The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Gulf of Mexico Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (GoMMAPPS) aims to examine “living marine resource abundance, distribution, habitat use, and behavior in the Gulf of Mexico to properly mitigate and monitor for potential impacts of human activities, including related to offshore energy development.”

Key tasks include:

  • conducting aerial surveys over continental shelf waters to collect visual line transect data,
  • conducting ship-board surveys on the shelf and out to United States Exclusive Economic Zone,
  • conducting satellite tracking of tagged animals,
  • collecting environmental data and passive acoustic data from towed arrays,
  • performing genetic analyses for composition and connectivity from biopsy samples, and developing spatially- and temporally-explicit species density and habitat models

In support of the GoMMAPPS, the current project’s goals and objectives were to identify past studies and prioritize research gaps , along with providing recommendations for efficiently disseminating information to improve survey design, facilitating involvement across multiple stakeholders, and promoting discovery of and access to relevant data and products from specific studies (Figure 1).  Main data products were summary information and geospatial tools that can support planning for the GoMMAPPS activities.  Key tasks included:

  • providing an initial inventory of literature on past studies relevant to the distribution and abundance of marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles in the US Gulf of Mexico EEZ,
  • compiling past studies’ metadata and creating geospatial footprints, by taxa, within a database to link with literature and to allow for specific text and spatial queries,
  • building a prototype data model incorporating literature, metadata, and geospatial footprints that are standardized and organized for assessing and managing the GoMMAPPS research priorities and efforts,
  • summarizing past data coverage spatially, temporally, and by taxa and highlighting research gaps, and
  • outlining recommendations for data hosting and management tools to support the GoMMAPPS outreach, education, and stakeholder engagement.

Figure 1. Gulf of Mexico region of interest

 

In collaboration with Quantum Spatial, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Coastal Management, and the Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM).