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)

The GCOOS Outreach and Education Council works to empower regional user communities and residents to be knowledgeable about and effectively use GCOOS data, products and services when making decisions concerning their work, play, and life in and around the ocean and coastal waters, estuaries and watersheds of the Gulf of Mexico. The Outreach and Education Council 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) priorities, and the GCOOS Strategic Plan. OEC membership includes representatives from federal and state government, academia, the private sector, and formal and informal education. Council members are appointed by the GCOOS Board of Directors, which has four positions dedicated to the Outreach and Education sector.

OEC Council Members

Staff Liaison: Dr. Chris Simoniello



Representatives from Florida

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

Representatives from Alabama

Lei Hu Ocean Associates, Inc.
Margaret Sedlecky Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Lee Yokel EcoSolutions, Inc.
Dr. Tina Miller-Way Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Representatives from Mississippi

Dr. 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)

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

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

At Large

Dr. Doug Levin Washington College
Dr. Rusty Low Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

Board Representatives on the OEC

Dr. Sara Graves University of Alabama-Huntsville
Renee Collini Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative
Joe Swaykos Chair, GCOOS Board of Directors
Dr. Nan Walker Louisiana State University

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: Grant Craig




Andrew Reich Florida Department of Health Florida
Steve Sempier Mississippi-Alabama Sea-Grant Consortium Mississippi
Jerry Madden Shreveport Sail and Power Squadron Louisiana
Jim Gibeaut Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Texas

Modeling Task Team

This task team is being created to facilitate the discovery of and access to existing model outputs and related data products in support of policy-making, resource management and research in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Modeling Task Team will be focused on:

  • Suggesting, reviewing, and making recommendations about models that currently exist, whether they are already operational and publicly available or are new models in development within academia or other work groups;
  • Developing a systematic and transparent process to identify and make model products available via the GCOOS data and products websites.

We’re currently inviting GCOOS members to join the Modeling Task Team. It is open to all GCOOS Board members and GCOOS members who are nominated by the board. DMAC Coordinator Felimon Gayanilo is the interim chair while the Task Team is being developed. To express interest or join, please email