Special Reports

Marine scientists meet at USF to plan spill strategy

SAINT PETERSBURG — Scientists are meeting at the University of South Florida today in an effort to determine the steps needed over the long haul to gauge accurately what is happening ecologically in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Dean Bill Hogarth of the USF College of Marine Science said a task force of experts is attempting to quantify research and equipment needs to help them sort out what is happening in the gulf.

“It’s a pretty large number,” he said of the monetary needs.

When asked what pretty large meant, he said it was less than $100 million over the first year, but that could change.

“There are a lot of things to be answered,” he said.

Scientists are trying to get a grip on long-term and short-term response to the spill, the dynamics in the gulf, and the effect on the environment.

The scientists plan a press conference Friday to present their findings on the disaster.

The scientists, who have been communicating by conference call, are meeting in person today at USF’s St. Petersburg campus. The group includes scientists are from the University of Miami, Florida Atlantic University, Southeastern University ,Florida International University, the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, USF and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.