Ecosystem Status Report highlights

With the aim of supporting Ecosystem-Based Management, the Gulf of Mexico NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program seeks to provide scientific knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico integrated ecosystem, and transfer that knowledge to scientists and managers. A suite of indicators was developed to represent key components of the GoM, and are presented in this website and report. To aid in the selection of appropriate indicators, a conceptual modeling framework is used to identify focal ecosystem components. The conceptual framework used in this effort is described below.

This Ecosystem Status Report is compiled by NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program (IEA), in collaboration with academic partners, conservation organizations, and other government and state agencies. Below are a subset of indicators from the Ecosystem Status Report, click "key indicators" at the top for a more complete list, and download the full report for more details.

Land Use Change

The Gulf of Mexico Large Marine ecosystem has been subject to increasing anthropogenic influences over the past three decades, primarily as a result of human population growth, energy extraction, and coastal development in the region.

commercial landings

Mean trophic level of the catch has remained stable in recent years. Nearly all fish species of primary or secondary economic importance are at biomass levels at or above the long-term mean. The proportion of stocks undergoing overfishing is at an all-time low.

Bird Abundance

Birds are commonly used as indicator species as they are important functional components of the ecosystem from the perspective of both trophic ecology and tourism value. Waterbirds in particular are useful because they often occupy higher trophic levels, are highly mobile and can respond quickly to environmental change, and are conspicuous and easy to monitor.


Commercial landings and revenues, which were generally declining or stable in past decades, have increased in recent years. Employment in the ocean economy and total GDP have also increased during this period, and have become more stable from year to year. Recreational fishing effort has also recently increased substantially after having decreased from 1980 - 2010.

the EBM-DPSER Framework

With the aim of supporting Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM), the Gulf of Mexico NOAA IEA program seeks to provide scientific knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico integrated ecosystem and transfer that knowledge to managers. In pursuit of this effort, conceptualizing the ecosystem and its focal components, drivers, pressures, states, services, and responses is crucial. The Gulf of Mexico IEA team has undertaken several conceptual modeling efforts to elicit subject matter expert opinion and engage stakeholders in conceptualizing the integrated systems of the Gulf of Mexico in order to develop indicators for this report. The team utilizes a holistic approach for conceptualizing the integrated socio-ecological system in the Gulf of Mexico by incorporating metrics from all areas of the Driver-Pressure-State-Ecosystem Service-Response (EBM-DPSER) framework (Kelble at al., 2013)

The components of the DPSER framework are listed below.
  • Drivers

    A ‘driving force’ is a need. Examples of primary driving forces for an individual are the need for shelter, food and water, while examples of secondary driving forces are the need for mobility, entertainment and culture.

  • Pressures

    Pressures are physical, chemical, and biological mechanism that are the proximal causes of change in the ecosystem. Pressures are the particular effects of drivers in the ecosystem.

  • States

    States refers to the condition of the physical, chemical, and biological attributes of the marine environment.

  • Ecosystem Services

    Ecosystem services are the benefits people receive from the ecosystem. As such, they reflect societal values, goals, desires, and benefits and contribute to human well-being.

  • Responses

    Responses are actions that people take, which are related to changes in the ecosystem. There represent a feedback mechanism through which human activates can alter, drivers, pressures, states of ecosystem services.

for more info please Contact us:

Mandy Karnauskas:
Chris Kelble:
Seann Regan:
Charline Quenée:
Rebecca Allee:
Michael Jepson:
Amy Freitag:
Kevin Craig:
Cristina Carollo:
Neda Trifonova:
Leticia Barbero:
David Hanisko:
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