News Articles

Pantropical Spotted Dolphins
Pantropical Spotted Dolphins

Become a Protected Species Observer
With GMI Training

August 2012

GMI is offering training for people interested in becoming Protected Species Observers (PSOs) starting on September 11, 2012. These classes are intended for anyone who wants to become a PSO in the seismic industry, including both current employees and new graduates. The only requirement is a bachelor's degree in biology, natural or environmental science.

The GMI PSO training program is an interactive course designed by a seismic-industry mitigation expert with 3 years of experience as a Lead PSO on surface seismic vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. For optimal learning, class size is limited to 15 participants.

GMI’s PSO program will provide training under the standards of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BOEM/BSEE) in accordance with the Notice to Lessees (NTL) 2012-G02. Participants of the PSO course will be instructed on the requirements and procedures regarding marine mammal sightings during seismic acquisition operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The training program does not include any extra certification or training (e.g., HUET, SafeGulf, TWIC card, or medical physical) that may also be required. Additional certification or training is the responsibility of the observer or hiring company prior to deployment.

The basic format of the program includes an introduction to the BOEM/BSEE and the PSO program. The introduction will help students to understand the rationale behind the NTL and its regulations. Course participants will receive background information regarding the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, responsible for protecting threatened and endangered species through the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. The role of BOEM/BSEE, charged with implementing these management policies during seismic surveys, will also be discussed. To wrap up the training, students will be given a brief introduction to marine mammals of the Gulf of Mexico, tips for sighting and identification, and take part in an interactive photo-ID segment.


Participants for this training generally include biological and environmental scientists, recent college graduates, and others with a scientific background who desire to monitor marine mammals during offshore seismic operations. A bachelor’s degree or degree path in biology, natural science, or environmental science is highly recommended.


Participants who complete the course will be trained to conduct protected species observation in the Gulf of Mexico according to BOEM/BSEE standards. Students will receive a field guide for Gulf of Mexico marine mammals and sea turtles, a flash drive with data forms and other valuable information, and a certificate of course completion.