National Geographic Special Features USF

"Can the Gulf Survive" airs Tuesday night and features the College of Marine Science research on Gulf oil spill.


By Vickie Chachere News Manager


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Sept. 27, 2010) – Researchers at USF’s College of Marine Science have drawn international attention to their exploration of the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but on Tuesday the National Geographic Channel will show how their research fits into the big picture of the Gulf of Mexico’s future.


USF’s cutting-edge science on the impacts of the oil and dispersants in the Gulf is featured in the National Geographic Explorer’s "Can the Gulf Survive?" airing Tuesday at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) on the National Geographic Channel. The special is part of a three programs airing that evening which take a multi-faceted look at the Gulf in the aftermath of the nation’s worst oil spill disaster.

Students, faculty and staff will have an opportunity to meet with researchers from across USF working on spill-related projects and learn about the latest discoveries during a brown-bag lunch discussion Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. at the Marshall Student Center ballroom.

Even though the massive Gulf oil leak has been capped, the loss of income, impact on citizens' ways of life and damage to wildlife and the environment continue.

 "After the Spill: The Last Catch" (Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 9 p.m. ET/PT) opens a window into the desperate personal stories unfolding in the fishing town of Venice, La., whose way of life has been devastated by the oil spill; "Explorer: Can the Gulf Survive?" goes beyond the disaster's emotional toll to illuminate the scientific impact of the massive spill. And on Nat Geo WILD, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Mireya Mayor and underwater cameraman Andy Casagrande join the race to save and study pelicans, sea turtles, dolphins and many other creatures trapped in the oily waters in "Saved from the Spill" (Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 9 p.m. ET/PT).

To watch a preview of the specials and read more about National Geographic’s coverage of the spill, click here.

The National Geographic crew filmed at the College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg in August, just one week after a research cruise aboard the R/V Weatherbird II showed that oil had settled into the sediments and showed evidence of being toxic to phytoplankton, the base of the Gulf’s food chain.

Since those observations, preliminary laboratory results from tests conducted by biological oceanographer John Paul have shown indication that lab bacteria exposed to water gathered from the depths of the Gulf showed DNA damage. The preliminary findings raise red flags about the potential long-term impacts of the spill, Paul said.

For a complete recap of USF’s oil spill response, visit Special Report: Gulf Oil Spill.

Vickie Chachere can be reached at 813-974-6251.