Smithsonian’s Five Questions with Marine Ecologist Nancy Rabalais
– June 2, 2015
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is one of many stressors affecting wetlands ecology, and scientists are investigating impacts from natural and human-caused disturbances on marsh health and surrounding water chemistry.
The Smithsonian Ocean Portal’s Women in Science series recently featured Nancy Rabalais, Director of the Coastal Waters Consortium, funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Rabalais has dedicated many years to researching an extremely low-oxygen area of the Gulf known as the “dead zone” and, more recently, impacts of oil and oil-dispersant mixtures on coastal ecosystems.
Read the Ocean Portal article to learn about Rabalais’ interest in Gulf and coastal environments and the issues that she believes are most critical to the fragile and interconnected marsh ecosystems.
For more information about research that Rabalais is leading to understand and monitor the oiling impacts on marshes, read these articles:
- Research on Oil Biodegradation and Monitoring that Informs Spill Response
- Study Identifies Potential Oil Degradation Signal in Coastal Waters
- Marsh Madness: Scientists Descend Upon Louisiana’s Wetlands…Gently
- By Land and Not By Sea: Flying, Creeping, Crawling Critters in Marshes Help Track Oil Impact
GoMRI and the Smithsonian have a partnership to enhance oil spill science content on the Ocean Portal website.
This research was made possible in part by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) to the Coastal Waters Consortium (CWC). The GoMRI is a 10-year independent research program established 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. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit https://gulfresearchinitiative.org/.
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