A DEEPEND retreat was held on the campus of University of South Florida, St. Petersburg on September 23rd-24th.   In attendance were co-PIs, research scientists, and students.  A broad range of topics were discussed from water feature classification, to genomics, to physical oceanography and food web dynamics.   


It has been six years since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Plants and animals were harmed and the places they call home destroyed. The money brought in by fisheries and tourism was cut. A way of life was tarnished.

With the highly anticipated Deepwater Horizon movie starring Mark Whalberg, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson due for release later this week, attention to one of the world’s worst oil spills is sure to be reignited.

But long before cameras started rolling on the disaster thriller, researchers at FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society have been focused on uncovering the far-reaching environmental damage done to the Gulf of Mexico from the oil spill. Their goal is to inform future ecological assessment efforts to better monitor and understand changing conditions.

Read the entire article here

Max removes tissue from a fish for future genetic analysis aboard the RV Point Sur. (Provided by Max Weber)There are hundreds of deep-pelagic fish species in the Gulf of Mexico, but we know very little about their taxonomy, diversity, and population sizes. Max Weber plans to catch fifteen individual specimens of each of the 500 known deep-sea Gulf fish species to help us better understand these organisms and how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have impacted them and environment.

Max is a marine biology master’s student at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and a GoMRI Scholar with the DEEPEND consortium. 

Read the entire article on the GOMRI website

Dr. Matt Johnston, data manager for the DEEPEND Consortium, attend the annual data manager conference in Austin, TX August 31st - September 2nd.  In line with prior years, the focus was on data submission, including the appropriate attribution statement and dataset reference in publications, and the one year timeline to stay in compliance with GRIIDC policy. Three GOMRI Research Board members were in attendance and there was much discussion on data compliance and how this is used by the board members as a yardstick for evaluating performance of the consortium as a whole and also individual researchers.

Presently, the DEEPEND Consortium has submitted 12 datasets.  Eight of these datasets are now publicly available for download and four are in review by GRIIDC. 

Drs. Joe Lopez and Cole Easson presented a paper titled "Pelagic microbial community dynamics in northern Gulf of Mexico" at the Ecological Society of America, Annual Meeting in Ft Lauderdale, Aug 7 - Aug 12, 2016

The conference had very strong microbial ecology component, across many different biomes. Cole and other NSU students attended helpful, in depth workshops emphasizing the use of R and statistics.

Four DEEPEND scientists presented their work at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in New Orleans, LA July 6-10, 2016. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Dr. Sylvia Earle gave the keynote address during the opening plenary during which she emphasized the need for research in the deep sea, specifically mentioning the Gulf of Mexico.


The DEEPEND Consortium had an interactive outreach booth at the Blazing Mako Fishing Tournament’s Conch-servation Village. The booth was staffed by DEEPEND graduate students and scientists who shared their knowledge about the deep-pelagic Gulf of Mexico with the fishermen and general public attending the event. The booth included several games for participants to play where they learned about light attenuation in the ocean, bioluminescence, and about animal adaptations to the deep sea environment. Participants won prizes for playing including stickers, postcards, t-shirts, and glow in the dark anglerfish tattoos! Keep your eye out for our next event – it could be somewhere near you!

Dates – Jun 18-19

Location- Islander Resort, A Guy Harvey Outpost, Islamorada, FL

Website: http://www.guyharveyoutpost.com/blazing-mako/

 If you can know of an event where you would like to see a DEEPEND booth, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

25 Deep-Sea Creatures That Will Creep You Out - These predators from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico range from the astonishing to the macabre.


This deep-sea gallery contains images that some might find disturbing. The creatures in it may look like visions stolen from nightmares of the demented, but to be sure, all exist on planet earth. Animals from the eerie to the ethereal in appearance live in a cool, dark world as alien to us as the surface of Venus. Yet it is filled with life, and finding out and cataloging “what’s down there” in the black depths of the Gulf of Mexico is one of the missions of the consortium known as Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico (DEEPEND).

Read the entire Sport Fishing Magazine article here.