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An inside look at the science of cleaning up and fixing the mess of marine pollution

NOAA Awards $500,000 to Research Projects Exploring Impacts of Chemical Dispersants on Marine Habitats

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Female blue crab on a beach.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Baltimore, Md., has been awarded $150,000 to study the effects of dispersants and dispersed oil on the commercially important blue crab, a keystone species of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coast, and its larvae. A female blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is pictured here on a beach on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. (NOAA)

Earlier this year I wrote about NOAA making funding available to study the effects of chemical dispersants on the marine environment.  NOAA partnered with the Coastal Response Research Center at the University of New Hampshire to make a formal call for research project proposals.

We received 36 proposals from researchers and universities across the U.S. and Canada and even a few from scientists in Europe. Those proposals were peer-reviewed this past summer and early fall, and while there were lots of great proposals, only three research projects could be selected for funding.

We’re pleased to announce that NOAA will provide grants, totaling $500,000, to the following studies [PDF], which will focus on:

  • Developing a worldwide quantitative database of the toxicological effects of dispersants and chemically dispersed oil.
  • Conducting research to improve understanding of chronic impacts of chemical dispersant and chemically dispersed oil on blue crabs, a commercially important species of marine life.
  • Researching public concerns and improving risk communication tools for oil spills and dispersants.

Over the next year we’ll get progress reports from the researchers, and all of the materials will be available online at the University of New Hampshire’s website.

Congress provided money for these grants out of supplemental research funding following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

Author: doughelton

Doug Helton is the Regional Operations Supervisor for the West Coast, Alaska, Hawaii, and Great Lakes and also serves as the Incident Operations Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Emergency Response Division. The Division provides scientific and technical support to the Coast Guard during oil and chemical spill responses. The Division is based in Seattle, WA, but manages NOAA response efforts nationally.

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