NOPP Announces 2011 Excellence in Partnering Award Winner

Photo courtesy of Lophelia II researchers. Orange basket star on top of Lophelia coral at a depth of 1,476 feet.

The NOPP Office is excited to announce that the 2011 NOPP Excellence in Partnering Award has been awarded to the project team of the FY 2008 NOPP-funded project Exploration and Research of Northern Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Natural and Artificial Hard Bottom Habitats with Emphasis on Coral Communities:  Reefs, Rigs, and Wrecks (also known as Lophelia II). 

The project is led by Dr. Charles Fisher from Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Brooks from TDI Brooks International, Inc.  NOPP contributing agencies include the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  The project was nominated by BOEM for its exceptionally diverse partnerships which include “scientists, graduate students, technicians, public outreach professionals, and industry specialists from a very broad spectrum of ocean sciences ranging from Federal regulating agency scientists to academic scientists to industry partners.” 

The NOPP Office will be presenting the research team with their award at a breakfast hosted by NOPP at the MTS/IEEE Oceans ‘12 Conference in Virginia Beach, VA in October.

Photo courtesy of Lophelia II researchers. Close-up of Lophelia pertusa coral at a depth of 1,440 feet.

Photo courtesy of Lophelia II researchers.

The Lophelia II project just completed their last research cruise in the Gulf of Mexico where they discovered Lophelia coral growing deeper than previously seen anywhere in the Gulf.  This newly available information will inform future environmental review and decision-making for the protection of deepwater corals. More information on the Lophelia II project can be found here and here.

The NOPP Office would like to congratulate Dr. Brooks and Dr. Fisher and their team on their successful project and partnership!  The NOPP Office would also like to extend their congratulations to the agencies that contributed to the project!