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Researchers get emergency funds for oil spill work

GULF OF MEXICO — A competitive funding grant from the Gulf Research Initiative is helping Mississippi State University scientists collect important data about the status of salt marshes impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The nearly $81,000 stop-gap award will underwrite the project for three months until the consortium’s larger grants reach researchers this fall.

“Our project is to continue collecting salt marsh biophysical data and biogeochemical data across Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida through the summer,” said geosciences assistant professor Deepak Mishra, the grant’s principle investigator.

His partners on the project are MSU assistant professors Karen McNeal and Andrew Mercer and associate professor Bill Cooke.

In May, the GRI’s research board realized that emergency funds for summer data gathering were needed, and subsequently, issued a June 10 request for proposals — with a June 17 deadline for submissions.

Under the GRI’s first round of funding, Mishra is involved in several proposals for monitoring the region’s coastal wetlands to determine whether they are back to pre-spill productivity levels.

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