Florida Universities Receive $20 Million to Study Gulf

Florida’s universities have received $20 million to study the long-term effects of last year’s BP Gulf Coast oil spill disaster.

(From SunSentinel.com / by Scott Travis) — A Florida State University-led team, created last year, will examine how the release of petroleum hydrocarbon from the deep waters of the Gulf affects living marine resources and ecosystem health. Others in the group include researchers from the University of Miami, the University of West Florida; the University of South Florida, Georgia Institute of Technology and the Naval Research Laboratory.

The consortium includes geologists, biologists, chemists, physicists and meteorologists. They will look at how the spill actually moved through the Gulf and develop tools to help forecast environmental scenarios that can influence hydrocarbon release, officials said.

The grant comes from BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, which has awarded $112.5 million total to eight research groups. BP has pledged $500 million over 10 years for independent scientific research related to the spill.

“About 4.9 million barrels of oil were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, so it is important to find out exactly how the oil affected marine life and the health of the ecosystem,” said FSU Vice President for Research Kirby Kemper. He said FSU is pleased to lead an effort to help the nation “understand the answers to important questions that have arisen in the wake of the disaster.”

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