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USM researchers to study oil, dispersant in Gulf

Gulf Oil Spill Oiled IslandsHATTIESBURG — A research consortia led by the University of Southern Mississippi will use $11 million in funding to study the impact of oil, dispersed oil and dispersant on the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem and public health.

The funds came from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. The research will be conducted from 2015-17. Eleven other research consortia got money. The GMRI gave out $140 million to the 12 groups.

Monty Graham, chairman of USM’s Department of Marine Science, says the group will work on the near-shore waters in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

“Deepwater Horizon revealed many surprises including formation of deep plumes and impacts to wetlands. One of the major missing linkages is how oil interacted with the nearshore environment around the large river inputs of the north central Gulf,” Graham said.

Graham said the research also will focus on understanding of how coastal marine ecosystems respond to, and recover from, large-magnitude oiling events.

The USM-led group includes the Department of Marine Science located at Stennis Space Center and the Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs. Others involved are Mississippi State, Rutgers, Oregon State University, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Old Dominion, the University of Montana and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.



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