BP-Sponsored Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Awards New Grants

Dolphins swimming amongst the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: NOAA)

(Click to enlarge) Dolphins swimming amongst the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: NOAA)

19 groups receive funds to study effects of Deepwater Horizon oil spill

RESTON, VA – The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, or GoMRI, announced today that it has approved funding for 19 grants that will support studies of the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico.  Roughly $20 million will be awarded to these researchers over the next three years.

“Today is a significant milestone for the GoMRI,” said Dr. Rita Colwell, chairman of the GoMRI Research Board.  “We have complemented the eight research consortia we have already funded with important smaller grants that significantly extend the scope of work being done by GoMRI.  These grants help fill some gaps in GoMRI’s research portfolio that existed between the consortia.”   

The GoMRI has now awarded more than $130 million of the $500 million that BP committed to independent research into the effects of the tragic Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico.

The research proposals being funded today were submitted in response to the GoMRI’s RFP-II initiative.  This program funds research with defined goals within at least one of the following five themes: 1) Physical distribution, dispersion, and dilution of petroleum (oil and gas), its constituents, and associated contaminants under the action of physical oceanographic processes, air-sea interactions, and tropical storms; 2) Chemical evolution and biological degradation of the petroleum/dispersant systems and subsequent interaction with coastal, open-ocean, and deepwater ecosystems; 3) Environmental effects of the petroleum/dispersant system on the sea floor, water column, coastal waters, beach sediments, wetlands, marshes, and organisms, and the science of ecosystem recovery; 4) Technology developments for improved response, mitigation, detection, characterization, and remediation associated with oil spills and gas releases; and, 5) Impact of oil spills on public health.

The GoMRI received 629 letters of intent from potential applicants.  Applications were evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an expert panel.  The Research Board considered the panel’s recommendations and approved funding for 19 of the research proposals.

Funded grants are:  

  •  Defining Ecologically Relevant Sublethal Effects: How Do Low Levels of Exposure to Oil and Dispersants Affect Performance and Survival of Larvae of Gulf Nekton?
    Edward J. Chesney, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium
  •  Dynamics of Dissolved Inorganic Carbon and Dissolved Oxygen Following Natural or Manmade Petroleum Carbon Release into Marine Environments
    Wei-Jun Cai and Xinping Hu, University of Georgia
  • Using Embryonic Stem Cell Fate to Determine Potential Adverse Effects of Petroleum/Dispersant Exposure
    Demetri D. Spyropoulos, Satomi Kohno, John E. Baatz, and Louis J. Guillette, Medical University of South Carolina
  • Multifunctional Colloidal Particles as Dispersants for Maximizing Biodegradation of Crude Oil
    Arijit Bose, University of Rhode Island; Anubhav Tripathi, Brown University; Mindy Levine, University of Rhode Island; and Anuj Chauhan, University of Florida
  • Analysis of Continental Shelf Meiofauna in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Investigated During a Long-Term Community Study (2007-Present)
    Stephen C. Landers, Troy University; Frank A. Romano, III, Jacksonville State University; Kewei Yu, Troy University; and Martin V. Sorensen, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen
  • Accelerating Recovery after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Response of the Plant-Microbial-Benthic Ecosystem to Mitigation Strategies Promoting Wetland Remediation And Resilience
    Irving A. Mendelssohn, Qianxin Lin, Aixin Hou, and Kevin R. Carman, Louisiana State University
  • Creating a Predictive Model of Microbially Mediated Carbon Remediation in the Gulf of Mexico
    Jack Gilbert, University of Chicago
  • Large Eddy Simulation of Turbulent Dispersion of Oil in the Ocean Surface Layers: Development, Testing and Applications of Subgrid-Scale Parameterizations
    Charles V. Meneveau, Johns Hopkins University; and Marcelo Chamecki, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Resolving Deepwater Horizon Impacts on Highly Variable Ichthyoplankton and Zooplankton Dynamics in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
    Frank J. Hernandez, Jr., Dauphin Island Sea Lab
  • Monitoring of Oil Spill and Seepage Using Satellite Radars
    Hans Graber, CSTARS-University of Miami; Brian Haus and Roland Romeiser, RSMAS-University of Miami; and John Hargrove, Sr., CSTARS-University of Miami
  • Effect of Photochemistry on Biotransformation of Crude Oil
    Matthew A. Tarr, University of New Orleans; Russell Schmehl, Tulane University; Amy Callaghan and Joseph Suflita, University of Oklahoma
  • The Effect of Sediment Bioturbators on the Biological Degradation of Petroleum in Coastal Ecosystems
    Paul L. Klerks, Darryl Felder, Andrei Chistoserdov, and Febee Louka, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • The Environmental Effects of an Oil Spill on Blue Crabs in the Gulf of Mexico and the Dynamics of Recovery: Integrating Oceanography and Molecular Ecology
    Joseph E. Neigel, University of Louisiana at Lafayette; and Caroline M. Taylor, Tulane University
  • Novel Sensor System for the Early Detection and Monitoring of Offshore Oil Spills
    Wei-Chuan Shih, Craig Glennie, and Zhu Han, University of Houston
  • Spatial and Temporal Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Growth and Productivity of Important Recreational and Commercial Fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico
    Debra J. Murie, Daryl C. Parkyn, and Robert Ahrens, University of Florida
  • Characterizing the Composition and Biogeochemical Behavior of Dispersants and their Transformation Products in Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ecosystems
    Kevin L. Armbrust, Mississippi State University; P. Lee Ferguson, Duke University; Bruce J. Brownawell and Anne E. McElroy, Stony Brook University
  • Weathering of Petroleum and Dispersant Components in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
    Elizabeth B. Kujawinski, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; and Helen K. Whilte, Haverford College
  • Development of Cost-Efficient and Concentration-Independent Dispersants for Improved Oil Spill Remediation
    Scott M. Grayson, Tulane University; Daniel A. Savin, University of Southern Mississippi; and Wayne Reed, Tulane University
  • The Combined Effect of Environmental and Anthropogenic Stressors on Fish Health
    Thijs Bosker, University of Connecticut; Joseph Griffitt, University of Southern Mississippi; Maria S. Sepulveda, Purdue University; and Christopher Perkins, University of Connecticut

