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Research

Research

Research

Summary

GoMex Explorer is a spatial decision-support tool for marine biodiversity and petrochemical vulnerability in the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem, or LME. A fundamental understanding of how multiple stressors impact marine organisms in the Gulf of Mexico is critical to the development of effective management, restoration, recovery and mitigation initiatives for living marine resources.

The vast majority of marine species present across the entire Gulf of Mexico LME, which includes U. S., Mexican and Cuban exclusive economic zones, have not been systematically reviewed for population status and relative risk to major threats, including petrochemical exposure and sensitivity.

The marine resource management community has recognized the need for improved comprehensive species information, including species risk assessments, in order to more effectively select and prioritize species, habitats and ecosystems for improved management, restoration and recovery. Similarly, oil and gas industries operating in the Gulf of Mexico recognize the need to maintain sustainable business practices, to reduce their impact on marine biodiversity, while also protecting their return on investment and managing business risk.  

The ultimate goal of this project is to provide a variety of resource managers in the Gulf of Mexico with improved marine biodiversity data, packaged into a user-defined decision-support tool, in order to better support management, restoration, mitigation and recovery of living marine resources.

These improved data will include species-specific regional population risk assessments, updated distribution maps and peer-reviewed petrochemical vulnerability rankings for more than 2,000 marine species present in the Gulf of Mexico, including all known vertebrates and complete clades of select invertebrate groups.  

These data will be made publicly available for use in existing decision-support tools, as well as packaged into an interactive, online spatial platform produced by the ASU Decision Theater. A proof of concept, or prototype, using a subset of marine species data has already been completed in collaboration with the Decision Theater. Recent funding from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative will provide support over the next two years to produce the petrochemical vulnerability methodology and rankings for 2,000 marine species.

 Partners

  • ASU Decision Theater
  • Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative

Personnel

Funding

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative

Timeline

February 2017 — Ongoing