The NOAA RESTORE Science Program has awarded $3.6M to a project team that will characterize seasonal, annual, and decadal trends in marine mammal species in the Gulf of Mexico. They will also assess the role of ocean conditions and human activities in driving these trends. This project is coordinated with the Reduce Impacts of Anthropogenic Noise on Cetaceans project supported by the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resources Damage Assessment Trustees. The Science Program funded project will run for five years and be eligible for a five year, non-competitive renewal if it is high-performing.
With this award, the Science Program has funded five projects for a total of $19.2M from our third competition. Collectively, these projects will increase our understanding of how shellfish, fish, birds, and marine mammals use the Gulf of Mexico and will provide valuable information to Gulf of Mexico resource managers.
A short summary of the projects and links to more information is below.
Title: Assessing long-term trends and processes driving variability in cetacean density throughout the Gulf of Mexico using passive acoustic monitoring and habitat modeling
Lead Investigator: Melissa S. Soldevilla
Lead Institution: NOAA National Marine Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Award Amount: $3,588,922
Title: Fire effects in Gulf of Mexico marshes: Historical perspectives, management, and monitoring of mottled ducks and black and yellow rails
Lead Investigator: Auriel M.V. Fournier
Lead Institution: Mississippi State University
Award Amount: $3,922,699
Title: Building resilience for oysters, blue crabs, and spotted seatrout to environmental trends and variability in the Gulf of Mexico
Lead Investigator: John C. Lehrter
Lead Institution: University of South Alabama
Award Amount: $2,887,250
Title: Trends and drivers of faunal abundance of the offshore Gulf of Mexico: Narrowing the data gap in the Gulf’s largest ecosystem component
Lead Investigator: Tracey Sutton
Lead Institution: Nova Southeastern University
Award Amount: $2,794,147
Title: Optimization and expansion of Gulf-wide video survey efforts to better characterize temporal and spatial variability in reef fish assemblages in response to drivers at multiple scales: The G-FISHER (Gulf Fishery Independent Survey of Habitat and Ecosystem Resources) program
Lead Investigator: Theodore Switzer
Lead Institution: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Award Amount: $6,018,538