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Faculty & Staff Focus, General Information, Honors & Awards, Media Advisory

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Research Board Welcomes New Member

Richard Shaw appointed by Gulf of Mexico Alliance to fill vacant seat

07/23/2012 04:26 PM

BATON ROUGE -- The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, or GoMRI, Research Board is pleased to welcome its newest member, Richard “Rick” Shaw.  The associate dean of the School of the Coast & Environment and a professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at LSU, Shaw was nominated by the state of Louisiana and appointed by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to fill a vacant seat on the Research Board.  


"I am pleased to have been nominated to serve on the GoMRI Research Board,” said Shaw.  The Research Board has “shown a diligent commitment to ensuring that only the highest quality oil spill-related research gets conducted in the northern Gulf of Mexico.  I look forward to contributing to this significant effort, which is so vital to the coastal communities along the Gulf coast and which builds research capacity and knowledge for the future."


The GoMRI Research Board is an independent body that administers BP’s 10-year, $500 million commitment to independent research into the effects of the Deepwater Horizon incident.  Through a series of competitive grant programs, the GoMRI supports investigations into the impacts of the oil, dispersed oil, and dispersant on the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and the affected coastal states in a broad context of improving fundamental understanding of the dynamics of such events and their environmental stresses and health implications.  The GoMRI also funds research that improves techniques for detecting oil and gas, spill mitigation, and technologies to characterize and remediate spills.  Knowledge accrued will be applied to restoration and to improving the long-term environmental health of the Gulf of Mexico.


Under the terms of the Master Research Agreement, the document that guides the structure and operations of the GoMRI, half of the Research Board members are selected by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, or GOMA.  The GOMA is a partnership of the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas that seeks to significantly increase regional collaboration to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico.


“I am happy that Dr. Shaw has agreed to serve on the GoMRI Research Board,” said Rita Colwell, chairman of the research board.  “His research experience in the Gulf of Mexico and years of leadership at Louisiana State University will be a great asset to the board.”


Shaw has held a number of administrative positions at LSU, including 18 years as the director of LSU’s Coastal Fisheries Institute.  Since joining LSU in 1981, Shaw has served as the university’s representative to the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the National Research Council’s Assessment of Research Doctoral Programs, Louisiana’s Coastal Sustainability Consortium, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Artificial Reef Council.  Recently, he was one of four members of LSU’s Oil Spill Steering Committee; a group that oversaw the review and disbursement of $10 million in BP research funds awarded to LSU shortly after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Born in Massachusetts, Shaw earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Merrimack College and his doctorate in oceanography from the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center.


“Dr. Shaw is a respected fisheries oceanographer,” said Colwell.  “His research has focused on ichthyoplankton taxonomy and ecology, and the growth, mortality, habitat requirements, and transport and recruitment mechanisms of larval and young fish on the continental shelf and within estuaries.”


Shaw is the author of more than 125 papers in refereed scientific journals, book chapters, and technical reports on the early life history of fishes.  He has contributed to the education and training of future scientists.  During his tenure at LSU, Shaw has developed several graduate-level courses.  In addition to his other responsibilities, Shaw still teaches three classes each year.


The recipient of more than $15 million in research grants and contracts, Shaw has received funding from the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.   


Shaw has been an active member of many professional scientific societies, including
the American Fisheries Society, American Geophysical Union, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, and the Louisiana Wildlife Biologists Association.  


For more information about the GoMRI, please visit

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