Newswise — The Board of Directors of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) has announced the organization’s new executive director. Dr. Jorge Brenner will succeed Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick, who .

is the Gulf of Mexico regional component of the (IOOS) and the only nationally certified system dedicated solely to the Gulf of Mexico. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to provide timely, reliable, accurate and on-demand information on the open ocean and coastal ocean waters of the Gulf of Mexico to ensure a healthy, clean, productive ocean and resilient coastal zone.

Brenner is an environmental scientist and sustainability manager focused on using science-based management for strategic planning and sustainability initiatives that result in biodiversity conservation. His priorities include applying climate-risk intelligence to conservation and management to ultimately develop robust solutions that reduce threats to people and nature.

, who has most recently served as an independent consultant with Jupiter Data Factory LLC, joins GCOOS from previous work as Associate Director of Marine Science and Sustainable Fisheries at The Nature Conservancy. Brenner was also a post-doctoral research scientist with the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, where he worked in the Ecosystem Studies and Modeling, and Biodiversity Groups conducting research on biodiversity data science, ecological economics, and sustainable use of transboundary resources in the U.S., Mexico and Cuba. 

“We’re very pleased that Dr. Brenner will be joining GCOOS,” said Joe Swaykos, Chairman of the GCOOS Board of Directors. “He’s shown a lot of enthusiasm for joining our great team, and the Board is excited to see him build on Dr. Kirkpatrick’s work as he continues to develop new connections among organizations throughout the Gulf of Mexico. His diverse experience combining physical ocean data with mapping techniques and biological data will be a good fit for many of the ongoing projects at GCOOS. And with his background and experience working with researchers in Mexico and Cuba through the Harte Research Institute, we’re also looking forward to expanding our connections throughout the entire Gulf of Mexico, even beyond traditional international borders.” 

Brenner said he is excited about joining GCOOS and working throughout the Gulf of Mexico to ensure that resource managers and communities have the information they need to make informed decisions. “The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on the urgent threat of climate change underscores the need for timely and accurate data about our oceans. GCOOS’s role providing information and products that stakeholders need to adjust to new climate realities is even more important today than it was when the organization was created more than a decade ago. Working together throughout the Gulf, we can address these challenges and reduce threats to our ecosystems and the communities that rely on them.” 

To support Dr. Brenner’s transition, Dr. Kirkpatrick will continue to serve as Senior Advisor through February 2022 and then will continue to work with GCOOS on projects related to harmful algal blooms (HABs), including studies of HAB impacts on human health, the and HAB expert advisory panels. Dr. Kirkpatrick has more than 35 years of experience in human and environmental epidemiology and joined GCOOS as Executive Director in 2014.