The GoMRI Research Board is an autonomous body that administers BP’s ten-year research program, created to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies.  Through a series of competitive grant programs, the GoMRI is investigating 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 public 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. 

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To learn more about the GoMRI, please visit https://gulfresearchinitiative.org/.

GoMRI Research Board Members:

Rita R. Colwell, PhD
Chairman, GoMRI Research Board
Distinguished Professor
University of Maryland College Park and
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Margaret Leinen, PhD
Vice Chairman, GoMRI Research Board
Associate Provost for Marine and Environmental Initiatives of Florida Atlantic University
Executive Director of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Debra S. Benoit, MEd
Director of Research and Sponsored Programs
Nicholls State University

Peter G. Brewer, PhD
Senior Scientist
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Richard E. Dodge, PhD|
Professor, Dean, Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center
Executive Director, National Coral Reef Institute

John W. Farrington, PhD
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Kenneth M. Halanych, PhD
Alumni Professor and Coordinator, Marine Biology Program
Auburn University

David Halpern, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
California Institute of Technology/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

William T. Hogarth, PhD
Regional Chancellor, University of South Florida-St. Petersburg
Director, Florida Institute of Oceanography at the University of South Florida

Jörg Imberger, PhD
Director, Centre for Water Research
Professor of Environmental Engineering
The University of Western Australia

Raymond L. Orbach, PhD
Director, Energy Institute
The University of Texas at Austin

Jürgen Rullkötter, PhD
Professor of Organic Geochemistry
Institute of Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment  

David R. Shaw, PhD
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Mississippi State University

Richard Shaw, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, School of Coast and Environment
Louisiana State University

John Shepherd, PhD
Professorial Research Fellow
School of Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre
University of Southampton

Bob Shipp, PhD
Chair, Department of Marine Science
University of South Alabama

Burton Singer, PhD
Courtesy Professor
Emerging Pathogens Institute
University of Florida

Ciro V. Sumaya, MD, MPHTM
Professor, Health Policy and Management
Cox Endowed Chair in Medicine
Founding Dean, School of Rural Public Health
Texas A&M Health Science Center

Denis Wiesenburg, PhD
The University of Southern Mississippi

Dana Yoerger, PhD
Senior Scientist
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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