TROY professor awarded oil spill grant | Environment
TROY – A Troy University professor has been awarded one of 19 grants by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, launched to assess potential damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Dr. Stephen Landers, a professor of biological sciences, will conduct research over a three-year period. The project “Analysis of continental shelf meiofauna in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill investigated during a long-term community study,” will receive nearly $650,000 in funding.
“The research project is aimed at understanding the sea floor and the microscopic animals that live in the sediment,” Dr. Landers said. “In the shadow of a huge environmental disaster, we have the opportunity to study the effects of the oil spill on the ecosystem and the animals near the base of the food chain.”
The research group, that also includes Dr. Martin Sorensen of the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark, will collect marine sediments from many locations across the continental shelf in the north central Gulf, and study the worms, shrimp-like animals, and others in the sediment, to better understand the community structure of those animals in polluted and non-polluted areas. Dr. Kewei Yu, an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University, will assist Dr. Landers in analyzing samples, and the project will also use TROY graduate assistants in the research.
The GoMRI group, established with funding by BP, received 629 letters of intent from applicants. Applications were evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an expert panel.
“I’m very pleased and humbled by being chosen for funding given the intense competition for these grants, and I’m looking forward to my work during the next few years,” Dr. Landers said.
The team received rapid response funding in 2011 from GoMRI last year for preliminary data collection, and Landers has been collecting data in the Gulf of Mexico since 2007.
Information Source: Troy University