The conference sponsors share a goal to improve society’s ability to understand the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, which includes humans, to ensure its long-term environmental health. One important aspect of this is understanding the impacts of petroleum pollution and related stressors on the marine and coastal ecosystems, as it will support future response, mitigation, and restoration following spills. But the Gulf is a dynamic and complex system that is facing several issues, such as non-petroleum pollution, hypoxia, coastal development, erosion and inundation, and climate change. This conference will engage and build a community of researchers working on all aspects of Gulf of Mexico ecosystem science and initiate dialogue with the users of that information.
Through conference plenary and breakout sessions, the conference will provide a forum for the research community in the Gulf of Mexico (nationally and internationally, funded through the GoMRI program as well as other federal and non-federal support) to share their latest scientific results to: bring greater context and integration to ongoing research; share scientific information with state and federal agencies and other stakeholders to initiate dialogue about how research will impact processes for policy, conservation, and management; and enhance public understanding of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. The conference will also highlight student research. The conference will not include sessions on NRDA science or status for the Deepwater Horizon incident.