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Dr. Tracey Sutton (Lead Investigator), along with 11 other Principle Investigators, has recently received funding to lead a deep-sea pelagic research project in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) RESTORE Science Program. The research team will investigate the trends and drivers of pelagic community structure and abundance, from the sea surface to ~ 1 mile deep (1500 m), in the north central Gulf of Mexico. The project will run from 2019 to 2024, with the possibility of extended funding to take the project to 2029. One of the project’s main aims is to identify long-term trends in fish, shrimp, and squid abundance, and determine how observed trends relate to environmental changes and human pressure (e.g., pollution). The ultimate goal of the project is to provide information that can be used by resource managers to protect the natural resources of the Gulf. Sampling (with midwater nets and acoustics) begins in the Gulf of Mexico this August (COVID safety permitting) aboard the University of Southern Mississippi research vessel Point Sur.

Photo by Rosanna Milligan—Dr. Tracey Sutton retrieving the MOCNESS on the back deck of the R/V Point Sur.