Two weeks ago during my stay on the Gulf Coast, I had the opportunity to visit several of COL’s members: Louisiana University Marine Consortium (LUMCON), Louisiana State University (LSU) College of Coast and Environment, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Ocean Science and Technology.
I strongly encourage you to look again at these institutions. Each one is impressive in its own right, and together with their ocean partners across the Gulf, they have created a significant national and global ocean science and technology team. Their in-depth research and education programs are critical to our understanding of the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. With impressive research on topics such as dramatic land loss in the Louisiana barrier islands due to sea level rise, subsidence, and coastal sediment redistribution (see photo with LUMCON shipmates); marine organism health and productivity; coastal dynamics and modeling; petroleum hydrocarbon toxicology on marine biota; sargassum ecosystem characteristics; and much, much more, they are helping better our understanding of the ocean so that we can ensure its future health and sustainability. Our national security, economic prosperity, and citizens’ health depend on it. We all know time is rapidly running out for us to take actions to that end, and the resources to do this important research and education, which come from many sources (federal, state, local, philanthropic), are of paramount importance. Research vessels, laboratories, facilities, equipment, and, most importantly, the people needed to maintain and grow this work, must be a national priority.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Ecosystem Cascades Affecting Salmon
In the coastal ocean of California — seabird predators, forage fish on which they feed, and the survival of salmon out-migrating to sea are each of particular interest, and an improved understanding of their interactions could in turn improve the management of the ocean ecosystem. In the Gulf of the Farallones, new research by scientists from NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Point Blue Conservation Science, H.T. Harvey and Associates, University of California Santa Cruz, U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that the common murre, a small ocean seabird, can make a difference in the number of salmon that survive to return as adults. This is especially true when ocean conditions cause the murres to feed primarily on salmon and anchovy.