Dr. Rita Colwell

Colwell to Receive 2017 International Prize for Biology

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative congratulates its Research Board Chair Dr. Rita Colwell on her selection as the 33rd laureate of the International Prize for Biology. The prize, managed by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, honors outstanding contributions to research advances in fundamental biology and is one of the most prestigious honors a natural scientist can receive.

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This study (Nature Ecology & Evolution, Johansen et al., 2017) used larval fishes like this. Image by Jacob Johansen.

Study Finds Low Oil Concentrations Impair Self-Preservation Behaviors in Coral Reef Fish Larvae

Researchers from the United States, Australia, and Europe conducted mesocosm experiments to assess how larval reef fishes respond physiologically and cognitively to low crude oil concentrations. The team observed that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), at levels recorded in industrialized sections of tropical coral reefs worldwide, increased larvae mortality and stunted growth rates.

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A mahi is loaded into a recovery tank after tagging. (Provided by RECOVER)

Video Shows New Research Tactics for Mahi-Mahi Tagging

Data and pictures from before and after a disaster help us understand the impacts of an event; however, the “before” is not always available. Researchers with the RECOVER consortium have found through oil-exposure laboratory studies that the Deepwater Horizon incident may have negatively affected mahi-mahi’s heart function, vision, and swim performance.

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Sheepshead minnow. Photo credit: C. Filosa

Study Finds Different Avoidance Behaviors in Estuarine Fish to Oiled Sediment

A Louisiana State University researcher conducted laboratory experiments to learn how estuarine fish behave around sediments containing varying concentrations of weathered and fresh oil. He observed that fish exhibited a stronger avoidance response to medium and high concentrations of fresh oil compared to low concentrations and observed no significant avoidance of any weathered oil concentrations.

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