Gulf Ecosystem Initiative
The Gulf of Mexico is a place where land, sea, people, and atmosphere are tightly coupled - where human impacts and climate change have a profound impact.
The Gulf Ecosystem Initiative is a $3.5 million partnership between the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in Santa Barbara, CA and the NOAA RESTORE Science Program to fund synthesis science and postdoctoral research. Working groups of scientists and decision makers will collaborate to solve pressing questions across the Gulf of Mexico. Synthesis science proposals and working groups will cover three main areas of research for decision making in the Gulf of Mexico: fisheries, climate change, and the ecological impacts of management.
Climate Change: The Gulf of Mexico is extremely vulnerable to climate change, especially sea level rise. Yet, despite decades of study in the region, we still lack fundamental understanding of feedback loops. How do human actions like oil and gas production change freshwater systems? How do coastal developments impact species migration? Working groups in the climate change focus will use climate data sets, models, and more to investigate questions like these that will better inform societal response.
Fisheries: Gulf of Mexico fisheries contribute millions of dollars to the economy each year, supplying 40% of our domestic seafood. There is a wealth of long-term data sets on these important fisheries and their environments, but for proper management we need to better understand the links between fish ecosystems and their functioning. Working groups in this fisheries focus will leverage existing partnerships, forge new connections, and tailor products for specific stakeholders.
Ecological impact of management actions: There have been numerous targeted actions in the Gulf of Mexico to address natural resource management, but how effective are they? This third focus area covers the ecological impact of past or current management actions at any scale in the Gulf of Mexico. By synthesizing available data, groups will gain a deeper understanding of the outcomes of management decisions, which can inform future or ongoing action.
2024 Call for Proposals
Our annual call for proposals will fund 2-3 teams at $75,000 - $125,000 to travel to Santa Barbara, CA 2-4 times over 24 months. These teams, called working groups, will focus on one of the three areas for the project, developing science for decision making in the Gulf of Mexico. Between sessions, members will collaborate remotely, participate in NCEAS-provided trainings directly relevant to the research, explore emerging research outcomes, engage with resource managers and other stakeholders, and identify practical opportunities to enhance management activities (e.g. trainings, workshops, communities of practice), and publish research and results. The program emphasizes and provides technical support for repeatable synthesis and modeling methods, and the creation of open-source tools where relevant. Over time, ideas and relationships fostered within each team may influence management policy or practice at local, state, or regional levels and initiate related cross-sectoral action.
Read our summary about this year's call for proposals.
Ready to apply? Read the full Call for Proposals and download the required documents:
Whether it is your first time proposing synthesis science or your tenth, you probably have questions about our new Gulf Ecosystem Initiative call for proposals - and we are here to answer them! Join us at this informational webinar, where we will review what NCEAS does, how working groups work, and tips for strong applications. There will be ample time for individual questions and answers. Register here.
You can also view our webinar from our last call for proposals on our YouTube channel.
From first time proposal writers to seasoned veterans, NCEAS staff is here to help you navigate the proposal process. Sign up for one on one support with our weekly, virtual office hours. Please include topics of potential discussion in the notes box so we can best prepare for our meetings.
We see postdoctoral scholars as vital team members of our growing Gulf Ecosystem Initiative community. We are hiring for two positions that will collaborate with to-be selected synthesis working groups to address critical, interdisciplinary, environmental questions in the Gulf of Mexico. These are two year positions, but have the potential for a third year of support. The position also allows ample time for independent research in the applicants' areas of interest. Postdocs will be based in downtown Santa Barbara at UCSB's NCEAS. UCSB is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer, including disability and veteran status.
For more details, visit our employment page.