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Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Carbon Cycle Cruise 2017

The third Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Carbon Cycle cruise (GOMECC-3) is taking place to perform a large-scale survey of ocean acidification trends and dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico on NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown from July 18 through August 21, 2017. Twenty-four scientists and students from nine different institutions are participating in the effort, which will explore Mexican waters of the Gulf for the first time.

In response to the threats of ocean acidification and confounding factors, the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program has been charged with setting up an ocean acidification monitoring network to quantify the increase in near surface water carbon dioxide and associated changes in inorganic carbon speciation. As part of the observing scheme, dedicated research cruises are conducted to investigate the water column properties along select transects, and pertinent surface water characteristics are evaluated along the cruise track. The coastal ocean is emphasized in NOAA ocean acidification monitoring and research as it is believed to be particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification processes and contains many ecosystems of great socioeconomic importance.

Previous cruises have taken place along the east and Gulf of Mexico coasts of the US in both 2007 and 2012. Together, these cruises provide coastal ocean measurements of unprecedented quality that are used both to improve our understanding of where ocean acidification is happening and how ocean chemistry patterns are changing over time. This will be the most comprehensive ocean acidification cruise to date in this region, set to include sampling in the international waters of Mexico for the first time.

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From left to right, GOMECC cruise tracks from 2007, 2012, and 2017

All NOAA AOML partners on this cruise will be contributing to our outreach and education efforts along the way.  To follow our progress throughout our mission, to learn more about the observations we are making, and to meet the scientists making these exciting observations, please visit this blog regularly.  Research updates and outreach information will be posted weekly, starting before the cruise leaves the dock on July 18th. You may also find unofficial scientist updates on twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #GOMECC3 and #GulfOA.

For more information, visit AOML’s GOMECC-3 website here.

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