ST. PETERSBURG — More than $9 million will finance research projects focusing on effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including some at Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory.
The Florida Institute of Oceanography Council, representing a consortium of public and private marine science centers and institutes, on Thursday chose 27 projects for a share of about $10 million supplied by the oil company BP, said Vickie Chachere, news manager for the University of South Florida.
Among those recommended were several under the auspices of Mote, according to a list of the projects posted at the council’s Internet website, www.fio.usf.edu.
Mote researchers proposed working with colleagues from six other institutions to study estuarine bottlenose dolphin populations along the west Florida panhandle, according to the list.
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Although Mote is located in Sarasota County, which remains pristine, parts of Florida’s northwest coast were polluted by BP’s runaway Deepwater Horizon well, which leaked more than 200 million gallons of oil before it was capped last month.
Other projects in which Mote researchers are slated to participate include a study of coral exposed to oil and dispersants, which BP used to help break up the spill; and an assessment of deep sea ecosystems exposed to oil, with an emphasis on sharks and scavengers, according to the list.
USF also will participate in a number of projects.
One project to be done jointly by USF, Florida State University and the University of Miami will seek to establish a coordinated approach to oil spill tracking, the list said.
One project proposed by Florida Atlantic University involves study of the effect of crude oil and the dispersant Corexit on three Gulf invertebrate species, the list said.
The council did not state how much money each project would get, but instead opted to ask researchers to revisit their individual cost estimates, and consider ways to save by sharing limited resources, such as vessel time, in an effort to further stretch research dollars, said Chachere.
Those negotiations will begin immediately, said William Hogarth, the council’s acting director and dean at USF’s College of Marine Science, she said.
In addition to the research awards, about $2 million is needed to fund ship time on council-operated vessels, the R/V Weatherbird II and the R/V Bellows, and vessels operated by member institutions, Chachere said.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.