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USF awarded $11M for Gulf spill research | News

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USF awarded $11M for Gulf spill research
USF awarded $11M for Gulf spill research

St. Petersburg, FL -- A research consortium led by the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science has been awarded more than $11 million through BP's Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to continue assessing the impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The announcement was made Tuesday in Washington by Rita Colwell, chair of the Gulf Research Initiative's board. USF's College of Marine Science is one of just eight centers selected from 77 proposals nationwide.

The college will lead an international consortium of universities in four states, Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany, in examining the impact of the spill and the use of chemical dispersants.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to continue our work in the Gulf" said College of Marine Science Dean Jackie Dixon. "The college, its faculty and its students are focused on the science associated with the spill. Together with our national and international partners, we look forward to contributing to the Gulf recovery effort."

The USF project was part of a round of funding from the Gulf Research Initiative that provides $112.5 million over three years to address the spill.

USF researchers will focus on two themes related to the spill: understanding the physical, chemical, biological and geological processes that control the dispersion and fate of oil and gas released during a deep-sea blowout and understanding the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill on the marine ecosystem.

The goals of the research project include an effort to understanding what occurred in the epic 2010 spill and its long-lasting effects and research that delves into the scientific processes that occur in deep-sea blowouts to aid response and mitigation efforts in future oil spills, USF researchers said.

Citing the wide-ranging impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill from the deep ocean to the fisheries, and specific ecosystem components on the continental shelf slope, coastal marshes, beaches and estuaries, the scientists said their project seeks to a create a more accurate understanding contaminant distribution, composition and ecosystem impacts from the Deepwater Horizon spill and future well blowouts.

The research will build on USF's front-lines scientific work in the immediate aftermath of the physical, chemical and environmental impact of the spill which continues on in several fronts some 16 months later.

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