USF researcher to study effects of Deepwater Horizon spill with $1M grant
ST. PETERSBURG — A researcher at the University of South Florida has been awarded a $1 million grant to study how oil spills impact fishing communities.
Steven Murawski leads a research team at USF’s College of Marine Science. The team received the largest of three grants awarded by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
They’ll look at the economic, environmental and social impacts of spills such as the Deepwater Horizon. Two million barrels of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, slamming coastal communities that depend on fishing and oil. Fisheries closed, and fishers were forced to relocate or travel long distances to do their work.
Murawski and his team plan to use datasets to look at the effect the spill had on individual communities, especially along the coast of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. They’ll work with local leaders and people close to the fishing industry to develop strategies to use in case of future spills.
“This project has the potential to transform disaster planning and fisheries management responses to such disasters in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere,” a USF news release said.
Murawski’s team also includes Claire Paris, a bio-physical modeler from the University of Miami, and environmental science and policy expert James Sanchirico of the University of California, Davis.
They will receive the funding over two years.
“Our team represents expertise in biology, economics and oceanography and will provide information relevant to assess these real-world problems,” Murawski said in a statement.