching objective is to democratize access to the database, enabling a broad spectrum of users to explore and extract valuable insights. Read more here!
    • No update.
  • Artificial Intelligence
    • No update.

Modeling and Analysis Subsystem:   

  • MARACOOS' modelers Pierre St-Laurent and Marjy Friedrichs release a new atlas for the Chesapeake Bay: The new atlas features 27 physical and biogeochemical variables for the surface and bottom for each month of the year. The atlas is based on a multi-decadal average (39 years, 1985-2023) obtained with their Chesapeake Bay model which was developed with IOOS funding and is the backbone of CBEFS (Chesapeake Bay Environmental Forecast System). The atlas' information is provided on a fine longitude/latitude grid (approximately 600m x 600m) compatible with QGIS, Python, Matlab and other popular software. A companion documentation features 45 pages of ready-made visualizations as well as model-data comparisons against 2,600,000 historical measurements of 14 environmental variables. The atlas can serve as a baseline for the Bay against which year-to-year variability or long-term changes (sea level rise, ocean acidification, warming) can be assessed. It is anticipated that the atlas will become a useful reference for regional managers, researchers and other stakeholders whose livelihood depend on water quality conditions in this region. Link to atlas: 
  • Ecological Forecasting Cyberinfrastructure Workshop: The workshop was held April 10-12, 2024 at The VENUE in Portsmouth, NH hosted by EFI and NERACOOS. The workshop focused on community-developed cyberinfrastructure (CI) for FAIR and efficient ecological forecasting.This workshop was made possible by funding support from the U.S. IOOS Office, NASA, NERACOOS, USGS and the EFI. The 3-day workshop consisted of a series of talks and interactive sessions designed to promote collaboration and the sharing of best practices among participants. During the workshop, participants were given the opportunity to demonstrate examples of forecasting workflows, ranging from small single site models to large-scale earth systems models. This enabled participants to learn from each other and share their expertise and experiences, while also promoting the development of lightweight and generalizable CI workflows that we think could be easily adopted and used by a wider range of researchers and practitioners.

Around the Regions:

  • Virtual access added to Ocean Observing in California conference: The SCCOOS, CeNCOOS, and CalCOFI-hosted Ocean Observing in California conference, May 14 - 16, has added a free remote attendance option. Visit the conference website for remote and in-person registration, an agenda, and more!
  • GCOOS and SECOORA launch MBON/OA webinar series: In April, GCOOS and SECOORA teamed up to launch a new webinar series — Building Synergy Across the US MBON & Ocean Acidification Networks — to advance science in support of resource management and the blue economy by strengthening collaborations across the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network and regional Ocean Acidification Networks (GCAN and SOCAN). Webinars will continue through July. View the schedule and catch up any you missed here!

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility:

  • No update.

Interagency and International Collaboration/News:

