Gulf of Mexico IEA Projects

Below are links to current projects by GoMIEA scientists that employ elements of the IEA framework. These projects exemplify some of the analytical tools designed to support an ecosystem-based approach to management in the Gulf of Mexico and serve a wide range of stakeholders, managers, and other end users.

 

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Ecosystem Support for Fisheries

Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Status Report and GoM Fisheries Management Council Involvement

Understanding the broader ecosystem picture and making linkages between different components and sectors requires an expanded view through an interdisciplinary lens and underscores the importance of integrative science. As part of the Gulf of Mexico Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program (GoM-IEA), we produced an Ecosystem Status Report for the Gulf of Mexico, detailing the trends and statuses of a multitude of indicators, ranging from physical, to biological and socio-ecological. Elucidating such feedbacks requires a broad foundation of monitoring and assessment that allows trends in multiple components of the ecosystem to be measured – everything from currents to plankton to fish to humans.

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Fish in the Gulf of Mexico

Species Vulnerability to Climate

Predicting Ecological Responses to Climate Variability with a Dynamic Bayesian Network Model

The Gulf of Mexico is an ecologically and economically important marine ecosystem that is affected by a variety of natural and anthropogenic factors. These complex and interacting stressors, together with the dynamic environment of the Gulf of Mexico, present challenges for the effective management of its resources. The Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) process can help to address some of these management challenges. Part of the IEA process is to carry out a risk analysis which entails understanding how vulnerable the ecosystem is to undesirable events. The Gulf of Mexico IEA team is examining the vulnerability of different species (lower and trophic level such as zooplankton and higher trophic level, e.g. economically important species) to increasing climate.

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Florida keys national marine sanctuary

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

The Gulf of Mexico Integrated Ecosystem Assessment team is working with Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary staff to develop an Ecosystem Status Report, share ecosystem data, and support sanctuaries management. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) protects 2,900 square nautical miles encompassing the continental United States’ only coral barrier reef, seagrass beds, mangrove islands, and more than 6,000 marine life species. Home to world-class diving and fishing, the highly-diverse and sensitive marine ecosystem drives the economy and local way of life.

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Ocean Tipping Points

Ocean Tipping Points to Help Improve Gulf of Mexico Restoration and Management

This workshop will allowed us to apply new techniques and resources to a specific management and restoration context in the Gulf of Mexico. The northern Gulf of Mexico is an ecologically and economically productive ecosystem, generating over 1.3 billion pounds in fishery landings and 470 million barrels of oil each year as well as supporting a tourism industry estimated to be worth $20 billion annually. The ecosystem is exposed to a number of chronic stressors including eutrophication from the Mississippi River watershed (which covers over 40% of the continental U.S. landmass), coastal development, habitat modification, and alterations to temperature and acidification levels.

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red tides

Red Tides Impact More Than Just Fish

Massive fish die-offs were just one of many concerns fishermen raised with NOAA scientists during workshops held in the summer of 2018. Fishermen described how the spread of toxic algae otherwise known as a “Red Tide” event along the west coast of Florida is impacting many parts of their lives including local business. This made it clear the issue was bigger than just fish die-offs and requires a solution that is bigger than just conserving fish populations. An ecosystem-wide approach can provide such a solution. NOAA scientists are using NOAA's Integrated Ecosystem Assessment approach to address the issue. 

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