Request for Proposals: SFERPM

South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Prediction and Modeling sferpm at
Fri Dec 6 18:42:24 EST 1996


1.  Introduction 

The NOAA South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Prediction and 
Modeling (SFERPM) program under the sponsorship of the NOAA 
Coastal Ocean Program announces an opportunity for Environmental 
Research and Modeling studies of the Florida Bay and surrounding 

Since 1994, the NOAA role within the Interagency Program has 
been a focus upon the  larger oceanographic, atmospheric, 
geological and fisheries context within which Bay restoration 
will proceed. This implied studying the Bay's interaction and 
exchange with the adjacent Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal 
marine ecosystems (specifically including fisheries species) and 
its regulation by large scale atmospheric and meteorological 
processes that so intimately link the coastal marine to the 
coastal terrestrial systems in South Florida. 

The NOAA South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Prediction and 
Modeling program will conduct empirical studies, develop and run 
models, assess risks and evaluate the ecological response of the 
South Florida coastal marine ecosystem.  Evaluation of the 
ecological response will provide federal, state and regional 
restoration managers and policy-makers the most accurate and 
relevant technical information available. 

	Approximately $2M dollars has been made available to fund 
Environmental Research and Modeling activities to be initiated in 
March 1997.  The FY1997 Implementation Plan for the overall 
SFERPM program can be obtained from the World-Wide Web at the 
following address: 

II. Guidance 

	On the advice of its Oversight Panel the Interagency Florida 
Bay Science Program has recently developed a Strategic Science 
Plan. This will be in final form and available to the public from 
the Interagency Florida Bay Program Management Committee ca. mid- 
January 1996.  Proposals must address one or more of the central 
questions articulated in the Strategic Plan of the Interagency 
Florida Bay Science Program.  These include: 

  How and at what rates do storms, changing freshwater flows, sea 
level rise and local evaporation/precipitation patterns 
influence circulation and salinity patterns within Florida Bay 
and the outflow from the Bay to adjacent waters? 
  What is the relative importance of the import of exogenous 
nutrients and internal nutrient cycling in determining the 
nutrient budget of Florida Bay?  What mechanisms control the 
sources and sinks of the Bay's nutrients? 
  What regulates the onset, persistence and fate of planktonic 
algal blooms in Florida Bay? 
  What are the causes and mechanisms for the observed changes in 
seagrasses and the hardbottom community of Florida Bay?  What 
is the effect of changing salinity, light and nutrient regimes 
on these communities? 
  What is the relationship between environmental change, habitat 
change and the recruitment, growth and survival of animals in 
Florida Bay? 

III.  Areas of Interest 

	All proposals should demonstrably contribute to answering 
the above scientific questions.  Planning letters are encouraged 
on topics consistent with the expected NOAA contribution to 
addressing those questions. 

	The NOAA Florida Bay Program FY96 Implementation Plan 
relying principally upon the Standing Panel review of the October 
1995 Annual Principal Investigators meeting, began the process of 
changing direction and refocusing its program about a central 
theme. As expressed therein: 

    How and why has the Florida Bay ecosystem (and its 
    function as a nursery for commercially and 
    recreationally significant species) changed as a 
    result of seagrass die off and the consequent 
    shift from a purely seagrass dominated benthic 
    system to a semi-pelagic system experiencing dense 
    episodic plankton blooms?   This general question 
    specifically includes the question:  what is the 
    cause, consequence and fate of  plankton blooms?. 
    In fact, an area that has received comparatively 
    little attention in the overall Interagency effort 
    is the "effect of changing species composition, 
    both plants and animals, on ecosystem processes 
    and trophic pathways". Bloom mechanisms are but 
    one aspect of a more general and fundamental 
    phenomenon, ecosystem shift.   From a NOAA 
    perspective the fundamental ecosystem shift, its 
    causes and consequences,  is a critical issue 
    since it is directly relevant to the two most 
    significant regional management concerns of NOAA - 
    i.e.,  the commercially and recreationally 
    significant living resources for whom the Bay 
    represents a nursery ground  and the adjacent 
    Florida Keys  National Marine Sanctuary and its 
    fragile coral reef systems.   The former since 
    those resources depend upon the underlying 
    ecosystem and the primary productivity that 
    supports it and the latter in light of  reports 
    that the reef ecosystem is being deleteriously 
    affected by the quality of the Florida Bay waters 
    that exit through the passes between the Keys and 
    contact the reefs. 