  • UN Decade of Ocean Science For Sustainable Development Updates: 
    • It's open! Take part in the Call for Decade Actions No. 07/2024: The call for Decade Actions No. 07/2024 is open until 10 May 2024/ 31 August 2024. Building on the success of the tailored and inclusive approach of its Call for Decade Actions No. 06/2023, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (‘Ocean Decade’) is tackling resource mobilization and capacity development for Decade Actions in its Call No. 07/2024. Read more here
    • Barcelona Statement Identifies the Priority Areas of Action for the Ocean Decade in Coming Years: The 2024 Ocean Decade Conference, held in Barcelona from April 10 to 12 and co-organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO), rallied over 1,500 participants from 124 countries and over 3,000 online viewers, and was the culmination of Ocean Decade Week with 120 Satellite Events (April 8-12). The main outcome of this event was the Barcelona Statement which identifies priority areas for action for the Ocean Decade in the coming years. Read more here and click here to read the full Barcelona Statement
  • Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) News:
    • Global Ocean Observing System’s Cross-Network Data Implementation Strategy released: Ensuring that all ocean data under the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable requires improved data and metadata flows. To achieve this, the GOOS Observations Coordination Group (OCG) has just released its Cross-Network Data Implementation Strategy. Read more here
  • Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) News:
    • Pioneer Array Now Operational in MAB: April 17, 2024 was a momentous day. The installation of the Pioneer Array from its former location off the New England Shelf to its new location in the Mid-Atlantic Bight  was completed. “Completing installation of the Pioneer Array in the MAB was the culmination of three years of preparation, which began with planning workshops in 2021, the recovery of the NES array in 2022, and engineering, procurement, and testing in 2023," said Al Plueddemann, Principal Investigator of the Coastal and Global Scale Nodes team, who also served as the Chief Scientist aboard the R/V Neil Armstrong for the first deployment of the array in the MAB. “It took an incredible effort from the whole CGSN Team to address all the considerations in moving the array to its new location. It is gratifying to see the successful deployment, with new, multidisciplinary data now available from this important oceanic region.” Read more here
  • AI and Open Government Data Assets Request for Information: This Request for Information seeks valuable insights from industry experts, researchers, civil society organizations, and other members of the public on the development of AI-ready open data assets and data dissemination standards. Comments must be received on or before July 16, 2024. Find the RFI here.
  • GOMO releases inaugural accomplishments report: NOAA’s Global Ocean Monitoring and Observing Program (GOMO) has released its inaugural Accomplishments Report for 2023. This report covers the many accomplishments that are paving the way toward meeting GOMO’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan objectives and strengthening the global ocean observing system and enterprise. Read more and access the report here!
  • OCS Releases New Version of nowCOAST™: OCS released a new version of nowCOAST™. The application covers all U.S. coastal waters, including the Great Lakes, and is a cloud-based web mapping portal for real-time coastal observations, forecasts, and warnings for the maritime community. The portal serves as a "one-stop" website for real-time coastal meteorological, oceanographic, and hydrologic observations from various internet sites within and outside of NOAA, including NOAA forecasts. The new version of nowCOAST added Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite imagery, radar, and precipitation estimates from the National Weather Service, or NWS, and National Severe Storms Laboratory up to 72 hours in advance; NWS beach and surf zone forecasts — including rip current risk levels; and lightning strike density data. The portal is designed as a planning aid for recreational and commercial mariners, coastal managers, HAZMAT responders, marine educators, and researchers, who can all discover and display real-time information for their particular needs and geographic area of interest.
  • OCS Responds to Baltimore Bridge Emergency: OCS executed hydrographic surveys following cargo vessel Dali’s collision with the Francis Scott Key Bridge near the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, allowing the opening of safe alternate routes for shallow-draft vessels around the wreckage. The response team surveyed the waters on the north side of the main channel as well as the width and height of the bridge span. The survey data allowed the U.S. Coast Guard to identify and open a safe alternate route for traffic. The navigation response team then surveyed the waters and bridge structure on the south side of the main channel, which allowed the opening of a second alternate route for vessel traffic. Upon completing secondary survey operations, OCS integrated the data into the NOAA Electronic Navigational Chart. The revised chart, which includes both alternate channels, bridge features and clearances, and newly placed aids to navigation, was made available to the public.
  • NGS Collects Imagery After Bridge Collapse: NGS conducted flights for imagery collection of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and surrounding channel to support NOAA nautical chart development, hazardous material removal, marine debris collection, and other coastal management needs. The flights produced expedited, updated shoreline information about the region around the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The collected data enabled the charting of the remaining bridge piers for a potential auxiliary channel and the updating of NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts. This data was shared with the appropriate local, state, and federal agencies responding to the event and conducting recovery efforts. The high-resolution imagery will be the event’s baseline dataset and will help inform anticipated engineering and debris removal.
  • CO-OPS Releases Tide Predictions for Pointe Au Chien: CO-OPS released tide predictions for Pointe Au Chien, Cutoff Canal, Louisiana. The information comes as part of the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team’s work on a Climate and Equity pilot project with the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe, or PACIT. The PACIT’s ancestral lands span Louisiana’s Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, which are quickly being lost to erosion, subsidence, and sea level rise. The goal of the pilot project is to better understand the PACIT’s specific needs and identify ways to increase their access to NOAA’s information, products, and services. Following a recent visit with the PACIT, NOAA identified an opportunity to provide localized tide predictions to better support the PACIT’s traditional fishing practices. CO-OPS’s predictions will advance NOAA’s commitment to helping underserved communities prepare for and respond to climate change.

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