2017 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference Brings Together Oil Spill Scientists and GoMRI Community in New Orleans

(From Winter 2017 Newsletter) The 2017 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science (GoMOSES) Conference took place from February 6-9, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year’s conference theme was “Ecosystem Approaches to Gulf Response and Restoration,” encouraging attendees to consider the application of their results to practical use. More than 950 people from 13 countries participated in twenty- three scientific sessions, including 337 oral presentations (59 from students) and 260 posters (119 from students).

Building on the conference theme, the opening plenary focused on The Role of Science in Oil Spill Response and Management Decisions. A keynote address was given by Dave Westerholm, Director of the Office of Response and Restoration at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), followed by a panel that included Captain Joe Loring from the U.S. Coast Guard, Steve Buschang from the Texas General Land Office, John Caplis from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), Greg DeMarco from ExxonMobil, Nancy Kinner from the Coastal Response Research Center for Spills and Environmental Hazards, and Scott Lundgren from NOAA. Speaker biographies are available here.

Wrapping up the week, the closing plenary focused on Linking Science and Restoration: Now and in the Future. Moderated by Monty Graham from the University of Southern Mississippi and principal investigator of the GoMRI-funded consortium CONCORDE, the panel included Amy Hunter from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Becky Prado from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Robin Riechers from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Jim Pahl from the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and George Ramseur from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

Several workshops, poster sessions, and other events took place throughout the week. In addition, C-IMAGE partnered with the Story Collider for the second time to host an event ahead of the conference (read more in the cover story of this issue). The Consortium for Ocean Leadership and the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine supported five awards for the James D. Watkins Student Award for Excellence in Research, for best student oral presentation. This year’s awardees were Brittany Evans from Eckerd College, Travis Washburn from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, Aprami Jaggi from the University of Calgary, Joseph Sevigny from the University of New Hampshire, and Susan Snyder from the University of South Florida. GoMRI extends its congratulations to the awardees! The Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative and the Gulf Research Program also provided Student Presenter Awards, which covered registration fees for student presenters.

For more information on emerging outcomes from this year’s conference surrounding the response and restoration theme, please visit the FAQs on page 7. Additional information on this year’s GoMOSES conference can be found here. An official conference report will also be posted to the conference website soon. Next year’s conference will take place from February 5-8, 2018 in the same location, at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, Louisiana. We look forward to seeing you there!

[Back to the Winter 2017 Newsletter]