Mote and SECOORA to co-host public forum: Eyes on the Ocean

The public is invited to the forum “Eyes on the Ocean: Why monitoring the sea makes your life better” at 9 a.m. Jan. 26 at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. This forum is being held in conjunction with an upcoming Board Meeting for the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA).
SECOORA is one of 11 regional coastal observing systems that comprise the NOAA-led United States Integrated Ocean Observing System (U.S. IOOS).

“IOOS is essentially a weather service for the coastal oceans and Great Lakes, providing the ability to ‘see’ what is happening both above and below the surface,” said Debra Hernandez, Executive Director of SECOORA.  “With this information we are able to create tools that support human populations, coastal economies and a healthy, sustainable environment.”
Attendees will learn more about why integrated, regional ocean observing systems, such as SECOORA, are critically important to improve weather forecasts, monitor climate change, understand marine resource dynamics, promote ecosystem and human health, promote maritime and public safety, and enable sustained use of ocean and natural resources.

A panel discussion with industry professionals and Mote scientists will illustrate the value of ocean observations to the economy, public safety and quality of life. 

“Our dynamic group of panelists will provide a well-rounded discussion on how observing systems assist them in the vital work they are conducting and how ocean observing directly impacts our local community,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President & CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory and Board Chairman of SECOORA. “Attendees will also hear more about how the community as a whole could benefit from advances in these types of technologies.”

About the panelists:

Brian LaMarre: Meteorologist-in-Charge, Tampa Bay Area Weather Forecast Office (WFO) of the National Weather Service (NWS)

LaMarre and his team provide weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the Tampa Bay Area, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the local economy.  In addition, LaMarre is a member of the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association and the International Association of Emergency Managers, and serves as a Vice President/Officer with the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference committee.

Dr. James Locascio: Program Manager, Fisheries Habitat Ecology and Acoustics at Mote Marine Laboratory

Dr. Locascio's research background is in passive acoustics and signal processing applied to understand the timing and location of reproductive activity by sound producing fishes. These methods are used to understand the reproductive ecology of fishes and the acoustic ecology of a diverse range of habitats and how the use of these habitats varies naturally and in response to human induced changes on broad time scales. He is also interested in developing new instrumentation for understanding fish spawning and in combining existing technologies for a comprehensive characterization of fish spawning aggregations, spawning ecology, and factors which affect the downstream abundance and distribution of newly recruited fishes.

Dr. Vincent Lovko: Program Manager, Phytoplankton Ecology Program at Mote Marine Laboratory

Dr. Lovko’s program focuses on the biology and ecology of phytoplankton, both as individual species and as a diverse community of many species interacting with each other, their environment, and other organisms. Many phytoplankton species can produce harmful toxins and a primary focus of Lovko’s program is to understand the dynamics of the Florida red tide organism, a dinoflagellate called Karenia brevis.

David Sanford, Deputy Executive Director, Port Manatee

As Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Sanford assists the Executive Director in port operations, maintenance, security and overall harbor management. He also assists the Executive Director in trade development, special projects and new infrastructure planning. Port Manatee is one of Florida’s largest and fastest growing deepwater seaports. Located in the eastern Gulf of Mexico at the entrance to Tampa Bay, Port Manatee is also regarded as the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal – providing shippers with speedy access to Pacific Rim markets.


The Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) works with stakeholders within the four southeastern states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida – to monitor our coasts and ocean. SECOORA provides coastal and oceanographic data and products to communities, state and Federal agencies, and industries within the region.