VIMS Professor to Study Oil Spill Effects
– September 16, 2011
A professor with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William & Mary is part of a nationwide team that has been awarded a three-year $12 million grant to study the effects of the oil spill last year in the Gulf of Mexico.
(From the Virginia Institute of Marine Science) — The grant award is from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative meant to study the effects of the deepwater horizon oil spill on the Gulf and marine life. VIMS professor Bob Diaz will be among those conducting the study.
Diaz, an expert in low-oxygen dead zones and the ecology of bottom-dwelling marine communities, will use his $190,000 sub-contract to deploy two time-lapse seafloor cameras in a pair of shallow-water areas along the Louisiana shoreline—one inside and one outside the footprint of last summer’s spill.
These cameras will allow Diaz and VIMS technician Todd Nelson to monitor and compare the abundance and diversity of clams, worms, and other bottom-dwelling organisms at the oiled and un-oiled sites. The oiled site is likely to be Terrebonne Bay, a marshy embayment along the southwestern side of the Mississippi Delta.
Diaz says it’s particularly important to monitor the spill’s long-term effect on shallow marshes and their bottom-dwelling organisms which are an important link in the marine food chain.
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