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USF College of Marine Science Awarded $20.2M for Gulf Oil Spill Research

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Photo: USF biological oceanographer Steven Murawski

TAMPA – The University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science has been awarded a $20.2 million grant by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to continue leading studies of the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of the nation’s largest environmental disasters.

The grant will support the efforts over the next three years by professors, post-doctoral scholars and students at 19 collaborating institutions, in five countries including Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany and Canada. The effort, dubbed C-IMAGE (Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of Gulf Ecosystems) consortium was originally established at USF in 2012 to conduct studies on the oil spill after the well blowout was capped.

The award is the largest single grant for USF for its research on the spill, which began in the weeks immediately after the Deepwater Horizon blowout that killed 11 people and over 87 days later spewed nearly 5 million barrels into the Gulf of Mexico. USF marine researchers working in conjunction with the Florida Institute of Oceanography - which operates the research vessels R/V Weatherbird II and R/V Bellows - were among the first scientists to begin documenting the spill and played a key role in understanding its dynamics in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.