NGI General Description and Core Activities
The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Cooperative Institute, a partnership of six complementary academic institutions and NOAA addressing important national strategic research and education goals. Mississippi State University leads this collaboration, partnering with the University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State University, Florida State University, Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and NOAA scientists at various laboratories and operational centers in the Gulf of Mexico region.
NGI develops, operates, and maintains an increasingly integrated research and transition program, the results of which raise awareness and understanding of the Gulf region. NGI was recognized by the NOAA Cooperative Institute Science Review Panel in October 2009 for its significant efforts to address important questions related to the NOAA Strategic Goals. NGI has been recognized as critical and well positioned to provide baseline, current, and future science and outreach needs to the region. The necessity of such a role for NGI is acutely demonstrated by Gulf of Mexico catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon incident.
The Institute contributes to NOAA's priority interests in the four NGI research themes of Climate Change and Climate Variability Effects on Regional Ecosystems, Coastal Hazards, Ecosystem Management, and Effective and Efficient Data Management Systems Supporting a Data-driven Economy. Important recent research accomplishments by NGI researchers, in collaboration with multiple NOAA researchers, focus on the issues and resources of the Gulf with many of the tools and protocols transferrable to other coastal environments. Additional details are available in the second section on Project Reporting.
The NGI Education and Outreach Program provides an integrated comprehensive approach to educate the public on NGI priority issues associated with NGI research and to facilitate the transition of NGI research to NOAA operational centers. The program connects universities to NOAA and works closely with the educational programs at the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the various Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant programs and the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team. Together we develop communication and significant long term messaging campaigns to address identified priority issues.
The Northern Gulf Institute is a cooperative institute led by Mississippi State University, partnering with the University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State University, Florida State University, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (AL), and the University of Alabama in Huntsville whose combined interrelated expertise is ideally suited to fulfill the NOAA Cooperative Institute program requirements.
NGI conducts high-impact research and education programs in the Northern Gulf of Mexico region focused on integration – integration of the land-coast-ocean-atmosphere continuum; integration of research to operations; and integration of individual organizational strengths into a holistic program. The program shall measurably contribute to the recovery and future health, safety, resilience and productivity of the region, through sustained research and applications in a geospatial and ecosystem context.
- Ecosystem Management
- Effective and Efficient Data Management Systems Supporting a Data-driven Economy
- Climate Change and Climate Variability Effects on Regional Ecosystems
- Coastal Hazards
Long-Term Goals - Improve Ecosystem Science and Use and Strengthen the Northern Gulf Institute
- Understand the structure, function, and services of ecosystems across land-sea, ocean-atmosphere, and coastal waters-deep sea interfaces
- Synthesize information across disciplines to reduce uncertainty and to forecast ecosystem responses
- Develop applications that address regional management needs
- Develop, facilitate, disseminate, and transition research, knowledge, and applications
- Build internal and external connections for institutional sustainability
Near-Term Priorities - Guide for Implementation Plans for Next Three to Five Years
- Address research needs to understand impacts of Gulf oil and other contaminants, excess nutrients, hypoxia, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, storms, and other natural and anthropogenic hazards
- Develop capabilities for Integrated Ecosystem Assessment and comprehensive modeling for coastal scenario-based planning and forecasting to improve management of ecosystems and resources
- Continue time-series monitoring for water quality, fisheries management, and habitat restoration
- Involve regional agencies and managers in the development of research directions, the implementation of applications, and the pursuit of related funding opportunities
- Support development of new scientists with regionally-focused, hands-on research experiences for graduate and undergraduate students and provide information for educators and citizen scientists