(July 13, 2017) --
NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program selected several Dauphin Island Sea Lab researchers to receive a portion of the $16.7 million in funding from the 2017 competition. These awards continue NOAA's RESTORE Act Science Program’s commitment to producing timely and high-quality scientific findings and products to support the management and sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, including its fisheries.
Dr. Ruth H. Carmichael’s project will focus on detecting contaminants in the Gulf of Mexico food web. Collaborators include the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and NOAA's Mussel Watch Program.
Shellfish, such as oysters, can serve as a record of water conditions because they are stationary filter feeders with a hard shell that continually grows. Dr. Carmichael's research will test whether trace elements associated with oil can be detected in oyster shells and serve as an indicator of oil exposure that provides resource managers with a way to relate contaminants to effects on oyster reefs and their food webs through time.
Renee Collini, along with Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Brian Dzwonkowski, Dauphin Island Sea Lab and University of South Alabama, plan to use their funding award to expand mymobilebay.com.
MyMobileBay.com provides accurate real-time weather and water quality data to Alabama environmental managers and the public. The site is used frequently by area weathermen, fishermen and the Coast Guard.
Dr. Carmichael and Collini are two of 15 researchers selected to receive funding in the 2017 NOAA RESTORE Science Program.
Dr. Just Cebrian and Dr. Bill Walton are also named as co-investigators with Mississippi State University's Dan Petolia to work on developing the Shellfish Portfolio Assessment Tool (SPAT). This project draws on knowledge from economics, ecology, marine extension, and resource management to design, test, and put into use a decision support tool to optimize the restoration and use of oyster resources in the State of Mississippi.
This funding is part of the RESTORE Act, which authorized NOAA to establish and administer the RESTORE science program. The program is funded by two and a half percent of the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which will result in approximately $133 million in total funding for the program over the next 16 years. The funding stems from penalties paid by parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.