Oil Spill Discussion Takes Center Stage

ResearchOne’s kick-off event featured a look at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill impact.



TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 11, 2010) – ResearchOne kicked off Monday with a look back at USF’s work in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which for the past six months has placed the College of Marine Science on the international stage.


While scientists broke new ground in tracking the spill, identifying the plumes of oil beneath the water and in the Gulf’s sediments and its potentially toxic effects on marine life, still much work is underway to fully assess the impact of the environmental disaster.


“We have never had so much oil and so much dispersant put into the Gulf of Mexico,” said College of Marine Science Dean William Hogarth. “We don’t know what the ramifications will be.”


Michael Crosby, Senior Vice President for Research for Mote Marine Laboratory, a USF partner in spill research and in other endeavors, said scientists must take a long-view of the Gulf to see how species adapt to the impact. If the Gulf follows the same course as Prince William Sound did in Alaska after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, it could be a decade or more before the true impact on marine life is known, he said.


“Just because the well is capped doesn’t mean this is over by a long shot,” Crosby said. “The real damage, the real impact to the ecosystem and the economy of this state has yet to come.”


USF President Judy Genshaft launched the ResearchOne events, noting that relevant, real-world science remains USF’s distinguishing attribute and connects the world of research science to everyday events and the public in a meaningful way.


“We were out there right away, and that makes all the difference,” Genshaft said.