When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began to unfold in 2010, spreading agony for acquatic life, gulf-area residents and the federal government - not to mention BP - UGA scientists knew that the long-term consequences of the spill were likely the most worrisome. Now Samantha Joye and her marine science colleagues will be able to follow up on their very important initial investigations into the consequences of the spill:
University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha Joye, who is the Athletic Association Professor in Arts and Sciences, and UGA colleagues Patricia Medeiros and Christof Meile have received a $1.3 million grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative that will enable UGA researchers and scientists from 13 other institutions to understand more thoroughly the ecosystem impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The three-year grant, awarded through a competitive merit-review process by a board comprised of researchers from academic institutions, will allow scientists and emergency responders to better predict and respond to future spills, should they occur.
"This research program will provide a comprehensive assessment of the water column and benthic impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and also will allow us to begin to document the trajectory of ecosystem recovery," Joye said.
Congratulations to Dr. Joye and her team, and good luck with the difficult job ahead. it is one of the (many) great quandaries of western civilization: the resources we require are hidden in environmentally vulnerable locations - getting to them puts segments of our society at risk. This is another reason why the ability to synthesize disparate facts, navigate conflicting goals and overlapping constituencies is so important. There are no easy answers and you must be familiar with the history, the geography, economics and a lot of the hard science to even wade in. But wade in we must.
The work of these scientists, along with the many others involved in the Gulf assessment and reclamation, will hopefully guide our energy extraction industries in developing safer, more mindful strategies as they continue to work in the Gulf.
Image: Dense mussell beds along the edge of a brine flow, from Joye's research group blog.