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New marine research lab opens at Cedar Point

OCEAN SPRINGS — The new $2-million Marine Environmental Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs will be used for ecosystem research.

Laboratory officials hosted a tour this week.

The lab is located at University of Southern Mississippi’s Cedar Point site, which part of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

GCRL director William Hawkins says the facility is divided into a wet area and analytical laboratory space.

Researchers Mark Peterson says oyster and Gulf sturgeon growth rates would be among the first studies using the tanks.

Other research will be on menhaden feeding habits and shrinking marsh habitats.

Researchers also say they can recreate natural events like freshwater plumes in an experimental setting, which will allow the scientists to understand the impact of oil, rising sea levels and other events on marine life.

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