UGA receives $1.3 million-grant for Deepwater Horizon research

Offshore staff

ATHENS, Georgia – University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha Joye, and colleagues Patricia Medeiros and Christof Meile have received a $1.3-million grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to further understand the ecosystem impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The three-year grant will enable UGA researchers and scientists from 13 other institutions to better predict and respond to the occurrence of future spills. Joye will serve as the associate science director for the project, titled Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf (ECOGIG). Raymond Highsmith, executive director of the University of Mississippi’s National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology, is the lead investigator.

Joye said: “This research program will provide a comprehensive assessment of the water column and benthic impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and also will allow us to begin to document the trajectory of ecosystem recovery.”

Project objectives include:

  • Comparing the effects of biological and physical processes with the effects of dispersant applications on the transfer of oil between surface waters, deepwater and sediments
  • Defining how sedimented oil impacts microbes and invertebrates (such as clams and tubeworms) on the seafloor and in the water column
  • Monitoring for signs of recovery in ecosystems impacted by the blowout
  • Developing tools and techniques to track hydrocarbons as they are biologically processed by microbes and other organisms.

Other ECOGIG executive committee members are Christopher Martens and Andreas Teske, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Annalisa Bracco and Joseph Montoya, Georgia Institute of Technology; Chuck Fischer, Pennsylvania State University; Ajit Subramanium, Columbia Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; and Uta Passow, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Additional participating ECOGIG institutions are the University of Southern Mississippi; Florida State University; Temple University; Oregon State University; University of Maryland; University of Texas, Austin; and the J. Craig Venter Institute.

2/21/2012

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