	Over the last few months the Interagency Florida Bay PMC has 
convened three workshops directly germane to the Research and 
Modeling Program. The expert outside panel reports submitted to 
the PMC after these workshops supplemented by the specific input 
we have received from our agency partners on the Interagency 
Florida Bay Program Management Committee in the course of 
drafting the Strategic Science Plan have been the major 
significant determinants of the substantive content of this 

	Modeling efforts will continue to be a major emphasis. These 
have included a Regional Circulation Model which provides tides 
and advective inputs to the Bay Circulation Model being developed 
by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE) while our Atmospheric Model 
is intended to provide the Everglades Hydrology Model with 
rainfall and the Bay Circulation Model with both rainfall and 
wind fields. Proposals are solicited to continue to fulfill these 
modeling obligations. 

	Proposals are solicited to determine how and to what degree 
the ecological and physical changes associated with Ecosystem 
Restoration will affect micro-climates within the South Florida 

 	We intend to initiate a pelagic habit/lower trophic level 
(plankton) ecosystem modeling effort that will integrate the 
research results of SFERPM biological and physical process 
projects.  It would  rely upon the ACoE Florida Bay Circulation 
and  Water Quality models and couple to the  ecological modeling 
planned by the National Biological Service (NBS/DOI), SFWMD and 
the NMFS Living Marine Resources program.  An explicit emphasis 
of the pelagic plankton model should be implications for the 
health and sustainability of the adjacent coral reef tracts of 
the FKNMS. 

	Physical oceanographic field proposals are solicited with 
particular emphasis upon the linkage between the west Florida 
Shelf and the western Bay,  the region immediately offshore of 
the Keys and the southwesterly flow connecting the Bay to the 
FKNMS reef tract.  As recommended by the Circulation Model Panel 
in regard to Bay modeling, "boundary conditions are inadequately 
addressed at this time... [they recommended] that the western 
boundary be extended over the shelf and northward of the Shark 
River inflow point and, offshore of the Keys". Physical studies 
will have to be closely integrated with the ACoE modeling effort 
which has been extended both to the west and the south and now 
includes the FKNMS. NOAA has agreed to take a lead role in 
providing the requisite physical data for parameterizing and 
validating the Bay Circulation Model. 

	Proposals are solicited on cycling and transformation of 
nutrients, and upon mechanisms and fluxes rather than upon 
monitoring of nutrient distributions.  These should address 
previously unmeasured parameters and processes such as the 
availability of Bay sediment nutrient loads to phytoplankton, 
the exchange and transformation between available and unavailable 
chemical species and physical states,  limitation by micro- 
nutrients, and the relative roles of bacteria and phytoplankton 
(delineating the significance of the so-called microbial loop). 
One of the major nutrient input fluxes (atmospheric deposition) 
will be a high priority.  Multidisciplinary process and modeling 
studies to simultaneously assess production and loss terms over 
appropriate time and space scales throughout the Bay will also be 
a high priority.  Moreover, as noted by the Nutrient Dynamics 
Panel "an important determinant of the supply of nutrients to the 
Bay is water flow and circulation, the most poorly quantified 
element of which is the exchange between western and central 
Florida Bay".   Interdisciplinary field studies addresses these 
issues are solicited. 

	Limited paleoecological studies are solicited.  Accurate 
knowledge of the historical sequence of environmental change is 
essential to make predictions (and help understand) the sequence 
of change observed as Bay restoration proceeds and water flow 
(and related parameters) are altered.   From the interagency 
perspective paleoecology is essential to defining the restoration 
objectives for  Florida Bay. 

	Multidisciplinary proposals explicitly linking the Bay and 
the reef tract are solicited. The former should specifically 
include monitoring outflow from and exchange between the Bay and 
the FKNMS reef tract.   Coral Reef Initiative-related activities 
would specifically include additional fixed moorings in and near 
inlets and enhancing instrumentation on present and planned fixed 
stations in and near inlets as well as provision of a central 
real time WWW site that will assimilate and distribute the data 
from these fixed sites to the scientific user community. 

	Experimental studies relating to ecosystem shifts are 
solicited as are collection of biological and physical field data 
coupled to physiological experiments upon planktonic organisms. 
Studies quantitatively defining trophic trophic linkages 
connecting Bay communities are also solicited as are 
physical/biological studies of the processes relating to algal 
bloom formation and maintenance. 

	The establishment and maintenance of explicit collaborations 
between field scientists, experimentalists and ecosystem modelers 
will be strongly encouraged by the SFERPM program. The 
collaborative web must include all the mutually dependent 
projects in the interagency Florida Bay program and is 
facilitated by the formal structure of that program and  mutual 
reliance upon a common Strategic Science Plan in establishing 
individual agency priorities. 

IV.  Planning Letter and Proposal Submission Process 

A. The SFERPM program is a cooperative effort meant to encompass 
both NOAA line organizations, its' agency partners and the 
academic community.  Cooperative proposals between NOAA 
scientists and academic, state or other federal scientists are 
strongly encouraged but not specifically required.  In some 
cases, the submission of an individual investigator or single 
institution proposal may be more appropriate.  The decision is 
left to the investigators.  Proposals from traditionally under- 
represented groups and institutions (e.g. - women or minority 
principals or institutions) are encouraged. 

