Ecosystem Integration & Assessment

Priorities for Managing Ecosystem Data

Whooping Cranes

Whooping crane pair. Photo credit: Texas Parks Wildlife Division

Although much information has been gathered and scientific research conducted on coastal environments, currently there is no information system that allows easy access to information and data for scientists conducting region-wide comparative studies; nor is there a convenient way for managers and policy makers to tap into the knowledge gained from this research. A solution to this problem is a natural resource data portal and information system that will enable resource managers to develop sound recommendations for managing valued coastal resources. The Alliance provides an effective partnership structure to improve accessibility and awareness of the extensive data available throughout the Gulf region.

Long-term Goals

  • Develop regional data systems that contain environmental and economic data
  • Establish strategic partnerships to fill environmental and ecological data gaps
  • Provide ecosystem decision-support tools to address priority issues within the Gulf



Ecosystem Integration and Assessment 1: Gulf of Mexico Master Mapping Plan

Action: Produce the Gulf of Mexico Master Mapping Plan (GMMMP), a comprehensive plan to collaboratively acquire data on the physical characteristics of the Gulf region, particularly elevation, shoreline, and surface data.

Gulf of Mexico Master Mapping Plan (GMMMP)

The Gulf of Mexico Master Mapping Plan (GMMMP) is a comprehensive plan to collaboratively acquire data on the physical characteristics of the Gulf region, particularly elevation, shoreline, and surface data.  The Gulf is too large for any one agency to map, thus a collaborative approach is required; one that identifies and fulfills all mapping requirements with ongoing mapping programs.  Therefore, by aligning data collection methods and sharing resources, critical mapping information can be collected at a lower cost to the program partners.

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Project Contact:
Jennifer Wozencraft

Ecosystem Integration and Assessment 2: Data Access and Acquisition

Action: Provide resource managers and Alliance partners access to a Gulf-wide data and ecosystem support services system. is a Gulf of Mexico geospatial data repository which consists of a metadata catalog that allows users to perform spatial and text searches on metadata records, download most datasets via FTP, and view map services. relies on state and local partners to identify and gather relevant data for their regions, and thus far,  partners have collected and upgraded roughly 800 metadata records to FGDC-compliant using the Metadata Enterprise Resource Management Aid (MERMAid) tool.

Project Contact:
William Nichols

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Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas

In response to historic degradation and recent destruction from hurricanes
and man-made disasters, there is a high demand for data and information that
describes baseline conditions in the Gulf by the federal and state agencies
empowered to respond to these disasters. The Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas is a
new, comprehensive, high resolution, Internet-based data atlas designed to
provide information necessary to answer questions regarding the current
conditions of the coastal/marine environment, coastal infrastructure, and
the socioeconomic status and trends of the Gulf.

This Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas provides a source of reliable online data for
the Gulf region for use by NOAA and the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration
Task Force as an initial baseline from which to formulate the response
necessary to restore the Gulf. 

Project Contact:
Russ Beard

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Ecosystem Integration and Assessment 3: Living Marine Resources

Action: Provide collaboration opportunities for the various living marine resource organizations to support the management of the Gulf as a large marine ecosystem.

New Partner: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is now a formal GOMA Partner.  A member from the council will now participate with the EIA PIT. Additionally, an EIA PIT member will attend council meetings to further strengthen this partnership.

Project Contact:
Dave Reed

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Ecosystem Integration and Assessment 4: Emergent Wetlands Status and Trends Report

Action: Develop an Emergent Wetlands Status and Trends Report to provide scientists and decision makers with regional information to guide management decisions.

Emergent Wetland Status and Trends Report - Chapter 1

The Introduction, Methods, Study Area, Alabama Statewide Summary, Mobile Bay Vignette, Mississippi Statewide Summary, Mississippi Sound Vignette, and a comprehensive Literature Survey on Gulf of Mexico emergent wetlands is posted at under the Ecosystems Integration and Assessment page. Florida, Texas, and Louisiana chapters coming soon!

Project Contact:
Larry Handley

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Ecosystem Integration and Assessment 5: Ecosystem Services Valuation

Action: Determine socioeconomic values of critical coastal ecosystem services in the Gulf region.

Assessment of Changing Ecosystem Services Provided by Marsh Habitat in the Galveston Bay Region

This study identifies potential changes in ecosystem service values provided by wetland habitats in the Galveston Bay region.  The study shows that selected habitats (fresh marsh, salt marsh and swamp) present a steady decline in time under three sea level rise scenarios. 

Project Contact:
Dr. David Yoskowitz

GecoServ 2: A Database of Ecosystem Services in the Gulf of Mexico

GecoServ is an inventory of ecosystem services (ES) valuation studies relevant to the Gulf of Mexico region. The two main goals of the GecoServ database are to allow for the distribution and sharing of information about ES valuation studies relevant to Gulf of Mexico region and to identify current gaps in the ES literature. The studies summarized here are for habitats that are relevant to the Gulf region even though they may have been conducted elsewhere.

Features of the database include "REFERENCES" tab to provide users the bibliographic information for each study in the database; a "DEFINITIONS" tab to provide explanations for concepts mentioned in the website; and a "ES VISUALIZED" tab to provide users with a visual representation of each ES. This is especially useful in outreach and educational opportunities.

The Socio-Economics Group at the Harte Research Institute is pleased to announce the release of GecoServ 2: Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Service Valuation Database. This new version has many exciting features while keeping its user friendliness, including:

  • A total of 1174 valuation estimates
  • Additional habitats
  • Ecosystem Services Visualized
  • Easier navigation

Project Contact:
David Yoskositz

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Ecosystem Integration
& Assessment
All Hands "Agenda"
June 27, 2013 - Tampa
Gulf of Mexico Eco-system Services Valuation Database

GOMA Portal
Gulf of Mexico GIS Data Catalog & Repository

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Contact Information

Priority Issue
Team Chair

Larry McKinney
Executive Director, Harte Research Institute
Phone: (361) 825-2070
Email: larry.mckinney@

Priority Issue
Team Coordinator

Cristina Carollo
Harte Research Institute
Phone: (361) 825-2087
Email: cristina.carollo@

Ecosystem Integration & Assessment 1-Pager

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State Leadership

Kevin Anson
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Marine Resources Division
Phone: 251-968-7576
Email: Kevin.Anson@

Rene' Baumstark
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Phone: (727) 896-8626

Jeff Marx
New Iberia Marine Fisheries Office, LDWF
Phone: (337)373-0032
Fax: (337) 373-0181
Email: jmarx@

Syed Khalil
Louisiana Applied Coastal Engineering & Science Division
Office of Coastal Protection & Restoration
Phone: 225-342-1641
Fax: 225-242-3760

Ali Leggett
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
Phone: 228-523-4105
Fax: 228-374-5008

Larry McKinney (PIT Lead)
Executive Director, Harte Research Institute
Phone: (361) 825-2070
Email: larry.mckinney@


Jeanne Allen
Environmental Scientist
Phone: (228) 688-2761
Email: allen.jeanne

Becky Allee
Phone: (228) 668-1701

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