Storms, hazardous spills, climate changes, algal blooms, industrial development and coastal population growth threaten the sustained health of Gulf ecosystems. In answer to these widely recognized risks, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and the Gulf of Mexico University Research Collaborative have signed an agreement to work together to support science, management and education activities in the Gulf region. The agreement helps ensure effective spending and the coordination of state, federal and university research on the long-term health of Gulf natural resources, and response to man-made and natural disasters.
The Research Collaborative formed in 2011 with funding from the University South Florida Foundation, in part, to help plan region-wide restoration efforts after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and to prepare for future response efforts. The Collaborative unites over 70 Gulf universities from the five States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas on a mission to sustain the long-term health of the Gulf and coastal ecosystems.
The Alliance includes the five Gulf States, with the goal of increasing regional collaboration to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. Supported by thirteen federal agencies, academia, businesses and non-governmental organizations in the region, the Alliance has identified regional priority issues that can be addressed through increased collaboration at local, state, and federal levels.
“The agreement targets several joint activities that promote Gulf-wide science and education. Alliance priorities are shared with the network of universities, and their representatives serve on Alliance planning teams. Gulf universities offer many opportunities for education and training related to the Alliance’s mission and the needs of state and federal agency partners,” said Andy Shepard, Director of the Research Collaborative.
The agreement will advance Gulf-wide information management and sharing of academic research data and products. Universities are actively producing data sets and products that potentially impact Alliance priority issues, but may not be easily accessible to the public. New Alliance information tools help provide this access and can be found on the Alliance website.
About the Gulf of Mexico Alliance: The Gulf of Mexico Alliance recognizes the economy and quality of life for citizens of the Gulf are linked to its ecological health. As the result of a shared vision for a healthy and resilient Gulf of Mexico region, the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas formalized the Alliance in 2004. A not-for-profit organization, the Alliance’s mission is to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf region by encouraging collaboration among government agencies, businesses, education providers and non-governmental organizations. Priority issues addressed by the Alliance include water quality, habitat conservation, ecosystem assessment, nutrient impacts, community resilience and environmental education. To learn more about the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, visit www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org.