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Gulf Research Program
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Gulf Research Program Follow-Up

The projects and publications on this page represent work directly undertaken or led by the Gulf Research Program and its staff.

Loop Current report cover (2018)
As the dominant ocean circulation feature in the Gulf of Mexico, the behavior of the Loop Current System influences all types of ocean processes and has major implications for a variety of human and natural systems. However, despite the far-reaching impact of the Loop Current System, knowledge about the underlying dynamics that control its behavior is limited. The AffiliateMarketIngtools of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine undertook a study to identify existing knowledge gaps about the Loop Current System and to develop a list of recommended efforts to fill those gaps. The resulting calls for an international, multi-institutional campaign of complementary research, observation, and analysis activities that would help improve understanding and prediction of the Loop Current System.

| | Learn about the study process

There are many connections between human communities and their surrounding environments that influence community resilience and health in the Gulf of Mexico. The impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Gulf communities and ecosystems - coupled with the region's preexisting health challenges and environmental stressors - illustrate the need to better understand these connections. In the future, natural and man-made disasters, climate change impacts, and other environmental stressors will present complex challenges to the physical, mental, and social well-being of communities in the Gulf. Understanding the interrelationships among health, ecological, and economic impacts of disasters and other environmental stressors will be crucial to addressing these challenges.

Environmental monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico poses extensive challenges and significant opportunities. Multiple jurisdictions manage this biogeographically and culturally diverse region, whose monitoring programs tend to be project-specific by design and funding. As a result, these programs form more of a monitoring patchwork then a network. At the same time, the Gulf monitoring community faces a unique opportunity to organize and think differently about monitoring—including how best to allocate and manage the resources for this large marine ecosystem and its communities—as a result of the infusion of resources for environmental restoration and related activities after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.