Oil Spill Dispersants To be Studied by New USF Grant

Dispersant
Oil dispersants being sprayed during the BP Gulf oil spill
ST. PETERSBURG (2011-8-30) -

USF's College of Marine Science announced today it's getting another $11 million to do research on the effects of the spill on the ecology of the Gulf. Much of the research will focus on the effects of dispersants used to keep the oil off Gulf beaches.

The College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg is one of just eight research centers selected out of 77 proposals nationwide. The college will get to lead a consortium of universities in four states, Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany. They'll focus on the impact of the spill and chemical dispersants, which were injected at the source of the spill to keep the oil from floating to the surface. Much of the oil ended up floating throughout the water column - which had never before occured in the Gulf.

"Before, the research focused on oil spilled on the surface," says Marine Science Dean Jackie Dixon. "And when you suddenly open up the entire ocean depth to interaction with oil, it's a much more complicated system."

The $11 million comes on top of $10 million that the college was awarded earlier through BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.

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