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USF Awarded $11 Million for Gulf Spill Research

A research consortium led by the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science has been awarded more than $11 million through BP's Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to continue assessing the impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico's ocean and coastal ecosystems and to build better ways for predicting damage from future spills.

The announcement was made August 30th in Washington by Rita Colwell, chair of the Gulf Research Initiative's board. USF's College of Marine Science is one of just eight centers selected from 77 proposals nationwide. The college will lead an international consortium of universities in four states, Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany, in examining the impact of the spill and the use of chemical dispersants.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to continue our work in the Gulf," said College of Marine Science Dean Jackie Dixon. "The college, its faculty and its students are focused on the science associated with the spill. Together with our national and international partners, we look forward to contributing to the Gulf recovery effort."

The USF project was part of a round of funding from the Gulf Research Initiative that provides $112.5 million over three years to address the spill.

USF researchers will focus on two themes related to the spill: understanding the physical, chemical, biological and geological processes that control the dispersion and fate of oil and gas released during a deep-sea blowout; and understanding the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill on the marine ecosystem. The goals of the research project include an effort to understanding what occurred in the epic 2010 spill and its long-lasting effects and research that delves into the scientific processes that occur in deep-sea blowouts to aid response and mitigation efforts in future oil spills, USF researchers said.