DEEPEND members attended and presented their research at the seventh Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science (GOMOSES) Conference held in New Orleans, LA, from February 4-7, 2019. This year’s conference theme was “Minding the Gaps: Research Priorities for Response, Restoration, and Resilience.” DEEPEND’s participation began with Director Dr. Tracey Sutton giving a presentation at the “Responding to Future Deep Oil Spills - Fighting the Next War” Workshop on Monday. On Tuesday, April Cook attended the Consortium Project Manager meeting, and Dr. Matt Johnston attended the GRIIDC Data Management meeting.

In total, there were seven oral presentations and 11 poster presentations. Isabel Romero (USF) led off DEEPEND presentations on Wednesday morning and discussed her research on bioaccumulation of PAHs in mesopelagic fishes.

Tracey Sutton, Rosanna Milligan, and Estrella Malca (all NSU) chaired Session 17: Out of the blue: what have we learned about the pelagic Gulf of Mexico, what remains unknown, and how can we use the information? NSU Research Associate, Nina Pruzinsky, was the Invited Speaker and addressed environmental drivers affecting the distributions of tuna early life stages in the Gulf. This session also included oral presentations on novel DEEPEND products by Sutton (NSU; DEEPEND oceanic fishes synthesis) and Ron Eytan (TAMUG; deep-pelagic fishes DNA barcode library). Also, Estrella Malca presented results on larval tuna growth between spawning grounds.

DEEPEND had a strong presence at the posters session as well. Genetic and molecular topics were covered by Eytan (TAMUG; molecular evidence of deep-pelagic environmental change), Joe Lopez (NSU; microbial communities reflecting diel vertical migration), and Andrea Bernard (NSU; two posters on genetic discovery of a new anglerfish genus and population genetic dynamics of lanternfish). Rosanna Milligan summarized lanternfish ecology in the Gulf. Ph.D. candidate, Travis Richards (TAMUG), presented his research on food web structure of deep-pelagic micronekton assemblages, and M.S. student, Natalie Slayden (NSU), reviewed data gaps on age and growth of deep-pelagic fishes. Undergraduate student, Austin Boutilier (FAU), summarized barreleye and spookfish populations in the GoM.

DEEPEND-associated presentations included: oral presentations by Steve Murawski (USF; mesopelagic prey/epipelagic predatory fishes connectivity thru diel vertical migration) and Yannis Androulidakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki; observations/modeling offshore pathways of Mississippi waters with eddy influence), and poster presentations by Dr. James Ruzicka (OSU; ecosystem model studying vertical exchange processes in the GoM food web) and V.H. Wang (USM; two posters on deep-pelagic ichthyoplankton vertical distribution patterns and community assemblage structure).

Masters students from Dr. Sutton’s NSU Oceanic Ecology Lab (Natalie Slayden, Rachel Eckley, Ryan McGonagle, Drew Mertzlufft, and Brandon Brule) also volunteered at the conference, assisting with the sessions and registration.

At the closing All-Hands Meeting Dr. Sutton, along with Dr. Murawski, presented a synthesis plan for GoMRI Core Area 3 (Ecology). All in all, a very busy and productive conference!