Resources for Ocean Communities

Two of our main committees — the Outreach & Education Council and the Products & Services Advisory Council — are focused on reaching out to stakeholder communities throughout the Gulf and developing the tools they need.

Outreach & Education Council (OEC)

This committee provides guidance and assistance to GCOOS in matters of education, outreach and public awareness. The OEC plays the lead role in developing, implementing and evaluating the Outreach and Education Plan for GCOOS and ensures that the Plan is consistent with the current GCOOS Build-out Plan, Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Development Plan and the GCOOS Strategic Plan. The OEC collectively is expected to be familiar with the GCOOS functions and operations, ocean science education standards, outreach and education pedagogy and evaluation techniques, and constituency building techniques among diverse audiences in the Gulf of Mexico. OEC membership includes representatives from formal, non-formal and informal education communities that reside in the Gulf of Mexico region and members are appointed by the GCOOS Board of Directors. At least one member of the Board of Directors serves as a member of the OEC Council and the Chair of the OEC is selected by the Council.

OEC Council Members

Staff Liaison: Dr. Chris Simoniello



Representatives from Florida

Charlene Mauro Santa Rosa School District
Mike Spranger University of Florida
Debbi Stone Florida Aquarium
Chris Verlinde Florida Sea Grant

Representatives from Alabama

Lei Hu Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Margaret Sedlecky Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Lee Yokel Gulf of Mexico Alliance

Representatives from Mississippi

Jessie Kastler University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab
Carol Lutken University of Mississippi
Angela Sallis NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
Joe Swaykos* GCOOS Board of Directors

Representatives from Louisiana

Tricia LeBlanc Sankofa Wetland Park and Nature Trail
Dianne Lindstedt Louisiana Sea Grant College Program
Jean May-Brett* Lousiana Dept of Education—Retired
Dinah Maygarden University of New Orleans

Representatives from Texas

Sarah Gossett Galveston Bay Foundation
John O’Connell Texas Sea Grant College Program
Leslie Peart Texas State Aquarium
Rob Smith Woods Hole Group, Inc.
Pamela Terasaki Texas School District-Claughton Middle School

At Large

Doug Levin Washington College
Rusty Low Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

Board Representatives on the OEC

Sarah Graves University of Alabama-Huntsville
Renee Collini Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative
*Denotes OEC Members who also serve on the GCOOS Board of Directors

Products & Services Advisory Council (PSAC)

This council ensures that the products and services developed and shared by GCOOS are driven by the needs of end-users. Council members are appointed by the GCOOS Board of Directors and reflect the broad spectrum of users and stakeholders interested in the data and products of ocean observing systems. The council:

  • Identifies potential new audiences for data, products and services;
  • Identifies new products and services, and provide input to improve existing GCOOS data, products and services, necessary to meet the requirements of the GCOOS user community;
  • Assesses the usefulness of products and services to users and the effectiveness of information dissemination and delivery practices to decision makers (this should include advice on needed metrics for evaluation);
  • Makes recommendations to the Board on research or pilot projects that are needed to sustain and enhance the products and services and on projects to transition to operational status;
  • Provides advice as may be requested by the GCOOS Board or other bodies.

The chairperson and other officers, as may be determined to be necessary by the Council members or the Board of Directors, are elected by the Council members. At least one member of the Board of Directors and one member of the Outreach & Education Council shall be appointed by the Board to serve on the Products & Services Advisory Council. The chair and other officers will work with the chairs of the Outreach and Education Council (OEC), Data Management & Communications Committee and Observing Systems Committee (DMAC) to closely link the work of the committees and councils.

PSAC Council Members

Staff Liaisons: Dr. Shin Kobara & Grant Craig




Andrew Reich Florida Department of Health Florida
Steve Sempier Mississippi-Alabama Sea-Grant Consortium Mississippi
Greg Steyer United States Geological Survey Louisiana
Jerry Madden Shreveport Sail and Power Squadron Louisiana
Jim Gibeaut Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Texas
Jorge Brenner The Nature Conservancy Texas