All investigators must follow the procedures described below: 

Applicants should submit a short (no more than 3 page) planning 
letter to the Program Office of the  SFERPM program at 
NOAA/AOML/OCD in Miami. 

Electronic submissions will facilitate review.  If this mechanism 
is chosen please supply text as plain vanilla ASCII (not word 
processor specific) and associated figures as either *.GIF or 
Postscript files.   See VII below for email address. 

Hardcopy submissions should be single spaced, typewritten on 8 2 
x 11 inch paper.  All planning letters are to include rationale, 
brief research plans including methods and a preliminary budget. 
A one page curriculum vitae of each of the Principal 
Investigators must be attached. These planning letters will be 
reviewed with the assistance of the SFERPM Technical Advisory 

B.  Only when evaluation of planning letters has been completed 
and decisions as to program priorities have been made, will the 
PMC send requests for more detailed (8-10 pages of text) 
proposals to principal investigators. All requests for 
preparation of proposals will include specific technical and 
budgetary guidance.   Suggestions will also be made concerning 
collaboration with other investigators (and agencies) where 
appropriate.   Proposal submissions should then be directed to 
research plans and technical approaches rather than justifying 
the significance of the proposed research. 

	Both external peer review and the SFERPM Technical Advisory 
Panel will be used to assist the PMC in determining whether the 
proposals received have been responsive to the requests.  Funding 
decisions will be reported to the Interagency Florida Bay Program 
Management Committee for their review prior to final funding 

Each full proposal should include the following: 

1.  Cover page 
	As required by the sponsoring organization. 

2.  Brief Introduction 
	Describe how the proposal relates to this announcement and 
the implementation plan. 

3.  Brief Background/Justification 

4.  Research Work plan [the bulk of the proposal] 

  a.  Objectives to be achieved or hypotheses to be tested. 
  b.  Detailed sequence of tasks and activities including 
      individual responsibilities in multiple investigators 
  c.  Methods 

5.  Coordination, collaborations with other projects and 
principal investigators. 

Describe the relationship and interdependence of the 

6. Special Budget Items 

Describe and justify any special budget items such as: 

  o  Permanent equipment over $1,000, travel, subcontracts, etc. 
  o  Subcontracts should have a separate budget page. 

7.  Budget 

	Each Principal Investigator should have a budget page as 
	well as a cumulative budget for the entire proposal.  Annual 
	work plans and budgets should be prepared for the duration 
	of the proposed study.  A Sea Grant 90-4 form is required 
	for investigators from academic institutions. 

C.  How to Submit 

Principal Investigators in multi-investigator proposals 
	should submit an original and two copies of the entire 
	proposal with appropriate budget sheets to their sponsoring 
	organization (SO) and simultaneously to the SFERPM  (PMC). 
	For NOAA scientists, the SO is their NOAA line organization. 
 	For academic scientists the SO is either the Sea Grant 
	Program in your state or the NOAA/academic cooperative 
	institute if one has been established at your institution. 

V.  Obligations of Principal Investigators 

Investigators participating in the program must agree to 
undertake the following: 

	1.  Participate in meetings for planning and coordination 
	of program activities. This includes participation in the 
	Annual Interagency Florida Bay Science Program Conference 
	and technical workshops sponsored by the Interagency PMC. 

	2.  Promptly quality control data and make it available 
	through the SFERPM program data manager to other Florida Bay 
	investigators supported by NOAA and its agency partners. 

	3.  Deposit processed field data, if appropriate, in NODC 
	within two years of acquisition. 

	4.  Participate in the synthesis and interpretation of 
	research results and the development of products of value to 
	restoration and resource managers. 

	5.  Publish research results in the peer-reviewed literature 
	for the benefit of the scientific community. 

VI.  Schedule (absolutely no extensions can be granted): 

	1.  December 24, 1996 -   Closing date for Planning letters 
	in the SFERPM Program Office 

	2.   January 15, 1997 - Planning Letter Review Complete 

	3.   January  22, 1997 - Request for proposals with specific 
	directions based on Planning Letter review 

	4.  February  14, 1997 - Closing date for Requested 
	proposals submitted to PMC and local Sea Grant Offices 

	5.   March 7, 1997 - Notification of awards 

VII.  Letter Submissions to: 

The South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Prediction 
and Modeling Program Office 

c/o Dr. Peter B. Ortner 
4301 Rickenbacker Cy. 
Miami, FL 33149 

Voice: 		(305) 361-4380 (AOML/OCD secretary) 
FAX:      	(305) 361-4392 (AOML/OCD) 
email:   	"ortner at" 

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