LSU Researchers Awarded Final Round of BP Oil Spill Grants
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2017
BATON ROUGE – LSU scientists will continue their work on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on southeastern Louisiana marsh ecosystems under the umbrella of the Coastal Waters Consortium, or CWC. CWC was just awarded $4.8 million over the next two years beginning in January 2018, announced by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, GoMRI, this week. The Principal Investigator of the award is Nancy Rabalais, LSU Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences Professor and Shell Endowed Chair in the College of the Coast & Environment. The grant will be administered by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, or LUMCON, where Rabalais also holds a Distinguished Research Professor position. LUMCON Associate Director of Science Brian Roberts will continue biogeochemical measurements of oiled and unoiled sites, and dose-dependent treatments of marsh ecosystems.
A large contingent of LSU scientists will participate in the consortium’s work, including LSU College of the Coast & Environment faculty R. Eugene Turner, Edward B. Overton, Michael Polito, Guilio Mariotti, Dubravko Justić and Haosheng Huang, as well as LSU AgCenter faculty Sabrina Taylor and Philip Stouffer, along with scientists from several other U.S. universities. The group was successful in being one of eight funded consortia among a field of 23 submissions.
CWC researchers will bring to conclusion nine years of post-Deepwater Horizon oil effects on Louisiana coastal marshes, the degradation of oil contaminants and oil biomarkers in relation to shoreline erosion, vegetation change and productivity, effects on natural resources and biogeochemical characterization of the marshes including the flux of greenhouse gasses. High-resolution coupled hydrodynamic-biogeochemical-sediment-wave models will identify drivers affecting oil transport and fate in morphologically complex deltaic environments and within Barataria Bay that were heavily oiled. Marsh mesocosms will be continued to test controlled dosing of oil impacts comparable to field observations on vegetation, soil, biogeochemistry, microbes, oil degradation, organisms and predator-prey responses.
Additionally, three LSU researchers were among the 23 individuals whose sole-investigator projects were funded from a field of 163 proposals. They include LSU Department of Environmental Sciences Professor Aixin Hou and LSU Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences Assistant Professor Jun-Hong Liang in the College of the Coast & Environment, and LSU College of Engineering Professor Wanjun Wang.
Scientists Awarded $50 Million to Study Effects of Oil on Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem:
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